How to Get Your CDL

From application to graduation we’re here to help you get your license

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If you're curious about how to get a commercial driver's license (CDL), you've come to the right place. Here, you'll find everything you need to know about how to get a CDL from Swift Academy – from applying to our academy to the day you start class (and beyond) – we'll be here for you every step of the way. 

Ready to get started?


The Application

Just like other training programs, at Swift Academy, it all starts with a simple online application. It takes just minutes, but it's a critical step. When filling it out, you'll be asked if you meet the following criteria:

  • No DUI within 10 years if CDL-A holder, none within 5 years if you're a non-CDL-A holder
  • No more than 1 preventable accident in the past 2 years, no major accident within 5 years
  • No more than 2 moving violations in the past 2 years
  • Able to pass a DOT physical and drug test (urine and hair)
  • Are at least 21 years old

If you meet these basic requirements, continue with the application, where you'll be asked to provide us with your contact information, and various questions related to your background, employment and education.

Once you've completed our application, and have been offered a spot at Swift Academy, you can get started as soon as you'd like. Classes start every Monday, so when you begin is up to you.


Physicals & Drug Tests

Before officially enrolling, and after receiving your conditional offer, you'll be required to complete a Department of Transportation (DOT) physical, as well as a hair test. And beginning in 2020, new students will also be required to pass a secondary physical exam – the Functional Capacity Exam, or FCE, to ensure you can perform the basic functions of a truck driver.


Language & Reading Tests

Along with passing the DOT physical, FCE, and drug tests, the DOT requires all drivers to read, write and speak English proficiently. Therefore, an English assessment test will also be given.


After the Tests

Once you've passed all the DOT and Swift testing requirements, you can officially sign our enrollment contract and start working toward earning your permit. From there, our team of expert instructors will welcome you to class and help prepare you to earn your Class A commercial driver's license. (Find out what to expect from your CDL training.)


How Long Does It Take to Get a CDL?

At Swift Academy, our classes take place Monday through Saturday for three weeks. After the course, which includes in-class lessons and plenty of time in the cab and behind the wheel, students may take their CDL licensing exam – which means, depending on how quickly you pass your exams, you can earn your Class A CDL in as little as three weeks. 


After Graduation

Once you've earned your Class A CDL, if you choose to continue on and become a company driver for Swift1, you will complete on-boarding paperwork, obtain a driver code, and from there you’ll be assigned a mentor who will help you complete up to 300 hours of behind-the-wheel training. Best of all, once you are rolling with your mentor, you will start earning a paycheck. 

1 Successfully graduating the Swift Academy does not guarantee employment with Swift Transportation. Prior to enrolling in the Academy, a conditional offer letter of employment is provided and your employment offer is contingent upon several factors, including successfully passing a background check, final review of submitted application, DOT Physical, DOT Urinalysis test, and a hair test.