Have a Class B CDL? Consider Upgrading to a Class A
While earning a Class B CDL is an achievement that can lead to a successful career in the trucking industry, a Class A CDL can take you even farther, increase your earning power, and ultimately, open up doors to more opportunities. The good news is that getting a Class A is easier when you already have a Class B. Using your Class B as a jumping-off point, you can get your Class A CDL through a very similar process.
Class B CDL Vs. Class A CDL
The Class B CDL is the commercial driver’s license classification needed to operate a single vehicle with a gross weight of 26,001 pounds (or more), towing no more than 10,000 pounds. This type of CDL allows for the operation of garbage trucks, buses, straight trucks, dump trucks, cement mixers and delivery trucks. Usually, Class B vehicles do not have a trailer.
The Class A CDL allows you to operate a combination of vehicles with a combined weight of 26,001 pounds or more, with a towed vehicle of 10,000 pounds or more. Examples of vehicles that you can operate with a class A CDL include tractor trailers, livestock carriers, flatbeds, truck and trailer combinations and tanker vehicles. A Class A CDL with proper endorsements also allows you to operate Class B and C trucks.
How to Obtain a Class B or Class A CDL, or Upgrade Your Class B CDL to a Class A CDL
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requires that drivers who want to:
- Obtain a Class A or Class B CDL for the first time;
- Upgrade an existing Class B CDL to a Class A CDL; or
- Obtain a school bus (S), passenger (P), or hazardous materials (H) endorsement for the first time.
Must complete Entry Level Driver Training (ELDT) .
There are many ways to get CDL training (from truck driving schools, company sponsored training, or even getting paid while you get your CDL, like in Roehl Transport’s Get Your CDL program.
From a high-level, whether you're trying to get a Class B CDL or a Class A CDL, you must complete driver training, including theory training and behind-the-wheel training, from FMCSA-approved training providers. (Want more info? Read our ELDT blog post.)
In all likelihood, you’re getting your CDL so you can get a job driving, so make sure you’re doing your research and the training program you select will actually help you achieve your goal.
Why Upgrade Your Class B CDL License?
Getting your Class A CDL is a process, whether you have a Class B or not. So why do it? The answer is clear. Class A CDL drivers have more opportunities . Because Class A CDL drivers can drive anything a Class B driver can and then some, they enjoy a higher level of compensation.
Simply put, Class A CDL drivers earn more than Class B drivers. According to Zippia.com, Class B drivers make around $44,200 annually, while Class A drivers make approximately $52,200 annually. Roehl Class A CDL truck drivers with at least one year of experience average $74,000+ (as of 11/2022).
Of course, the amount that any driver earns depends on a variety of factors, including where they work, how much they work, and what they are hauling. It’s also important to understand how pay is calculated (as examples: HHG versus practical route miles, and sliding pay scales versus a flat CPM). Roehl drivers consistently earn above the national average , so if you're driving for Roehl, you know you are a leader.
Class A drivers typically also have more opportunities and find it easier to obtain steady work compared with a driver that only has a Class B commercial license. You can find opportunities to put your Class A CDL to work through Roehl's website .
Why Drive for Roehl?
There are many reasons that people who want to upgrade their Class B CDL to a Class A CDL seek out Roehl Transport.
Roehl’s reputation as a by-the-book trucking company that’s built on values means many, many people recommend their family and friends get a CDL A through Roehl’s program. Roehl drivers are leaders, and Roehl’s CEO is also a truck driver.
Another of the reasons so many people find Roehl is our safety record. Roehl Transport is one of North America’s safest trucking companies, and the Roehl Way of Protective Driving is the industry’s most advanced safe driving program.
Roehl’s equipment is both comfortable and safe, and Roehl drivers have access to all the latest in equipment amenities and safety features. Roehl’s power units are, on average, less than two years old.
At Roehl, acceptance into the Get Your CDL Class A training program means you will be hired on the first day and you’ll be paid while you are learning the skills to upgrade your Class B to a Class A license. And, unlike a truck driving school, you’ll already have a job with Roehl.
Roehl’s large size and diversity means the company offers a variety of fleet options. From traditional over-the-road (OTR trucking jobs) to home weekly regional fleets to dedicated and even home daily fleets, the company offers a variety of work and home time configurations. Additionally, Roehl has a diverse customer base that ranges from temperature controlled freight, to dry van to even flatbed freight, so there are many ways to expand your skills set.
Compensation, Benefits & More
Roehl’s long been known as the Take Home More, Be Home More trucking company. From innovative pay programs, to leading in how miles are calculated, to rewarding drivers for their safe behaviors as they drive, to passenger and pet programs, to health, wellness and financial programs, including profit sharing, Roehl is investing in our teammates.
To find out more about how you can drive for Roehl or how you can upgrade your CDL from a Class B to a Class A, complete our application! Remember, Roehl offers resources to help you be successful, including free CDL practice tests and plenty of how-tos. Have more questions? Call us at 715-591-7050!