My (Tennessee) CDL is valid for four years, but the DOT medical card expires in two. THEORETICALLY, as long as your license hasn't expired, all you have to do is get another DOT physical and you're good to go. However, depending on who you hire on with, you may have to take a refresher course to satisfy their insurance provider.
"Build a man a fire and you keep him warm for an evening, but SET a man on fire and you keep him warm for the rest of his life." - Terry Pratchett
ok,reason is I'm thinking about getting my CDL right here at a local college for $2500 for an 8 week course I don't think that's bad compared to what I've read here and there,I have a papermill job right now but just don't feel secure anymore with my job I think eventually all factory work will move overseas,just my opinion.
Once I get my CDL I will always have something to fall back on,just looking out for the future I guess.
Unless you plan on using that CDL right away, you may want to wait until you can start driving. Otherwise, you will likely need to at the very least take a refresher course. Companies won't hire you without experience unless you have just gotten out of driving school. If I were you, I would plan to either wait to go to school until I was ready to start driving, or go ahead and driver for a year or two.
2500 bucks is not a bad deal at all. That's what I payed for mine and I didn't find any around here that were less than that. There are plenty of them that are more, however.
What GMAN is saying about the refresher course is correct if you plan to hire on with just about any major trucking company. However, if you check around a little you will find that there are probably tons of opportunities locally whether you have any experience or not. I can name ten companies here locally that will hire a guy with a CDL no matter if he just got his CDL yesterday, got it 10 years ago and never used it or has been using it for the past 20 years. Most of them couldn't care less if you even have a criminal record and the won't even bother to verify employment history.
Most of the local rock bucket outfits around here work this way. Even the "we can't insure you unless you have 2 years experience" issue is bogus. Bottom line is, 99.9% of the time an insurance company will never know or check into how much experience you have. They will simply go on what the employer tells them. I know this because my wife is an insurance agent and her agency handles several local carriers. I personally know one guy who got his CDL, bought a dump truck, told his insurance company that he had 5 years experience and has been running for the past 2 years. Honestly, he's making a pretty darn good living also. He got in with a large local paving company and works pretty much no stop.
I am not saying that I agree with all of this at all. As a matter of fact, even though I knew all of this I still chose to go about it the right way, get my CDL, hire on with a reputable company and get experience. I am simply stating the facts. If you have a CDL and you are still breathing, someone out there will hire you regardless of your experience or past history.
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In talking to my insurance company, they will check to see how long you have had your CDL. And with my insurance carrier, they ask we get a list of previous employers for the last 3 years. They need to show at least 2 years driving in the last 3. Each insurance company sets their own policies. If a company is large enough, they can sometimes get a driver covered that a smaller carrier cannot. Local driving may also be looked at differently. I could switch insurance companies and probably be able to hire less qualified drivers, but would pay a hefty premium. I think you need to decide whether you want to drive a truck or stay where you are.