Jobs that Require a Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

There are a number of professions that involve driving vehicles. Individuals who operate large vehicles are required to have a commercial driver's license (CDL), and this article explores some of the career options for drivers with a CDL.

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Career Options for Jobs that Require a Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to operate specific types of vehicles, including buses, trucks weighing a certain amount and vehicles used to transport hazardous materials. To earn a CDL, it's necessary to obtain practical experience with these types of vehicles and pass written and road skills tests that demonstrate an applicant's ability to operate them safely, in addition to meeting physical requirements. Some of the jobs requiring this credential are outlined below.

Job Title Median Salary Job Outlook (2014-2024)
School Bus Drivers $19,501 per year (2017)* 6% (for all school or special client bus drivers)**
Transit and Intercity Bus Drivers $39,790 (2016)** 6%**
Dump Truck Drivers $36,665 per year (2017)* 5% (for heavy and tractor trailer truck drivers)**
Refuse and Recyclable Materials Collectors $35,270 per year (2016)** 7%**
Heavy and Tractor-Trailer Truck Drivers $41,340 per year (2016)** 5%**

Sources: *PayScale.com; **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

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  • Heavy Equipment Operation
  • Truck, Bus and Commercial Driver

Career Information for Jobs that Require a Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

School Bus Drivers

School bus drivers pick up children from their homes and take them to school in the morning. At the end of the day, they transport those children back to their homes. They may also drive students and teachers when they are going on outings. School bus drivers are required to have a CDL with a school bus endorsement, which will require additional skills assessments beyond the standard CDL requirements. They might also need to pass a background check. A high school diploma or GED is preferred for these positions, if not required.

Transit and Intercity Bus Drivers

Transit and intercity drivers must have a good driving history and pass all required tests to earn a CDL with a passenger endorsement. Many employers also prefer or require these bus drivers to have a GED or high school diploma. Transit bus drivers pick up and drop off passengers as they drive routes within a city or community. Intercity bus drivers take people from one town to another. These drivers may be responsible for collecting payment from passengers, checking to ensure that passengers have purchased tickets and loading luggage, among other tasks.

Dump Truck Drivers

Dump truck drivers operate dump trucks, which they use to load or unload materials. As part of their duties, they may also operate other types of equipment, such as back hoes. Dump truck drivers must fulfill the requirements to earn a CDL and maintain a clean driving record. They also normally need to graduate from high school or have a GED to work in this field.

Refuse and Recyclable Materials Collectors

Refuse and recyclable materials collectors drive vehicles to locations to pick up garbage and items that can be recycled, which can involve the use of hoists and compactors. Some collectors can also specialize in transporting hazardous materials. Individuals who work in this field are typically required to have their CDL and may need additional training and endorsements if they work with hazardous materials. Most individuals in this field hold a high school diploma or GED.

Heavy and Tractor-Trailer Truck Drivers

Heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers must complete truck driver training after earning a high school diploma. They are also required to have a CDL. They use vehicles exceeding 26,000 pounds to take things from place to place, and their work can involve driving between communities or across the country. Their duties also include checking their vehicles and ensuring that they are operating properly.

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