On The Road Again: Should You Choose VORT or CBT Testing To Qualify For A Rigid Heavy Vehicle License?

There are endless reasons why earning a truck license can be worth your time and money, whether you want training to drive your RV around the country or you want to broaden your employment oppurtunities with a highly lucrative new skill. However, different drivers respond better to different teaching methods, so a variety of training and licensing programs are offered by different truck license training services.

To earn your heavy vehicle license, you can choose one of two training and testing methods offered by truck licensing services — Vehicle On Road Testing (VORT) or Competency Based Training (CBT). These different approaches to qualification have their own advantages and disadvantages, and one training method may be far more suitable for your specific needs than the other. You should therefore familiarise yourself with the ins and outs of each training method before you decide which is right for you.

What is Vehicle On Road Testing, and is it right for me?

As its name would suggest, Vehicle On Road Testing involves a test adjudicator riding with you as you perform various maneuvers and demonstrate your safe driving skills on actual, in-use public roads. Depending on the class of license you wish to qualify for, the exact nature of your VORT will be different, but all on-road tests involve basic driving competency testing, slow speed safety tests, traffic management skill evaluation, and other skill tests vital for safe use of heavy vehicles.

Vehicle On Road Testing does not involve any kind of training prior to taking the test, and you do not have to have performed a minimum number of driving hours before you can legally take the test. As such, this variety of testing is ideal for drivers who have prior experience with heavy vehicle driving, or learners who have taken private driving lessons from an outfit that does not offer testing services. They are particularly useful if you need to earn a license quickly, as many VORTs can be completed in one or two days.

However, VORT is an unforgiving testing method requiring a significant amount of prior skill and experience, and inexperienced drivers seeking to jump the queue by opting for VORT straight away will generally walk away with no license and a shrunken bank account. VORTs also cannot be performed by anybody who gave you formal driving lessons.

What is Competency Based Training, and is it right for me?

Competency Based Training is a far more in-depth approach to learning how to drive heavy vehicles, and it includes a series of formal lessons given by licensed truck training operators. A minimum amount of lessons and driving hours must be completed before you are eligible for final testing, and a logbook is kept by both you and your training operator to keep track of different tasks and maneuvers as you learn how to perform them.

CBT is ideally suited for the novice heavy vehicle driver, providing a thorough foundation of driving skill and a wealth of experience before you actually take your license test. It also allows you to learn at your own pace, while VORTs must be completed within a limited time frame, making CBT the ideal approach for slower learners and drivers who have nagging troubles with certain tasks, such as hill starts.

Unfortunately, CBT can be a much more lengthy and expensive process than jumping straight to the VORT, due to the number of man hours put in by your instructors and adjudicators. Having to complete a minimum number of hours before you are eligible to take a license test also means that licenses earned via CBT cannot be earned quickly.