AZ? DZ? What License is Right for You?

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Getting started in the trucking industry in Canada is a great career step, but before you can start looking for truck driver jobs, you need to make sure that you have the right commercial driver's license. 

Do you need a DZ license or an AZ license? What is the difference between AZ and DZ? Many new drivers are unsure which classification of commercial license they need to upgrade their G license to. So, we're explaining the difference between an AZ and DZ license so you can decide which one is right for you.

All Canadian Truckers Need a Commercial Drivers License

AZ and DZ license is required for drivers operating any of the following types of vehicles:

  • Tractor-trailer/ truck combination
  • A motor vehicle and towed vehicle combination, in which the motor vehicle has air brakes
  • A vehicle with double trailers

Regular drivers hold a Class G license in Ontario, and if they want to become truckers, upgrade to one of the two types of commercial licenses.

What are the Main Differences Between AZ and DZ Licenses?

The weight of the vehicle that the trucker will drive determines which kind of commercial license they will need.

An AZ license allows operators to drive a commercial vehicle / trailer combination weighing more than 4,600 kg, a towed vehicle, or operate a vehicle pulling double trailers. A DZ license allows drivers to operate vehicles or vehicle trailer combinations weighing over 11,000 kg. DZ license holders may operate any combination of vehicles that weighs 11,000 kg, plus a trailer weighing up to 4,600 kg.

The "Z" on the AZ and DZ license indicates that the driver received training in operating full air brake systems and certification that they can safely do so. Nearly all heavy vehicles have air brakes. The requirement for this certification is 8 hours of training and a knowledge test.

Commercial drivers may obtain just a commercial Class A or Class D license, but without the Z certification, they cannot operate most heavy vehicles and therefore limit their possibilities if they want to become truck drivers for hire.

More About AZ Commercial Licenses

Long-haul truckers can benefit from an AZ license course, which allows the holder to operate any motor vehicle, including ones towing one or to trailers, that weighs more than 4,600 kg (10,000 lb). The only type of vehicle that an AZ commercial license holder may not operate is a bus carrying passengers, which requires separate C-Class training and certification.

More About DZ Commercial Licenses

The DZ license training allows drivers to complete the training and road test without backing up a trailer. DZ license holders may operate a heavy vehicle weighing 4,600 kg, although their choices for driving a vehicle with a trailer attachment may be limited since tractor-trailer drivers often need to back up their vehicle for deliveries and loading. However, people with a Class AZ license automatically qualify for the DZ license.

A DZ license holder may be looking for truck driver jobs operating heavy vehicles, such as garbage trucks, rescue vehicles (a fire truck or ambulance), dump trucks, or a cement mixer. These options are better for truck drivers who prefer to work closer to home instead of long treks on the road.

Obtaining Your Canadian Commercial Drivers License

The first step in getting your AZ or DZ license is to obtain a valid Ontario licence and a vision test submit. Once you have that license, you can enroll in CDL training. You cannot enroll in CDL training for your AZ drivers license if you only have a training permit or a motorcycle license.

Are You Looking For a Commercial Trucking Job in Canada?

If you are looking for the right fit for a commercial driving career, we can help! Truckker is a technology-driven commercial truck driver agency that connects qualified drivers with the right opportunities.

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