Class A CDL vs. Class B CDL

A commercial driver’s license (CDL) is required to operate a commercial motor vehicle (CMV). Earning this license is the first step to becoming a truck driver. There is more than one type of license and it is important to understand which class you will need. At HDS Truck Driving Institute (HDS truck driving school) our training programs allow you to earn a Class A CDL or a Class B CDL. 

Class A CDL

A Class A CDL is the most common type of commercial driver’s license. It is also more universal than a Class B license as it allows you to drive almost any type of CMV. You will need a Class A CDL to operate a CMV with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 26,001 pounds or more and a towing capacity of more than 10,000 pounds. 

CMVs that you can drive with a Class A license include:

  • Tractor-Trailers: A tractor-trailer is a large truck that pulls an attached semi-trailer. Tractor-trailer and semi-truck are often used interchangeably, but a semi-truck technically refers only to the front portion of the vehicle, not the attached trailer. 
  • Flatbed Trucks: A flatbed truck has a front portion that looks similar to the front of a tractor-trailer. However, instead of an enclosed trailer, it has a flat and level area on the back with no walls or enclosure. Freight must be properly secured in order to transport it using a flatbed truck. 
  • Tank Vehicles: A tank vehicle or tank truck transports liquid, gas, or dry bulk loads. You will also need a tanker endorsement to drive one of these CMVs.

Class B CDL

A Class B CDL allows you to drive a CMV with a GVWR of 26,001 pounds or more that tows a vehicle weighing less than 10,000 pounds. The towing capacity is the biggest difference between the Class A and Class B licenses. 

With a Class B CDL, you can drive most straight trucks (which have a mounted body rather than an attached trailer), dump trucks, or box trucks. With appropriate qualifications, you can drive a bus. You may also be able to drive some smaller tractor-trailers. 

Which CDL Do You Need?

A Class A CDL is generally the best choice if you are interested in a long-term career in trucking. Class A CDL jobs usually pay more and you have a larger range of opportunities with this type of license. However, earning a Class B CDL can be a good choice if you know the type of trucking job you want only requires a Class B license.

HDS truck driving school offers CDL training for both types of licenses. Our advisors can help you determine which program is best for your needs. 

CDL Endorsements

Endorsements are additional certifications that you can add to your CDL. These can help you qualify for more diverse jobs within the trucking industry. In addition to knowing what type of CDL you will need, you should also determine whether your preferred jobs require endorsements. At HDS truck driving school, you can earn endorsements for hazardous materials, tankers, and doubles/triples. 

Earn Your CDL at HDS

You can earn a Class A or Class B license at HDS truck driving school. We help prepare you for your CDL exam and give you the skills you need to succeed as a truck driver. 

Contact us today to learn more about our Class A or Class B CDL training programs.

Reasons to Add a Hazmat Endorsement to Your CDL

At HDS Truck Driving Institute (HDS truck driving school), we offer a variety of programs that allow you to earn your commercial driver’s license (CDL). In addition to helping you prepare for and pass the written and skills tests, our Class A CDL Training Program provides three endorsements, including hazardous materials, also known as hazmat. This endorsement demonstrates your ability to safely transport toxic chemicals, explosives, flammable gases, or other materials that the Department of Transportation (DOT) classifies as hazardous. 

Adding a hazardous materials endorsement to your CDL can benefit you in many ways:

Get Better Pay for Transporting Hazmat

Most truck driving jobs pay per mile. The amount you make will depend on your experience, the type of goods you are hauling, and whether or not your trucking company offers other bonuses or incentives. Transporting hazardous materials can earn you more money per mile. This is because of the additional safety considerations that must be addressed when transporting this type of freight. As a result, having your hazmat endorsement may help you land a higher-paying trucking job. 

Qualify for More Trucking Jobs

Once you earn your CDL, you will be able to start looking for jobs in the trucking industry. Adding a hazmat endorsement may give you more options for your employment. CDL endorsements show potential employers your commitment to safety and make you a more attractive candidate. The hazmat endorsement also allows you to drive for companies who transport these potentially dangerous materials. When you attend HDS truck driving school, we offer job placement assistance. Our team can help you find jobs where you can use your hazmat endorsement to earn more money.

Combine Hazmat and Tanker Endorsements

For some truck driving jobs, a combination of endorsements may be required. Hazmat and tanker endorsements are often earned at the same time and this combination is considered an X endorsement. This may be required for jobs transporting dangerous gases or liquids. Much like the hazmat endorsement alone, it can increase your pay as a truck driver. At HDS truck driving school, you can earn both the hazmat and tanker endorsements. 

Additional Requirements

Before you begin the process of earning your hazmat endorsement, you should be aware that this endorsement has additional requirements beyond what you need to get a CDL alone. The Transportation Safety Administration (TSA) regulates who can and cannot earn a hazmat endorsement and you will need to complete a full background check in addition to passing the written test. If you are interested in attending HDS truck driving school, we can help you understand these requirements and determine if you qualify. 

Earn Your Hazmat Endorsement With HDS

At HDS, we pride ourselves on preparing our students for rewarding careers in the trucking industry. Our classes include a combination of classroom learning and hands-on training and are taught by highly-skilled and experienced instructors. Not only will you earn your CDL, but you can also receive hazmat, tanker, and doubles/triples endorsements when you complete our Class A CDL Training Program. 

Contact us today to learn more about our CDL school and how you can earn your hazmat endorsement.