Becoming a commercial driver isn’t a bad idea no matter where you live. Depending on where you live though, there will be different requirements that you’ll need to meet before you can get your license.
If you’re from Florida you may be wondering how long it takes become a truck driver after starting the CDL process. In this blog post, we’ll be discussing the steps necessary to get your CDL in Florida.
Why Is Getting Your CDL In Florida a Good Idea?
Getting your CDL in Florida has a few advantages. First, Florida is one of the most popular destinations for tourists in the United States. That means there are always going to be opportunities for work if you’re looking to drive commercially.
When it comes to the number of trucking companies, Florida is ranked third in the United States. That provides plenty of job options if you’re looking to become a truck driver.
Lastly, it also helps that the climate in Florida is also favorable for driving year-round. You won’t have to worry about severe weather conditions like you would in other parts of the country.
Overview Of What You Need To Get Your CDL in Florida
First, we need to go over the requirements. The first requirement is that you need to have a Florida driver’s license. So if you just moved from a different state, you’ll need to get a Florida driver’s license first before you can apply for your CDL permit.
The next thing on the list is that you need to pass a vision test. If you can’t see well, you’re not going to be a good driver and will be considered a safety hazard on the road.
Depending on whether you’re getting a Class A, B, or C license, you’ll also need to pass a written exam. The written exam tests your knowledge of traffic laws, road signs, and other essential information that will be useful when you’re driving.
A medical exam is required. This is to ensure that you’re in good enough health to be driving for long periods. You’ll need to get a physical from a licensed doctor and have them fill out a form called the “Medical Examiner’s Certificate”.
Submitting a driving history is also required. The state of Florida will want to know if you have any prior accidents or traffic violations. Having a clean driving record will help you in the long run, so it’s best to disclose any information that may be on your record.
Next up is proof of identity. The state of Florida will want to see some form of identification like a birth certificate, passport, or green card.
Lastly, you’ll need to pay the application fee.
After all of this, you’ll have to wait 14 days in order to take the skills test. The skills test is to ensure that you’re capable of driving a commercial vehicle. Once you pass the skills test, you’ll be able to get your CDL.
Let’s go over the skills test and what you’ll need to know.
The pre-trip inspection is to ensure that the vehicle is safe to drive. You’ll be tested on your knowledge of the different parts of the vehicle and what to look for when you’re doing a pre-trip inspection. This section includes five things.
Engine Compartment Check
You’ll need to know how to check the engine oil, power steering fluid, coolant levels, and battery water levels. You should also know how to check for any leaks in the hoses or radiator.
Cab Check and Starting The Engine
You’ll need to know how to properly enter and exit the cab. You should also know how to adjust the mirrors, fasten your seatbelt, and start the engine.
You’ll need to know how to check the air pressure in the brakes, parking brake, and service brakes. You should also know how to test the emergency brake.
Making sure the trailer is secure is important. You’ll need to know how to properly couple and uncouple the trailer. Checking the tires and lights on the trailer is also part of the test. Checking electrical cords for any damage is also part of the test.
This is a summarized overview of what you need to get your CDL in Florida. For more detailed information, please refer to the Florida Commercial Driver’s License Handbook.
Driving Portion Of The Skills Test
The driving portion of the skills test is to ensure that you’re able to properly operate a commercial vehicle. Below we will go over what will be tested.
Straight Line Backing
This is to ensure you know how to back the vehicle in a straight line. You’ll be given specific instructions on how to do this. This is actually one of the hardest parts of the test, so it’s important to practice this as much as possible.
Left and Right Turns
Left and right turns sound pretty simple, and they are when driving a regular vehicle, but when you’re driving a commercial vehicle, it’s a bit more difficult. You’ll need to know how to properly turn the vehicle without hitting anything or running over any curbs.
Offset Backing To The Right
This is to ensure you know how to back the vehicle into a space that’s offset to the right.
This is to ensure you know how to back the vehicle into an alley. You’ll be given specific instructions on how to do this. This is important because you’ll need to know how to properly back into a loading dock when you’re making deliveries.
This is to ensure you know how to properly stop, yield, and turn at intersections. You’ll need to know how to do this without hitting anything or running any red lights.
It’s a bit harder to stop a truck than it is a regular car, so you’ll need to know how to properly stop at a railroad crossing. You should also know how to check for any oncoming trains before proceeding.
This is to ensure you know how to properly turn the vehicle on curved roads. You’ll need to do this without hitting anything or going off the road. The size of a truck makes it difficult to go through curves on the road, so this is an important part of the test.
This is to ensure you know how to properly parallel park. You’ll need to do this without hitting anything or going off the road. If you thought parallel parking was the most difficult part of the test for your regular driver’s license, just wait until you try it in a commercial vehicle!
Using Turn Signals Properly
This is to ensure you know how to properly use the turn signals. You should also know when it’s appropriate to use them. Being dangerous at any part of the test could result in you failing, so be sure to use those turn signals! Doing something like not using your turn signal in a commercial vehicle could be interpreted as being unsafe.
This is to ensure you know how to properly exit the vehicle. You should also know how to properly enter and exit the cab. You should also know how to adjust the mirrors, fasten your seatbelt, and start the engine.
Why You Could Fail The Skills Test
Not Understanding the Instructor
If you look confused or don’t understand what the instructor is talking about, they may think you’re not ready to take the test.
Not Following Directions
If you don’t follow the directions that you’re given, you will fail the test. The whole point of the test is to see if you can properly operate a commercial vehicle according to the instructions that are given to you.
If you make any mistakes while taking the test, you will fail. This includes hitting cones, going off the road, or not using your turn signal. Remember, the goal is to show that you can operate a commercial vehicle safely and without making any mistakes.
How To Find a Good Job With Your CDL in Florida
Specific Trucking Sites
If you’re looking for a good job with your CDL in Florida, the best place to start is by searching online. Many websites list trucking jobs in Florida, and you can also search for specific companies that are hiring. You can also check with your local trucking association or the Florida Department of Transportation.
Sites Like Indeed Or Glassdoor
Typical job sites like Indeed or Glassdoor will also have trucking jobs listed. You can use the search function to filter for only Florida trucking jobs.
Another good way to find a trucking job in Florida is to network with people you know. If you have any friends or family who work in the trucking industry, they may be able to help you not only find a job, but get a glimpse of the truck driver lifestyle. You can also attend trucking job fairs or meetups.
Although it’s not necessary to go to driving schools to get your CDL, if you do they may be able to help you find a job. Many schools have relationships with trucking companies and can help place their students in jobs.
It may take some time and effort to find a trucking job in Florida, but if you’re persistent you’ll eventually find something. Keep searching online, networking, and attending job fairs until you find the right job for you.
Can a Florida CDL Be Transferred To Another State?
If you have a Florida CDL and want to move to another state, you’ll need to go through the process of transferring your license. This involves going to the DOT in the state you’re moving to and getting a new license. It’s illegal in a lot of states to have two CDLs so it’s important that once you receive your new license, you surrender your old one.
A lot of states allow you to now do this process over the phone, or online, so it’s quite easy to do. Just be sure to check with the DOT in the state you’re moving to, so you know what the requirements are.
Other Frequently Asked Questions
How long does it take to get CDL in Florida?
If you’re efficient, it can take as little as three weeks to get your CDL. This is because you have to wait 14 days before you can take the skills test, and then you have to pass both the written and skills tests.
I wouldn’t rush to get it within three weeks though, as it’s important to make sure you’re fully prepared before taking the tests. If you need more time, take it. There’s no rush.
What disqualifies you from getting a CDL in Florida?
There are a few things that can disqualify you from getting a CDL in Florida. These include:
-Having a DUI or DWI on your record
-Not being able to pass the DOT physical exam
-Not having a clean driving record
-Having a felony on your record
These are just some of the things that can disqualify you, so it’s important to make sure you meet all the requirements before applying for a CDL.
Can you take the Florida CDL test online?
No, you can prepare online for the Florida CDL test using a certain website, but make sure the websites are reputable. The actual test must be taken in person though.
Getting your CDL in Florida is a fairly straightforward process. As long as you meet the requirements and pass the tests, you’ll be able to get your license. Remember to study for the written exam and practice your skills before taking the test. Good luck!