How to Get a California CDL License

California has a huge transportation industry that provides thousands of well-paying jobs to commercial truck drivers and bus operators. Owners and operators of large commercial trucks and passenger buses need to obtain a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) from the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) before entering the field as a driver. Applicants who are interested in their CDL must be able to pass a written test that measures their knowledge. After the written examination is passed, a person must train for their practical driving test. Potential CDL drivers have plenty of options for gaining the essential practical experience that is needed in the industry, and many take classes at one of the schools that offer California CDL license training. In addition, there is a California CDL cost, much in the same way that a person needs to pay for their regular driver’s license. Here are the steps that anyone can take to work towards their CDL and find a great job working as a bus or semi driver.

Step 1:
Accessing the California CDL manual is an ideal way to begin the licensing process, and the booklet contains information that is specific to drivers who are operating commercial vehicles in the state.

Step 2:
A person should first study the sections of the California CDL handbook that pertain to their individual situation. The CDL test has standard questions that apply to all drivers, and other sections that are designed to test for particular endorsements, like air brakes, passenger vehicles or hazardous materials trucks. Any person who wants to gain the additional credentials must study the pertinent portions in the manual and be ready to answer any questions about the subject matter.

Step 3:
After a person feels comfortable with the materials that are covered in the handbook, they ca proceed to take the CDL written exam. The test is offered at most of the state’s DMV locations and is usually presented in a computerized format. After the written portion of the state’s CDL exam is passed, a driver has an opportunity to receive their California CDL permit. This permit is for practical experience and allows a driver to operate a commercial vehicle with another person present in the cab.

Step 4:
Locating a local truck driving school or other type of CDL training center is the next step in the licensing process. Many people find innovative ways to earn their license to drive in the state, and the Professional Truck Driver institute certifies programs that train professionals for jobs on the open road. While a school’s tuition is part of the total California CDL license cost, students will enjoy increased wages upon graduation, so the expense is actually an investment in a person’s future earning power.

For people who are interested in driving a bus, they should get in touch with their local California school system that offers training for companies like Greyhound or Amtrak California.

Step 5:
After a potential commercial vehicle operator has completed their training at their chosen school, they are ready to hit the roads and try to pass the skills test at a local branch of the California DMV. A person should strive to ensure that they are completely familiar with the CDL booklet and quite comfortable in the particular commercial vehicle that will be driven on the day of the test. Because the exam is primarily based on a driving course, applicants are expected to know how to operate their truck or commercial vehicle and may need to maneuver through traffic while driving safely.

Step 6:
To schedule a test at one of the California DMV locations, a person can easily call, 800.777.0133, between the hours of 8am and 5pm, PST. In addition, a driver will need to make sure that they have access to a commercial vehicle. Most applicants rely on a truck that is owned by their CDL training program. On the other hand, rental companies often have equipment that is available for use for a small fee. For school bus drivers, potential licensees should contact their local school board for more information on the testing procedure.

Step 7:
After a person has completed their California CDL skills test, he or she is ready to obtain their commercial licensee from the local DMV branch. A small fee is associated with the license and can easily be paid after a person passes both the written and skills portions of the CDL examination.