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What Is a CDL Truck Driver and How to Become One

What Is a CDL Truck Driver Job?

A CDL truck driver job is a position in the trucking industry that requires a commercial driver’s license (CDL). This means that you must already have their CDL, or be far along enough in the process of earning it that you will have it at the start of employment. CDL trucks require special licenses for operation because of their bulk. Drivers must be able to maneuver these trucks for miles at a time, often in heavy traffic. The driver must be alert and follow all roadway safety regulations. They are responsible for such duties as loading and unloading heavy cargo, tracking their mileage, fuel, toll expenses, ensuring delivery, and maintaining their trucks. CDL truck drivers must legally take breaks, as their most important duty is to practice safe driving habits.

How to Become a CDL Truck Driver

There are some important steps you need to take to start your career as a CDL Truck Driver. For starters, you can enroll in a community college program, private driving school, or reach out to a transportation company that offers training. Once you have completed training, go to your state’s motor vehicle agency to earn your Commercial Driver’s License (CDL). You need to provide the standard licensing documents, pass a vision test, take a knowledge exam and perform a road skills test. You also need be 18 years old to drive within your state and 21 years old to drive interstate. Once you have received your CDL, you can start searching for companies that need your driving skills.

What Are Different Types of CDLs?

There are three categories of CDL licenses: Class A, Class B, and Class C. Different jobs require different licensures. For example, according to the Department of Motor Vehicles, a Class A license means that the driver can operate vehicles and tow materials over 10,000 pounds. The other two licenses are Class B and Class C, and all are differentiated by weight. Each state has its own requisites for earning these licenses.

Top 10 Skills Needed for CDL Truck Drivers

Do your skills line up with what hiring managers are looking for when they are reviewing resumes for a CDL Truck Driver position? ZipRecruiter scanned over 9,000,000 job postings and created a list of the most commonly required abilities for CDL Truck Drivers below.

Based on our assessment, mastering the skills below and listing them on your resume is critical in getting your CDL Truck Driver job application to the top of the stack.

  1. Truck Driver Experience
  2. CDL
  3. CDL A License
  4. Clean MVR
  5. Hooking
  6. Hauling
  7. Credit Check
  8. Reservation Management
  9. Tractor Trailer
  10. Loading Experience

CDL Truck Driver Job Description Sample

With this CDL Truck Driver job description sample, you can get a good idea of what employers are looking for when hiring for this position. Remember, every employer is different and each will have unique qualifications when they hire for a CDL Truck Driver role.

Job Summary

We are seeking a dependable and efficient CDL truck driver who possesses a great deal of physical and mental stamina able to withstand long hours on the road. Must be organized, detailed oriented, and comfortable working independently. A clean driving record and commercial driving experience is a must.

Duties and Responsibilities

  • Fully understand how to operate and safely drive your assigned vehicle
  • Drive vehicles with a Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW) over 26,000 lbs.
  • Pick-up and safely transport goods, livestock, etc. to the intended destination
  • Ensure contents are properly secured in a truck, flatbed to prevent damage/injury
  • Obtain signatures to confirm and complete deliveries
  • Assist in mapping driving routes
  • Stay on a predetermined route and ensure timely transport and delivery
  • Communicate with dispatch as needed
  • Confirm that the contents of each shipment load matches the manifest document
  • Perform inspections of your vehicle prior to and following each trip
  • Check weather conditions and road reports before departure
  • Always ensure your vehicle is kept clean
  • Maintain and service vehicle as needed (refuel, change oil, tire pressure, repairs, etc.)
  • Notify managers of any major maintenance or delivery issues encountered
  • Follow delivery schedule and rest at appropriate times
  • Maintain detailed driving and delivery logs
  • Track and report working hours
  • Adhere to company rules and regulations
  • Obey all applicable traffic laws and drive in according to the weather/road conditions
  • Comply with ICC and DOT regulations
  • Make safety a priority at all times

Requirements and Qualifications

  • High school diploma or GED equivalent preferred
  • Valid commercial driver's license (CDL) required
  • 2+ years of proven experience in commercial truck driving preferred
  • Clean driving record with no moving violations
  • Must pass a background check and drug test
  • Skilled at driving and parking large, heavy vehicles
  • Alert, focused, and detail-oriented
  • Physically and mentally fit
  • Ability to lift up to 50 lbs. at a time
  • Possess great physical stamina and focus during long driving shifts
  • Comfortable with long-haul transport
  • Able to operate an electric lift, hand trucks, pallet jacks, etc.
  • Proficient using GPS and other routing systems
  • Map reading and route planning experience
  • An innate sense of direction
  • Self-starter who works well independently
  • Disciplined, dependable, and resourceful
  • High level of composure and good stress management