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Do diesel technicians need a CDL?

A diesel technician wipes his hands with a cloth while standing in front of two white semi-trucks inside of a shop.

If you're thinking about becoming a diesel technician, you're probably wondering, 'Do diesel technicians need a Commercial Driver's License (CDL) in order to get hired and work in a shop?'

While diesel technicians repair Commercial Motor Vehicles (CMVs) that require the drivers of them to have either a Class A CDL (semi-trucks) or a Class B CDL (straight trucks, passenger buses, dump trucks, etc.), most diesel technicians do not need to have either type of CDL.

This is because driving a CMV is typically not part of a diesel technician's overall responsibilities.

Why would a diesel technician need a CDL?

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, a diesel technician would need to get a CDL if their employer required them to test drive CMVs on public roads or highways following repairs.

A diesel technician can test drive CMVs only on private property if they do not have a CDL.

Benefits of a diesel technician having a CDL

Although having a CDL is not a requirement at most shops, there are some benefits of a diesel technician having one, including:

  • They can test drive CMVs on public roadways after making repairs – they don’t have to wait for the driver to make sure the repairs were successful.
  • They have a more versatile resume.
  • If they are looking for a career change, they could quickly start a new one as a truck driver.

Drawbacks of a diesel technician having a CDL

Along with the benefits, there are a few drawbacks to consider if you’re thinking about getting a CDL as a diesel technician, including:

  • They must pass a DOT physical each year in order to re-validate their CDL.
  • They most-likely will not receive a higher salary because they have a CDL.

So, what does someone need to become a diesel technician?

Although you don't need to go to truck driving school and obtain a CDL in order to become a diesel technician, you should consider getting a diesel tech degree by going to a technical college.

While having a college degree isn't a must-have requirement at all companies, it is typically still encouraged, and you'll often receive a higher starting pay if you have one.

Ready to start the process of becoming a diesel technician?

Now that you know you won't need to obtain a CDL to become a diesel technician, it's time to take the first step into joining the industry. Learn more about how to kickstart your career of working in a shop.

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Schneider Guy loves the "Big Orange." He's passionate about the trucking industry and connecting people to rewarding careers within it. He's been the eyes and ears of our company since our founding in 1935, and he's excited to interact with prospective and current Schneider associates through "A Slice of Orange."

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