CDL Requirements in Pennsylvania
Beginning on your path to a commercial driving career can feel like an overwhelming task, so that’s why we’ve decided to break it down to the essentials of what you’ll need to consider! Meeting all of the necessary Pennsylvania CDL requirements won’t happen in the blink of an eye, but the sooner you start the closer you’ll be to that first commercial driving job!
To get started, you must be at least 18 years old, pass a vision test, provide a current physical examination, and have a valid driver’s license for personal use. For interstate trucking, you’ll need to be at least 21 years old according to the regulations set forth by the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT).
Earning your CDL license in Pennsylvania means you’ll need to pass a general knowledge exam, a skills test that includes pre-trip vehicle inspections, covering a basic understanding of your vehicle’s class and procedures. After that, you’ll take your official road test during which you’ll be operating an actual rig. It is important to note that the vehicle used for your test will determine the class of license you’ll receive, either CDL class A, B, or C. It is also possible to receive additional endorsements on your license indicating a specialized knowledge in transporting specific cargo types or the ability to transport passengers.
Find CDL Training Schools in Pennsylvania
Finding a formal training program to earn your CDL is a great way to ensure you haven’t overlooked any of the necessary requirements or vital information which would impede your career as a commercial driver in PA. Considering that the current driver shortage is characterized as an issue of candidate quality rather than quantity, setting yourself apart with a formal education can show employers you’re serious about becoming a leading professional in the trucking industry.
Whether you take courses through a public, private, or community college, it’s all about making sure you’ve gained all of the necessary skill sets – everything from how to properly inspect your vehicle to the fine details of life on the road and operating vehicles in your license class with precision. You’ll also have the opportunity to learn from instructors who are very familiar with what it takes to make a career of commercial driving having spent years on the road themselves. Search for CDL schools in Pennsylvania and start your road to education today!
CDL Training Costs in Pennsylvania
The costs of Pennsylvania CDL training programs can be expensive with averages around $14,103. Yet these prices will also vary depending on the type of school and programs available in your area. Nationally, most CDL training programs average anywhere from $2,000-$8,300 so it could be best to shop around for the best value and schedule that works for you. Keep in mind that it’s about getting the most out of your education rather than finding cheap options!
The tuition costs mostly account for the materials you’ll need for class, any additional endorsement courses you’ll be taking, as well as your main experience behind the wheel and in the classroom. As with most college and technical training programs, students looking to become commercial drivers can apply for FAFSA student aid to make costs of tuition a little more manageable. Other financial options can include loans or a federal Pell Grant, which can be awarded by participating institutions and acts as money toward your education.
Attending a company-sponsored training program is another very popular option for future commercial drivers. With this option, trucking companies will actually pay for you to go through CDL training in Pennsylvania, allowing you to reimburse them during a period following your hiring. This makes for a smooth transition into earning a regular salary and provides the peace of mind that a job is already lined up as soon as you earn your CDL. It is important to stress that this is a strict financial agreement, so as long as you’re completely committed to becoming a CDL license holder, this is a great option that can open up a lot of opportunities very quickly and be very cost effective for you.
CDL Prep in Pennsylvania
Once you’ve spent time behind the wheel, gained all the right knowledge for the job and taken the necessary courses, what else can you do? Studying hard and reviewing your materials won’t hurt, but when it comes to taking your final written test you won’t want to be caught off-guard. To really gain confidence in what you can expect, prepare yourself with our free practice CDL test available here on AllTruckJobs.com! This resource can be used as many times as you need before it’s finally time to take your real test. While the questions may vary, this CDL practice test can help you get in the right mindset before approaching your final exam!
Beyond written test, it’s highly recommended that you practice your road test in the exact same vehicle (or at least the same class of vehicle) that you’ll use for the final driving portion of meeting your Pennsylvania CDL requirements. Many students will use rental trucks if the program doesn’t already provide a test vehicle, however, it is increasingly common that the appropriate class of vehicles are available for students to use – especially with company-sponsored programs. With these considerations and CDL prep tips in mind, be sure to ask around to learn from others mistakes during the process to really succeed!
Pennsylvania CDL Endorsement & Waivers
In Pennsylvania and the rest of the United States, special endorsements are required to haul certain types of cargo or to operate a specific class of vehicle safely and effectively. Beyond earning your basic class A, B, or C CDL in Pennsylvania, common endorsements include:
- School Bus - S
- Passenger - P
- Tank Vehicles - N
- Double/Triple - T
- Hazardous Materials - H
- Combination Tank / Hazardous Materials - X
Waivers are also referred to as restrictions and are used to designate certain limitations associated with a specific CDL class type. Using a similar coding system to the way endorsements are presented on one’s license, restrictions allow employers and road officials to quickly and accurately determine an individual’s ability to operate certain vehicles or to haul specific loads. These restrictions can include medical exemptions, as well as indicators as to the extent of your ability to use specific braking systems, or even certain types of equipment like a pintle hook or manual versus automatic transmissions.
CDL Tests in Pennsylvania
Once the time finally comes and you’re ready to schedule your final written and road tests, it’s best to get an idea of what you can expect. After spending many hours behind the wheel and hitting the books, you’ll soon be able to prove what you’ve learned and move onto planning your career. Below is a basic overview of what you’ll encounter before the final steps to becoming a commercial driver in PA are completed!
CDL Knowledge Tests in Pennsylvania
Earning an 80% or above is a passing grade on your CDL knowledge test. Passing the test allows you to move on to your skills and road tests where you’ll really display your newly learned abilities as an upcoming transportation professional. Similar to a personal use driver’s license test, you’ll answer a standard 50 question test covering a wide range of information. This test will include commercial vehicle regulations, road safety, and rules, how to handle equipment, proper loading and unloading procedures, and other basic knowledge required to become a commercial driver in PA.
CDL Skills Test in Pennsylvania
The Pennsylvania CDL skills test ensures that you have the proper knowledge and abilities required to operate a commercial vehicle in the state. The test will be broken down into three different sections, each designed to cover every major aspect of commercial driving.
Separate from the written knowledge test, instructors will test your familiarity with the class of vehicle you’re seeking a license for, as well as how well you know the proper procedures for handling cargo, utilizing your breaking system, and other important mechanical processes involved before, during, and after transport. This also includes going over your pre-trip inspection tests and being able to determine whether your vehicle is safe to operate given traffic events and road conditions.
Finally, for your road test, you will need to perform various maneuvers like turning, backing up, and merging lanes – basically, everything you’ll need to navigate the roads safely and efficiently once you’re on the job. This is one of the most important aspects of your entire CDL training in Pennsylvania, so be sure to practice as much as possible to really succeed on the first attempt if possible! Here you can display just how confident you are in your skills behind the wheel – something that company-sponsored programs really appreciate as far as new hires are concerned!
Job Outlook in Pennsylvania
Considering that thousands of new drivers are required to ease the current driver shortage every coming year, getting your Pennsylvania CDL is a reliable way to enter into a career where talented employees are highly sought-after! Again, the issue is really one of driver quality and education rather than their quantity, so setting yourself apart with formal training means you’ll have a great shot at earning a consistent salary and moving on to better, higher paying positions quickly.
Transporting goods is something that can’t be outsourced and is vital to the American economy, so that’s where you come in! Given recent projections from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the commercial driving jobs are expected to increase 5% from now until 2024, so earning a CDL in Pennsylvania is something will allow you to earn a solid salary for years come.
Pennsylvania Truck Driver Salary
Although pay rates can vary across the state, gaining more experience on the road will make you a much more valuable hire as you continue your career as a commercial driver. Based on the most recent data, the average annual salary for a trucking job in Pennsylvania is currently $47,270. The longer you drive, the more you’ll eventually earn! Start looking for Pennsylvania Commercial Driving jobs today and keep your future moving forward with AllTruckJobs.com!