Commercial Driver Education in Wyoming
With practically every kind of natural wonder you could dream of, Wyoming boasts some of the most breathtaking scenery in the country. As a WY commercial driver, you can make a living by traveling, working, and taking in all of the Cowboy State's natural beauty.
You'll first need to apply for a Wyoming commercial driver's license (CDL) through the Department of Transportation (DOT). The DOT will give you a series of tests to gauge just how well you've mastered all of the new driving and safety skills necessary for driving a commercial vehicle.
In preparation for the DOT's commercial driver exams you are not state-required to enroll in commercial Driver's Ed courses, though it can be very beneficial. AFTER receiving your Wyoming CDL, you could be state-required to complete additional training depending on the commercial vehicle you'll be driving.
To learn more about mandatory commercial driver training and optional CDL test prep, keep reading.
IMPORTANT FEDERAL TRAINING REQUIREMENTS UPDATE
Per new federal entry-level driver training requirements effective February 7, 2022, the WY Department of Transportation 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.
Wyoming CDL Education Requirements
Before you take the Wyoming DOT's commercial driver's license exams, it's optional for you to enroll in preparatory commercial Driver's Ed classes.
However, Wyoming school bus drivers are state-required to complete specific training after receiving a CDL.
WY School Bus Drivers
If you'd like to be a school bus driver in Wyoming, you will first need to pass the Department of Transportation's appropriate tests and obtain a CDL with school bus (S) and passenger (P) endorsements. Once you have the appropriate documentation, you can begin to look for jobs in the different WY school districts.
Once hired, your employing school district is responsible for administering initial school bus driver training. The curriculum for this initial training will differ from district to district.
After completing initial training, you'll be able to legally transport students. In order to maintain your status as a valid school bus driver, you are state-required to complete at least 6 hours of annual training thereafter.
For more information about school bus driver training in Wyoming, contact the Department of Education's Student Transportation office at (307) 777-6984.
All WY Commercial Driver Applicants
As mentioned earlier, CDL applicants are not state-required to complete formal commercial driver education in preparation for the Department of Transportation's commercial driver's license exams. Despite this, a CDL test prep course can be very helpful to improve your chances of passing the DOT's CDL tests on your first attempt.
The tests that all Wyoming commercial driver license applicants are required to pass include:
- General knowledge exam – written.
- CDL road skills exam – practical/behind-the-wheel.
You could also have to pass additional written and road testing if your CDL's classification and/or endorsement(s) require it. To avoid any unnecessary and unpleasant surprises on testing day, make sure that you're studying all of the material that applies to your particular commercial driver license's classification and endorsement(s).
If you'd like more information, please refer to the following guides:
Wyoming CDL Test Prep Options
Even though taking Wyoming CDL test prep courses is optional, consider the following before making your final decision:
- Before considering you for a job, a majority of Wyoming employers will require that you've already completed some formal commercial driver training.
- CDL test prep courses are specifically designed to help you pass the WY Department of Transportation's exams with ease.
You'll probably come across different types of commercial Driver's Ed courses, which will prepare you for the DOT's CDL examinations in the following ways:
- Taking a classroom CDL course will teach you the format and topics that you can expect to see on the DOT's written exams.
- Participating in a behind-the-wheel CDL training program will familiarize you with the specific vehicle and skills that you'll need to be comfortable with for the DOT's road skills exam.
So if you decide to browse the different CDL test prep courses that Wyoming has to offer, keep the following crucial questions in mind:
- Is the program's tuition and duration an appropriate fit for your daily budget and schedule?
- Are all of the courses taught by certified instructors who hold valid Wyoming commercial driver's licenses?
- What does the curriculum look like? Does it cover all of the topics and skills that you'll need to master for your specific CDL's written and road tests?
CDL Classroom Instruction
If you decide to take a classroom course to prepare for the Wyoming DOT's written CDL exam(s), make sure that the program you choose will at a minimum cover the topics that you'll see on the general knowledge exam, including (but not limited to):
- Complete vehicle inspection before, during, and after trips.
- Driving basics (e.g. accelerating and braking).
- Use of manual and automatic transmissions.
- Maintaining awareness and communication with the vehicles around you.
- Controlling your vehicle's speed during:
- Sharp turns.
- Icy/slippery road conditions.
- Heavy traffic.
- Keeping a good amount of space around your vehicle at all times.
- Spotting and managing hazards like:
- Erratic drivers.
- Harsh weather conditions.
- Pedestrians and bicyclists.
- The negatives of driving while impaired or distracted.
- Driving through railroad crossings.
- What to do in emergencies.
Your commercial driver license's classification and endorsement(s) could also require that you take additional written CDL tests, on topics like:
- Transportation of passengers.
- Vehicles with air brakes.
- Driving a combination vehicle.
- Transporting hazardous materials.
- Tankers filled with gas or liquid.
- Pulling double/triple trailers.
- Operating a school bus.
When you're ready to take your commercial driver written exam(s), you can simply walk into your local DOT office without having to make an appointment ahead of time.
Behind-the-Wheel CDL Training
After passing the Department of Transportation's written testing, you'll receive a Wyoming commercial driver instruction permit (CDP). A Wyoming CDP allows you to practice driving your commercial vehicle with a licensed supervisor in preparation for the DOT's road skills test.
Your commercial driver instruction permit is valid for 1 year. Since you'll have enough time, consider enrolling in a behind-the-wheel CDL training program.
A legitimate behind-the-wheel class will ensure that you're at least familiar with the skills you'll need to perform for the general road skills test, including (but not limited to):
- A comprehensive pre-trip vehicle inspection.
- Demonstration of basic vehicle control while:
- Parallel parking.
- Backing up.
- Alley docking.
- Making left and right turns.
- Correct procedure at railroad crossings and intersections.
- Entering and exiting expressways.
- Practicing basic safety skills like:
- Checking your mirrors.
- Using turn signals.
- Staying in your own lane.
Similar to the DOT's written CDL testing, you'll be expected to demonstrate additional skills specific to your commercial driver license's classification and endorsement(s) as a part of your complete behind-the-wheel exam. The other skills you may have to learn include:
- Checking your vehicle's air brakes.
- Specialized vehicle inspection on all buses (transit and school) and trailers.
- Loading/unloading students from a school bus.
- Shifting gears with a manual transmission.
When you can safely and confidently operate your commercial vehicle, contact your local Department of Transportation office to set up a CDL road skills test appointment.
WY CDL Solo-Study Guide
If the price and time commitment of a preparatory commercial Driver's Ed course is going to put too much strain on your personal finances or schedule, your best option might be to study on your own for the Wyoming DOT's CDL exams.
The Wyoming Driver License Manual for Commercial & Heavy Vehicles contains all of the material that you need to master for your commercial driver exams. Make sure to study every section with information that's relevant to your commercial driver's license's classification and endorsement(s), because you will be tested on it.
Taking some practice tests can also help you to understand which aspects of commercial driving you've mastered, and which parts of the manual you might need to revisit. They'll also give you an idea of what to expect on the WY Department of Transportation's written exams, in terms of difficulty and format. If you choose an online practice test, you're able to study on the go and alleviate any inconveniences to your schedule.
With the right mindset and resources, you'll be able to get your Wyoming commercial driver license without a problem.