CDL License Requirements in South Carolina
Before you start on the journey of becoming a commercial driver in South Carolina, there are many things to consider for success. Firstly, it’s required by the state that you be at least 18 years old, pass a vision test along with a physical examination, and also that you already possess a personal driver’s license. Additionally, the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) regulates the interstate transportation of cargo, so in order to travel across state lines, drivers must be at least 21 years old. Meeting these very basic requirements are the first steps to being able to apply for your commercial driver’s permit, eventually leading to your full CDL in South Carolina!
As an overview, all CDL applicants in South Carolina will need to pass a general knowledge exam and a skills test, which includes knowing road rules and regulations, making a pre-trip vehicle inspection, and a basic vehicle knowledge test. Part of the skills test also includes a road test during which you’ll be operating a commercial vehicle within the class of your future license. Additional qualifications and other endorsements can be obtained as well, covering things like air brakes, school buses, and others.
Find CDL Training Schools in South Carolina
Finding a CDL training program in South Carolina is a solid way to gain all of the right commercial driving knowledge and experience, helping you to start your career the right way. With AllTruckJobs, you’ll be able to browse all of our great resources that help you find the perfect fit to advance your future trucking career. These schools and training programs provide training inside and outside of the classroom, making sure there’s nothing you’ve overlooked during the process!
CDL Training Costs in South Carolina
As far as South Carolina CDL Training costs go, the state average is around $4,130. You’ll find a wide range of prices not only in South Carolina but across the United States. Generally, tuitions incorporate the costs of the materials you’ll need for class, any additional courses you’ll be taking, and covers your main experience in the classroom and behind the wheel. As with most college or technical school programs, students looking to become commercial drivers can apply for FAFSA student aid in order to help with the starting costs of tuition. Other sources of assistance may come from a federal Pell Grant, which can be awarded through participating organizations and institutions.
Another very popular training option is to attend a company-sponsored program. With this scenario, a trucking company will actually pay for you to go through the entire South Carolina CDL process. After you’ve graduated and earned your CDL, this company will then hire you as a way to be reimbursed. Once you’re debt-free, transitioning into earning a full salary is seamless. This is a great option for those who are committed to becoming a commercial driver – leaving a program or not finishing your certification can become very problematic since these programs entail very strict-financial agreements.
CDL Prep in South Carolina
As with any test or exam, preparation is the key to your success. After you’ve clocked the right amount of hours behind the wheel and in the classroom, what else is left? You can get a feel for what your actual test will be like by taking our practice CDL test right here on AllTruckJobs.com! This can help you get in the right mindset and predict how long the actual exam will take.
Beyond the written exam, you’ll absolutely want to practice your driving portion in the same vehicle (or at least the same vehicle class) as you’ll be using for your road test. Students may want to consider a rental option to ensure consistency, although it’s almost guaranteed that a company-sponsored training program will provide the proper vehicles for the job!
South Carolina CDL Endorsement & Waivers
While you’re working on earning your South Carolina CDL, you’ll also want to consider whether your ideal types of driving jobs need special skills or knowledge in order to operate certain vehicles or haul specific cargo. Gaining additional endorsements on your CDL is the standardized way to display your credentials ensuring you have met all state and federal standards. Earning these endorsements will open up all sorts of new job opportunities in more specialized niches. The following endorsements are found in South Carolina as well as the rest of the United States:
- School Bus - S
- Passenger - P
- Tank Vehicles - N
- Double/Triple - T
- Hazardous Materials - H
- Combination Tank / Hazardous Materials - X
Just like the system used to display your endorsements, Waivers (also called restrictions) may be printed on your license as well. These restrictions indicate the limitations of your abilities, allowing employers and road officials to quickly determine whether you can be operating certain types of vehicles or transporting specific cargo types. Other information displayed with this restriction coding system includes medical anomalies, knowledge of certain braking systems, and more.
CDL Tests in South Carolina
Finally, the time has come and you’ve reached the point where you are ready to take your written exams and road tests in the state of South Carolina. After many hours behind the wheel and time spent studying diligently, you’ll soon be able to prove all that you’ve learned. As with most tests, it’s important to know what you’re getting into – below is a preview of each section of your South Carolina CDL tests:
CDL Knowledge Tests in South Carolina
In most cases, the general knowledge portion of the written exam is around 50 questions, covering a wide range of information. You’ll find everything from trucking regulations and road safety, to handling equipment and interpreting traffic situations in the exam. In order to pass your South Carolina CDL knowledge test, it’s required that you earn at least an 80% to show you’ve got a good handle on the basics.
CDL Skills Test in South Carolina
Beyond your written knowledge test, instructors will want to test your skills and familiarity with handling your vehicle, the proper procedures for handling cargo, as well as utilizing your braking system and other important mechanical processes involved during transport. This test will also include going over your pre-trip inspection tests, entering weighing stations, and being able to determine whether your vehicle is safe to operate.
Next, you’ll finally be taking the road test portion of your South Carolina CDL experience. Here you’ll be asked to perform turns, backing up, changing lanes, and to identify traffic signs in order to respond safely and effectively. Doing well in this portion is essential to your success since it shows instructors that you are confident in your ability to be a commercial driver. If you’re taking a company-sponsored training program, you’ll be seen as a much more desirable new hire!
Job Outlook in South Carolina
With the current driver shortage projected to continue growing, the trucking industry will need more quality candidates each year to fill these crucial jobs. With your education as a CDL professional, earning a consistent salary and moving on to better positions will be easier as time goes on. According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook for heavy trucking jobs is set to increase 5% from now until 2024. Meeting all of the South Carolina CDL requirements means you’ll be a part of this in-demand labor force for years to come!
South Carolina Truck Driver Salary
Based on the most recent data from the BLS, the average salary for a commercial driver in South Carolina is $41,110. Although pay rates will vary from one state to the next, gaining more experience on the road will continue to make you a better driver and more valuable hire. Start looking for South Carolina commercial driving jobs today and keep your future on the road to success with AllTruckJobs.com!