So, You Want To Be A Trucker? Five Steps to a Class 1 Licence

 

This is how a few of our trucking Twitter tweeps (say that five times fast) responded when asked what they like about hauling goods around the province. Many people love trucks and have the drive to explore B.C.’s diverse landscapes while helping the economy move. Do you? If so, here’s how to get started.

Step 1: Be sure you qualify

You fit the bill if you have a Class 5 or 6 driver’s licence, which are the full privilege licences that allow you to drive a standard passenger vehicle or motorcycle. You also must be at least 19 years of age.

Step 2: Hit the books

Knowledge is horsepower. Before getting behind the wheel, you’ll need to fill your head with all kinds of trucking know-how, from heavy vehicle braking to identifying signs, signals and road markings. ICBC publishes Driving Commercial Vehicles, a study guide for current and aspiring professional drivers. Give it a solid read (or two) and have a friend quiz you on the content.

Step 3: Put what you’ve learned to the written test

Drop by your local driver licensing office to spill the knowledge you’ve learned on paper by taking the commercial vehicle knowledge test. No need for an appointment, but you’ll need to arrive an hour before the office closes.

Hopefully you studied hard because you must answer 28 of the 35 multiple choice questions correctly to receive your Learner’s licence. You can also take your air brake knowledge test during the same visit; that way, you pay only one fee and can practise with air brake equipped vehicles. Before writing the air brake knowledge test, you must pass an air brake course or prove that you already have adequate air brake experience.
Step 4: Get behind the wheel and practise, practise, practise

Now that you have your Learner’s licence, you can start building firsthand experience behind the wheel. There is no provincial standard for truck driving training prior to taking the commercial road test, but you will be better prepared for success after taking a truck driving school program. There are many schools in B.C., varying in terms of course length and hours in classroom, in-cab and on the road. Some schools offer mentorship programs, so best to do your research to choose which school is right for you.

Step 5: Put what you’ve learned to the road test

You’ve booked your commercial driver road test at your local driver licensing office and filled out all the paperwork. Now it’s go time. The road test actually includes two tests: the pre-trip inspection test, including air brakes, and the on-road test. During the pre-trip inspection test, you will show how to inspect the vehicle and complete a written report. During the road test, you will demonstrate all the trucking skills you’ve learned – everything from starting/stopping, shifting gears, turning, backing up, parking, merging on highways and coupling/uncoupling a tractor unit from a trailer.

Now that you’ve earned your Class 1 commercial driver’s licence, you’re ready to roll. But you’ve got some decisions to make. For instance, do you want to be a long-haul driver (typically travelling outside a 160 km radius of home terminal) or short-haul driver (travelling inside 160 km radius)? You likely already made some valuable contacts from your truck school days, particularly if you completed a mentorship program.

The road is wide open… is it your time to take the first step?

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56 Responses to So, You Want To Be A Trucker? Five Steps to a Class 1 Licence

  1. Jim on January 2, 2014 at 11:43 am

    How difficult is it to find a truck driving job when you have the license. I have heard it is very difficult and there are many people for each vacancy.

    • tranbceditor on January 2, 2014 at 3:27 pm

      Hi Jim,
      You might want to connect with the BC Trucking Association. They’d be more knowledgeable about the current hiring climate for prospective truckers.

    • M on March 9, 2014 at 8:37 am

      To get a job as a trucker with NO exp is not easy. If I was to hire you, you would go through a training program all over again. What you learn in school and what is required of ICBC to get a class 1 is pretty much 10% of what is required to to the real job. We do flat bed long haul with some oversize loads and in school you learn very little to NOTHING in regard to loading. US reg and even Canadian regulation what you can and can’t do on the road. Nothing about duty hours, log books B/L chaining up, if you truck start sliding at 140000 LBS your course of action is totally dif then a car. Every new candidate I have tested have not learned anything about all the legal requirements. This is of course not your fault but ICBC that set a very low standard in order to get a class 1.

      • ICBC on March 10, 2014 at 3:29 pm

        BC’s testing requirements represent current best practices in Canada, with the knowledge and road test assessing some of the necessary industry vocational skills concerning logbooks, pre-trip inspection reports, load securement and fuel efficiency. However, there are limitations in what can be reasonably assessed during the ICBC road test. While it is not possible for ICBC to assess all of the vocational skills and industry qualifications Class 1 drivers need, ICBC does strive to ensure that drivers meet basic driving skills and road safety ability.

        We agree that classroom knowledge and the ICBC road test are a foundation of a professional Class 1 driver’s skill development and we recognize the value of on-the-job training and experience to understand and apply industry regulations, appropriate load securement in various trailering scenarios and Class 1 vehicle handling in emergency situations. These are all important components to becoming a competent professional driver and are best accomplished with a combination of schooling and industry training and experience, in addition to the ICBC road test.

        • Randy on October 30, 2014 at 12:14 pm

          ICBC – In the statement above you quote BC’s testing requirements represent current best practices in Canada. I am currently looking into testing requirements throughout Canada. Could you please send me the link or links where I can get data and information you have on BC’s being the current best practices in testing requirements. Any data on BC’s testing requirements being the best practice in Canada would be greatly appreciated. Thank You Randy.

          • tranbceditor on October 31, 2014 at 9:59 am

            Hi Randy,

            Thanks for connecting with us. We have shared your comment forward with ICBC. Stay tuned.

        • Sam on December 10, 2015 at 10:04 pm

          Its no secret that icbc makes millions off accidents, basic training for a 25 ton + vehicle license is absurd. I know that a push for an apprenticeship program (during licensing) from the industry end is in the works. However, I also heard that ICBC is considering a 28hr class 1 program. Crazy! They have class 1 examiners out there without a class 1 licence telling drivers to speed up and slam it in gear etc to keep up with flow. (with a loaded trailer lol) There are driving schools with instructors who have little experience. (non industry people who just have a licence and think they are fit to train) The problem is that we have a company (ICBC) setting min standards, but it is them who stand to gain off the accidents that are caused by these standards. A smart novice would research driving school credentials and after completion, seek more training on a wide variety of trucks in the industry. Nobody is going to learn on 1 truck. There is a dozen different trucks in the logging business alone. Another viewpoint is that after you pass your road test with a semi trailer you are now fully qualified to get in a Truck with a loaded 53′ lowbed. Good luck in the first corner. There is no defending the low standards in both the experience level in the trainers and examiners, but in the programs themselves.

          • tranbceditor on December 11, 2015 at 9:57 am

            Hi Sam,

            Thanks for connecting with us here. We have shared your concerns forward on your behalf.

      • Oh snap on March 20, 2014 at 10:53 am

        you pissed ICBC off hahaha

        • Duh! on October 17, 2014 at 4:03 pm

          Um Duhh… it’s not hard to piss off ICBC.

  2. mandy on December 9, 2014 at 3:29 pm

    Hi,
    I need info about class1 liencence.
    Actually I hAve already class 7 and class 5 liencence..so when can I get class1 liencence…I meaneed how long time

  3. James on January 22, 2015 at 7:05 am

    Hello,

    I have a question hopefully you have answers to. If you’re a Permanent Residence and a trucker crossing US border, what document should you have?
    How is your residence calculated for applying for Canadian citizenship if almost half the time you are not physically in Canada and going back and force US?

    Thank you

  4. dale broke in Alberta on February 10, 2015 at 8:48 pm

    any funding for class one if your on EI and if not why not I ask the government ? I find you can get funding if your not on ei… who the hell can afford it on ei ?

  5. dale broke in Alberta on February 10, 2015 at 8:49 pm

    oh yeah… moving back to bc … need funding in BC

  6. Manny Sandhu on March 11, 2015 at 9:48 pm

    Hi,

    Can anyone tell me what is a good school to go to for truck class 1 licence. I am new to the field so im not sure what school is best. I live in bc. Also is there a way to get funding for the program for whichever school I go to from the government or from a private partner that I can get a loan from.

    • tranbceditor on March 12, 2015 at 2:32 pm

      Hi Manny,

      We can’t recommend one school over the other, but you could connect with ICBC for more information or search for schools that are highly recommended online. You could also connect with the BC Trucking Association for more information on programs and/or funding which support the development of new drivers. Hope that this helps!

  7. tran on March 18, 2015 at 12:37 pm

    I need your help with air brake knowledge test online thank

    • tranbceditor on March 19, 2015 at 9:29 am

      Hi Tran,
      If you have a specific question around BC regulations, we can certainly help. But if you’re asking us to help you with a test, I don’t know if your teacher or our parents would approve.

  8. Effie on April 5, 2015 at 10:34 pm

    My question.
    Can a B.C resident obtain a class one with air brakes in Alberta?

  9. Dimitri on April 29, 2015 at 7:29 pm

    I was wondering if my truck license from ontario (AZ)
    Would be valid (fully transferable) in BC.
    Or would I need to re- do some training?
    Thank you.

  10. dylan nelson on May 13, 2015 at 2:54 pm

    Hi I was wonderig if there is a way to get funding to help with the costs of the course

    • tranbceditor on May 14, 2015 at 12:14 pm

      Hi Dylan,

      We encourage you to connect with the BC Trucking Association to see if they are aware of any programs supporting the development of new drivers. Hope that this helps.

  11. Teagan on May 14, 2015 at 10:24 pm

    Hi, I know that in BC and some other places, women are getting their trades payed for by the government if they choose to do that. Is there any sort of thing like that for women who are looking to get their commercial driver’s license and drive truck?

  12. Anonymous on June 18, 2015 at 5:37 pm

    Do you need ilet test to renew your class 1 license

    • tranbceditor on June 19, 2015 at 3:05 pm

      Thanks for the question. To confirm, do you mean an IELT (international English language test)?

  13. tony on July 7, 2015 at 2:57 pm

    Hi . I am doing my class 1 and already pass the knowledge test and pretrip knowledge test at once but I stuck in road test this time would be my third time .I am having some difficulty down shifting and sometimes missing gear don’t know on which speed which gear is needed .any tip you can suggest me . thank you Tony

    • tranbceditor on July 7, 2015 at 4:18 pm

      Hi Tony,
      Have you thought about lessons? They may be able to help you with that with a hands on approach.

      • tony on July 8, 2015 at 3:24 pm

        Hi , I definitely need more practice . I am gonna keep practicing until i get ready for the road test . wish me a luck . and thank you for your quick response . tony

  14. Amy on August 22, 2015 at 8:39 pm

    Hi, I’m thinking of entering into the trucking industry.
    Does it matter what age to start.Are there trucking companies that hire and train you? I can’t afford the course.

  15. Dave on September 8, 2015 at 1:33 pm

    For Class 3 licence – at what GVW of vehicle do you need to bump up to Class 3

    • tranbceditor on September 8, 2015 at 2:12 pm

      Good question Dave,

      We have sent your question to the CVSE – stay tuned!

      • Hardy on October 1, 2015 at 6:06 am

        Having driven single axle 7ton moving van in just about every Canadian jurisdiction and most. west US states, I had multiple run ins with local authorities questioning me on this. Due to license reciprocity, I can state this: BC has NO GVW restrictions on your class 5 license. As long as you are single rear axle, you can operate any GVW vehicle. As soon as you go tandem/tridem rears, you need class 3. I ran a moving van single rear with a non air brake trailer (under 4600kg) on a class 5., which would have needed either class 1/A or at least a D license in several other jurisdictions.

  16. Lisa on October 15, 2015 at 12:58 pm

    There is currently a program running for women that are wanting to get into the trucking industry. (Get your class 1) If you quality the YWCA will pay for it. Call the YWCA in Vancouver on Hornby St. for more information. The classes are starting now and maybe later. They will be sending you to a truck driving school. Good luck.

  17. Glen on December 16, 2015 at 8:29 am

    ICBC is a farce.

    I went for my class 4 road test, have driven taxi, tow truck and moving trucks from coast to coast, no accidents in 30 years.

    Yesterday i got an examiner that appeared to be around 20-25 years old maximum.

    EVERY single time i did my shoulder check SHE did the check herself and at the end told my i had missed most of my shoulder checks…wow!

    I did a complete circle of the engine, and being a back yard mechanic (rebuilt many cars and trucks) i told her then engine and all hoses were fine and also i checked the dipsticks and steering / brake fluid.

    I told her the tires were brand new and also did a inspection on them.

    I have grown accustomed to what i call a ‘featherstop’ or in other words what they consider a rolling stop. The vehicle in my driving comes to a complete stop cant move cause the brake is applied fully yet you don’t feel it because of ‘no jerking’ This is practiced since as a cab driver we would deal with many seniors that need a soft ride.

    I checked all the interior gauges and told her all was fine.

    During the whole trip i made sure not to go over 50-54 in a 50 zone, hard sometimes when coasting when you are on a main drag steep hill and tonnes of traffic behind you.

    She failed me because of the no shoulder checks, no tire checks, no explanation of the vehicle examining i did. Plus other things.

    Good scam ICBC has to rake in 40 bucks a crack.

  18. Franz on January 4, 2016 at 9:23 am

    Hey Guys, I Just got my Class 1 license and i went through a school. now I’m looking for a job and it seems hard to get one without exp. What should I do?

    • tranbceditor on January 4, 2016 at 9:47 am

      Hi Franz,

      We suggest connecting with the school you went to for opportunities as well as the BC Trucking Association to start. Hope that this helps!

  19. Harman on February 9, 2016 at 3:10 pm

    Hi
    I have class 4 license and now want to apply for class 1.Actually i have submitted my verification paper from back country. I want to know that how much time ICBC will take to approve my papers?
    It is more than two weeks i have submitted the documnts,,,its very hard to wait so long for a approval.please let me know about the exact time.
    Thanks.

  20. Krisz on March 24, 2016 at 3:18 pm

    Hi
    I got a class 1 license and I gave back my class 5 license to ICBC.I did this good or may has anybody 2 license at the time?

  21. Harman khurmi on April 17, 2016 at 11:26 am

    Hi
    I am moving to BC from india. Here in india i have license to drive car, motorcycle and tractor.
    My questions are
    To be a trucker what i have to do ? Which test i will have to take ?
    Can i apply directlly for class one test or i will have to clear class 5 test at first .

    Or tell me contact no. To make my doubts clear thakns

  22. Amaan on July 14, 2016 at 9:21 am

    Can one eye vision person get class 1 license or not?
    Please let me know Asap

    • tranbceditor on July 14, 2016 at 2:34 pm

      Hi Amaan on, I looked at the ICBC website, and it does not say anything about whether having only one eye that works, would stop you from obtaining a Class 1 licence. (see further below). I suggest you phone ICBC and ask them: toll free in ​B.C., Canada and the U.S.
      1-800-663-3051 or Lower Mainland 604-661-2800.

      You can also email them your question by filling out this form: https://onlinebusiness.icbc.com/eforms/dotcom/jsp/feedback_customer_relations.jsp

      From: http://www.icbc.com/driver-licensing/types-licences/Pages/Get-your-commercial-driver-licence.aspx :

      Physical disabilities
      If you’re an amputee or have another physical disability that may affect your driving ability, you might need a prosthetic device or specific vehicle modification to help you qualify

      Medical conditions
      Some medical conditions may prevent you from getting a commercial licence. These include, but are not limited to:
      Certain types of epilepsy
      Certain psychiatric conditions
      Certain neurological conditions
      Certain heart conditions
      Certain diabetic conditions
      Certain sleep disorders
      The existence of a medical condition does not necessarily mean you will be ineligible to obtain a commercial licence. It is important that you disclose your conditions during your application process so that an individual determination can be made early in the process. To facilitate this, additional information about any relevant condition that you have may then be provided by your doctor when completing a Drivers Medical Examination Report.

  23. Sohi on September 1, 2016 at 11:57 pm

    Hello

    I am an international worker waiting LMIA outside of Canada, and will do work as a long-haul truck driver. I have almost 3-year truck driving experience in my country but I dont have class 1 license yet. when I arrive there, I think I could try the test to get class 1 license.
    Is there a rule that I have to obtain the license in two months after entry of Canada? The employer said that my visa may be canceled otherwise.

    Thanks.

  24. Luke Forssell on March 14, 2017 at 11:20 am

    Hi, i moved to the nwt for eight years, i left bc with a class 3 drivers license with air endorsemnet, while there i drove dump trucks etc, and upgraded to a class 2 license, which in the nwt covers all vehicles in classes 5, 4 and 3. so no class 2,3 required. upon returning to bc, i was only given a class 2, which in bc only allows me to drive buses and class 5 vehicles. is there a way to get my class 3 back without taking the learners test, road test etc? This seems unfair as i never “gave up my class 3” as it were, and this affects my livelihood as a commercial driver?

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