How To Get a Heavy Vehicle Licence
Getting your heavy vehicle licence is great for increasing your job opportunities, learning a new skill, and making yourself more available to the transport industry.
With so many different heavy vehicle options for you to choose from, you’re probably wondering which is the right licence for you to get.
Let me thoroughly yet briefly explain the different heavy vehicle Licences that are available to you, the job opportunities that you can obtain with each licence and which licence we down right believe is the best one.
There are 5 types of truck Licences available to you:
A light rigid licence is a class up from a car licence. To be qualified to go for an LR licence you must have hold your car licence for 12 months.
An LR licence in the easiest licence to obtain. It allows you to drive small trucks (up to 8 tonne GVM), mini-buses and small motor homes.
When you receive your LR Licence you will be able to drive:
- Coaster buses– hotel air-port transfer, aged care driver, backpacker/ hostel driver
- Commuter buses for more than 12 seats (including the driver)
- Small truck 4.5-8 tonne GVM g. -tradies, milk truck drivers, produce delivery drivers, commercial alcohol delivery drivers
From a job seeker’s point of view, it can be a restrictive licence, which is why we recommend the MR and HR Licence.
Applying for an MR licence will cover you for any truck and bus with 2 axles. To qualify for this licence you only need to have your car licence for 12 months.
This type of licence will offer more job opportunities than an LR Licence as you can apply for jobs such as local freight delivery drive, removalists, car carriers, tow trucks and buses etc.
An MR Licence will allow you to drive a GVM greater than 8 tonnes and any tow trailer, which doesn’t weigh greater than 9t GVM.
For not much more you would be able to upgrade to a HR licence and which is eligible for even more job opportunities. This is the ideal licence to apply for, if you’re currently job-seeking.
An HR Licence is the highest licence you can obtain from your car licence. It is the licence we recommend most for job seekers as it offers the best value and it makes you qualified to drive a much larger range of heavy vehicles with 3 or more axles.
To qualify for this licence you need to have your car licence for 2 years.
An HR Unconditional licence (no gearbox conditions) will be the best for you to obtain when it comes to employment opportunities because you’ll be qualified to drive any HR Vehicle with any type of gearbox.
Once you have your HR unconditional licence for over 12 months it will make it easier and more affordable to upgrade to a HC or MC licence where there is more money to be earned.
However, everyone requires a HR unconditional licence.
For an entry-level licence into the road transport business, you can simply do it with an HR Condition B Licence, which is very affordable to obtain and also comes with lots of job opportunities. This is the ideal licence to get it if you wanted to drive trucks, buses and/or coaches for a living and not a road ranger gearbox.
Besides you can easily upgrade your licence to an unconditional at a later time when you need it.
A HC licence is a truck or a prime mover towing 1 trailer. to be eligible for this licence you will require to have held a MR or HR licence for at least 12 months prior.
HC allows you to drive 1 trailer and any towed trailer with GVM of more than 9 tonnes.
HC licence will qualify you to drive a semi-trailer, which includes a prime mover, pig trailers, floats and low loaders.
If obtaining an MC licence is your goal, then obtaining your HC licence one year prior will be the best step, as insurance companies and the majority of employers prefer this. It will help prepare your confidence and your skill for an MC Truck.
There are also three types of HC Licences to choose from:
- HC Unconditional
HC Unconditional licence allows you to drive a non-synchromesh vehicle and requires you to have excellent manual skills. Obtaining this licence will allow you to drive an automatic, synchromesh or non-synchromesh gearbox and will require 12hrs of training
- HC Condition B allows you to drive a synchromesh vehicle and requires you to have excellent manual skills. It will only require you to do 5-7 lessons
- HC Condition A allows you to drive an automatic gearbox. Only requires you to do 5-7 lessons as well.
A MC licence will allow you to drive a truck with more than 1 trailer commonly known as a B-double or road train. To be able to qualify for this licence you will require to have held your HR or HC licence for at least 12 months.
This is the highest licence you can get for the transport industry as a huge responsibility is placed on drivers using these vehicles. Unlike other Licences this particular licence due to its superiority is done by an accredited RTO.
To obtain this particular licence it will be done via a course rather than as a lesson.
To get this licence it’s important that you get it done with a training school that has a good reputation with RTO, such as School Of Transport.
Bottom line: choose a licence that will get you more job opportunities, which suit your needs and goals and then get as much experience under your belt as possible. Because unfortunately it is a vicious cycle where you’ll need experience just as much as a superior heavy vehicle licence to get picked for a job.
Some additional words of advice, for new younger truck drivers looking for a job in the transporting industry, instead of searching on Seek, try looking at newspapers, noticeboards and truck industry magazines for job opportunities. Alternatively, start as a removalist and get some Kms under your belt before you apply for your ideal job. This will make getting your ideal job, easier.