Commercial Driver Education in Florida
Applying for a commercial driver's license (CDL) in Florida can seem like a harrowing process.
To make things as easy as possible, it's important that you adequately prepare for the tests that you'll be given. An excellent way to do so is by taking advantage of commercial driver's education courses.
For more information on CDLs in Florida, visit our following guides:
IMPORTANT FEDERAL TRAINING REQUIREMENTS UPDATE
Per new federal entry-level driver training requirements effective February 7, 2022, the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles now mandates new CDL applicants complete an entry-level driver training course through an authorized provider. You’ll need to complete this training prior to applying for your first commercial driver’s license, upgrading your existing CDL class, or applying for a HAZMAT, school bus, or passenger endorsement.
FL Commercial Driver's Ed Requirements
In Florida, you are NOT currently required by the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) to take driver's education courses in order to apply for your commercial driver license, though this will become a federal mandate on February 7, 2022. However, taking one of these classes can really increase your chances of quickly passing the required CDL tests.
The tests that every commercial driver applicant is required to take are:
- Written general knowledge test.
- Skills road test.
Written Test Prep Curriculum in Florida
In Florida, there are multiple written exams that you could be expected to take, depending on the commercial vehicle(s) you intend to drive.
Finding an in-class program tailored to your CDL testing needs can save you from a lot of stress in the long run. Plus, like many people, your home environment may not be conducive to productive studying.
When selecting a school, look for curricula that cover general topics like:
- Proper inspection of your vehicle.
- Controlling your speed/momentum on the road.
- Sharing the road with other vehicles.
- Driving at night or in hazardous conditions.
- Road signs and railroad crossings.
- Cargo loading and securing.
- Emergency situations.
The price and course length of these classes will vary, so choose one based on what works best for your budget and schedule.
Depending on the classification and endorsements attached to your prospective CDL, other written exams you might be expected to take include:
- Passenger transport test (bus drivers).
- Air brakes test.
- Combination vehicles test.
- Double/triple trailers test.
- Tank vehicle test.
- Hazardous material test.
Look for in-class programs that will prepare you for all of your required tests.
FL Behind-the-Wheel Education
Although you're not currently required to take behind-the-wheel classes before your Florida CDL road test, enrolling in a program will make the road test an easier obstacle to overcome.
The best way to learn how to drive a commercial vehicle is to practice with an instructor who holds the same type of CDL license that you're applying for.
When choosing a behind-the-wheel driver's education program, you will want to look for certain items in the curriculum like:
- Proper and thorough inspection of your vehicle before driving.
- Backing up and making difficult turns.
- What to do at road signs and railroad crossings.
- Driving in crowded traffic conditions.
- Controlling your vehicle on steep gradients.
- Any other applicable skills that your CDL class and endorsements require knowledge of:
- Loading passengers.
- Safe operation of a school bus.
- Turning with double or triple trailers.
- Handling hazardous materials.
- Driving with a liquid-filled tank.
Benefits of FL Commercial Driver's Ed
All in all, the thought of preparing for your CDL tests can seem overwhelming; there's a lot of information to learn.
This is why commercial driver's education courses are a helpful resource that you should consider.
By enrolling in a commercial driver's education course, you will see that there are certain advantages like:
- Improved test preparation.
- Courses tailored to the exact information and skills you'll need to know, in a language that you can understand.
- Minimal distractions in a classroom environment.
- Familiarization with the format of the written and road exams.
- Have all of your questions answered by teachers who drive commercial vehicles themselves (and had to go through the same application process).
- Better job opportunities.
- When employers see that you've had professional training, they'll feel more confident in your abilities and their decision to hire you.
Study on Your Own
If you decide the commercial driver's education just isn't your cup of tea, you can always refer to the Florida commercial driver's license handbook.
Make sure that you read up on every section that applies to the class and endorsement of your desired CDL.
NOTE: Whether you're taking in-class courses or studying on your own, CDL practice tests are always a great resource. They'll familiarize you with the format of the written exams and can help to identify areas you might be weaker in.