When looking for a career change or a new job, many people consider becoming a truck driver. It is a good-paying job with many benefits, and it allows you to see the country while you work. If you live in Georgia and are interested in becoming a truck driver, you will need to get a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License).
In this blog post, we will outline the steps you need to take to get your CDL in Georgia.
Why Is It a Good Idea To Get a CDL In Georgia?
There are many reasons why you might want to get a CDL in Georgia. For one, it is a good-paying job. According to indeed, the average base salary for a truck driver in Georgia is $69,643.
In Georgia, there is a rising demand for goods, and this increases the demand for truck drivers. So much so that Georgia lawmakers expanded the state’s truck-driving schools to keep up with the high demand.
So now you know that getting your CDL in the state of Georgia is a good idea, you probably want to know the steps of how to get your CDL.
Here are the steps to getting your CDL in Georgia:
- Get Your Learners permit
- Pass The Skills Test
Although these steps sound pretty simple, there’s a lot that goes into both of them. In the rest of this blog post we will dive into more detail about each step so that by the end, you’ll know exactly what is required of you to get your CDL in Georgia.
Get a Learners Permit
Getting your learner’s permit is the first step on the road to getting your CDL. Without a learners permit, you will not be able to take the skills test required to get your CDL.
To get your learners permit, you’ll need to have many things in line. First off, you’ll have to be at least 18 years of age, and if you plan on getting a job that crosses state lines you’ll have to be 21.
You must have a clean driving record for the last 10 years as well. This means no DUIs, reckless driving charges, or hit and runs. Chances are if you have any of these on your record, you will not be able to get a job as a truck driver anyway.
A CDL application will need to be completed as well. On this application, you will list your personal information, employment history, and all that fun stuff.
The next thing you’ll need to do is pass the written exam for the Class A, B, or C commercial license you’re after as well. The best way to pass is by studying the CDL manual for your state. You’ll need to get an 80% or better to pass.
Once you’ve passed the written exam, you’ll be able to get your learner’s permit. This will allow you to start practicing for the skills test required to get your CDL.
Above are the requirements for getting your learners permit but you also need to:
- Pass a vision test
- Get Medically Certified
- Prove You’re a Citizen of Georgia
- Not Have More than one driver’s license
Pass The Skills Test
Next up is the skills test. The skills test is usually taken at a local DMV or commercial driving school.
The skills test is composed of three parts, the pre-trip inspection, basic vehicle control, and the road test.
You will be asked to demonstrate your knowledge of the pre-trip inspection by pointing out different aspects of the vehicle and explaining what you would do to check them. This is to ensure that you know how to properly inspect your vehicle before each trip.
Next, you’ll move on to the basic vehicle control skills test. This will test your ability to control the vehicle in different situations. You’ll be asked to perform maneuvers such as turning, backing up, and parallel parking.
Last, you’ll take the road test. This is where you’ll put all of your skills to the test by driving on an actual road with traffic. The examiner will be looking to see if you can properly execute all of the basic skills as well as more advanced skills such as merging and passing.
Below we will go over everything more in-depth.
A pre-trip checkup may appear straightforward, but we’ll go through all of the items you should inspect during your inspection in this section.
For this part, you’ll be looking for leaks, oil levels, power steering fluid, coolant levels, and engine compartment belts. This is essential because you want to make sure the truck is in good operating order before getting on the road.
Cab Check and Starting The Engine
After you’ve completed the engine compartment check, you’ll need to enter the cab and start the engine. Once the engine is started, you should check the gauges to make sure they’re in the proper range. After that, you’ll need to check that all of the controls in the cab are working properly. This includes things like turn signals, flashers, brakes, and horns.
Next, you’ll need to check the brakes. You’ll want to check both the service brakes and the parking brakes.
Braking properly in a truck is essential because of the weight of the vehicle. You’ll want to make sure that the brakes are in good working order before getting on the road.
External Cab Check
Once you’ve completed the cab and brake checks, you’ll need to do a walk-around of the outside of the vehicle. You’ll be looking for things like loose wiring, leaking fluids, tire tread depth, and load securement. This is to ensure that everything is in good working order before getting on the road.
If you’re driving a truck with a trailer, you’ll need to do an additional check of the trailer. You’ll be looking for things like lights, brakes, and tire tread depth. This is to ensure that the trailer is in good working order before getting on the road.
Basic Controls Test
After you’ve completed the pre-trip inspection, you’ll move on to the basic controls test. This is where you’ll be tested on your ability to control the truck in different situations.
Below we’ll go over the different maneuvers you’ll be asked to perform.
Straight Line Backing
For this maneuver, you’ll be asked to back the truck in a straight line. You’ll need to use the mirrors to guide you while backing up. The examiner will be looking to see if you can keep the truck in a straight line and if you’re using the mirrors properly. This is much harder than it seems, so be sure to practice before the test.
90 Degree Alley Docking
Chances are as a driver you’ll have to back into an alley or tight spot at some point. For this maneuver, you’ll be asked to back the truck into an alley that is 90 degrees to the road. You’ll need to use the mirrors to guide you while backing up.
Parallel Parking Drivers’ Side and Conventional
You’ll also be asked to parallel park the truck. You’ll need to park on the drivers’ side first and then on the conventional side.
Offset Backing To The Left and Right
For this maneuver, you’ll be asked to back the truck while offset to the left and then to the right. This is to see if you could properly back the truck into a loading dock. You’ll need to use the mirrors to guide you while backing up.
Road Skills Test
The road skills test is where you’ll be asked to demonstrate your ability to drive the truck in various traffic situations.
Below we will get into the different traffic situations you may be asked to drive in.
Starting and Stopping
You’ll be asked to demonstrate your ability to start and stop the truck smoothly. The examiner will be looking to see if you’re using the proper technique when starting and stopping the truck.
You’ll also be asked to demonstrate your ability to brake properly. The examiner will be looking for smooth, controlled braking. They’ll also be looking to see if you’re using the proper technique when braking.
Turning the truck is important, especially tight turns. You’ll be asked to turn the truck at different speeds and in different situations. The examiner will be looking to see if you can control the truck when making tight turns.
You’ll also be asked to demonstrate your ability to control the truck in different lane situations. They’ll see how well you can stay within your lane.
Traffic Signs and Signals
You’ll be asked to identify different traffic signs and signals. Before you started trucking, you probably didn’t realize all the traffic signs that are out there. You’ll need to know what they all mean and drive according to them.
You’ll also be asked to demonstrate your ability to safely cross a railroad crossing. This is to ensure that you know what to do when approaching and crossing a railroad track.
Bridge Clearance and Weight Limits
As a truck driver, you’ll be driving over bridges and through tunnels. You’ll need to know the clearance of the bridge and the weight limit of the bridge. This is to ensure that you don’t get stuck under a low bridge or overload a weight-restricted bridge.
Truck drivers also need to know the clearance of an underpass. This is to ensure that you don’t get stuck under a low underpass.
Downgrades, Downgrades Stopping, Upgrades, and Upgrade Stopping
You’ll be asked to demonstrate your ability to safely drive the truck down a downgrade, stop the truck on a downgrade, drive the truck up an upgrade, and stop the truck on an upgrade.
finally, you’ll be asked to demonstrate your ability to control the speed of the truck. The examiner will be looking to see if you can maintain a constant speed and not fluctuate up and down.
How To Find a Job Driving Commercial Vehicles in Georgia
Now that we know how to get a CDL in Georgia, let’s look at how to find a job driving commercial vehicles.
There are many different places where you can look for a job driving commercial vehicles. The best place to start is with the company that you got your training from(if you got training). Many of these companies have job placement programs that can help you find a job.
Indeed and Glassdoor
Another place to look for a job is on the internet. Many websites list trucking jobs. You can also check with the state trucking association. They may have a list of trucking companies that are hiring in your area.
LinkedIn is a great place to connect with trucking companies. You can also use LinkedIn to find trucking jobs.
Can A CDL In Georgia Be Transferred To Another State?
You can’t use your actual Georgia CDL in another state. However, you can use your Georgia CDL can be transferred to another state if you meet the requirements of that state.
The best way to find out how to transfer your Georgia CDL to another state is to contact the trucking association in that state. They’ll be able to tell you what you need to do to transfer your CDL.
Other Frequently Asked Questions
Do You Have To Go To Trucking School To Get Your CDL?
In Georgia, you can get your CDL without going to trucking school. However, many trucking companies prefer that you have gone to trucking school.
How Long Does It Take To Get a CDL in Georgia?
The time it takes could be as little as three weeks if you’re efficient. In most cases, it takes between four and eight weeks to get a CDL in Georgia. Don’t rush it though, take your time and make sure you’re comfortable with everything before you take your test.
We hope this guide on how to get a CDL in Georgia was helpful. If you have any questions, please feel free to leave a comment below. Good luck on your journey to becoming a truck driver!