California CDL License Requirements
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Becoming a trucking owner-operator may be a good career choice if you are dedicated, motivated, and prepared. Consider the pros and cons of long haul truck driving and becoming an owner-operator of your own trucking company.
So you want to become a truck driver? Learn what it takes to become a truck driver and you may consider enrolling in a truck driving school.
Ready to obtain your commercial driver's license? There are several CDL license requirements and you must be prepared to pass the CDL exam. A truck driving school may help. Find out how.
To start a career in truck driving in California, you may first require a commercial driver's license (CDL). The State of California uses the following criteria to determine whether or not a CDL is required to drive a commercial vehicle.
- Class A: Vehicle with combined weight over 26,001 pounds, towing a vehicle weighing more than 10,000 pounds
- Class B: Vehicle weighing more than 26,001 pounds, towing a vehicle weighing less than 10,000 pounds
- Class C: Vehicle used for transporting 16 or more passengers (including driver) or to transport hazardous materials
According to California CDL requirements, applicants must be at least 18 years old, have a valid California driver's license, pass a vision exam and obtain a medical certificate. The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) regulates interstate transportation of cargo. If you wish to transport materials across state lines, you must be at least 21 years old. All CDL applicants then need to pass a general knowledge exam and a skills test, which includes a pre-trip vehicle inspection, a basic control test and an on-road driving exam. The State of California requires that you test in a vehicle that matches the class of CDL you are trying to obtain--for example, you must test in a Class A vehicle if you wish to obtain a Class A CDL.
Additional knowledge and skills tests may be required depending on the endorsements you need. Endorsements may be needed to drive a truck with air brakes, a tanker or a school bus. They may also be needed to transport passengers or to haul hazardous materials. To transport hazardous materials (also referred to as a Hazmat endorsement), a Transportation Security Administration (TSA) background check may be required. A truck driving school may provide the education and on-road training needed to pass the CDL requirements in California.
Resources for California CDL Requirements
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Truck Driver Salary in California
|Location||25th Percentile||75th Percentile||Annual Salary|
|El Centro, CA||$24,520||$34,630||$28,400|
|Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale, CA Metropolitan Division||$32,820||$50,400||$40,660|
|Oakland-Fremont-Hayward, CA Metropolitan Division||$35,310||$56,210||$43,520|
|Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura, CA||$34,900||$54,030||$44,480|
|Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA||$34,710||$55,010||$41,720|
|San Diego-Carlsbad-San Marcos, CA||$31,970||$49,710||$40,040|
|San Francisco-San Mateo-Redwood City, CA Metropolitan Division||$35,050||$56,230||$46,130|
|San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA||$33,960||$56,980||$45,200|
|San Luis Obispo-Paso Robles, CA||$36,420||$46,550||$42,090|
|Santa Ana-Anaheim-Irvine, CA Metropolitan Division||$33,070||$48,660||$39,580|
|Santa Barbara-Santa Maria-Goleta, CA||$34,070||$48,280||$41,140|
|Santa Cruz-Watsonville, CA||$37,200||$48,900||$42,800|
|Santa Rosa-Petaluma, CA||$39,790||$55,190||$46,740|
|Yuba City, CA||$29,780||$45,200||$37,740|
Table data taken from 2015 BLS (http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes533032.htm)