Are you transitioning out of a military career and into a civilian one? Maybe you’re looking for a new adventure, something that can pay the bills, of course, but also something that can keep you from spending long days behind a desk. Luckily, the transportation industry not only has a vast array of job offerings for you, but you might qualify for a veteran CDL waiver, which can get you into a truck driving career in record time.
Obtaining your commercial driver’s license (CDL) will be your first step into the truck driving lifestyle. But to get there, you have to take a written and skills-based test first. If you drove heavy vehicles while serving in the military, however, then you may be able to skip the skills-based portion of the test. Here’s how to find out if you’re eligible for the military veteran CDL waiver:
How (and When) to Apply for a Military CDL Waiver
According to the FMCSA, military veterans who have “two years of experience safely operating trucks or buses” will be eligible for a veteran CDL waiver if they apply within one year of leaving the military position that required them to operate a commercial motor vehicle (CMV).
To get started, all you have to do is complete the Application for Military Skills Test Waiver (which includes a section that your Commanding Officer will need to fill out) and then make an appointment at the CDL licensing office that’s closest to you. Then you’ll complete your state’s CDL application form (which you can find on DMV.org) and provide all of the required paperwork, a copy of your military driver’s license, and other proofs of identity.
Veteran CDL Waiver Requirements
Military veteran CDL waivers are currently available in every state. As of February 2017, almost 20,000 current and former military members have taken advantage of the waiver, making them eligible for employment by transportation companies.
Before you get your CDL, though, the FMCSA says that you have to certify to your State Driver Licensing Agency (SDLA) that you have:
- A history of safe driving
- Not held more than one license (the exception being your military driver’s license) in the past two years
- Not had your State-issued license suspended, revoked, or canceled
- Not been convicted in any motor vehicle offenses
If you meet those requirements (and the ones listed in the previous section), then you’re in a perfect position to get your veteran CDL waiver, take the written test, and get plugged into one of the many civilian-military truck driving jobs waiting for you!
Some carriers, like Lily Transportation, will even offer you a training course to help you fine-tune your CMV driving skills. The Lily Veterans Network, for example, provides a ten-week training curriculum that’s completely paid for by Lily and won’t drain any of your GI Bill benefits. You’ll also receive a paid salary of $800 a week (and company benefits!) while you’re enrolled in the training course.
Upon graduation, you’ll be able to get plugged into a one-year over-the-road driving assignment and receive annual compensation in the $60-70,000 range. Reach out to us today to learn more about how you can get your military veteran CDL waiver, enroll in the Lily Veterans Network, and kickstart your new career off on a high note!