Becoming a truck driver is a great career move for anyone wanting to escape the daily grind of an office job. Don’t stay trapped behind a desk when you could be out seeing more of our great country. As a professional truck driver you can earn more than $64,000 a year.* The first step to beginning a rewarding career in the trucking industry is earning your commercial driver’s license (CDL). At Phoenix Truck Driving School, our classes help you earn your New Mexico CDL.
Here is some valuable information about how to get your commercial driver’s license in New Mexico:
When Do You Need a CDL?
There are different types of CDLs and each one is necessary for a different kind of commercial motor vehicle. A Class A CDL is required to operate any combination of vehicles with a total weight of more than 26,000 pounds with the tow vehicle being heavier than 10,000 pounds. With this license you can operate a tractor-trailer, truck and trailer, tanker vehicle, or flatbed. A Class B CDL is necessary to operate any single commercial vehicle not hitched to a trailer. This means straight trucks, large buses, segmented buses, box trucks, and dump trucks. A Class C CDL is required for driving a vehicle with a gross combination weight of less than 26,000 pounds, a vehicle towing another that weighs less than 10,000 pounds, or one that transports 16+ passengers.
Federal vs. State Requirements
CDL requirements are subject to both federal and state regulations. Since trucking often involves transporting goods across multiple states, federal agencies such as the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) set certain requirements for CDL holders. However, your CDL is also issued at the state level. It replaces your standard driver’s license and if you move states you will need to obtain a new CDL.
Federal CDL Requirements
You must be at least 21 years old to earn your CDL. A background check is necessary. If you have a license suspension or revocation in any state, you are not eligible for a CDL under federal regulations. You can also be disqualified if you have certain offenses on your record. Disqualification may be temporary or permanent depending on the offense and severity. The FMCSA lists disqualifying factors on their website.
New Mexico CDL Requirements
The steps to obtain your New Mexico CDL are similar to the ones taken to receive your non-commercial driver’s license. First, you will need to pass a written test. There is an official CDL manual posted on the Motor Vehicle Division’s website for New Mexico to help you prepare. The written test assesses your knowledge of the basic rules of a CDL. If you do not pass the first time, you are able to retake it up to two times a week. You will then receive your CDL learner’s permit. An approved examiner will need to administer a skills test for you to complete all the requirements necessary to receive your CDL.
A Commercial Driver Medical Certificate is also necessary in the State of New Mexico. The certificate must be completed by a medical professional who is listed on the National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners. They will determine whether you are physically qualified to operate a commercial vehicle. You must maintain an updated Medical Certificate to keep your CDL.
The MVD requires the following documents, in addition to passing scores for the written and skills test, to earn your New Mexico CDL:
- Proof of Social Security number
- Commercial Driver Medical Certificate
- Proof of U.S. citizenship or lawful permanent residence status in the United States
- Two proofs of New Mexico residency
- Proof of Identity with birth date
New Mexico CDL School
Attending truck driver training is not a requirement to earn your CDL. However, the high-quality training you will receive at Phoenix Truck Driving School will make it easier to pass the written and skills tests. Graduating from a school can also make you more attractive to trucking companies than candidates who earned their license through self-teaching. We are here to help you earn your New Mexico CDL and will prepare you for a trucking career.
Contact us today to learn more about our CDL training programs in Albuquerque, NM.
*Professional truck drivers earn a mean annual wage of $44,500. The top 10% of truck drivers make more than $64,000 per year according to the 2017 Bureau of Labor Statistics.