Getting your commercial driver's license (CDL) in Texas can open up many job opportunities to drive larger vehicles, such as school buses and tractor trailers. You must be 18 years old to drive a commercial vehicle in Texas, but 21 years old to use a CDL across state lines. Studying and practicing for your Texas CDL exams can be time-consuming and rigorous, but there are several helpful resources.
Select the type of CDL you want to apply for in Texas among the U.S. Department of Transportation CDL Classes A, B and C. All CDL applicants must take a general knowledge test, but you also must be prepared to take additional special knowledge tests for endorsements if you are interested in driving particular types of vehicles. For example, you must take a passenger transport test if you want to be a bus driver, or a tanker test if you want to haul liquids in bulk.
Download the Texas Commercial Motor Vehicle Drivers Handbook through the Texas Department of Public Safety. The manual has all the information you need to pass the general and specific knowledge written exams.
Study general CDL topics, such as driving safely, shifting gears, vehicle inspection and basic control of your vehicle. In addition, study information on driving in fog or in extremely hot weather, during the winter, at night and in mountainous areas.
Look for online companies that offer Texas CDL practice exams that mirror the actual Texas CDL test, such as Advanced Tech Courses or Professional and Technical Career Institute. Once you pass the written exam, you have the option of getting a learner's license, which will allow you to practice driving a commercial vehicle as long as someone with a valid CDL for your particular class rides with you. This will prepare you to pass the Texas CDL skills test.
Practice hands-on driving skills at a Texas bus and truck driving school, such as Del Mar College in Corpus Christi, Action Career Training in Killeen or International Schools in several cities including Dallas and El Paso. This will prepare you for your skills test through the Texas Department of Public Safety.
Practice how to back up and turn your vehicle in a defined area, as well as how to make left and right turns, go through intersections and drive on single-lane streets. In addition, if you are interested in driving a school bus, be prepared to pass both a passenger transport and a school bus skills test.
YaShekia King, of Indianapolis, began writing professionally in 2003. Her work has appeared in several publications including the "South Bend Tribune" and "Clouds Across the Stars," an international book. She also is a licensed Realtor and clinical certified dental assistant. King holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from Ball State University.