Commercial Driver Education in Mississippi
Do you wish that your job took you on travels, as long and winding as the Mississippi River itself? Is your idea of an “office view" the blur of flower and grain fields passing by as you make your way along the wide open road?
If so, you should consider applying for a Mississippi commercial driver's license (CDL). Upon application, the Mississippi Department of Public Safety (DPS) will test you on your knowledge of the safety and driving skills necessary for operating a commercial vehicle.
After you've successfully obtained your Mississippi CDL, you could be state-required to complete subsequent trainings, depending on the commercial vehicle that you'll be driving.
IMPORTANT FEDERAL TRAINING REQUIREMENTS UPDATE
Per new federal entry-level driver training requirements effective February 7, 2022, the MS Department of Public Safety 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.
Required Mississippi CDL Training
In preparation for the Department of Public Safety's CDL exams, you are not currently state-required to enroll in formal commercial Driver's Ed, though this will be changing in February 7, 2022.
HOWEVER, CDL holders who have obtained a school bus endorsement on your MS CDL MUST enroll in specialized training BEFORE you can begin driving a school bus.
MS School Bus Drivers
If you're planning on driving a school bus in Mississippi, you are state-required to complete special training after receiving your CDL with passenger (P) and school bus (S) endorsements.
At the end of your specialized training, you'll receive a school bus driver's certificate. Without this certificate you cannot legally transport students.
All new Mississippi school bus driver must complete a training course that is BOTH:
- At least 16 hours long.
- Approved by the Mississippi Board of Education.
Once you've completed the training, you'll receive your MS school bus certification, which is valid for 1 year, after which you'll need to renew your certificate by completing another 16 hours of school bus driver training.
For more information about Mississippi school bus driver training, contact the Department of Education at (601) 359-3513.
All Mississippi CDL Applicants
Though you aren't currently legally required to complete formal commercial driver's license education courses in preparation for your Mississippi CDL, you may still wish to strongly consider enrolling in classes.
For one, most employers will require that you've already completed professional commercial driver training before considering you for a job. Also, enrolling in preparatory commercial Driver's Ed courses will make passing the Department of Public Safety's CDL exams a lot easier.
All Mississippi CDL applicants are required to pass the following DPS commercial driver license tests:
- General knowledge written exam.
- CDL skills behind-the-wheel exam.
You could also be required to pass additional CDL tests depending on the classification and endorsement(s) on your desired commercial driver license.
So, before looking into commercial Driver's Ed courses, make sure that you know exactly which classification and endorsement(s) apply to your CDL. You don't want any surprises when you go to test for your MS commercial driver's license!
For more information on CDL classifications and endorsements, check out the following guides:
Mississippi CDL Test Prep Options
As mentioned earlier, you are not currently state-required to enroll in preparatory CDL education courses, though school bus drivers MUST enroll in a training course after receiving a school bus endorsement.
Keep in mind, though, that commercial driver license prep courses are specifically designed to help you ace the Mississippi Department of Public Safety's CDL exams:
- Classroom courses will prepare you for the layout and material on the CDL written test(s).
- Behind-the-wheel training programs will make you more comfortable with skills you'll have to master for your CDL road test.
As you begin to look at all of your commercial driver education options, ask the following questions about the programs you're considering:
- Will your budget and schedule allow for the tuition and length of a commercial Driver's Ed course?
- Do certified instructors with valid commercial driver's licenses teach all of the classes?
- Does the course curriculum cover all of the topics and skills you need to be familiar with for your prospective CDL's particular examinations?
CDL Classroom Courses in MS
The curriculum of the classroom course that you choose should at least cover the material that you'll find on the general CDL knowledge written test, including topics like:
- Conducting a pre- and post-trip vehicle inspection.
- Performing basic functions (e.g. braking and accelerating).
- Establishing a safe field of vision.
- Controlling your speed in challenging situations like:
- Dense traffic.
- Sharp curves.
- Steep hills.
- Maintaining a safe amount of space around your entire vehicle.
- Spotting and dealing with hazards like:
- Foreign objects in the road.
- Construction zones.
- Harsh weather conditions.
- The perils of driving while distracted or impaired.
- CDL rules at railroad crossings.
- Handling emergency situations.
Don't forget that you could have to take additional written tests if your CDL's classification and endorsement(s) call for it.
The other written CDL test topics you might have to study include:
- Driving a passenger vehicle.
- Using air brakes.
- Operating a combination vehicle.
- Working with hazardous materials.
- Transporting a tanker filled with liquid or gas.
- Hauling double or triple trailers.
- Safe operation of a school bus.
When you feel adequately prepared, schedule a testing appointment at a Mississippi DPS office location that administers CDL written tests.
MS Behind-the-Wheel CDL Training
After you've passed all of the required commercial driver written tests, the MS Department of Public Safety will give you a CDL learner's permit. This permit is valid for 6 months, and can be renewed up to 1 time over the course of 2 years.
So, since you'll have the time to, why not take a behind-the-wheel training course? You'll be taught all of the skills that you'll need to master for your CDL road skills exam.
For the general CDL skills road test the DPS will test you on your abilities to execute things you were tested on for your knowledge exam (see above), as well as other actions such as:
- Parallel parking and docking in an alley.
- Entering and exiting an expressway.
- Pulling over from and rejoining moving traffic.
- Practicing basic safety skills like:
- Using turn signals.
- Checking your mirrors.
- Keeping to your lane.
Like the CDL written tests, you might also have to learn additional skills that are specific to your commercial driver license's classification and endorsement(s).
When you feel confident driving your commercial vehicle of choice, schedule a CDL road test appointment through the Mississippi DPS' online portal.
MS CDL Self-Study Guide
You always have the option to prepare for the Department of Public Safety's commercial driver license exams on your own.
If you decide to do this, refer to the Mississippi Professional Driver's Manual, which contains all of the information that you'll need to know for your specific CDL tests. Make sure that you read through every section that pertains to your desired CDL's classification and endorsement(s).
Additionally, you can take practice tests as a way to gauge your grasp on the material. An online MS CDL practice test can help you identify specific areas where you need more studying, as well as give you a feel for the format and types of questions you can expect on your actual CDL exam.
With the right amount of dedication and discipline, you can certainly get your Mississippi commercial driver's license by studying on your own time.