What Does It Take To Become A Truck Driver?

Interested in becoming a truck driver? With over 13.3 million people in the U.S. working in transportation and transportation-related industries, it’s a career with plenty of opportunities and room for growth. Here’s what you need to know:

Truck Driver Requirements

While specific requirements are dependent on your state and the company you work for, you’ll need to meet federally recognized criteria. These include:

Being at least 21 years of age: In many states, you are able to get your commercial drivers license at 18 but you’ll only be able to drive within your state. You’ll be able to freely drive between states once you turn 21.

A 10-year driving record: When you’re applying for your commercial driver’s license, you’ll be required to provide a 10-year driving record. This includes any tickets and traffic accidents that may have occurred at that time.

A valid commercial driver’s license: Before getting your license, you’ll first need to get your permit. To do so, you’ll need to pass the knowledge and skills test which requires a score of at least 80% in order to pass. Once you have your permit for 14 days, you’ll need to provide a vehicle for your skills test of the same type that you plan to test for and drive once licensed. Then you’ll need to pass the exam which includes a vehicle inspection, basic controls exam, and road test.

Types of CDL Licenses

Depending on what you’re transporting, there are three different types of commercial driver’s licenses you can get:

Class A CDL: A Class A commercial driver’s license is required if you’re operating a vehicle with a gross combination weight rating (GVWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, and the towed vehicle is heavier than 10,000 pounds. This includes things like livestock carriers and tractor trailers.

Class B CDL: A Class B commercial driver’s license is required for any single vehicle that isn’t hitched to a trailer with a gross combination GVWR greater than 26,001 pounds in addition to vehicles towing another vehicle whose weight rating doesn’t exceed 10,000 pounds. This includes things like box trucks (furniture delivery, delivery drivers) and large buses (city buses, school buses).

Class C CDL: A Class C commercial driver’s license is required to operate a single vehicle with a GVWR of less than 26,001 pounds or a vehicle towing another vehicle that weighs less than 10,000 pounds, or transports 16 or more passengers, including the driver. This includes passenger vans, double/triple trailers, and HazMat vehicles.

Meet medical requirements: In order to operate a commercial vehicle, you’ll need to pass a physical examination given by a Department of Transportation approved medical examiner.

Applying for Jobs in Your Field

After all of this is completed, you’ll be able to start applying to truck driving jobs depending on what your goals and interests are. During this process, you’ll also need to provide proper paperwork and complete various screenings.

Start Your Career With Beacon Transport

Ready to start your career? Beacon Transport is a Tennessee based trucking company that specializes in hauling non-hazardous dry freight throughout the Southeast, Midwest, and Southwest. Our clients include John Deere, Michelin, Carrier Corporation, and many others.

Contact us to learn more about establishing a career with Beacon Transport. 


Beacon Transport is a truckload carrier company based in Nashville, TN that specializes in hauling non-hazardous dry freight throughout the Southeast, Midwest and Southwest.