Class A Or Class B? Not Sure What I Want To Do.

Topic 14846 | Page 1

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Mike H.'s Comment
member avatar

Hello, everyone. My name is Michael, or Mike. I have been browsing this site for awhile now, but just made an account a few days ago. This is a GREAT resource, btw. Lots of excellent info on here.

So, I have been thinking about going for my CDL for some time now, but just haven't made the leap and did it. My biggest problem is that I don't know if I want to go for my Class A, or if a Class B CDL will work for me. Truthfully, I hate the idea of going OTR and being gone for 2 or more weeks at a time.

There are lots a places around here in Wisconsin that will hire cement truck or garbage truck drivers, and those positions generally pay in the range of $17-21 to start, without needing prior experience. Just need the permit.

I'm just reaching out here to see if anyone might have some advice about what direction to go.

Cheers!

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

OTR:

Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Mr. T's Comment
member avatar

I would say it's totally up to you but if it were me, depending on where you go to school to obtain your license I would check the price difference between the two. If it's not that much I would definitely recommend you get your Class A CDL. I would recommend you get it even if you only plan to just drive class B trucks. I mean later on if you decide you wanna drive Tractor Trailers then at least you will already have your license & not have to repeat school again & pay more money when you could have done it & go it over with first go around. But that's just my 0.02 good luck in which ever you choose!good-luck.gif

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

OOS:

When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.

Old School's Comment
member avatar

Hello Mike, and welcome aboard.

This is just my opinion, and it may sound harsh, but a class B license is really not worth much. Why limit yourself to class B jobs when there are a good many Class A jobs available to you also? A Class A license does not mean you have to be over the road.

Now I'm going to throw in a little extra advice, and you are free to do with it as you please. One of the best ways to gain some valuable experience in this business is to start out driving over the road. That is not something I dreamed up because I think it's cool, that is the way the industry, and the insurance underwriters look at this stuff. An over the road job will give you an easier and gentler introduction into all the difficulties that face the modern day truck driver - there is a good solid reason why so many local driving jobs require a year of experience. I'm not here to preach to ya, just want you to know that OTR is a good solid plan for starting a trucking career, even if you settle in and decide to drive a garbage truck for the rest of your life.

OTR:

Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

Over The Road:

Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

Mike H.'s Comment
member avatar

If it's not that much I would definitely recommend you get your Class A CDL. I would recommend you get it even if you only plan to just drive class B trucks. I mean later on if you decide you wanna drive Tractor Trailers then at least you will already have your license & not have to repeat school again & pay more money when you could have done it & go it over with first go around.good-luck.gif

That is what I was thinking, too. Thank you.

Hello Mike, and welcome aboard.

This is just my opinion, and it may sound harsh, but a class B license is really not worth much. Why limit yourself to class B jobs when there are a good many Class A jobs available to you also? A Class A license does not mean you have to be over the road.

Now I'm going to throw in a little extra advice, and you are free to do with it as you please. One of the best ways to gain some valuable experience in this business is to start out driving over the road. That is not something I dreamed up because I think it's cool, that is the way the industry, and the insurance underwriters look at this stuff. An over the road job will give you an easier and gentler introduction into all the difficulties that face the modern day truck driver - there is a good solid reason why so many local driving jobs require a year of experience. I'm not here to preach to ya, just want you to know that OTR is a good solid plan for starting a trucking career, even if you settle in and decide to drive a garbage truck for the rest of your life.

Thank you for that, Old School. I know that 1 year, in truth, isn't that long. A small sacrifice for a potentially rewarding career. It's not that I don't want it. I think maybe I'm a little scared? I mean, I have made mistakes with consequences in the past, but it seems like the stakes are so high in this business. Little mistakes mean big catastrophes. Maybe that also adds some of the appeal.

More than likely I'll just go all the way and get my Class A. Thanks for the advice.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

OTR:

Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

Over The Road:

Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar

I always tell people to get their Class A. To me it makes no sense to go through all of the time, money, and effort to get a Class B when a little more would have landed you a Class A with far better job opportunities. Go for the Class A.

I think maybe I'm a little scared? I mean, I have made mistakes with consequences in the past, but it seems like the stakes are so high in this business. Little mistakes mean big catastrophes. Maybe that also adds some of the appeal.

All of that is totally understandable and actually quite common. The thought of driving a big rig is both thrilling and terrifying at the same time. And even for the best drivers out there those feelings never go away. The savvy veterans love driving big rigs for a living but they're keenly aware of how quickly things can go horribly wrong. It's a balancing act you're always dealing with in your mind. You have to be aware of the dangers at all times but you can't be overwhelmed by them. You want to enjoy yourself as much as possible and yet you have to remain vigilant at all times.

For me, I always loved that sort of challenge and responsibility. Trucking is a really dangerous job and yet it's vital for our economy. Someone has to step up and take that responsibility on their shoulders. I always wanted to be one of those guys that could step up and take that extra responsibility. Most people don't.

Take your time and think it through before making any decisions. It's a difficult job that demands an awful lot of you but that's what makes it so rewarding.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Mike H.'s Comment
member avatar

I always tell people to get their Class A. To me it makes no sense to go through all of the time, money, and effort to get a Class B when a little more would have landed you a Class A with far better job opportunities. Go for the Class A.

double-quotes-start.png

I think maybe I'm a little scared? I mean, I have made mistakes with consequences in the past, but it seems like the stakes are so high in this business. Little mistakes mean big catastrophes. Maybe that also adds some of the appeal.

double-quotes-end.png

All of that is totally understandable and actually quite common. The thought of driving a big rig is both thrilling and terrifying at the same time. And even for the best drivers out there those feelings never go away. The savvy veterans love driving big rigs for a living but they're keenly aware of how quickly things can go horribly wrong. It's a balancing act you're always dealing with in your mind. You have to be aware of the dangers at all times but you can't be overwhelmed by them. You want to enjoy yourself as much as possible and yet you have to remain vigilant at all times.

For me, I always loved that sort of challenge and responsibility. Trucking is a really dangerous job and yet it's vital for our economy. Someone has to step up and take that responsibility on their shoulders. I always wanted to be one of those guys that could step up and take that extra responsibility. Most people don't.

Take your time and think it through before making any decisions. It's a difficult job that demands an awful lot of you but that's what makes it so rewarding.

Thank you, Brett. And thank you for this excellent website. A superb resource for people looking to get into the trucking business. I've been running through your High-Road program/practice tests. I must say it is very well designed, and really helps me to retain the information from past reading by constantly throwing questions about previous pages. Love it.

It is a lot to think about. I'm trying to gain as much knowledge as I can, and work stuff out on the home-front and with my current job before coming to my conclusion. I'm going to give it a few months, and just study the material as much as possible. In the end though, I believe I know where I'm headed.

Thanks again.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

JakeBreak's Comment
member avatar

Check out Roehl Transport if you do decide to go for the class a. They have lots of local and regional jobs out of Wisconsin and you might be able to skip the year of otr. Even if you do have to go otr you can get home every other weekend no problem.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

Regional:

Regional Route

Usually refers to a driver hauling freight within one particular region of the country. You might be in the "Southeast Regional Division" or "Midwest Regional". Regional route drivers often get home on the weekends which is one of the main appeals for this type of route.

OTR:

Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

Blue Hotel's Comment
member avatar

There are plenty of Class A local jobs where I live. You don't exactly work any less though, not from what I've heard. You do all the same hours as OTR and probably more (laws be damned). I don't see too many Class B jobs except for buses. If you get a year of bus experience in, and you know how to shift pretty well, you could probably switch over from bus to dump truck no problem. Me, I hate dealing with people, so if I ever end up local it won't be on a bus.

Also, bus companies often train people to get their license. So if you can get a job driving a bus, you can get your license for free. I don't know about Wisconsin, but I've lived in two places in Virginia. In both places the local bus company had union representation (Amalgamated Transit Union). If you're into that. Drivers could use some union protection given a lot of the stories I've heard about trucking and even OTR busing (Greyhound).

A few people came to my school already had Class B licenses, some drove trucks and others buses. They weren't unemployed or broke, they just wanted to move in a different direction.

OTR:

Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

Jukebox (Trent)'s Comment
member avatar

Definitely get your class A cdl and pay for it out of pocket from a reputable school. If you don't want otr and you have local positions open for a good hourly rate then go for those positions once you obtain your class A. Don't waste time or money on a class B. Otr has a lot of drawbacks and if you're a greenhorn you will most likely make less doing otr than a local job paying 17 an hour or more.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

OTR:

Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

EPU:

Electric Auxiliary Power Units

Electric APUs have started gaining acceptance. These electric APUs use battery packs instead of the diesel engine on traditional APUs as a source of power. The APU's battery pack is charged when the truck is in motion. When the truck is idle, the stored energy in the battery pack is then used to power an air conditioner, heater, and other devices

Robert M. (Opey)'s Comment
member avatar

Mike if you are going to go to school for your CDL get the class A. I went through all the trouble, time, and money to get a class B. As that was what my job at the time required except for the job I was doing that class B was pretty much worthless.

When I started looking for another job to make more money most of the companies I looked at would only hire someone with a CDL A even tho they also had class B trucks. And the ones that would hire someone with a class B the pay wasn't any more than I was making and the benefits were less.

I am currently in my last days of school for my CDL A. Do it once that way you don't limit your opportunities.

Just my opinion.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.
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