5 Steps to Get Started on a Long-Term, In-Demand Civilian Career
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Step 1: Be 18, 19, or 20 at Time of Application AND Have a Driving Military Occupational Specialty or Occupational Classification:
- Army: 88M-Motor Transport Operator
- Marine Corps: 3531-Motor Vehicle Operator
- Navy: EO-Equipment Operator
- Air Force: 2TI-Vehicle Operator
3E2-Pavement and Construction Equipment Operator
Step 2: Research Job Opportunities and Commercial Driver's License (CDL) Support
- Talk to participating carriers about their jobs and application. Find them at www.fmcsa.dot.gov/under21militaryjobs.
- Ask if you need a CDL before applying.
- Ask whether the company offers assistance with the CDL process.
Step 3:* Get your CDL
- First, get a commercial learner's permit (CLP) by getting a state licensing manual; studying CDL requirements; completing your medical exam; and taking the knowledge exam.
- At least 14 days after getting a CLP, complete skills testing and get your interstate CDL.
*If you already have a CDL, go to Step 4
Step 4: Apply with and Get Hired by a Participating Motor Carrier
- After background and driving history verification, get hired as an Interstate commercial motor vehicle driver.
- You get a FMCSA examption letter proving your authorization to drive in interstate commerce. Your employer shares your driving/safety data with FMCSA throughout the Pilot
Step 5: Continue in the Program as a Control Group Driver
- When you reach age 21, you may continue to drive for a participating carrier.
- Your employer may ask you to be part of the program's "control" group of drivers age 21-24.
Additional Driver Requirements
You must also:
- Have certification from a military service of relevant training and experience driving heavy vehicles;
- Agree to release specific information to FMCSA for the program;
- Meet all Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulation requirements (except age) for a commercial driver’s license (CDL) and operating a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) in interstate commerce. This including passing CMV knowledge and skills tests and a driver medical examination; and
- Understand that you cannot transport passengers or hazardous materials, or operate special configuration vehicles (double- or triple-trailer combinations or cargo tank vehicles) in the program, regardless of any license endorsements you have.
Once you’re hired, the carrier will submit your information to FMCSA to review your driving safety record. If there are no disqualifying safety offenses, you may participate in the study. If there are any disqualifying offenses, FMCSA will notify the carrier, and you will not be eligible to participate.
While employed by a participating motor carrier, you can operate CMVs interstate before age 21. If you are no longer employed by a participating carrier, you may not drive in interstate commerce until you turn 21.
When you turn 21, you will no longer be part of the program study group. However, you will be eligible to continue driving interstate for your current carrier or another company. You may also become a control group driver.