Life on the Road: What to Expect in OTC’s Commercial Driving Program

If you enjoy being behind the wheel, a career as a commercial driver may be the right call for you. Commercial drivers transport goods or people from point A to point B. Some drivers travel on long-haul routes, while others stay much closer to home. It all depends on the type of training you have and the license you get. 

Orange Technical College has two commercial driving certificate programs—one prepares you for a Class A commercial driving license and the other for a Class B commercial driving license.

CDL Study: Class A vs. Class B

What’s the difference between class A and class B? Primarily the type of vehicle you can drive with the commercial driving license (CDL). A class A CDL is sometimes called a universal CDL, as it permits you to drive most types of truck, bus, or other vehicles. A class B CDL is more limited, and allows you to drive smaller trucks and buses.

Class A CDL Jobs

People who have a Class A CDL can typically find work as a tractor-trailer driver. They may also be able to work as straight truck drivers or bus drivers.

Class B CDL Jobs

Class B CDL jobs include bus drivers and straight truck drivers. A person with a Class B CDL may also drive a garbage truck, cement mixer, or delivery truck.

What You’ll Learn in CDL School

What you learn in CDL school depends on whether you choose a Class A or Class B program. Orange Technical College’s Commercial Vehicle Driving program teaches you how to operate a truck and tractor-trailer, how to keep records and report delays or accidents, and how to handle cargo. The program prepares you for the Class A CDL exam.

In the Commercial Class B Driving program, you’ll learn how to operate buses and trucks, transport passengers, handle cargo, and keep records and report delays or accidents. At the end of the program, you’ll be ready to take the Class B CDL exam.

Both programs cover the basics of safe work practices, employability skills, mathematical skills, and communication skills.

How Long Does CDL School Take?

How long a CDL program lasts depends on whether you get a Class A or Class B certificate. Since Class A training is more comprehensive, the program is longer. Orange Technical College’s Class A CDL training program requires 320 hours, or about eight weeks of full-time training. Our Class B CDL training program requires 150 hours, or about four weeks of full-time training. 

While the Class A CDL program takes longer to complete, it may be the right choice for you since you can do more with a Class A license than a Class B license.

Do You Need a CDL to Get a Driving Job?

You may be able to find a driving job without earning a CDL. However, for any driving job, you will need a license and should have a clean driving record. Non-CDL driving jobs include:

  • Taxi drivers/Rideshare drivers
  • Certain types of delivery drivers

How Much Do Commercial Drivers Earn?

How much you can earn as a commercial driver depends on the type of driving you do. Class A CDL drivers who drive tractor-trailers typically have the highest earnings, with a median salary of $49,920 annually. Delivery truck drivers with a CDL Class B earn a median salary of $32,690 annually, and bus drivers earn a median salary of $48,620 if they drive for a transit agency or $37,910 annually if they drive a school bus.

Ready to get on the road and start a career as a truck or bus driver? Learn more about our commercial driving programs today. Contact us for more information.