If you’re a military personnel and you’re considering moving into a civilian career, don’t forget to consider trucking. Transportation can be a great career path. There’s always a need for experienced commercial truck drivers, and the FMCSA wants to fill the jobs with CMV drivers who have experience, who are safe drivers, and who are trustworthy. (That goes along with their goal of increasing CMV safety and lowering the number of crashes involving CMVS.) That’s why the FMCSA has various programs that make it easier for military personnel to get CDLs – not to mention quicker and cheaper. We’ll explain how you can find out if you’re eligible and go over the different FMCSA Military Driver programs.
Are you eligible for FMCSA Military Driver Programs?
If you’ve got military driving experience, you could be a great candidate for a transportation job. You’ve got the training, the skillset, the experience, and the responsibility required for the job. Now, before we get into the specifics about the programs, we’ll explain a few details about eligibility for the FMCSA military driver program.
- To participate in the Military Skills Test, you need to have held a military drivers’ license and been through two years of safe military driving experience. That means no disqualifications, no suspensions, and no license revocations. You also need to have applied within a year of either leaving or having left a military CMV job.
- If you want to be part of the Under 21 Military Driver Program, or the Even Exchange Program, you must have relevant military driving experience, plus a safe driving history.
- And for the Under 21 Military Driver Program, you, of course, have to be under the age of 21.
There are a lot of different ways your military driving experience could help you with getting a CDL. It can help you be eligible for one of the FMCSA’s programs.
What FMCSA Military Driver Programs are there?
Now, as we said, the goal of these programs is to assist safe, experienced drivers transition into careers as truck or bus drivers. Here are some of the Military Driver programs the FMCSA offers:
Military Skills Test Waiver Program.
The Military Skills Test Waiver Program is intended to exempt qualified people from the CDL Skills Test. All states participate in the program. You can find out more about your state’s requirements by going to your state’s CDL website, which you can find through the FMCSA. So, check it out if you think you might want to take advantage of that program.
Even Exchange Program.
The Even Exchange Program allows qualified military personnel to be exempt from the knowledge test to get a CDL. You might be able to partner it up with the Military Skills Test Waiver and simply switch your military license for a CDL. Drivers have to show proof of a medical certificate in order to apply. The FMCSA can let you know if your state participates in the program.
Under 21 Military Driver Program.
The Under 21 Military Driver Program is intended to gauge the safety impact of letting 18-20 year-olds operate CMVs in interstate commerce. (Participating drivers, however, can’t operate tankers, transport hazardous materials, or transport passengers.)
Commercial Motor Vehicle Operator Safety Training Grant Program.
This program is meant to help current and former members of the Armed Forces (including National Guard and reserve members) and their spouses get training so they can transition into the motor carrier industry. That way they can get the training they need.
The pros of being in the trucking world.
There are a lot of reasons to consider going into trucking. There’s the career stability and job opportunities around the country. (As we mentioned, there is always a need for truck drivers.) You can work independently, or you can be an employee for a transportation business. If you’re in the Reserve or National Guard, you can drive and serve at the same time. If you don’t have any military driving experience, you could think about switching occupational specialties.
If you’re a military driver and you have experience driving big vehicles, you might be thinking about transitioning to a civilian career in trucking. The FMCSA has several programs that can help with that process. There is always a need for experienced, safe truck drivers. That’s why the FMCSA has the programs we mentioned to make it easier for military personnel to get a CDL. It’s all in the interest of improving safety.
Get truck insurance quotes.
It’s also important to have the proper truck insurance. We can help with that. Our team is here to make truck insurance easy. We also like to help businesses save money on their insurance. Get started with your quotes by filling out our online form, giving us a call, or messaging us. Then we can help you get the coverage you need.