Commercial Driver Education in Texas
In order to drive a commercial vehicle in any state, you are required by federal law to hold a valid commercial driver's license.
In Texas, you'll be required to pass several knowledge and skills tests directly related to the type of commercial driver's license you'll be applying for. The best way to prepare for these tests is by taking a commercial driver's education course.
IMPORTANT FEDERAL TRAINING REQUIREMENTS UPDATE
Per new federal entry-level driver training requirements effective February 7, 2022, the TX 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.
Texas CDL Course Curriculum
There is no state requirement to take driver's education in Texas. But with multiple tests covering a wide range of rules, regulations, and skills, it is valuable to spend the money to get expertly educated.
A commercial driver's education course will help you prepare for your tests to successfully obtain a commercial driver's license and get behind the wheel safely.
Basic skills and topics covered will include:
- Accurately conducting a vehicle inspection.
- Driving skills, such as:
- Driving forward and backward.
- Parallel parking.
- Safely merging into traffic.
- Changing lanes.
- Right-of-way rules.
- Obeying traffic signals and signs.
Since there is no state requirement in Texas for commercial driver's education, there is no required length of time set for these courses. Therefore, each CDL course provider can set its own course requirements, including its length, to best suit its goals to teach you how to be safe as a commercial driver in Texas.
Some courses list the number of weeks their course will take in their brochure or on their website. If you can't find specifics for the course you're interested in, make sure to call and ask them directly.
Benefits of TX Commercial Driver's Ed
Driving a commercial vehicle is not easy; commercial drivers are held to much higher standards than non-commercial drivers. By taking a Texas commercial driver's education course, you'll find these clear benefits:
- Better test preparation.
- By taking a commercial driver's education course, you'll have the opportunity to learn from a trained professional who knows what is covered on the commercial driver's license exams. You'll also get the chance to review information, take practice tests, and ask questions.
- Higher employment rate.
- Even if you have a commercial driver's license, you may still find it difficult to get a job. Many companies are looking for drivers who have experience. Completing a commercial driving course can improve your chances for employment by proving you have mastered valuable safe driving skills.
Company-Sponsored CDL Training
In Texas, some trucking companies are certified to offer their own commercial driver's license training. This type of training can be a cost-effective way to complete a program and get a job.
Usually company-sponsored training requires a signed agreement between you and the employer stating that you will work for that employer for a specific length of time once your training is completed. Keep in mind that some companies may require you to reimburse them for the training IF you quit your job before your contract is up.
For more information, check out our intro guide to CDL training.
Choosing a Texas CDL Course
A good place to start when selecting a certified commercial driver's education course in Texas is to consult the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PDTI). This non-profit organization works with insurance companies, government agencies, and trucking schools to develop safe commercial driving and education standards. Schools that are PDTI-certified have volunteered to have their course curriculum and teaching methods evaluated and approved by this organization.
Consider this a good stepping stone, but make sure to do your own research, too! Talking to other current commercial license holders can also help you find schools that they recommend.