Truck Driving Jobs

How to Become a Tow Truck Driver


A CDL opens the door to numerous job opportunities, including becoming a tow truck driver. Becoming a tow truck driver can be a rewarding career choice. It offers a unique blend of adventure, problem-solving, and the opportunity to assist stranded motorists. If you’re considering a career in towing, this blog post will guide you through the essential steps to become a tow truck driver, including requirements, licensing, and career prospects.

Understanding Tow Truck Categories

Before diving into the details of becoming a tow truck driver, it’s crucial to understand the different categories of tow trucks. There are three main types: light-duty, medium-duty, and heavy-duty tow trucks. The type of tow truck you drive and what you haul will determine if you need a CDL to become a tow truck driver.

Light-Duty Tow Trucks:

What they tow: Light-duty tow trucks are designed to handle smaller vehicles like cars and motorcycles. They are the most common type of tow trucks used for everyday roadside assistance.

Driver requirements: Drivers operating light-duty tow trucks typically need a standard driver’s license. However, additional certifications or training may be beneficial for better job prospects.

Medium-Duty Tow Trucks:

What they tow: Medium-duty tow trucks are capable of towing larger vehicles such as vans, small trucks, and RVs. They provide a middle ground between the lighter and heavier categories.

Driver requirements: Operating a medium-duty tow truck may require a commercial driver’s license (CDL) depending on the weight of the vehicle being towed. If the GVWR of the tow truck alone is 26,001 pounds or more, and the driver either (a) drives the tow truck without a vehicle in tow, or (b) drives the tow truck with a towed vehicle of 10,000 pounds or less GVWR, then the driver needs a Class B CDL.

Heavy-Duty Tow Trucks:

What they tow: Heavy-duty tow trucks are the giants of the towing industry, capable of handling large commercial vehicles like buses, semis, and industrial equipment.

Driver requirements: To operate a heavy-duty tow truck, a Class A CDL is almost always required. If the GCWR of the tow truck is 26,001 pounds or more and the towed vehicle alone exceeds 10,000 pounds GVWR, then the driver needs a Class A CDL. Additional endorsements such as a “T” endorsement may be required. A double/triple trailer endorsement (T) is required to operate a commercial motor vehicle with two or more towed trailers when the combination of vehicles meets the criteria for a Class A commercial motor vehicle.

How To Become a Tow Truck Driver

If you’re eyeing a medium or heavy-duty tow truck career, obtaining the necessary license is a critical step. Here’s how you can get started:

Research State Requirements:
Different states have varying regulations for tow truck licensing. Research the specific requirements in your state, as some may have additional endorsements or certifications required.

Get a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL):
For medium and heavy-duty tow trucks, obtaining a CDL is a prerequisite. This process involves successfully completing an Entry Level Driver Training program, passing written and skills tests specific to commercial driving. Driver Resource networks schools offer ELDT training. The course typically take 3-4 weeks and will prepare you to take the CDL exam.

CDL Endorsements:
Depending on the tow truck type and the cargo it carries, you may need additional endorsements on your CDL. For example, the “T” endorsement is often required for towing certain trailers.

Training Programs:
Consider enrolling in a reputable tow truck training program. These programs cover the basics of towing, safety protocols, and may provide hands-on experience with different types of tow trucks.

Job Opportunities and Career Outlook For Tow Truck Drivers

Once you’ve obtained your CDL, towing endorsement, and any necessary certifications, a wide array of job opportunities awaits. Tow truck drivers are in demand in various sectors, including:

  1. Private Towing Companies: Many tow truck drivers work for private towing companies, providing roadside assistance, recovery services, and towing for private individuals and businesses.
  2. Law Enforcement Agencies: Some tow truck drivers work in collaboration with law enforcement agencies to tow vehicles involved in accidents, impoundments, or other legal matters.
  3. Motor Clubs and Insurance Companies: Motor clubs and insurance companies often contract tow truck drivers to assist their members in need of roadside assistance or towing services.
  4. Municipalities: Cities and municipalities may employ tow truck drivers to manage towing operations for abandoned or illegally parked vehicles.

The career outlook for tow truck drivers is generally positive, with steady demand for towing services. As long as there are vehicles on the road, there will be a need for skilled tow truck operators to provide assistance in times of trouble.

Becoming a tow truck driver involves meeting specific requirements, obtaining the right licensing, and completing the necessary training. CDL school, towing endorsements, and additional certifications contribute to your readiness for this dynamic and rewarding career.

Get Started

Ready to get started on your path to become a tow truck driver? Fill out the form below and take the first step.


Popular Posts