The Difference Between CDL Types & Why It Matters

cdl types

What are the differences in CDL types and why does it matter for a concrete construction company? You may find yourself asking this question if you’re considering taking on the vast world of the transportation industry. Understanding the difference will help you know which license to obtain. There are three types of CDLs; however, today we will only be discussing two. Class A and Class B. The differences lie in the type, weight, and load of the vehicle. Let’s drive into it further.

The Difference Between CDL Types & Why It Matters

Class A CDL

Nettts explains that “a class A license is considered the “universal” CDL, providing the opportunities for driving several different types of commercial trucks and tractor-trailers.” A CDL-A allows the driver to operate anything with a semi-trailer or trailer with two or more axles. The class A category includes vehicles greater than 26,000 pounds with a towing capacity of 10,000 pounds. Basically, it’s pretty all-encompassing. Most operations of commercial motor vehicles fall under class A.

A class A CDL is necessary if you want to drive a tractor-trailer, truck, double or triple trailer, tractor-trailer bus, tanker vehicle, livestock carrier, or flatbed. Common careers with this license include heavy truck drivers, over-the-road drivers, semi-truck drivers, and tractor-trailer operators. Since this license is so encompassing, the possibilities and earning potentials are vast.

Class B CDL

A class B CDL is a bit more limiting than a class A. It’s more geared towards straight trucks, buses, and dump trucks. If the gross vehicle weight rating is greater than 26,000 but the towing vehicle is less than 10,000 pounds, this would be considered a class B CDL.

If you want to drive a straight truck, box truck, large passenger bus, or dump truck with a small trailer, a class B CDL will be required. However, if you don’t plan on making it a lifelong career and only want to stay in the scope of these vehicles, a class B may be perfect.

Steps to obtain a CDL

Each state has its own set of requirements when it comes to obtaining a CDL. However, let’s go over some basic steps. First and foremost, you’ll want to research and decide on a truck driving school in your area. Along with this decision, you’ll want to decide what you want to do with your license. Is this just a short-term gig or do you want a lifelong career? This will help you decide whether to go for class A or B. With a class A license, you can also drive class B. However, if you opt for a class B, that’s all you’ll be able to drive. You’ll then want to get a Commercial Learners’ permit to start practicing your skills. Many schools will prepare you for this permit and give you that real-world experience that will help you once you’re ready to spread your wings.

Often, a physical will be required to ensure you’re in top shape to take on these heavy loads. Once your training has reached completion, it’s test time. The CDL exam is made up of a vehicle inspection test, basic controls test, and a road test. These tests include things like roadside inspection, as well as basic maneuvers and driving skills. Once you’ve passed the test, you can now declare yourself a proud owner of a class A or class B CDL!


A CDL helps protect both you and the company that you choose to work for. It keeps you safe, knowledgeable, and ready for whatever the transportation industry may throw at you. Deciding how you’d like to use your CDL will be an imperative first step in determining which one will be right for you. Keep in mind that class A will provide you with essentially limitless opportunities. If you’re not looking to dive in completely, a class B may be more up your alley. Either way, having an understanding of both brings you one step closer to hitting the road!

Additional Reading: CDL Classes, Endorsements and Restrictions – Nebraska

TR Concrete Construction in Omaha, NE

This industry takes a lot of heavy machinery and tough labor, but it also requires as much or more planning, critical thinking, and fine touch to get a quality finished product. It is a very rewarding career and keeps you constantly on your toes being that 2 days are never the same. It is a profession that has been around for a long time and is ever-evolving and still remains a very vital staple in today’s economy.

As a reputable business with over 25 years of concrete construction experience, TR Construction has expertise with projects large and small to include:

  • commercial building concrete
  • footings
  • paving
  • remove, and replacement of concrete
  • industrial projects
  • special projects for clients

TR Construction can deliver Concrete Excellence on your next project. Contact us today by filling out the form or give us a call at (402) 238-2599.