Truck Driving Jobs Without a CDL
If the idea of getting paid to drive appeals to you, but you aren't interested in driving extremely large vehicles or being away from home for long periods, a trucking position that doesn't require a commercial driver's license (CDL) may be right for you.
This article discusses what a CDL is, provides a list of jobs that typically don't require CDLs, and names some benefits of non-CDL driving positions. It'll also discuss how to find these jobs and list a few common employers for these drivers.
What is a CDL?
A commercial driver’s license (CDL) is needed to operate heavy, oversized, or hazardous material-transporting vehicles. You might need a CDL to drive a bus, semi, tractor-trailer, dump truck, livestock carrier, tank, or HAZMAT vehicle.
There are three classes of CDL license, based on the type of vehicle you want to drive:
To obtain any CDL license, you need to undergo a training program, pass exams, get a medical evaluation, and more.
What Driving Jobs Don't Require CDLs?
Many jobs allow you to spend your days on the road without a CDL, and they can range from driving standard-sized vehicles to those just shy of what requires a CDL.
Below, we describe several driving careers that don't require CDLs. However, in some of these careers, a CDL may still be worth considering if you want to move up the ladder from driving, say, a standard mail truck to one that transports tons of mail nationwide. Additionally, your state may have different laws governing whether you need a CDL or other specialized license.
When looking at the job growth projections below, keep in mind that the government only estimates the number of net new jobs expected and doesn't factor in possible current shortages, which may be the case for some of these jobs in addition to those requiring CDLs.
Straight Truck Driving
A straight truck driving job involves delivering things like furniture, appliances, fitness equipment, mattresses, and other commercial products to homes or businesses.
An average day in a straight truck driver's life depends on the type of goods you transport. Many straight truck drivers work locally and during set hours, but some may be on the road longer or cross state lines.
Some states may require a Class B CDL to drive straight trucks. However, experience is not necessary for most straight truck driving positions. Plus, the job often comes with comprehensive health benefits, paid vacation time, and a 401k.
A mover is like a delivery driver, except they transport people's belongings from one home to another. To become a mover, you need a clean driving record, customer service skills, and the ability to lift and carry heavy furniture and boxes all day.
You only need a CDL to work as a mover if you're driving very large moving trucks—if an individual could rent a truck to make the move on their own, you can drive it without a CDL. If you only provide local moving services, you may have set hours allowing you to be home nightly; however, some may take you cross-country. Pay varies based on your employer and location.
Personal or Rideshare Driver (Taxi, Chauffer, Uber, Lyft, and Similar)
A personal or rideshare driver could handle several vehicle types, from taxis and limousines to personal cars through companies like Uber and Lyft.
The right option depends on your schedule and type of employment. If you work directly for a cab or limo company, for instance, they may set your hours. Uber, Lyft, and other rideshare drivers often work on their own schedules. The majority of this work is local, so you shouldn't be gone for days at a time.
As a personal driver, you should be familiar with driving in the area. You may want to know the major city streets, hotels, and shopping areas. Carting passengers to and from their destinations also includes loading their luggage and keeping the car clean.
It's worth noting that if you drive your personal vehicle for rideshare purposes, this may affect your car insurance rate.
Delivery Driver or Courier
If you want to work regular hours and prefer independence to work on your own, consider a job as a delivery driver or courier. Courier jobs can involve picking up and delivering packages to people around your location. You may deliver messages, documents, packages, or other items.
Most courier positions don't require a CDL license, but you must be physically fit because it involves a lot of lifting and carrying. It would help if you also had excellent customer service skills and are punctual.
The United States Postal Service employs mail carriers. Jobs in this field are more competitive than they used to be, but they come with fantastic benefits and starting salaries. It's a great option if you want job security.
As a mail carrier, you must be careful and reliable. There's little to no supervision, so you should be okay working alone. In many cases, you may drive your truck to a location, park, then walk door to door, sometimes for miles at a time. Expect to drive a small van in your city, not carry the mail cross-country.
However, there are mail driving positions requiring CDLs. These involve driving very large trucks, often across the country.
Driveaway drivers move many types of vehicles from one place to another. This position can involve anything from moving an individual's car across the country because they flew to their new home to transporting vehicles large enough for you to need a CDL.
No matter what, you need a clean driving record to do this job.
Driveaway drivers work extended hours in closed spaces and grueling hours so you can meet your deadlines. You need to be comfortable being alone on the road for hours, if not days, and driving over all sorts of terrain.
CDL Driver Assistant
If you're considering earning a CDL but aren't sure if the career is for you, being a CDL driver assistant may be a good way to figure out your path. Some companies hire CDL driver assistants to help the CDL driver. In this role, you learn first-hand from a CDL driver in your field.
You might need to know some information about road safety, cargo storage, and product assembly. However, your primary job is to help the driver load and unload the truck. You work under your assigned driver's direction, performing all aspects of their position except driving the truck.
You don't need a CDL or previous experience to get a job as a driver assistant, but previous warehouse experience is a bonus. You should be physically able to lift heavy loads, work flexible hours, and, depending on the company, be willing to be away from home for long periods.
Why Would I Want a Driving Job that Doesn't Need a CDL?
Although a CDL provides a wide range of opportunities, there are many benefits to non-CDL careers. The most significant benefit may be that CDL training and licensure take time and money. If you can't afford a trucking school, the role may not be right for you at the moment.
If you want to make it home every day, you may also prefer a non-CDL driving job. Most driving jobs without CDLs have routes that allow the driver to be home nightly rather than having you on the road for days or weeks on end. Some may include late nights or working on the weekends. However, keep in mind that some CDL driving jobs are also local and don’t require being away from home for extended periods.
What if Money is the Only Reason I Don't Want a CDL?
Don’t let money hold you back from the career or earning potential you’d love. If funding is an issue for you, check out other options to cover your tuition and licensure fees.
Many truck companies offer company-paid training or tuition reimbursement if you work for them for a specific time after earning your CDL. Make sure the company fits with your long-term work goals if you choose this option. Depending on the driving school, you might also have financial aid options available.
Most driving schools offer CDL training benefits for military veterans. If you drove military vehicles in the past, you could earn your CDL faster as well. A few waiver programs allow you to exchange your knowledge for a CDL by taking skills tests. Eligibility depends on your state and experience.
How to Find a Non-CDL Driving Job
Look for truck driving jobs that don't require a CDL on job boards like Indeed, ZipRecruiter, and Glassdoor. Explore options at local companies known to hire drivers, such as delivery companies. Double-check to make sure the job you apply for is a non-CDL position and not looking to train people for a CDL unless that's the route you wish to take.
Common Employers for Non-CDL Driving Jobs
If a company sells or transports goods, chances are they need drivers—and many of them may need drivers without CDLs. While this is far from an all-inclusive list, a few common employers willing to hire drivers without CDLs include: