In honor of Veterans Day 2018, we first want to extend our deepest gratitude to all the men and women of the US military both past and present. Your sacrifices are what have defined and retained our great country's freedoms since its start. Thank you for all that you have done and all that you continue to do. For military members that have concluded their active service and are now looking to transition into a civilian career, it's often a difficult road. However, new laws are paving the way to make it easier than ever for military veterans to get their CDL, and start a career in trucking.
New "Even Exchange" Policy in WisconsinIn early October, Wisconsin announced a policy that allows military veterans to waive the knowledge portion of their civilian CDL test, and rely on their military experience instead. Coined as "even exchange," this written test waiver aims to make it faster and easier for veterans to immediately enter the workforce.
Transitioning from Military to TruckingLoyalty, honor, and self-discipline are all necessary traits of a commercial truck driver. It's why trucking companies often seek out military veterans. But there's also a familiar benefit for the veterans. Beyond the benefit of getting a job, many veterans have discovered that the lifestyle of operating a big-rig is a lot like their time in uniform. Just as the military provided a way to see the world, trucking provides a chance to see the country which they fought to defend. And while trucking does take drivers away from home for periods of time, it is often significantly shorter than their time away during service. Many trucking companies offer generous home time options, sometimes as frequent as every weekend. And if you become an owner-operator that choice is largely up to you. Lastly, trucking is a secure job with good pay (especially now as many companies are searching for dedicated drivers). The power of employment choice is in the hands of drivers, and it all starts with getting a civilian CDL.
What it takes for Military Members to get a CDLWhile the new even exchange policy only applies to residents of Wisconsin, there is a CDL road skills test waiver in place at the national level. That policy still requires veterans to pass the written knowledge test, but they are not required to take the skills test. Below is an overview of the requirements for veterans with a military CDL to get their civilian CDL. Keep in mind that local state laws (like that of Wisconsin) may make it even easier for you to obtain your CDL.
CDL Skills Test Waiver Requirements
- Military trucking driving experience of at least 2 years
- Application within 1 year of discharge
- Passing the written knowledge test
- Possession of only 1 driver's license within the past 2 years (other than military license). Also, your license may never have been suspended, revoked, or canceled
- No offenses on your driving record such as alcohol or drugs, leaving scene of an accident, operating with a suspended license, or fatalities caused by negligence.
- No serious traffic violations.