Virginia CDL License Requirements
Starting on the path to becoming a commercial driver in Virginia can be exciting and somewhat overwhelming at the same time – that’s why we’ve taken the time to help new drivers find their way through the process! Meeting all of the CDL requirements in Virginia won’t happen overnight, but the sooner you start, the closer you’ll be to a career in commercial driving.
Firstly, you will need to 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 all ready to show you have experience driving at least in some form or another. Since the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) has established the guidelines for transporting cargo across state lines, you’ll need to be 21 years old to work as an interstate commercial driver. Driving into Canada and Mexico will also require a passport, but otherwise, you’ll have one great excuse to see the country!
Earning your CDL in Virginia means you’ll be required to pass a general knowledge exam, a skills test pertaining to your class of vehicle, as well as an official road test during where you’ll prove you’ll be able to handle the responsibilities of being a commercial driver. Notably, the vehicle used for your test will determine the class of license you’ll receive – either a CDL class A, B, or C. You can also receive additional endorsements on your license to indicate you have specialized knowledge in transporting passengers or specific types of cargo like hazardous materials.
Find CDL Schools in Virginia
In order to ensure you haven’t overlooked any critical information or requirements for earning a CDL in Virginia, finding a formal training program will help you start out in the right gear with your commercial driving career! By many accounts, the current driver shortage is characterized as a lack of quality rather than the number of candidates. That said, you’ll want to set yourself apart with a solid educational background to show employers that you’re in it for the long-haul!
Whether you take courses through a public, private, or community college, you’ll be sure to gain all of the necessary skill sets for commercial driving – everything from how to properly inspect your vehicle, to the fine details of operating your rig and succeeding at life on the road. Finding a great training program also means you’ll have access to instructors with first-hand knowledge of the industry, hopefully, willing to share the ins and outs of the industry from a true perspective.
Search for CDL training schools in Virginia and start on the road to getting an education in commercial driving today!
CDL Training Costs in Virginia
The costs of Virginia CDL training programs can be expensive. The average tuition for CDL training in Virginia is around $5,042. Yet these prices will also vary depending on the type of school and programs available in your area. Nationally, CDL training can cost anywhere from $2,000-$8,300 so it could be best to shop around for the best value and schedule that works for you. Remember, it’s about getting quality training under your belt, not just bargain hunting.
These average tuition costs cover most of the materials you will need for class, any additional endorsement courses you’ll be taking, as well as your main experience in the classroom and behind the wheel. Like with most college programs, students looking to become commercial drivers can apply for FAFSA student aid to make covering the costs of tuition a little easier. Other financial options can include loans or a federal Pell Grant, which can be awarded through participating institutions.
Attending a company-sponsored training program in Virginia is another option for new commercial drivers to consider. In this scenario, trucking companies will actually pay for you to go through CDL training in Virginia, allowing you to reimburse them during a period following your hiring. This way you can make a smooth transition into earning a regular salary. This option also provides the peace of mind that a job is already lined up as soon as you graduate from your Virginia CDL program. It is important to stress that this is a strict financial agreement, so as long as you’re 100% serious about becoming a commercial driver in Virginia, then this is a great option that will open up a lot of opportunities for you and your career as a CDL truck driver.
CDL Prep in Virginia
Studying hard and reviewing your materials will never hurt, but when it comes to taking your official written test you won’t want to be caught off-guard. Once you’ve logged the time required to gain all the right knowledge for the job, spent time behind the wheel, and taken the necessary CDL courses, what else is there to do? Next, we recommend you get a feel for what you can expect with our practice CDL test available here on AllTruckJobs.com for free use! Feel free to take this test as many times as is necessary to be confident for when it’s finally time for the real deal!
Beyond written exams, it’s highly recommended that you practice your road test with the exact same vehicle with the appropriate class designation (CDL A, B, or C) that you’ll use for the final driving portion of your Virginia requirements. Many students utilize rental trucks if the program doesn’t already provide a test vehicle, however, it is increasingly common that your institution will have testing vehicles available for you. With these considerations and CDL prep tips in mind, be sure to ask around to learn what others have experienced during the process to really succeed. Why make mistakes yourself if you can learn from others who have already taken the steps to earn their CDLs in Virginia?
Virginia CDL Endorsement & Waivers
Earning additional endorsements while completing the requirements for a CDL in Virginia will allow you to haul certain types of cargo, transport passengers, or operate a specific class of commercial vehicle to its highest capacity. Beyond the basic privileges that come with a class A, B, or C CDL, the most common endorsements found throughout the United States include:
- School Bus - S
- Passenger - P
- Tank Vehicles - N
- Double/Triple - T
- Hazardous Materials - H
- Combination Tank / Hazardous Materials - X
Using a similar coding system to the way endorsements are displayed on a commercial driver’s license, restrictions allow employers and road officials to quickly and accurately determine a driver’s ability to be operating certain vehicles or hauling specific loads. These restrictions may also be called waivers and 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. For a full list of these restrictions and the coding system, visit the FMCSA’s website.
CDL Tests in Virginia
Once the time arrives and you’re ready to schedule your final written and road tests, you’ll probably want to know what to expect. After spending many hours behind the wheel and hitting the books, you’ll soon be able to prove what you’ve learned. But as with any test, it’s important to be aware of the overall procedures so you’re not caught off guard! Below is a preview of most of what you’ll encounter before the final steps to becoming a Virginia commercial driver are completed!
CDL Knowledge Tests in Virginia
Just like when you completed your personal driver’s license test, you’ll be required to answer a total of around 50 questions that cover a range of commercial driving information. Topics will include things like vehicle regulations, road safety and rules, proper loading and unloading procedures, how to effectively handle the equipment of your rig, and other basic knowledge needed to be road-worthy. To pass, you’ll need to earn an 80% or above – you’ll then move on to your skills and road tests where you’ll really have a chance to show off your commercial driving ability and knowledge!
CDL Skills Test in Virginia
The Virginia CDL skills test ensures that you have the proper abilities and knowledge required to operate a commercial vehicle in the state and across the United States.
Separate from the written knowledge test, instructors will test your familiarity with the class of vehicle you’re using for your test, as well as how well you know the proper procedures for handling cargo, utilizing your braking 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.
Finally, for your road test, you will need to perform various maneuvers like turning, backing up, and merging lanes – essentially everything you’ll need to do on the road to maintain safe commercial driving practices. This is one of the most important aspects of your entire CDL training in Virginia, so be sure to practice as much as possible to really nail it on the test! Take your time and don’t overlook any critical safety points or responses. Here you can display just how confident you are behind the wheel – something that company-sponsored programs really like to see!
Job Outlook in Virginia
According to 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 Virginia is something that will really allow you to earn a solid salary for years come.
With thousands of new drivers are needed each year in order to remedy the current driver shortage, getting your Virginia CDL is a sure-fire way to enter onto a career path where talented employees are in high demand. Again, the issue is really one of quality rather than quantity, so setting yourself apart with an education means you’ll have a great shot at earning a consistent salary and moving on to better, higher paying positions quickly.
Virginia Truck Driver Salary
According to the most recent data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual salary for a trucking job in Virginia is currently $41,330. 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. The longer you drive, the more you’ll eventually earn! Start looking for Virginia Commercial Driving jobs today and keep your future moving forward with AllTruckJobs.com!