Illinois is a large state with plenty of opportunities to work as a commercial driver. Generally speaking, drivers of large trucks and other big vehicles need to get a commercial driver’s license. Applicants for such a CDL license must first pass a knowledge exam with an Illinois Secretary of State CDL facility. After passing that test, an applicant can obtain a CDL permit and train on trucks or other commercial motor vehicles. The final step to getting an Illinois CDL license is the passage of a hands-on CDL skills test with the Secretary of State.
Access the “Illinois Commercial Driver’s License Study Guide.” You can access this Illinois CDL manual and study guide online at Cyberdriveillinois.com/publications/pdf_publications/dsd_cdl10.pdf. The study guide contains the general commercial driving knowledge for all drivers plus material for endorsement exams like HAZMAT and passenger vehicles.
Study the CDL manual to prepare for your knowledge exam. However, you only have to study the general portions plus the endorsement portions for the endorsements you need to receive. This depends on the type of vehicle you intend to drive after obtaining your Illinois CDL license. For example, if you are testing to be a school bus driver, you must have endorsements for both school buses and passenger vehicles. Refer to the manual for full details about which endorsements you need to operate specified types of commercial vehicles.
Now, if you are not sure about your job prospects, then you should study the entire CDL study guide so you will be prepared to take the skills test for all types of vehicles.
Take the CDL knowledge test at an Illinois Secretary of State CDL facility. Look in the manual to see the location of these Illinois commercial driver’s license facilities. Complete and pass your knowledge exam to get your Illinois CDL permit. This learner’s permit allows you to get hands-on skills and driving training on commercial motor vehicles if you are under the supervision of a licensed CDL driver.
Find resources for Illinois CDL training. A common route for training these days is to attend a truck driving school. The Professional Truck Driver Institute certifies several Illinois truck driver training programs. Refer to the full list at Ptdi.org/schools/schoolslist.aspx#illinois.
Other options could include school bus training with a local Illinois school system or private employer-based training with trucking or passenger companies. For example, Greyhound is a popular employer of bus drivers that provides training to those who qualify for one of their Illinois CDL driver training programs.
Complete your CDL training so that you can take your skills test. This is the last portion of the test for getting an Illinois CDL license. Refer to the CDL manual for the facilities that conduct skills and road testing. You may need to provide your own vehicle for skills testing. Trucking schools and other CDL training programs typically provide a vehicle for this purpose. If not, you can look for rental agencies that will allow you to rent a truck or other commercial vehicle for license testing.
Complete your medical examination. You can find out how to get forms for your medical examination in the Illinois CDL manual. You must pass the exam or get a medical waiver to get a CDL license from the illinois Secretary of State. Haulers of HAZMAT materials must also pass a background check. Ask the CDL facility about this requirement if you intend to get a HAZMAT endorsement.
Illinois CDL Study Guide for Commercial Drivers
PTDI-Certified CDL Training Programs in Illinois