How Long Does It Take to Get a CDL License?


How do you know if a CDL license is right for you? Read on to learn more.

What is a CDL License?

A CDL is a commercial driver’s license. This documentation is often referred to as a CDL license, though that terminology may seem redundant. A CDL license is necessary to work in the trucking industry, which includes jobs that require driving any of the following vehicles:

  • Heavy trucks: Single frame vehicles with a gross cargo and personnel weight of more than 26,000 lbs.
  • Tractor-trailers: Vehicles pulling one or more trailers, such as a semi-truck, with a gross weight of over 26,000 lbs.
  • HAZMAT vehicles: These vehicles transport hazardous materials.
  • Buses or other human transport vehicles: These vehicles transport multiple passengers along a transportation route.

Interested in becoming a professional truck driver? Learn more about the MTI CDL Training Course or our more comprehensive Professional Truck Driving Program.

What Are the Benefits of Getting Your CDL License?

Obtaining a CDL license can lead to opportunities for professional freedom.

  • The MTI CDL Training Course is designed to be a fast-track to CDL licensure. The CDL Training Course at MTI is only 20 days long and consists of 168 total hours. For in-depth trucker training, we also offer the 20-week Professional Truck Driving Program.
  • Trucking is a high-demand industry. According to American Trucking Associations, CDL drivers move more than 70% of all U.S. freight. Truck drivers with CDL licenses help provide commercial goods like groceries and gasoline to businesses all over the United States.
  • Truck drivers receive competitive pay and benefits. With the growth of delivery services, the trucking industry represents an aggressive environment for drivers. While regional wages may vary, the median annual wage for heavy truck and tractor-trailer drivers was $42,480 in May 2017.
  • Truck drivers aren’t stuck in an office or warehouse all day. A CDL license may present the opportunity to travel the nation, allowing drivers to be on the move, instead of glued to a desk chair.

Determined to get your CDL license? Read up on the MTI CDL Training Course.

What Factors Affect the Total Length of Time to Get a CDL License?

Beyond the schooling that’s required to get your CDL, there are several other factors to consider:

  • Type of license class: The CDL Training Course at MTI provides the information necessary for a CDL A license.
  • Required driving hours: The behind-the-wheel driving hours required for licensing varies from state to state. You can check how many hours your state requires here.
  • Additional endorsements: For specific vehicles, like buses and tankers, you’ll need additional endorsements beyond your license to drive. These endorsements can require training and testing.

Have questions about becoming a truck driver? Look into MTI truck driving training options.

Course and DMV Requirements to Get Your CDL License

To earn your CDL, you must have a current driver’s license and a commercial learner’s permit (CLP). The following steps may be required to obtain a CLP:

  • Provide your social security number and complete your state’s background check. Identification will be required. Accepted forms of ID vary from state to state but may include a social security card, Medicare ID card, current state license or ID, military ID, or passport.
  • Submit proof of residency in the form of a utility bill, bank statement, or other document.
  • Take and pass a vision test and a medical exam.

After getting your CLP, there is a 14-day waiting period before you can take the CDL Road Skills Test. During this period, you must complete your state required driving hours and accomplish the steps detailed below.

  • Take and pass the CDL Knowledge Test, which tests driver’s knowledge of safety, skills, and regulations.
  • Successfully complete a pre-trip vehicle inspection.
  • Upon passing the vehicle inspection, you must successfully complete the Road Skills Test. This requires that you provide your own vehicle to use for the testing.
  • Submit a 10-year driving history. If you’ve been licensed in any other jurisdictions or states outside where you’re getting your license, you’ll need to submit a history from those areas as well.

After the previous steps are successfully completed, submit your application and pay the necessary fees, which vary by state. Click here for a comprehensive list and breakdown of the requirements and what to expect for your state’s CDL licensing exam.

How MTI Helps You Get Your CDL License

The CDL Training Course at Midwest Technical Institute prepares students for entry-level employment in the trucking industry through theory and hands-on experience. You will have the opportunity to learn all of the necessary skills to help prepare you to pass your state’s CDL licensing requirements.The CDL Training Course curriculum covers state regulations, driver safety, emergency maneuvers, how to hitch and unhitch a tractor trailer, and more. Contact our Admissions Team today to learn more about the CDL Training Course and the more intensive Professional Truck Driving Program.