The options above are great employment opportunities, but you must first obtain a CDL license by fulfilling all Texas CDL license requirements.
This article is a handy guide on the requirements you must fulfill and an outlook of what awaits you once you get your license.
How To Get a CDL in Texas
Obtaining a CDL license is easy if you adhere to all requirements and applicable costs.
But, what are the requirements needed for you to get a CDL? How much does it cost, and how long does it take?
Texas CDL Requirements
There are several requirements you need to have or pass before obtaining a CDL license. Below are some of the requirements:
1. Age Requirements: To be a commercial driver and transport people and hazardous materials, you should be at least 21 years.
You can also apply for an interstate CDL if you are at least 21 years old. But you can apply for a CDL and CLP for intrastate commerce if you are at least 18 years old.
2. Proof of Identity and Residency: You should have the proper documents to prove that you are a citizen of the US and a resident of the state. You can provide the following documents to prove your citizenship and residency:
- Social security card
- Certificate of naturalization
- A birth certificate
- Current license
- A valid permanent resident card
- US military ID
3. Obtaining a CLP: An CDL applicant must have a CDL permit or CLP, which permits you to train as a commercial driver. You are allowed to have a CLP for 14 days before you schedule your skills test.
The knowledge test for the CLP contains 50 questions, and you must answer 40 questions correctly to pass. The test is for classes A, B, and C CDL.
4. Self-certification and Medical Certificates: You should do self-certification before obtaining your CLP and CDL. You can certify yourself as a non-excepted interstate driver if you have not yet decided on the type of commercial driving that you will be doing.
There are other types of self-certification that you can use. They include interstate excepted, intrastate excepted, and intrastate non-excepted. The type of medical certificate that you choose depends on the type of self-certification taken.
Depending on how you self-certify, you should submit either of the following certificates: Special Performance Evaluation, Medical Examiner’s Certificate, or Medical Examination Report.
5. Physical Requirements
Below are some of the physical tests that you are supposed to pass.
- You should pass a sight test that tests your vision strength. Contacts or glasses are allowed.
- The blood sugar levels are not to be higher than 200
Diabetic people who control their sugar levels via insulin are not accepted, but it is acceptable to control it through your diet.
You should be able to detect a whisper from five feet away.
6. Skills Test: The skills test consists of pre-inspection, road test, and basic controls. The tests take two hours, but failing the first pre-inspection test disqualifies you from taking the other two tests until later.
How Much Does It Cost To Get a CDL in Texas?
To obtain a CDL, you will be required to pay $60 for a five-year license. The charged fee for a learner’s permit for a commercial vehicle is $24.
For a class change, change in the type of license, or adding a class of vehicle, you will have to pay a fee of $10.
How Long Does It Take To Get a CDL in Texas?
On average, training lasts seven weeks when attending the program full time for five days a week. It can take longer than seven weeks if you are attending a part-time program.
Commercial License Types and Classes in Texas
There are three types of classes for a commercial driver’s license, depending on the type of vehicles you have been authorized to use. Below are the three categories:
Class A CDL
Class A CDL applies to any combination of vehicles with a gross weight rating of 26,0001 pounds or more, towing another vehicle whose gross vehicle weight rating exceeds 10,000 pounds.
Class B CDL
A Class B CDL allows you to drive any single vehicle with a gross weight rating of 26,0001 pounds or more, or a combined vehicle weighing 26,001 pounds or more, where the vehicle towed should weigh 10,000 pounds or less.
Class C CDL
With this license, you can operate any single vehicle that doesn’t fit the description in Class A or B.
A Class C CDL is required for any vehicle designated to transport 16 people, with the driver included, or a vehicle used to transport toxic and hazardous materials, for which federal laws require a placard.
Texas CDL Endorsements
There are also different endorsements offered. Endorsements provide specific assets to your license. Below is a quick breakdown.
Hazardous Materials (H): This endorsement allows you to transport materials like combustible or flammable liquids, explosives, or gases. For an individual to get a hazmat, you have to undergo a state and federal comprehensive background check.
Passenger (P): This allows you to carry passengers in passenger vehicles meant to transport 16 or more passengers, including the driver.
Tank Vehicles (N): This allows you to operate a vehicle that carries liquid or liquefied gaseous materials.
Triple/Double trailer (T): With this endorsement, you can tow a triple or double trailer.
Passenger (P): You can carry a specific number of passengers with this type of endorsement.
School Bus (S): This allows you to carry children using a school bus.
Combination N and H (X): This allows you to operate both tank and hazardous material vehicles.
Why Texas is a Great Place to Start a Truck Driving Career
Texas has a lot to offer in the truck driving career. The state has some aspects that may attract you into starting your truck driving business. Below are some of the reasons.
Truck Drivers Earn a High Wage
In Texas, truck drivers are well paid, encouraging more people to start truck companies as there are fewer financial struggles due to the high salaries. You can expect to earn up to $83,493 annually as you gain more and more experience.
Personal Income Taxes Exemption
With no tax on your personal income, you will have more money at your disposal as you will keep more of your truck driving earnings.
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Texas has affordable parking amenities. It has adequate truck shops that provide the truck drivers with food and other valuable services. These services are essential to drivers who are often on the road, even in awkward and secluded places.
There are fewer road regulations in Texas. This makes it easier for more trucks to be on the road.
Job Outlook and Salary For Truck Driving in Texas
In truck driving, experience is the key component to getting higher pay, just like other jobs where a person that has done a particular job for more years is usually not paid the same as a person starting in the same field.
More years of experience in truck driving make you more suitable for the job because you understand all the rules and routes to be followed when transporting goods.
What is the Demand for Truck Drivers In Texas?
There is a shortage of commercial truck drivers in Texas, especially in transporting products like gasoline. Due to the pandemic, the truck drivers shortage increased where the truck companies had to offer higher pay to encourage more people to take up truck driving.
It is estimated that Texas currently has as many as over 50,000 job openings for truck drivers that are yet to be filled.
How Much Do CDL Drivers Make in Texas?
How much a driver earns depends on the years of experience. Here is a breakdown of how much CDL truck drivers earn according to their years of experience.
- A truck driver with more than ten years of experience earns approximately $83,493 annually.
- With six to nine years of experience, an Ohio truck driver earns an average of about $78,949 per year.
- With less than a year of experience, new truck drivers earn $69,430.
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Commercial truck driving is a great career as it pays your bills and leaves you some cash over without many struggles. With its personal income tax exemption, Texas remains one of the best states for truck driving.
Getting a CDL is easy if you attend the training classes, which only take a few weeks. The license is beneficial as it allows you to venture into driving as a truck driver, with prospects of a high earning potential of over $83,493 per year as you gather more experience.
People Also Ask
Knowing everything that is required for you to be a commercial driver can be daunting. This section will look at some of the questions people often ask about the requirements to fulfill for you to be a CDL holder in Texas.
What Disqualifies You From Getting a CDL in Texas?
Some felonies disqualify you from getting a CDL. Your commercial learner’s permit (CLP) or commercial driving license (CDL) may be disqualified if you are convicted of an offense.
Your license may be disqualified for a specified period according to the offense committed. Here are some of the offenses that form grounds for disqualification:
- Being under the influence of drugs
- Using a vehicle to commit a crime
- Having an excess alcohol concentration while operating a CMV
- Driving recklessly
- Excessively speeding at 15 mph or more above the limit
- Following the vehicle that is ahead of you too closely
- Violating traffic laws
What Happens If You Get Caught Driving Without a CDL in Texas?
As a driver, you are not supposed to leave your house without your license.
If caught driving without a license for the first time, you are charged a fine of up to $200.
If you are caught for the second time, there is an additional fine of $25 and $200. And if you still violate the same law for the third time in a year, you might go to jail.
How Much Does It Cost To Get Your CDL License in Texas?
The payable amount for a CDL depends on the type of endorsements, the license you may want, and the school you attend. For a class A CDL you can pay $3,800 without any endorsement.
The amount you can pay is between $3,000 and $8,000 for a truck training course. Extra endorsements add to the cost of paying for your license, but approximately $10 to $50 per endorsement.
When Are You Required To Hold a Texas CDL?
In Texas, you need a CDL to drive any commercial vehicle that fits class A, B, or C descriptions.
Class A: Any commercial vehicle with a vehicle weight rating of 26,001 pounds or more, towing a vehicle that exceeds the GVWR of 10,000 pounds.
Class B: Any single or combined vehicle weighing 26,001 pounds or more, and tows a vehicle that weighs less than 10,000 pounds.
Class C: Any vehicle that carries 16 or more passengers, with the driver included, or a vehicle that transports hazardous materials for which a placard is needed.