There is more than one certification program for Veterans to translate their military experience operating trucks and heavy equipment into real world credentials that smooth the road to transitioning into civilian employment.
Trucking is one of the few occupations that makes an effort to translate Veterans’ military background directly into credentials that provide job security and excellent benefits. These programs give Veterans the credit that they deserve for the experience they gained serving in the armed forces.
Many Veterans report struggling with employment as they transition from the military into civilian life. In spite of extensive leadership and logistical skills, adaptability, and dependability, Veterans consistently find themselves unable to translate their skill sets into the civilian world.
One Veteran, Nate Beaman, reported that even as a teenager still in the armed forces he was already encountering the divide between military training and civilian life: He laughingly told this reporter that he could pilot a million dollar Black Hawk at 18, but he wasn’t allowed to rent a car.
But when it comes to Veterans’ careers skills that are lost in translation it’s no laughing matter. The transportation industry is working to close some of that divide for Veterans: the Military Skills Test Waiver Program and the Even Exchange Program (Knowledge Test Waiver) both give Veterans credit for their experience operating trucks and heavy equipment with the military. Work Wave has details on these specific programs and those that qualify:
Military Skills Test Waiver Program The Military Skills Test Waiver Program is a program that “allows drivers with two years’ experience safely operating heavy military vehicles to obtain a commercial driver’s license (CDL) without taking the driving test (skills test).” It is available to individuals from every state. A requirement for this program includes being employed within the past year in a military position that required the operation of a military vehicle. Even Exchange Program (Knowledge Test Waiver) The Even Exchange Program, also known as the knowledge test waiver, is a program that “allows qualified military drivers to be exempt from the knowledge test for obtaining a commercial driver’s license (CDL).” Combined with the Military Skills Test Waiver Program, veterans can enter the Even Exchange Program to forgo both the knowledge and the skills test to exchange their military license for a CDL. However, not every veteran can apply for this program. Only those who were in the following military positions are eligible: U.S. Army: 88M – Motor Transport Operator; 92F – Fueler; 14T – Patriot Launching Station Operator; U.S. Marine Corps: 3531 – Motor Vehicle Operator; U.S. Navy: EO – Equipment Operator; U.S. Air Force: 2TI – Vehicle Operator; 2FO – Fueler; 3E2 – Pavement and Construction Equipment Operator. It’s also important to note that not every state has implemented this program. Reach out to your local DMV to see whether or not the state you wish to obtain a CDL in offers these programs. “Truck driving is a career that isn’t for everyone, but is a perfect match for Veterans who are seeking excellent benefits, a flexible work schedule, and job security.”