Class A licenses
A driver's next goal is the Class A license, the proverbial golden ticket that allows drivers to begin getting behind the wheel of big rigs.
It may be no easy task, however, as the Department of Transportation is looking for drivers who are skilled, attentive and who have some common sense when driving commercial loads throughout the country.
This is not to discourage potential drivers from pursuing what may be a lifelong dream. Drivers should simply be aware that there is an expected level of performance and diligence required for a position with one of the nation's leading industries.
What Is A Class A License?
The Class A license is what allows truck drivers to operate trailers and haul various tractors of all sorts on the road. There may different sizes, combinations, and configurations of tractor and trailers that a driver may operate with a Class A license. Class A truck drivers generally see figures in the $42,000 - $43,000 range which is almost 30% more than Class C jobs.
Class A licenses differ from Class C licenses in several ways. The most notable difference may lie in the fact that Class C licenses are not commercial, whereas Class A licenses are created for business and commerce purposes, transporting freight to a destination for a (supposed) purpose.
According to AAA, In most states, a Class A license “is required for the combination of vehicles with a Gross Combination Weight Rating of 26,001 lbs. or more, provided the GVWR of the vehicle(s) being towed is in excess of 10,000 lbs.” While this may vary by area and location, the general weight limits stay the same.
A Class A license is also a signifier to potential employers. It lets them know that you are competent in a field of skills and that you have demonstrated some sort of mastery of driving.
Steps To Obtaining a CDL-A
First and foremost, the DOT recommends that drivers pursuing a Class A license look at the CDL driver's manual. These manuals vary by location and can be picked up depending on what state you will be eventually taking the driving test in.
Secondly, drivers need to prepare for and understand the skills test and written test that come with their license and the endorsements they may receive. It is important to drivers to pass these tests so that they can avoid having any sort of restriction on their license and or hindrance in obtaining their license.
Drivers will also be required to pass basic vision and hearing tests before taking the skills exam. It's important that drivers demonstrate these skills well, lest they be deemed a potential hazard on the road.
While there is not one verified way to accurately ensure success in the driving test because all states are unique in their exams, there are some tips that may be of use across the board.
- Study frequently and study well - the materials for Class A drivers to look at are available to anyone in any state, usually free of charge. Contact your nearest DMV for more information.
- If possible, talk to an expert - those who have served many years on the road can likely provide some insight into the nature of an exam and give advice on the basics of what the test proctors are looking for.
- Approach the tests with confidence - a great deal of these exams are dependent on a driver's ability to mentally build themselves up to succeed.
- Take some practice tests online with us - and see how you do with sample questions similar to those you might encounter with the real exam.