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How to Get CDL Truck Driver Training as a Veteran

Posted by Lily Transportation on July 24, 2018

veteran standing next to boots and backpack

Logistics companies across the country are posting truck driving jobs for veterans and seeking military professionals to join their teams. Military veterans possess strong teamwork and leadership skills, which are essential for successful CDL drivers. Numerous veterans have excelled in the logistics industry because of their relevant skills and their dedication to their mission.

Many veterans have a background in driving trucks or operating heavy machinery, but not all do. In order to work as a commercial driver, veterans and civilians alike must obtain a commercial driver’s license (CDL). Obtaining a CDL involves training, written tests, and a driving test. However, there are some unique training opportunities for veterans that aren’t available for all drivers. Here are some of the best ways to get CDL truck driver training as a veteran:

Apply to Truck Driving School

If you don’t have any experience as a military truck driver, going to truck driving school is an option for getting the training and certification you need. At school, you’ll get a mixture of classroom instruction, training, and hands-on driving experience. Many truck driving schools have relationships with transportation companies, so it could lead to more opportunities when you graduate with your CDL.

When considering a truck driving school, there are a few things to look for. According to Military.com, veterans should apply to schools that use new or late-model equipment, have fair tuition rates, have a high rate of job placement for its students, and provide students with plenty of time behind the wheel. Some schools may also offer discounted or accelerated programs for veterans.

Use the Military CDL Waiver

Typically, a driver must obtain a commercial driver’s permit (CDP) before obtaining a CDL. This permit allows them to drive a truck with a CDL holder present so they can get some experience behind the wheel. They must hold the permit for 14 days before taking the CDL driving skills test.

If you have two years of experience operating trucks or buses in the military, you may qualify for a waiver of the skills portion of the CDL test, according to The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). You can apply for the waiver within one year of leaving the military position in which you operated such a vehicle. Currently, every state offers this waiver. The waiver form is available for printing on the FMCSA website.

If you qualify for the military waiver, you won’t need to go to truck driving school or hold a permit to get your CDL. However, you'll still need to take a written exam, so make sure your study your state’s CDL manual, available through your state’s DMV (some states have electronic versions of their manuals available online).

You may be able to get sample tests from your state to practice with as well.

Get Training with a Trucking Company

Perhaps the best way for veterans to obtain truck driving training as a veteran is to look for a company that has a veteran training program. While many companies show a preference for veteran drivers, Lily Transportation Corp. has a one-of-a-kind program for veterans:

  • Who are interested in careers as CDL drivers but have no experience;
  • Who are current CDL drivers or who’s Military Occupational Specialty was as a heavy truck operator in the service; and
  • Who served in military leadership roles and want to apply their management skills in the transportation industry.

If you’re transitioning into civilian life after operating heavy trucks in the military, our three-to-six-week transitional training program will fine-tune your existing skills to meet the needs of the marketplace. This program does not deplete your GI Bill benefits.

During that time, you’ll be paid $800 per week and enjoy company benefits. Upon graduation, you can expect to be honored as one of “Lily’s American Heroes.” You’ll receive excellent compensation and decals that designate your branch of service will be placed on your truck.

If you’re interested in learning more about our unique training program for veterans, contact a recruiter today at 800-248-5459. Or, visit our careers page to apply directly to jobs online!

A Veteran's Guide To a Career in Truck Driving

Topics: Veterans

Dedication. Commitment. Performance.

  • Lily operates with more than 800 DEDICATED drivers reporting to on site managers meeting daily with our clients located in 17 states.
  • Lily is COMMITTED to providing highly efficient transportation services to our client portfolio.
  • Lily’s success is based on a platform for continuous reevaluation in which key PERFORMANCE indicators (KPI) are tracked and improvements are made to continuously reduce cost per unit delivered and deliver on time, every time.

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