Anyone who is looking to become a truck driver should seriously consider getting a CDL license. These licenses are required for any driver who will be operating vehicles weighing 26,001 lbs. or more. If you’re planning to become a CDL truck driver, you’ve likely encountered the different CDL license classes. But what does each class mean, and which should you get? Read on to learn more about the different types of CDL drivers and licenses.
A Class A CDL license allows a driver to operate vehicles with a gross combination weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 lbs. or over. This includes a towed trailer or other object with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of over 10,000 lbs. With the proper endorsements, drivers with a Class A CDL license will usually be able to drive Class B and Class C vehicles as well. Typically, a driver with a Class A license will operate truck and trailer combos, flatbed trucks, tanker vehicles, livestock carriers, and other similar vehicles.
With a Class B CDL license, drivers are permitted to operate single vehicles without trailers weighing 26,001 lbs. or more. They may also transport trailers or other towed objects weighing under 10,000 lbs. A Class B license is the most common one for drivers who want to work in the public transportation industry, driving vehicles such as tour, city, or school buses. Class B CDL drivers may also drive straight trucks, box trucks, or trucks with a small trailer.
The final type of CDL license, Class C, allows drivers to operate vehicles transporting 16 or more passengers, driver included, or vehicles transporting hazardous materials. Examples of these include small passenger vans, a small HAZMAT vehicle, or a small truck and trailer.
When obtaining a CDL license, make sure you meet all requirements of the process and study up on the different types of CDL drivers and licenses. Decide which CDL license class best fits your needs and aspirations as a driver—Class A CDL licenses are the most common type, but if you don’t plan to drive a Class A vehicle, a different class may be a better fit. Remember to also research and acquire any endorsements you’ll need for your career. Doing so will help you down the path to becoming a licensed CDL driver.