Are you interested in a career in the transportation industry? Or does your employer require you to have a Commercial Driver’s License or CDL?
If you’ve been researching how to get your CDL license in Illinois, you likely have questions related to the licensing process and the requirements to start a truck driving career.
Understanding the difference between Class A and Class B CDL can help you better understand which license you need to become a commercial truck driver.
This article takes a closer look at the difference between CDL-A and CDL-B classifications to help you understand which is right for you and your career goals.
|CDL-A and CDL-B Defined|
Class A CDL or CDL-A
Class B CDL or CDL-B
Difference Between Class A and Class B CDL
To break it down, if your commercial vehicle weighs over 26,001 pounds (excluding trailers), you need a Commercial Drivers License or CDL, to drive that vehicle. Driving a commercial vehicle requires greater knowledge, experience, and physical ability than simply driving a car.
If you are pulling a commercial trailer that weighs over 10,000 pounds (most commercial trailers do), you will need a CDL-A. Combination vehicles, such as tractor trailers or semi-trailers, always meet the requirements for CDL-A. If you’re interested in pursuing virtually any commercial driving career, this may be the best option for you.
A CDL-B is typically only for lighter vehicles, such as a straight truck or bus. So, a CDL-B could be considered more “limiting” in regards to the type of commercial driving career opportunities you can pursue.
We’ll now explore the difference between CDL A and CDL B vehicles and careers, including the benefits and considerations for each.
Why should I earn a CDL-A License in Illinois?
To operate the following vehicles, drivers are required to hold a CDL-A commercial license. These vehicles and trailers often require greater training and skill to maneuver:
- Tractor trailers
- Truck & trailer combinations
- Double and triple trailers
- Tractor trailer buses
- Tanker vehicles
- Livestock carriers
Common job titles for CDL-A operators include:
- Truck Driver
- Line Haul Driver
- Log Truck Driver
- Over the Road Driver (OTR Driver)
- Production Truck Driver
- Semi Truck Driver
- Tractor Trailer Operator
- Tow Truck Drivers
If you hold a CDL-A, you are also authorized to operate any vehicle that requires a CDL-B license. This allows you to operate a wider variety of commercial vehicles and have broader career opportunities, which can potentially increase your earning potential.
Why should I earn a CDL-B License in Illinois?
A CDL-B commercial license is required to drive the following vehicles:
- Transit bus
- Cement truck
- School bus
- Dump truck
- Boom truck
- Garbage truck
If your job only requires operating one of these vehicles, you may not need to earn your CDL-A.
These types of CDL B driving jobs may be ideal for those who want to work in a more limited geographical area (stay close to home), or if trucking is not a long-term career path.
Get Your CDL A License in Illinois Training at MTI
The first step toward earning your CDL-A is enrolling in a FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) approved ELDT (Entry Level Driver Training) training program. MTI’s CDL School in Illinois offers a 25-day CDL Training Course in Springfield, Illinois.
At MTI, students learn truck driving procedures and techniques through classroom learning and behind-the-wheel driving practice from instructors with real-world trucking experience.
Here’s what you can expect when you attend MTI to train for your CDL license in Illinois:
- Classroom theory focusing on Illinois CDL A requirements, driving safety, combination vehicles, air brakes, trip planning, and more.
- Behind-the-wheel experience operating commercial vehicles on the driving range to learn driving skills such as backing, parking, docking, managing speed and space relations, how to handle driving conditions, driving hazards, and more.
After completion of the CDL Training Course, students will be prepared to take the Illinois CDL licensing exam and earn their CDL A license.
2731 Farmers Market Road
Springfield, IL 62707
Satellite Location (CDL Range):
4600 Rodger St.
Springfield, IL 62703
In addition to the Illinois CDL school, MTI also offers the CDL Training Course at the Springfield, Missouri campus.
Get on the road to earning your CDL A license in Illinois! Connect with MTI’s Admissions Team to learn more.