Post by Oct 20, 2023 11:22:00 PM · 3 min read

How Long Does CDL Training Take?

If you want to become a professional truck driver, earning a commercial driver’s license (CDL) is an important first step. However, the time it takes to complete CDL training and test for your license varies based on the type of trucking career you want to establish as well as the particulars of your unique situation.

Let’s take a closer look at CDLs, training, and options for anyone interested in becoming a truck driver.

What Is a CDL?

A commercial driver’s license is required for drivers who want to operate large or heavy trucks or trailers. Based on the specific license or added endorsements, drivers with a CDL may also be able to drive certain specialized vehicles, trucks containing hazardous materials, or buses with passengers.

How Long Is CDL Training?

Obtaining a CDL can take as little as three to four weeks or as long as six months, depending on the training program and type of license. On average, it takes four to six weeks to complete a driver training program when attending full time.

Once you pass the CDL test and receive your license, it stays valid for a few years. Some states require renewal every four years, while others wait for up to eight years before you have to renew your license. Note that some endorsements require more frequent renewals.

What Factors Affect the Time It Takes to Earn a CDL?


How long it takes to complete training and get a CDL depends on a variety of factors. Consider the type of license and endorsements you want to earn, the training structure and schedule that works best for you, and your testing options before deciding what type of CDL training program to join.

Type of License

There are three CDL classifications you can choose from: Class A, Class B, and Class C. Each classification allows you to drive different categories of trucks, and the training requirements also vary based on classification. For example, Class A CDLs take longer to earn than Class B or Class C licenses because you must learn to operate a larger variety of vehicles and transport heavier loads.

Additional Endorsements

Adding endorsements to your CDL is not required for many truck driving jobs, but they provide you access to more job opportunities. There are six endorsements you can add to your CDL:

  1. 1. (H) Hazardous materials endorsement
  2. 2. (N) Tank vehicle endorsement
  3. 3. (P) Passenger transport endorsement
  4. 4. (S) School bus/passenger transport combo endorsement
  5. 5. (T) Double/triple endorsement
  6. 6. (X) Tanker/HAZMAT combo endorsement

These endorsements open up future job opportunities but require additional training, increasing the time it takes to earn your CDL.

Program Attendance (Full-Time vs. Part-Time)

CDL training programs are usually designed to accommodate full-time or part-time attendance. Full-time programs operate five days a week and allow you to complete the training much faster. Part-time programs are more flexible, often consisting of weekend or night classes, and are ideal for anyone who cannot attend a program full time. However, part-time programs take longer to complete.

Classroom Hours

Every CDL training program requires a different amount of time spent in the classroom, usually ranging from 30 to 80 in-class hours. Additionally, many programs are designed to allow you to spend a certain number of hours in the yard or on the road with a licensed CDL driver. The type of program you enroll in will significantly impact how long it takes to earn your license.

Testing Schedule

Once you earn your commercial learner’s permit (CLP), you will likely be excited to schedule your CDL test and start driving. However, many states require drivers to wait at least 14 days after receiving their CLP before they can take their CDL test.

Additionally, it may take time to find a CDL testing location with an available spot that works for your schedule. If testing locations are full in your area, it will extend the time it takes to earn your CDL.

Join the Driving Team at BT Trucking

At BT Trucking, we are proud to serve the transportation community. Our family-owned business has been a leader in providing transportation logistics solutions to our customers since 1988. Mile after mile, we provide stability to and build long-term relationships with customers, vendors, and drivers across the Midwest and Southwest regions.

If you are interested in owning your own truck or applying to work as a driver, we can help. Our lease purchase program will start you down the road to success. We are dedicated to the safety of our drivers, and we are determined to provide you with the tools and support you need to succeed.

Complete an application or contact us today to learn more.


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