South Dakota CDL License Requirements & Training :: AllTruckJobs.com

CDL License Requirements in South Dakota

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Earning your CDL in South Dakota starts by learning about all of the steps and considerations involved in the process – that’s why we’ve put together this resource! 

First off, you must be at least 18 years old to apply for your commercial driver’s learner’s permit and eventually your full CDL. It is also required that applicants complete a vision test and an up-to-date physical examination, along with already possessing a valid South Dakota driver’s license. Since the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) regulates the interstate transportation of cargo, it is required that you are at least 21 years old to travel across state lines for deliveries. 

All CDL applicants then need to pass a general knowledge exam and a skills test, which includes a pre-trip vehicle inspection, basic knowledge about your vehicle and its class, followed by the road test to display your skills as a driver. It’s important to note that the type of license you are pursuing requires that the same class of vehicle is used for your road test. It is also possible to take additional courses to earn endorsements on your license, allowing you to operate under special conditions such as passenger transportation or moving hazardous materials.

Find CDL Training Schools in South Dakota

In order to ensure that you haven’t overlooked any of the necessary requirements or vital information to start your career, finding a formal commercial driving program is a great route to go. When you consider that the current driver shortage is more an issue of the quality of candidates rather than their quantity, getting a solid educational background can really benefit you in the long-run. This way you’ll be able to set yourself apart as a go-to professional in the transportation industry. 

Whether you end up taking courses through a public, private, or community college or technical school, you’ll be sure to gain all of the right skill sets for the job – everything from how to properly inspect your vehicle to the fine details of working as a commercial driver in South Dakota and across the United States. Learning from instructors who have spent years on the road, you’ll get first-hand advice on the ins and outs of the industry. Start your search for CDL schools in South Dakota today!

CDL Training Costs in South Dakota

The costs of CDL training programs across the United States vary in price, ranging anywhere from $2,000-$8,300 or more in some cases. Tuition usually covers the materials you’ll need for class, as well as any additional courses offered to earn endorsements, and of course the main time you spend behind the wheel and in the classroom. As is the case with most college programs and institutions, 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 institutions. 

Another very popular option for new drivers is to attend a company-sponsored training program. In this scenario, trucking companies will actually pay for you to go through the entire training process to earn your South Dakota CDL. Once you’ve earned your license, this company will usually hire you as a way to reimburse the cost. After working for a period of time, you’ll then be able to transition into making a consistent salary! It’s important to note that this option is only for those who are absolutely committed to becoming commercial drivers. Since these company-sponsored programs involve strict financial agreements, not finishing your training can be very costly.

CDL Prep in South Dakota

After having spent many hours in the classroom and behind the wheel, what else is there to do? Studying hard and reviewing all of your materials is never a bad idea, but it can help to get a feel for what your actual test will be like. For this reason, we’ve put together a practice CDL test you can take as many times as needed! This way you can get a feel for how long it will take you to complete your real test, as well as the types of questions you’ll encounter. Beyond the written test, it’s advised that you practice your driving portion in the exact same vehicle (or at least the same class of vehicle) that you’ll use for your final road test. Students may want to consider a rental otherwise company-sponsored programs will almost always provide the proper vehicle.

South Dakota CDL Endorsement & Waivers

While earning your South Dakota CDL, you’ll also want to consider whether your ideal types of driving jobs need special skills or knowledge in order to haul specific cargo or operate certain classes of vehicles. Gaining additional endorsements on your CDL is the standardized way to display credentials ensuring you have met all state and federal standards required. Earning these endorsements will open up all sorts of new job opportunities to expand your career options. The following endorsements are found in South Dakota 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

In addition to having one or more endorsements on your CDL, there are also waivers or restrictions that you may receive as well. Using a similar coding system, these restrictions indicate to employers or road officials as to the limits of your ability to operate certain vehicles or to haul specific loads. This can include things like medical exemptions or your inability to operate certain vehicle transmission types and braking systems.

CDL Tests in South Dakota

Once the time has finally come for your knowledge and skills tests, you’re just a few steps away from meeting all of your CDL requirements in South Dakota! The countless hours spent behind the wheel and inside the classroom are about to pay off. As with any test, it’s important to know what you’re getting into – below is a preview of what you’re likely to find before your career as a commercial driver can begin!

CDL Knowledge Tests in South Dakota

Generally, the knowledge portion of your CDL test will consist of 50 questions covering a wide range of topics – everything from road rules and regulations and safety practices to handling equipment and evaluating traffic situations. To pass your South Dakota CDL knowledge test, you’ll need to score at least an 80% to show you’ve understood at least the basics of the proper information.

CDL Skills Test in South Dakota

The South Dakota skills test is designed to ensure that you have the proper knowledge and ability to operate a commercial vehicle in the state and elsewhere throughout the United States. This will include going over your pre-trip vehicle inspection in order to properly assess whether your vehicle is ready for the road. Next, you’ll cover the operating techniques and identification of all the important aspects of your vehicle. Then you’ll finally be on to the road test where your expertise as a driver can be displayed! During this portion you’ll perform various maneuvers like turning, backing up, merging lanes, and responding to traffic signs and signals properly. This is one of the most important aspects of your entire CDL training in South Dakota so be sure to practice as much as possible to really nail it on the first attempt. This is something company sponsored programs really appreciate!

Job Outlook in South Dakota

With the current driver shortage projected to continue, it’s necessary for the trucking industry to be kept alive with new quality candidates. Getting an education means you’ll be on the fast track to earning a consistent salary and moving on to better positions in no time at all. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, commercial driving jobs are expected to increase 5% from now until 2024 so there will only be more opportunities to work as a commercial driver!

South Dakota Truck Driver Salary

Based on the most recent data provided by the BLS, the average annual salary for a trucking job in South Dakota is $40,090. Even though 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. The longer you drive, the higher paying jobs you’ll eventually have access to. Start planning for a South Dakota Commercial Driving job today and keep your future on the path to success with AllTruckJobs.com!

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