Do You Qualify To Become A Professional Driver?

Do You Qualify To Become A Professional Driver

Do You Qualify To Become a Professional Driver?

Driving a commercial vehicle is a huge responsibility. Most of the time, you are responsible for more than just driving – you’re responsible for other people’s lives, expensive equipment and merchandise, and highway motor safety. Acquiring a Commercial Motor Vehicle license (CMV) requires a high level of highway and local traffic knowledge, experience, and skills. In addition, the physical abilities, including eye vision and health, need to be superior to other non-commercial drivers.

Commercial Driver’s License

Any time you are carrying other people’s assets or loved ones you’re going to need specific licensing from your state. Each state requires different endorsements for different vehicle and job types, but all states require a CDL.

A CDL, also known as a Commercial Driver’s License, is a license obtained by a potential commercial driver who passes the exam, files an application with their state, and totals a minimum requirement of man-hours practicing operations of a commercial vehicle. In addition, a physical is always required with minimum standards of compliance.

If you’re interested in driving a truck with double trailers, triple trailers, or tanks special endorsements may be required. In addition, if you’re carrying hazardous materials or passengers within your job, you may need addition endorsements from your state in order to operate the commercial vehicle. Make sure to contact your state licensing bureau for specific information and details.


First, you must pass the physical required by your state. Usually, 20/40 vision is required as well as a report of your medical history. If you have high blood pressure you may not qualify for a license. Visit for more information on commercial driving physical requirements for your state, as well as  information on where to find a test center.

After passing the physical, you will need to pass the examination for your CDL and total a certain number of man-hours operating a commercial vehicle as a permit driver prior to obtaining a license. This also varies by state, but every state requires an exam completion per application submission.

As stated previously, special endorsements may be required in order to operate certain vehicles. Consult with your potential employer about the regulations within their company – they will know what special endorsements you’ll need for the job.

For example, if operating a school bus you will need (S) and (P) endorsements which require applications and exams.

Planning Ahead

I would recommended planning out your career path as a commercial driver and assess where you may want to go with your career. If you’re interested in driving all types of commercial vehicles, which will increase your future pay and opportunities, you may want to obtain all of the special endorsements required with your CDL.

Make sure your living in the state that you want to start a career because only one CDL can be required for one state. If you move, you’ll need to re-apply and abide by the regulations of that new state.

Some states, such as California, require continued education for compliance. These sessions are usually information seminars that are bi-yearly or yearly investments. Visit your specific state’s DOT website for more information on required hours and locations.

This article was written by Matthew Hall. Matthew has been a licensed commercial driver for almost 5 years and is happiest when he’s out on the open road. He is also a professional writer and you can more of his workby visiting his Google+.