Categories: Blog

What is a Commercial Learner’s Permit?

A commercial learner’s permit (or CLP license) is a permit that is similar to a regular driver’s permit, which allows you to practice driving your rig on public roads so long as you are with a qualified CDL holder. Just like when you get a normal driving permit, obtaining a CDL learner’s permit will require you to pass a knowledge test, but that isn’t all you would need. You will also need to have a clean driving record over the last 10 years, schedule a DOP physical to get a DOT medical card, as well as proof of name and residency. 

What Are the Minimum Requirements?

For the most part, the minimum requirements for getting a commercial learner’s permit are very similar to getting a non-commercial driver’s permit. So if you have already gone through that process and have a non-commercial driver’s license, you should have no issues with the following minimum requirements.

  • Must be at least 18 years old.
  • Have a non-commercial driver’s license. 
  • Be able to provide proof of citizenship or lawful residency. This could be done by providing a birth certificate, valid passport, or right to work documents approved by homeland security (which could include a green card)
  • Be able to efficiently communicate in English. 
  • Pass all required background checks.

What is a DOT Medical Certification and How Do I Get One?

The Department of Transportation (DOT) medical certification is a credential given to commercial drivers who demonstrate that they are physically, mentally, and emotionally fit to perform in a commercial driving role – which must be done through a DOT-approved medical provider. When it comes to getting certified, if you are working with a recruiter/company, they will likely schedule a DOT physical for you to get the process started. If not, follow the steps below.

  1. Contact an approved medical provider to schedule an appointment.
  2. Take the DOT physical examination and demonstrate that you are physically, mentally, and emotionally fit to perform in a commercial driving role.
  3. Submit your DOT medical card to the DMV.
  4. Be sure to follow renewal guidelines (in most cases, DOT medical cards are renewed every 24 months).

How to Pass the Commercial Learner’s Permit Exam?

Like most exams, successfully passing this exam usually comes down to ensuring you are studying the right stuff. You can be very knowledgeable in a given area but if it’s not on the test, then it won’t do you any good. That said, below are some common recommendations for passing the commercial learner’s permit exam.

  • Be sure to thoroughly study the General Knowledge, Air Brakes, Combination Vehicles, and Tanker Endorsement sections.
  • Don’t forget to utilize online study guides and practice tests. These will help you learn what kind of questions to expect and provide you with some test-taking best practice strategies. Here are a few resources where you can find guides and practice tests: Driving-tests.org, Test-guide.com, Uniontestprep.com.
  • There are also several apps like CDL Prep and DMV Genie that drivers use to study for the written permit exam. So if you are looking for convenient ways to study while on the go, exploring the available apps might be of value to you.

Now that you know a little more about a commercial learner’s permit and how to get one, it’s time to get out there and start taking the steps and recommendations provided. Once you have your learner’s permit, you will be much closer to learning everything it takes to get your CDL. If you are in the early stages of your path to a career in the trucking industry, be sure to consider attending Truck Driver Academy. We are amongst the top-rated trucking schools in California and take pride in our proven teaching methods. From written test support, on-the-road training, and job placement, we can help you get into a new career in as little as 4 weeks. Give us a call and get started today!

Brandon Maciel

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