Massachusetts has many opportunities to obtain work as a commercial driver. Residents interested in a driving career may need to get a commercial driver’s license. The Massachusetts Department of Transportation Registry of Motor Vehicles issues the CDL licenses required for large trucks and other commercial vehicles. Applicants first need to get a CDL permit for hands-on training by passing a knowledge test at the local Massachusetts RMV. After getting the permit and obtaining CDL training, an applicant can then obtain a Massachusetts CDL by passing a hands-on skills and driving test.
Access the Massachusetts CDL manual. As of 2010, you should use the online version of the manual to prepare for the written test. According to the website, this online version is more up to date than the latest paper version of the CDL manual (from July 2008). You can access this CDL study guide at Mass.gov/rmv/cdlmanual/index.htm.
Use the manual to study for the written knowledge portion of the Massachusetts CDL test. You must pass this test before you can move on to hands-on training for your commercial driver’s license.
You can also supplement your study of the manual with free online CDL study resources. Search for “CDL study guide” and “CDL practice test” in a search engine to find additional references for preparing for the test. However, use the manual as the main reference material.
Note that you may or may not have to study the entire Massachusetts CDL manual. Part of the test consists of HAZMAT and other endorsement portions. An endorsement is required only if it applies to the kind of vehicle or cargo you will be operating or hauling after you start driving. Read the manual and match the vehicle you will drive with the required endorsement tests. Study the entire CDL manual and take all endorsement tests if you are not sure what you will be driving later.
Complete the knowledge test to get your Massachusetts CDL permit. You can then use that permit to operate actual commercial motor vehicles on the roads. Note that CDL holders must have also passed a medical examination. Get required paperwork or instructions from your local Massachusetts RMV branch.
Find area CDL training resources. The industry has several types of training tailored to driving jobs or vehicles. For example, truck driving schools are now quite common. You can use the Professional Truck Driver Institute, which certifies CDL training programs, to find CDL schools in the Northeast or other parts of the country. Refer to the map at Ptdi.org/schools/schools.aspx to find schools by state.
Other options may include employer-based training or government training (such as school bus drivers). Ask the local school district for information if you wish to become a school bus driver. Ask transportation companies like Greyhound (check corporate websites) if you wish to drive a private passenger vehicle.
Arrange the CDL skills test with your local RMV. You will need to pass this skills/driving test to get your Massachusetts CDL license. Generally, you need to provide your own vehicle. Schools and employers usually make arrangements for you to use one of their vehicles. Ask them for assistance or contact truckers or rental agencies to borrow or rent a vehicle and licensed CDL driver for the skills test.
Obtain your commercial driver’s license from the RMV after passing the skills test. If you are going to haul hazardous materials, also keep in mind that you will have a federally required background check before you can receive your HAZMAT endorsement on your Massachusetts CDL license.
Massachusetts CDL Manual
Certified Truck Driving Schools Around Massachusetts