How Old Do You Have to Be to Be a Truck Driver?
Working in a material handling and/or truck driving field can be a great experience. There are opportunities for flexible hours and great pay. However, a CDL has age requirements that you should be aware of before moving forward. CDL stands for commercial drivers license and an individual needs this license if they operate large vehicles.
Age Requirement For CDL
You can get your CDL when you are 18 years old. However, you will only be able to drive intrastate routes. If you have a CDL when you are 21 years old, you can cross state borders. While there is a minimum age to get a CDL, there is not a maximum age requirement.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is continuously updating their policies to keep the roads a safe place for all drivers. Read about their current CDL policies and age regulations here.
Besides the FMCSA, each state has its own set of guidelines. For example, if you are 16 years old in Idaho, you can apply for a seasonal license that allows people to drive agricultural vehicles. A seasonal license helps an individual gain practical experience in the driving industry, which can springboard their career.
Getting Your CDL
If you’re serious about getting a CDL, you need to be familiar with the certification process. Listed below are the basic requirements.
- Pass the age guidelines
18 years old for intrastate, 21 years old for interstate.
- Look into a CPL
See if the truck driving school you are getting licensed through requires a commercial learner’s permit (CPL) before starting. Some truck driving schools will include this in their training program.
- Attend a CDL Program
You can get licensed through a community college or truck driving school. There are minor differences between the two options like length and price. A CDL program combines classroom learning with truck driving.
- Pass skills test and knowledge exam
This will be a combination of a written exam and behind-the-wheel performance. We recommend lots of studying and practice so you are prepared.
- Provide proper documentation
Below are the essential documents for employment.
- Non-commercial license
- Social security number
- Birth certificate or unexpired passport
- Proof of citizenship or authorization to work in the country
- Final Steps
If you can provide these documents, you will then have to pass a background check and drug test (which includes marijuana). Also, you will need to get a physical from a doctor.
If you can complete these six steps, you are in a great position to pursue a CDL. Some CDL guidelines differ in each state. Always research what the requirements will be for your application process. You can find up to date information at your local department of motor vehicles (DMV).
There are a few more details to be aware of in the CDL pursuit. One thing to note is that you must get a CDL in your home state. It is illegal to have multiple CDL’s in different states. Also, be aware that some companies require a Class A license and one year of truck driving in order to be hired. Lastly, some companies have restrictions for CDL drivers if you are a felon. Always check the state laws and company requirements when applying.
Getting a CDL is a long but rewarding process. A material handler or truck driver is a great opportunity for any age! If you are interested in working in this industry, apply at Matheson. Matheson is one of the fastest growing, world-class transportation and logistics companies of its kind. If you get a CDL, we hope to see you on the road soon!