How to Get Your CDL in Alabama
Getting your CDL license in Alabama can lead to an exciting and successful new career. The need for drivers has never been greater, pushing up pay and creating various career options. A shortage of drivers means job security when you get licensed as a commercial driver.
Instead of investing years and a tremendous amount of money in a college degree, getting your CDL only requires a short-term commitment that is quite affordable. You’ll be on your way to earning a great wage in a secure and exciting career.
Read on about how to get a CDL in Alabama.
What is a CDL?
A commercial driver’s license (CDL) is a professional license that permits the holder to drive large commercial vehicles and buses on roadways in Alabama and the United States. Possessing a CDL shows that you have been trained and tested and are qualified to operate large commercial vehicles safely.
What are the Requirements to Get a CDL in Alabama?
Alabama is among the states that have adopted the Federal Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1986. The act specifies standard federal regulations to be followed by every state that adopts it. These regulations set the minimum standards for commercial carriers operating in interstate commerce.
Alabama requires a CDL to be obtained to drive a commercial vehicle in the state. While classes of CDL can vary between states, Alabama classifies commercial vehicles that need a CDL to operate as follows:
- Class A: A Class A licensee may operate vehicles weighing more than 26,001 pounds that tow trailers or other vehicles weighing over 10,000 pounds.
- Class B: Class B allows drivers to operate vehicles weighing more than 26,001 pounds and tow trailers or vehicles weighing less than 10,000 pounds.
- Class C: Class C licensees may operate vehicles that can transport 16 or more people or vehicles that transport hazardous materials.
Who Can Get a CDL in Alabama?
To apply for a CDL in Alabama, you must meet several requirements:
CDL applicants in Alabama must be at least 18 years of age. If the applicant is driving across state lines or hauling hazardous materials, they must be 21.
Good driving history is a must if applying for a commercial driver’s license. You must hold a valid, regular driver’s license for at least one year. Your driver’s privileges must not have been suspended, canceled, revoked, or disqualified in any other city or state.
Additionally, you may not have more than one driver’s license and have never been disqualified from driving or operating a commercial vehicle.
What Disqualifies You from Getting a CDL in Alabama?
Being licensed to drive commercial vehicles requires a commitment to safe driving. Any “serious traffic offenses” can disqualify you from having a CDL license in Alabama. Those offenses include:
- Speeding 15 mph or more over the speed limit
- Reckless driving
- Any traffic violation involving a felony
If two serious offenses happen in three years, the result is a 90-day CDL disqualification. A third violation in those three years will result in a 120-day disqualification.
Alabama CDL Documentation Needed
When applying for your CDL, you are required to provide specific personal documentation, including:
- Proof of identity and US legal presence
- Proof of age
- Proof of residency
- Social Security card
- Driving history
How Long Does it Take to Get an Alabama CDL?
A consideration for how to get CDL in Alabama is the time commitment. It takes between four to eight weeks to get an Alabama CDL. This timeline includes two weeks to study for the permit test and start backing practice and road time training once your permit is in hand.
After two to four weeks of practice, you’ll be ready to take the CDL-A skills test.
Alabama CDL Requirements
You must be at least 18 years old to obtain your Alabama CDL. If you intend to drive commercial vehicles across state lines or haul hazardous materials, you must be 21.
Get your commercial learner’s permit
Before testing for your CDL, you must obtain your commercial learner’s permit (CLP), which will authorize you to practice driving on public roads. You should always have a licensed Alabama CDL holder in the passenger’s seat during your practice.
When you go to get your CLP, you will need to bring the following:
- Your regular driver’s license (valid for one year or longer)
- Proof of age (birth certificate, valid IDs, etc.)
- Department of Transportation (DOT) approved medical card
- Completed affidavit of self-certification
- Proof of identity and US legal presence
- Proof of residency
- Social Security card
- Driving history/driving records
Except for your DOT medical certification, your other documents must be submitted to your local Alabama DMV.
For your DOT medical certification, you may either:
- Fax it to (334) 353-1980
- Email to email@example.com
- Mail it to CDL Unit, PO Box 1471, Montgomery, AL 36102
It’s important to note that it may take around 10 business days for your medical information to be posted after Public Safety receives it.
Schedule your tests
Once everything is in place, you can prepare to schedule your skills, general knowledge, and other relevant tests. All applicants must take the skills and knowledge tests; other tests will be necessary for the class and type of vehicle you’re applying to drive.
To summarize the three class types:
- Class A: Any combination vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 pounds or more, provided that the gross vehicle weight of any towed vehicle exceeds 10,000 pounds. Holders of Class A CDLs can operate vehicles in Classes B, C, and D.
- Class B: Any vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 pounds or more, and towing a vehicle that does not exceed 10,000 pounds. Holders of Class B CDLs can operate vehicles under Classes C and D.
- Class C: Any vehicle or combination vehicle that doesn’t meet the criteria of either Class A or Class B, but is designed to carry 16 or more passengers (including the driver), or used to transport hazardous materials as classified by the Hazardous materials Transportation Act. Holders of a Class C license can drive vehicles under Class D.
Once you’ve decided which vehicle class you wish to drive, you will pay a $25 testing fee and a $23.50 commercial learner’s permit fee.
What are Other Endorsements I can Add to My Alabama CDL?
CDL applicants are not required to add other endorsements to their CDLs but should need or want to add other endorsements; you can take the tests for each. The endorsements you can add are:
- T: Alabama double/triple trailers endorsement
- P: Alabama passenger endorsement
- N: Alabama tank vehicle endorsement
- H: Alabama hazardous materials endorsement
- X: A combination of the Alabama tank vehicle and hazardous materials endorsement
- S: Alabama school bus endorsement
- W: The tow truck endorsement (which you will be taking in the state of New York)
CDL Classes and Training
Once you’ve passed all the required tests and had your CLP for 14 days, you’re ready to get your Alabama CDL.
After this point, it is smooth sailing as a new Alabama CDL holder.
The final process is as follows:
- Pass a three-part skills test: The test will include vehicle inspection, basic controls, and a road test. You’ll needn’t worry about these tests as AMX Academy will ensure you’re ready.
- Bring an approved vehicle that matches the CDL class you’re testing for.
- Submit proof of your vehicle liability insurance.
- Submit your affidavit of self-certification.
- Prepare and pay the $20 skills test fee.
- Prepare and pay the $53.50 Class A CDL fee.
- Prepare and pay the $43.50 Class B CDL fee.
- Prepare and pay the $23.50 Class C CDL fee.
- Get your photo taken for your new commercial driver’s license!
How Much Can I Make With an Alabama CDL on Average?
According to Indeed.com, the average salary for a truck driver in Alabama is $77,756. Your amount will vary based on experience, vehicle, and route. Over-the-road drivers tend to earn more than regional and local drivers. Still, an Alabama CDL holder can expect to make a great wage.
Why Choose AMX Academy for Entry-Level Driver Training (ELDT)?
Now that you’re ready to get your CDL, you must choose the right school for your training. You’ll question what you’ll learn and how much time you’ll spend behind the wheel or backing. It’s essential to consider the equipment you’ll be using and if the instructors are knowledgeable and willing to work with you.
At AMX Academy, you will train one to one with instructors highly experienced as trainers and as drivers. Classes are small to give students individualized attention and more time beyond the wheel.
AMX students cover the modules required by the FMCSA and prepare to take your CDL-A permit test, learning on clean and modern equipment. All the tractors and trailers at the school are the same you will be operating as a CDL-A driver.
The AMX classroom is designed to facilitate learning at your pace with books, tablets, and video instruction designed to help students excel. AMX Academy coordinates all the details for your test date, and our instructors will be with you on your big day.
Suppose you want to get your Class A license or upgrade from Class B to Class A. In that case, AMX Academy’s mission is to prepare you for the tests and help you become a safe and effective driver with a successful career.
The Benefits of Starting Your Trucking Career With AMX are Excellent
There’s never been a better time to become a full-time truck driver, and AMX makes the process easy. The benefits of starting your career with AMX include:
- Working where you can literally “let your career take you places!”
- Learning real-world techniques from instructors with real-world experience.
- Being taught by industry experts that know what’s needed to make it in the industry.
AMX Academy Simplifies Truck Driver Training
There has never been a better time to enter the trucking profession. If you’re ready to begin your new exciting, high-paying career as a CDL-A driver, AMX Academy will simplify the process and set you up for success.
Apply to AMX Academy today to start your incredible new career.