CDL Classes, Courses, and Curriculum

You may be wondering what to expect when it comes to your coursework at CDL training schools. While each school will offer slightly different classes, the following are real course examples from CDL training schools that will give you a good idea of the type of curriculum you will be following:

CDL General Knowledge

This course is starting point for anyone interested in obtaining a CDL. It consists of general knowledge and safe driving information, and is split into 3 modules that cover a variety of topics including (but not limited to):

  • Vehicle and speed control
  • Shifting gears
  • Driving at night and in different weather conditions
  • Handling railroad crossings
  • Driving and road emergencies
  • Transporting hazards

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Air Brakes

This training course provides an overview of the air brake systems found on many trucks and buses, as well as certain trailers that you may pull in a truck. The class is split into 2 modules that cover things like:

  • Air brake system parts
  • Dual air brakes systems
  • Using air brakes properly
  • Inspecting air brakes

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Pre-Trip Inspection

This course is designed to cover the different facets of a pre-trip vehicle inspection. It focuses on different parts of the vehicle and is broken into 2 modules, which cover the following:

  • Front of the vehicle
  • Engine compartment
  • Engine start and cab check
  • Steering and suspension
  • Brakes
  • Wheels
  • Sides and back of vehicle
  • Trailers

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Class A Tractor Trailer

This is a curriculum focused on Class A truck driver training and provides students with the knowledge needed to inspect and operate tractor trailers. The course is split into three different classes and covers the following:

  • Vehicle inspections
  • Defensive driving
  • Range maneuvers
  • Safety regulations
  • Trip planning
  • Cargo handling
  • Size/weight laws
  • General maintenance procedures
  • Accident prevention

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Class A License

This classroom course prepares the student for all aspects of Class A truck driving. Topics covered include:

  • General knowledge
  • Air brakes
  • Combination vehicles
  • Tanker vehicles
  • Double/triple trailers
  • Hazardous materials

Learn more - Also research CDL requirements.

Role of Commercial Trucking in Supply Chain Management

This course focuses on the truck driving and transportation industry with an emphasis on the role of trucking in supply chain management and the importance of the transportation industry. Other topics in this class include:

  • Federal and state rules and regulations
  • Trucking careers
  • Performance expectations
  • Professional communications
  • Healthy lifestyles
  • Money management

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Safety Awareness in the Transportation Industry

This is an essential overview of commercial vehicle safety and is one of the most important types of courses you will take while preparing for your CDL. The range of topics covered in this course include:

  • Daily vehicle inspections and systems analysis
  • Cargo securement
  • Identifying driving hazards
  • Safe driving techniques
  • Emergency maneuvers
  • Accident procedures

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Hands-On CDL Training

Aside from classroom coursework, once you have your CDL learner's permit in hand you will need to complete your hands-on, behind-the-wheel truck driver training. The hands-on portion of many CDL schools includes learning the following skills in an actual truck:

  • Truck and trailer backing
  • Parallel parking
  • Alley docking
  • Turning
  • Shifting
  • Coupling and uncoupling
  • Road training

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