In some situations, CDL training in Virginia is mandatory if you want to pursue your commercial drivers licence (CDL). Even if this CDL prep requirement does not pertain to you, you should consider enrolling in a local class before attempting to take the required exams at the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). These exams include a written knowledge exam and a road skills test, both of which you must pass to obtain your CDL. If you complete a course first, then you can receive professional instruction to help you better understand road laws and other information that may be on the exam. Behind-the-wheel training is also provided through these courses, allowing you to feel more comfortable and confident when operating a commercial vehicle for your road test.

You should choose a Virginia CDL school based on the type of commercial license you want to obtain, the hours of instruction provided by the school and the schedule the course provides. It is important to first understand the license class and endorsements you will need to obtain the type of CDL that pertains to your situation. You may find that you should attend a truck driving school to feel prepared to pass the exams administered by the DMV. However, if you want to be a school bus driver, then you may need to look into different courses that can assist you in reviewing pertinent information that will be covered on the exam. To find out more about how CDL classes can help you prepare for these mandatory tests and when they are required to obtain your CDL, review the information below.

What is CDL training in Virginia?

You should pursue Class A CDL training in VA if you want a career driving combination vehicles, such as semi-trailers. With this license, you can drive a vehicle that weighs more than 26,000 pounds and the vehicle you are towing can weigh more than 10,000 pounds.

The training provided in these courses covers how to operate this large and heavy commercial vehicle safely as well as what to do in emergency situations, such as a tire blow out. The CDL classes also include classroom training, which involves studying the road and distracted driving laws in Virginia and reading weight or height limit signs.

Class B CDL training is important if you want to drive commercial heavy and straight vehicles, such as straight trucks. Under this license class, the vehicle you drive can weigh 26,001 or more pounds but if you are towing a vehicle, then it must weigh less than 10,000 pounds. If you attend classes for this type of license, then you will learn how to maneuver these vehicles carefully.

If you are looking for CDL training for pursuing a bus driving career, then there may be additional endorsements you must earn through the DMV. You may need to sign up for specific courses that teach you about transporting passengers and driving large buses before you take the special knowledge exam to obtain this endorsement.

Is CDL school required in Virginia?

In some situations, Virginia CDL training is required before you can obtain a CDL. You must complete a driver training program if you meet all of the following qualifications:

  • You are 18 years of age or older
  • You are currently applying for a CDL in Virginia
  • You have never been issued a CDL before in the past
  • You have held your commercial learners permit (CLP) for at least 14 days

If you meet these qualifications, then you must complete an approved CDL school program before you can take your exams. You are exempt from this educational requirement if you have held your CLP for at least 30 days.

You are also required to complete approved VA CDL classes before obtaining your commercial license if you failed the CDL exam, either written or road, three times. Before you are allowed to take the exam for the fourth time, you must prove that you completed an approved CDL class.

Curriculum of Virginia CDL Classes

Most Class A CDL training includes classroom instruction time as well as time behind the wheel. This combination is meant to prepare you for both types of exams that will be administered by the DMV.

In-Class Instruction for the CDL Written Test

CDL training online in VA is not available through any of the schools that are approved by the DMV. Classroom instruction is a helpful part of preparing you for the written exam, so most schools do not offer online classes. Through the classroom instruction portion of the class, you will learn:

  • The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration rules and regulations.
  • How to react in extreme driving conditions.
  • Railroad crossing safety.
  • Reading road signs.
  • Logging miles and completing accident reports.
  • Avoiding road hazards.

Behind-the-Wheel Instruction for the CDL Driving Test

To prepare for the CDL test in Virginia that is administered on the road, all approved schools also provide behind-the-wheel training with licensed instructors. This training is meant to get you comfortable operating a commercial vehicle and to teach you about the maneuvers you will be asked to perform on the road test. During these instructional hours, you will learn how to:

  • Complete the pre-trip inspection thoroughly.
  • Perform turns.
  • Back up the vehicle at 45 degrees.
  • Change lanes safely.
  • Shift gears.
  • Parallel park.

How long is CDL training in Virginia?

In Virginia, CDL school must involve at least 160 hours of classroom and behind-the-wheel instruction. If you require endorsements for your CDL, then your program may include additional hours. The number of days or weeks it takes to complete the course is dependent upon the truck driving school you sign up with.

As an example, the 5-Star Commercial Driver License Training School offers a DMV-approved program during the weekday or on the weekends. The weekday class runs from Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., while the weekend class is taught on Saturdays and Sundays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. If you choose the weekend class, then it will take you longer to complete the course.

Best CDL Schools Near Me in Virginia

If you are wondering, “What is the best truck driving school near me in VA?” then you should consult the DMV. You want to make sure the school you attend provides a program that is approved by the department. The local DMV offices in Virginia offer a list of approved programs and what it considers some of the best CDL schools in Virginia, including:

  • CDS Trailer Tractor Training. This school provides Class A and Class B CDL training as well as a refresher course if you need to obtain your CDP. It also offers financing options for tuition and job placement assistance once you have earned your CDL.
  • Marshall CDL Driving School. This CDL school provides classes on weekdays or weekends either part-time or full-time. With a flexible schedule, it usually only takes students three to four weeks to complete the program. It also offers financing options and job placement assistance upon completion.
  • Shipper’s Choice of Virginia. Both truck and bus driver classes are offered at Shipper’s Choice. The school has multiple locations throughout the state and offers free lifetime refresher training and job placement assistance for life. Refresher training can be beneficial before renewing a CDL or endorsement that requires additional testing.

All Virginia CDL classes that are recommended by the DMV can be taken if you have failed the exam three times and have been ordered to complete CDL driver education.

Benefits of Completing Virginia Truck Driving School

If you enroll in school, then you may have an easier time obtaining CDL jobs in Virginia since most schools offer job placement assistance. In addition to CDL job placement, completing CDL driver education also means you can take your mandatory exams after only holding your CDP for 14 days. These classes can also help to better prepare you for both the written and road tests, so there is a higher likelihood that you will pass on your first attempt.

CDL Training Costs in Virginia

The Virginia CDL training cost can vary, depending on the program you choose to enroll in. Generally, Class A CDL training costs about $4,000 to $5,000. This includes all classroom and behind-the-wheel instruction as well as textbooks or other expenses and job placement assistance upon completion. However, this will not include the cost for the required DOT physical exam for CDL credentials.

In some cases, you may receive paid CDL training if you have an agreement with a potential or current employer. Most schools also provide several financing options for tuition, some of which are government grants or loans. These grants or loans may be provided to Virginia residents who meet certain qualifications and complete the financial aid application process with the school.

How to Self-Prep for Virginia CDL Exams

A CDL class will administer a Virginia CDL practice test before you are required to take the exam at the DMV. However, if you choose to study for the exams without a course, then you should attempt to find a free CDL practice test online or through a reputable source.

It is important to thoroughly review the commercial driver handbook before attempting to take the written exam. You should also ensure you have plenty of practice driving a commercial vehicle and you meet all requirements before you attempt to complete the road test with the DMV.

Last updated on Friday, February 28 2020.