What are the different types of CDL Licenses?
Ranging from Class A to Class C, there are 3 types of CDL Licenses to choose from when pursuing a career as a professional driver. It is critical to find out the purpose of each type to ensure you obtain a CDL License that best suits your professional goals.
Types of CDL Licenses
If you are interested in driving Commercial Motor Vehicles (CMV) professionally, you will need to earn a Commercial Driver's License (CDL License) to legally perform your duties.
CDL Licenses are primarily differentiated from one another based on the type, weight, and capacity of the vehicle being operated. Understanding the slight differences between the types of CDL Licenses can help you choose which is best for your needs.
For example, those seeking to become a truck driver at Swift Transportation will need to obtain their Class A License to be eligible for employment.
Class A License
The Class A CDL License is the most common of commercial licenses and is required to obtain for all aspiring truck drivers in order to legally pursue a career in trucking.
Like most grading systems, the Class A License is considered the highest ranking of licensure and provides drivers with the opportunity to drive vehicles of all class levels. Allowing them to operate combination and single vehicles from Class A to Class C.
Vehicle types requiring a Class A License include:
- Tank vehicles
- Livestock carriers
Class B License
A Class B CDL license is the type of license that a driver of single vehicles would need to obtain ahead of starting their professional career or driving one legally.
Though this license also grants drivers the ability to operate Class C vehicles. They will need to obtain additional licensing to operate a Class A vehicle – including associated truck and trailer combinations.
Vehicle types requiring a Class B License include:
- Box trucks
- Straight trucks
- Segmented buses
- Large passenger buses
- Dump trucks with small trailers
- Transporting 16+ passengers (driver included)
- Combination vehicles below Class A and Class B
- Tractor-trailers that do not exceed weight thresholds
Class C License
A Class C CDL License is specific to operating single Class C vehicles or combination vehicles that are not aligned with Class A or Class B criteria. Alternatively, this license can include the professional transportation of small hazardous materials vehicles.
Vehicle types requiring a Class C License include:
- School busses
- Passenger vans
- Small HazMat vehicles
- Combination vehicles not covered by Class A or Class B