Are you fascinated by the power and abilities of a tractor trailer driver? Do love the solitude of the open road, and freedom from constraints of a 9 to 5 desk job? Do you live in the state of Virginia? Then maybe you would be interested in how to become a tractor trailer driver in Norfolk, VA.
Known as the ‘Knights of the Road,’ truck drivers are the first to stop and help lost and stranded motorists. Glorified in songs and movies as heroes, rebels, and modern day cowboys, truckers are the subject of a vast American folklore.
What may not be immediately apparent from the movies is that truck drivers are away from home a good three weeks out of four. This is a major lifestyle decision that you should discuss with your family before making a long-term commitment. Life on the open road is romantic, but this isn’t a decision to make on your own.
How do you become a tractor trailer driver in Virginia?
Commercial driver’s license
The first step toward becoming a truck driver in Virginia is to obtain a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL), of which there are three categories:
- Class A – Vehicles with a combined weight of 26,001 pounds, towing a vehicle weighing more than 10,000 pounds
- Class B – Combined weight: > 26,001 pounds; Towing weight: < 10,000 pounds
- Class C – Vehicles used to transport >/= 16 people (driver included), or to tow hazardous materials
For this, the state of Virginia requires you to test in the class of vehicle that you intend to drive.
Every profession has its requirements for paperwork, and the tractor trailer industry is no different. To be a Virginia truck driver, you will need to be 18 years old, produce a valid Virginia driver’s license, and obtain a medical certificate. For this, you will need to find a Certified Medical Examiner, who will complete a comprehensive FMSCA Medical Examination Report Form. Here are some who are located in the Old Dominion, the Mother of Presidents, the state of Virginia.
Interstate Transportation of Cargo
While the state issues CDLs for transporting cargo within Virginia, the United States Department of Transportation regulates the movement of cargo from one state to another. To transport material across state lines, you need to be at least 21 years old and pass a written knowledge exam and a three-part skills test. The skills test involves:
- A pre-trip vehicle inspection
- Basic control skills test
- On-road driving exam
In order to drive certain types of vehicle, you will need to obtain extra endorsements. These include trucks designed for transporting passengers or hazardous substances, as well as vehicles with air brakes, double/triple trailers, or school buses. If you want to transport hazardous materials, which pays better than other trucking jobs, you will need to submit to a background check by the Transport Security Administration, who will issue you with a Hazmat endorsement.
What are some benefits to attending a formal course?
The fastest and most efficient way to prepare yourself for passing your test and driving a tractor-trailer safely in and around Norfolk, Virginia, is to take a short course in tractor-trailer driving. In as few as eight weeks, you can develop proficiency in driving, backing, parking, and shifting tractor trailer vehicles. You will learn more than Smokey ever could have taught you about:
- Driving safety
- Substance abuse
- Transportation of hazardous materials
- Trip planning
- Vehicle maintenance
- Operational procedures
ATI is Here to Help Turn Your Goal into a Reality
If you train with the Advanced Technology Institute in Tractor Trailer Driving, you will receive hands-on instruction in small classes. The course runs 8 weeks and each student who completes it will receive a certificate of completion, which can be your first step on the road to becoming a trucker. For more information about this course, connect with us today!