CDL Training

How Old Do You Have to Be to Get a CDL?


Are you considering a career in trucking right out of high school? The idea of hitting the open road and earning a living behind the wheel might sound appealing, but there are age restrictions to consider when it comes to obtaining a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL). In this blog post, we’ll dive into the key question: How old do you have to be to get a CDL?

CDL Age Requirements

The age requirement for obtaining a CDL varies depending on the type of driving you plan to do. Generally, the minimum age to get a CDL for interstate (crossing state lines) driving is 21 years old. However, there are opportunities for those aged 18 to engage in intrastate (within state boundaries) driving.

For interstate driving, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) mandates that drivers must be at least 21 years old to operate commercial vehicles across state lines. This restriction is in place due to the complexity and additional responsibilities associated with long-haul interstate driving.

CDL Opportunities for 18-Year-Olds

While interstate driving may not be an option for those under 21, there are still plenty of CDL job opportunities for 18-year-olds interested in a trucking career. Intrastate driving, which allows you to transport goods within the borders of your state, is a viable option. Many companies hire young drivers for local routes, offering a chance to gain valuable experience and earn a living right out of high school.

One significant advantage of pursuing a CDL at 18 is the head start it provides in building a stable career. Truck driving offers a steady income and numerous job opportunities, allowing individuals to enter the workforce without the need for a traditional college education. This is particularly appealing to those who prefer hands-on, practical work and want to avoid the burden of student loans.

Removing Restrictions at 21: Expanding Job Opportunities

Turning 21 is a significant milestone for aspiring truck drivers. At this age, drivers can apply to remove the interstate driving restriction from their CDL. This opens up a plethora of new job opportunities as they can now operate commercial vehicles across state lines. The experience gained during the initial years of intrastate driving serves as a strong foundation for taking on the challenges of long-haul interstate routes.

The removal of the interstate restriction not only broadens the scope of job opportunities but also often comes with increased earning potential. Long-haul trucking, which involves transporting goods over vast distances, tends to offer higher pay rates compared to local or regional driving.

Is There a Maximum Age to Get a CDL

Age should not deter you from pursuing a CDL, especially if this is a second or third career. Many individuals find success in the trucking industry after exploring different paths. Your experience, dedication, and commitment matter more than the number on your driver’s license. The good news is there is no maximum age for truck drivers.

Why Trucking Is a Good Career Right Out of High School

  1. Quick Entry into the Workforce: Pursuing a CDL right after high school allows for a quick entry into the workforce. Instead of spending years in college, individuals can start earning a living immediately.
  2. Stable Income: Truck driving provides a stable income, and with the demand for truck drivers continually growing, there’s a consistent need for skilled professionals in the industry.
  3. Job Security: As long as goods need to be transported, there will be a demand for truck drivers. This inherent job security makes trucking an attractive career option.
  4. Career Advancement: Trucking offers various career paths, from local driving to regional and long-haul routes. With experience, drivers can explore opportunities such as becoming owner-operators or moving into managerial roles.
  5. Independence: For those who enjoy the freedom of the open road, trucking provides a sense of independence. It allows individuals to work autonomously, make decisions on the road, and experience different parts of the country.

If you’re eager to start a career behind the wheel of a big rig, the age requirements for obtaining a CDL shouldn’t deter you. While interstate driving may be off-limits until the age of 21, there are plenty of intrastate opportunities for 18-year-olds to kickstart their trucking careers. The experience gained during these initial years can pave the way for broader horizons and increased earning potential once the interstate restriction is lifted at the age of 21. So, whether you’re a recent high school graduate or contemplating a career change, the world of trucking could be the open road to a fulfilling and lucrative career.

Get Started

Ready to learn more about CDL training? Fill out the form below and a career specialists will be in touch soon.


Popular Posts