How To Become A Truck Driver In British Columbia

Many people choose to become truck drivers due to several reasons. The freedom of the open road, a great starting salary with excellent growth potential, and being the boss of yourself are just a few of the benefits that one can enjoy while being a professional truck driver. Moreover, the job market is hot, making it a good time to apply for a commercial truck driver position.

Why Choose This Career?

More than 3.5 million truck drivers work in the country, moving goods from one point to another. The benefits are great too; for example, an average driver can make up to $40,000 easily. A veteran can easily have an earning of more than $90,000.

If we compare the tuition costs of an average college degree to that of a trucking school, the benefits make a lot of sense. A person can opt to join a trucking school and start making good money at a fraction of the cost of a 4-year college degree. Here’s how you can become a professional truck driver in British Columbia.

Learn About BC’s Driver License Class

After deciding that this is the right career path for you, the foremost thing you need to do is learn about BC’s driver license classes and types. According to ICBC (Insurance Corporation of British Columbia), there are 8 classes of driver’s licenses. Commercial driver’s licenses range from 1-4, Classes 5 and 7 include your standard passenger vehicles, whereas Classes 6 and 8 are for motorcycles.

When applying for a truck driving position, you must have a Class 1 or 3 license. These commercial driver’s licenses allow you to drive:

  • Semi-truck trailers
  • Large trucks with more than two axles
  • A tow car towing a vehicle of any weight
  • A mobile truck crane
  • Any vehicle in class 5 (private passenger vehicles, ambulances, motor caravans, and more)

What Kind Of Vehicle Can You Drive With A Class 3 License?

With your BC Class 3 license, you can drive almost any type of vehicle. Some of the motor vehicles you can drive with a Class 3 license include flatbeds, dump trucks, mixer trucks, lift trucks, cranes, large tow trucks, and more.

What Is The Difference Between Class 1 and Class 3 Licenses?

A class 1 license in BC primarily allows you to drive semi-truck trailers. Although you can drive most vehicles with this license, the state may require you to pass certain tests before driving other commercial vehicles like busses.

A Class 3 license, on the other hand, allows you to drive large trucks with more than two axles like heavy equipment, dump trucks, cranes, tow trucks, and more. With a Class 3 drivers licence, you can not drive vehicles from other classes except for Class 5.

Get A Commercial Driver’s License Manual

Now that you know about the kind of license you would require to become a truck driver in BC, your next step should be to get a commercial driver’s license manual.

Each state publishes a handbook that underlines the requirements for getting a commercial driver’s license. This handbook can also serve as a study guide for your driver’s exam. It will also guide you through the whole process of getting a license and becoming a professional driver.

Beyond a handbook, it is also good to talk to other experienced truck drivers. After all professional driving happens on the road, professional drivers will be better able to guide you about the profession’s pros and cons than in class, where instructors will mostly focus on the subject’s pros.

Get a DOT Medical Card

The job is physical, and every driver is required to pass a basic physical fitness exam. A DOT medical card shows that you are medically qualified to operate and drive a heavy vehicle safely and have no medical issue that could potentially be dangerous to other motorists on the road. Your card must always be in your possession while driving a commercial vehicle.

Additionally, every British Columbia employer requires you to provide them with a copy of your DOT medical card. Once you have a DOT medical card signed off, expect to renew it every two years.

Enroll In A Truck Driving School

Although enrolling in a truck driving school isn’t mandatory to get your CDL, as anyone can take the exam and get a learner’s permit, the benefits far exceed the tuition cost in terms of hands-on practice and knowledge of the trucking industry. Moreover, drivers who attend a good truck driving school are far more knowledgeable in what they do. Therefore, they are preferred over truckers who have not attended an accredited school to learn truck driving.

Furthermore, if you haven’t had the experience of driving heavy vehicles before, we recommend taking some trucking lessons or attending a formal driving school for some training and hands-on experience.

Get A Learner’s Permit

To qualify for a CDL or full-privilege Class 3 license, you must first get a Class 3 learner’s license. You can get this permit by making an appointment at DMV and taking a knowledge test. If you pass this test successfully, your state will issue a commercial learner’s permit (CPL).

For those taking trucking courses at an accredited trucking school, the field test can be scheduled as early as two weeks after passing the written test. For others, however, it is important to perform high-level skills before scheduling the road test.

Pass The Road Test

If you pass the road test, you’ll get your full-privilege CDL license right away. Class 3 CDL license, along with some good years of field experience and your professional attitude will allow you to work at high-paying jobs under professional and reputable employers in the trucking industry.

About Big Rig Driving School

Big Rig Driving School offers comprehensive truck driving packages and programs to its clients who wish to gain Class 1 or 3 driving licenses. For more information about our courses, visit our website or contact us today for personalized service.

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