What Are the Age Requirements for Truck Drivers?

Apr 12, 2024 | 9:44 am

Truck driving can be an incredible and rewarding career and it’s never too early or too late to pursue. While many successful drivers climb aboard for the first time in their 30s, 40s, or 50s, there are plenty who embark on a trucking career much earlier. If you’re looking to start your professional career behind the wheel of a big rig, there are a few things you’ll need to keep in mind.

How old do I need to be to earn a CDL?

Throughout the United States, you must be at least 18 years of age to apply for a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL)–the license required to operate commercial vehicles including, but not limited to tractor trailers. Once you turn 18, you can enroll in a CDL program at an accredited driving school where certified driving instructors will teach you the basics of truck driving and help you prepare for your CDL exam. Your exam will consist of a written test as well as a behind the wheel skills test.

While attending courses and prepping for your exam, you can get a headstart on your driving career by scouting out and researching trucking companies in your area. Depending on the school, you’ll have the opportunity to meet with several recruiters in person from various trucking companies in your area.

How old do I need to be to become a truck driver?

As long as you are 18 and licensed, you can get a job as a professional truck driver. Once you’ve completed your coursework at your local driving school and you have your CDL in hand, you are free to begin your trucking career with a reputable trucking company. There are currently no states that require an additional waiting period for drivers under a certain age. 

Are there any other age-related stipulations for drivers?

Yes, and it’s kind of a big one. In the United States, CDL drivers under the age of 21 are not allowed to cross state lines in their tractor trailer. Professional drivers under the age of 21 can only operate within the state in which their CDL was issued.

For this reason, drivers who are 18, 19, and 20 years of age may have a harder time getting on with a trucking company compared to those who are 21 and above. As there are no traveling restrictions on drivers 21 and up, many companies tend to shy away from hiring drivers under 21. Especially for companies located near a state line, coming up with intrastate routes can be kind of a headache sometimes. Even for companies that do hire under 21, there’s likely to be fewer positions available at any given time.

Driving under 21 with Dot Transportation

Dot Transportation, Inc. (DTI) does hire drivers under 21 and makes every accommodation necessary to make sure they get the miles and the schedule they need to thrive in their new career. In addition, DTI has a number of in-house schools to help new drivers of every age earn their CDLs and begin driving. And if there’s not an in-house school in your area, DTI can help you find a partner program through which you can earn your CDL. Sign on to become a DTI driver and we’ll even pay for your schooling regardless of which school you choose. To learn more about driving opportunities for drivers under 21 years of age, visit our Drivers Under 21 page.

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