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4 CDL Driving Programs for Military Veterans
4 mins read

NOVEMBER 13, 2018 – According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, there are approximately 20 million military veterans in the United States – with more retiring each day. Some will go back to school to train for an entirely new career, while others will look for opportunities that build upon the experience and training they received throughout their military service. One such opportunity that the FMCSA is hoping to encourage, is that of a commercial truck driver.

If you or someone you know retired from military service in the last two years (or will be discharged from service soon), the FMCSA has a few CDL driving programs that might help you get behind the wheel faster. These programs are designed for current service members and veterans who operated trucks or other heavy military vehicles.

#1: The Military Skills Test Waiver Program

This program is designed for veterans or current service members who have at least two years of experience operating heavy military vehicles. Available in each state, the program streamlines the process of obtaining a CDL by waiving the need for a driving test.

Over 23,000 service members have received their CDLs through the program to date. To learn more about the waiver program, and to see if you’re eligible, please click here.

#2: Even Exchange Program

This program allows service members with certain occupational classifications the ability to obtain their CDL without the required knowledge test. When combined with the military skills test waiver program above, eligible service members can get a CDL with zero testing requirements.

Only a few states participate in this program right now, though others are currently working on implementation. You can learn more about where this program is available (and where it’s coming next) by clicking here.

#3: Under 21 Military CDL Pilot Program

Although it hasn’t started quite yet, the FMCSA will soon be running a three-year pilot program that will allow service members between the ages of 18 and 20 the ability to operate a commercial motor vehicle in interstate commerce. Currently, interstate drivers must be at least 21 years old.

To get a spot in this program (space is limited), individuals must have received heavy-vehicle training during their military service and have been offered a job by a participating motor carrier. The goal of this program will be to study performance data to determine if age is a critical safety factor for CMV operators. To help make this determination, data from this pilot program will be compared to data from a similar-sized group of drivers between 21 and 24 years old.

If you’re interested in participating in this program, you’ll find more information here.

#4: Commercial Motor Vehicle Operator Safety Grants

In addition to the above programs, the FMCSA also provides funding to accredited public and private colleges, universities, vocational schools, truck driver training schools and state and local governments for the purpose of recruiting and training active duty personnel, military veterans and their families.  The goal of these grants is to increase the number of motor carriers on the road, as well as to provide safety training to reduce the number and severity of crashes involving CMVs on our nation’s roadways.

You can view and print a brochure about all of these programs here: FMCSA Military Driver Programs

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