Things to Bring to CDL Training

Preparing for the unknown can be stressful. To ensure you have what you need to succeed at commercial driver's license (CDL) training school, make sure you bring each of the necessary items in the lists below.

The Essentials for CDL Training

Sometimes the most essential items are the easiest to forget. Whether you're attending CDL school locally or remotely, you'll want to have these items with you:

  • Money—cash, checks, debit/credit card.
  • Social Security card.
    • May be needed for registration purposes.
  • Driver's license.
    • This includes:
      • Non-commercial driver's license.
      • Commercial driver's permit (if you have one).
  • Birth certificate.
    • You may need a birth certificate (along with your Social Security card) to prove your citizenship and identity.
  • Money orders.
    • May be needed to pay school fees.
    • Check with your school beforehand so you'll know exactly how much you'll owe.

CDL Training Classroom Supplies

A large portion of your CDL training will be in a classroom setting. And since you'll be learning a good amount of information in a short period of time, you'll need to be organized and show up for class with the tools essential for learning.

On your first day of class, make sure you bring these items:

  • Your state's CDL manual.
    • You can get a copy at your local DMV or online (depending on your state).
    • You'll need it to study for any tests given by your school.
  • Notebooks.
  • Pens, pencils, and highlighters.
    • Be sure to bring extras in case you lose a few.
  • Headphones.
    • Computer-based training may be part of the curriculum.
  • Calculator.

On-the-Road Gear

One of the toughest parts of CDL training will be getting used to the long days spent out on the road. To ensure you're as comfortable as possible, here's what you should include on your list:

  • Work gloves.
    • Whether it's fuel islands or dealing with the landing gear, you'll find plenty of reasons to wear gloves while you're working.
  • Sunglasses.
    • Out on the road, sun exposure can be a problem. Sunglasses will help you:
      • Protect your eyes from over exposure.
      • Reduce glare from the road.
      • Keep debris out of your eyes.
  • Sunscreen.
  • Lip balm.
    • You'll need this in the drier parts of the country.
  • Snacks.
    • You might not be able to stop every time you get hungry, and if you do stop at a truck stop, the selection will be limited.
    • Here are a few ideas to put in your carry-on so you won't have to fill up on junk food:
      • Sandwiches.
      • Beef jerky.
      • Trail mix.
      • Granola bars.
      • Apples.
      • Gum.
  • Pillow and sleeping bag.
    • In most training schools, you'll be driving as a team with a trainer. This means you'll most likely rotate driving and sleeping. A pillow and sleeping bag will make you much more comfortable when you're not at the wheel.
  • Boots and sneakers.
    • In some vehicles, steel-toed boots might be a good idea. In others, you may not need them.
    • Bring sneakers just in case comfort is a larger priority.
  • Jacket.
    • Even during the summer, the weather can change quickly—especially if your school has you traveling through different states or in higher elevations.

Depending on your school, you may not be able to do laundry as often as you'd like. To make sure you have enough clothing, it's recommended to bring 7 to 10 days' worth of these items:

  • T-shirts.
  • Jeans.
  • Socks.
  • Underwear.

In addition to these essentials, it's also a good idea to bring:

  • A hat.
  • A few sweaters or sweatshirts.
  • A couple pairs of shorts.
  • Shower shoes.

Personal Items to Bring

If you aren't attending school locally, you'll need to bring personal items with you, too. Here's what you don't want to forget:

  • Cell phone and charger.
  • Toiletries, including:
    • Shampoo.
    • Toothbrush and toothpaste.
    • Deodorant.
    • Shaving cream and razors.
    • Soap.
    • Wet wipes (showering may not always be an option).
  • Laptop.
    • Though it can become a distraction, a laptop is often the easiest way to communicate with your family and friends back home.
    • If you do bring one, make sure you get an air card or a mobile hotspot device just in case Internet access isn't available.
  • Pictures from home.
    • This can help to keep you from getting homesick and provide you with motivation to finish the rigorous training that's required.
  • Laundry detergent.
  • Books, magazines, puzzles, and/or games.
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