HGV Category C1 Licence

If you love the thrill of the open road and want to forge a career driving larger vehicles, then the Category C1 driving licence is an excellent first step. With it, you can drive lorries, vans and box trucks that weigh up to 7.5 tonnes.

Did you know... gaining a C1 licence gives you access to a wealth of employment opportunities – from road haulage to ambulance driving – making it a great qualification for those looking for a change of career or students fresh out of education.

What Can You Drive With This Licence?

The Category C1 licence allows you to drive rigid vehicles that weigh between 3,500kg and 7,500kg MAM (maximised authorised mass), with a trailer of up to 750kg in weight.

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The Type of Work You Can Expect

The Cat C1 licence opens the doors to many commercial driving roles, within many industry sectors. These include healthcare, consumer goods and retail, house removals, engineering and construction. Here are some of the types of vehicles you’ll be qualified to drive:
c1 horsebox
  • Ambulances
  • Medium-sized goods delivery vehicles
  • Removal vans
  • Large motorhomes
  • Horseboxes
  • Mobile cranes


In terms of earning potential, given the wide variety of career choices, salaries will obviously vary. However, as a general guide, Category C1 delivery drivers can expect earnings of up to £22,000 per year, while the annual salary for an ambulance driver can reach £30,000 in the London Ambulance Service.

Qualifications Required

The Category C1 licence is a driving entitlement that’s added to your car driving licence. Here are the licence requirements. You’ll need to:
  • Be at least 18 years of age.
  • Hold a full car driving licence (Category B).
  • Pass the Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC) qualification.

Here are the steps to gaining your professional C1 licence, if you want to work commercially:

  1. Apply for a provisional Category C1 licence (using DVLA form D2).
  2. Take a medical test, via your GP or a specialist provider (with DVLA form D4).
  3. Train for and pass the four parts of the Driver CPC. This includes two theory elements – Theory and Case Studies – and two practical driving tests.
  4. Receive your Driver CPC card, known as the Driver Qualification Card (DQC).
c1 driver

The HGV Training process

Now you need to understand the HGV Training process:

It can seem complicated starting out, with different licences and paperwork to send off for, complete and send back and some find the process and language confusing. Some HGV training providers will look after all of this for you, but with some schools you’ll have to work through each phase yourself. In short the process is as follows:

process 1

Choose a training company

Select and register with a HGV Training company, fill your details in to the training pack

Arrange your medical test

A simple medical test needs to be done, it will only take 5 minutes and can be donewith your local GP

process 3

Complete your theory test

To help you prepare for your theory test there are a huge range of online learning materials and 1:1 support

process 4

Complete your practical training

Your HGV Training will be taken over 4 days and will provide you with all you need to pass your practical test

If you’re not driving for a living – for example if the C1 entitlement is required for driving a large motorhome – they you’ll only require a vocational licence. This involves both theory and practical driving tests, but not the full CPC. However, you’ll face some of the same theory questions as those studying to become HGV Category C drivers. This means that you’ll need to learn subjects such as the use of tachographs, so it’s vital to find a good training provider and make the best use of online revision tools from the DVSA.

Note: If you passed your test before 1 January 1997, you’ll see that the C1 entitlement is already granted on your licence.

However, this doesn’t mean you can drive C1 vehicles for a living. You’ll still need to undergo full Driver CPC training via a training provider.

Looking to get started on your HGV training?

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Career Progression

The Category C1 driving licence is an excellent way to expand your employment opportunities. Entry level positions pay well, and there’s good job security once you’ve secured a role. C1 drivers who want to move on to larger vehicles can also upgrade to the Category C1+E licence. This qualification entitles licence holders to drive C1 vehicles with a trailer that weighs over 750kg, as long as the combined weight doesn’t exceed 12 tonnes.

Licence Types and Earning Potential

Category C1 licence
Cat C’s smaller cousin. Drive vehicles between 3500 – 7500kg with trailer up to 750kg.

Average salary per year

up to £28k

cat c1+e licence

Category C1+E licence
Small, rigid body vehicle towing a trailer weighing more than 750kg.

Average salary per year

up to £28k

Category C licence
Drive rigid body vehicles up to 7500kg with trailer up to 750kg. The most common licence.

Average salary per year

up to £36k

Category C+E licence
Drive vehicles over 7500kg with trailers over 750kg. Higher earning potential.

Average salary per year

up to £50k

The most important thing when starting out, is to understand your options when choosing a training provider. This is an investment in your future so make sure you choose the right company for you.

There are providers out there who have less reputable backgrounds, so make sure you look into the company before signing up. Make sure the training provider is an established company in a good financial position. Companies House is a good place to check on a company’s background; just search for their company name and check on how recently it was set up, and what their history looks like.

Look at Google reviews for fair, unbiased reviews from people who have trained with them. And compare costs – making sure you understand exactly what is included.

Also check your provider is a member with the RHA And / or the FTA, both of whom are important industry bodies in haulage and logistics. This will ensure you have found a legitimate and accredited HGV training provider.

Costs vary by location and licence, but we have found cost is typically around £1,999 for an entry-level Category C licence. CPC is also dependent on location and school, but on average around £350.

If you don’t have the savings to fund this, beware of HGV Training providers offering credit as this can add thousands of pounds to the cost of training. It is sometimes worth considering your own financial position, a credit card can be a cheaper way to borrow the funds for training.

Some providers may be able to split the payments, making it more affordable for you to train.

If you are flexible on location and training, you can train in as little as 4 days. You will always have to wait for the DVLA to process your application and the test centre’s forms so the minimum to expect is around 3 weeks. At the moment, due to the impact of covid on the industry, these times may be affected.

Pass rates for the HGV test vary depending on time of year, location and attempt number. You can vastly increase your chances by choosing the right provider. Ask what the training school’s pass rate is.

Your test will usually last 90 minutes, and will include a number of manoeuvres, such as reversing into a loading bay, parallel parking or following signs without specific instructions – for example you will asked to drive to a locations using road signs and markings rather than prompts from the examiner. Your instructor will always take you through this on day 1 of training.

Some providers offer products which protect you if you are concerned or worried about not passing the first time, so it is worth considering a little extra outlay, if it gives you peace of mind when taking your test.

Don’t forget, before you get in the truck, you’ll need to get your medical, provisional and theory test. A good national provider should take care of these for you.

With so many HGV driver vacancies, job security is very high in HGV training.

Wages are also excellent when compared with other jobs, and there is a lot of freedom with the opportunity to pick and choose contracts, locations and what is involved in the job. Setting your own terms is another of the key benefits of becoming an HGV driver.

In addition, you can train to be an HGV driver in a matter of weeks, whereas other trade jobs can take years – a plumber, for instance takes 3 years training.

People often list being on the open road, listening to whatever music or radio they like and seeing different parts of the country as their favourite parts of the job.

A newly qualified driver can earn up to £32,000 per year, with earning potential for more experienced drivers of up to £50,000.

There are several terms you may hear when looking into HGV licences.

Category C (Cat C) is also known as Class 2, and includes any rigid body vehicle. The Category C licence is one of the most frequently sought-after licences that recruiters and haulage firms look for from candidates. It can be considered the entry level HGV Licence, as it is easy to train for, and the fastest route to get driving an HGV.

The Category C+E is also known as an ‘Artic,’ Class 1 or Wagon and drag. It is popular for national and international distribution and has a higher earning potential, with fewer drops.

Make sure you fully discuss and understand your choices when it comes to HGV licences and what they entail – there are different benefits to each, and a good provider should discuss these with you before taking any payment.

HGV Driving hours were originally based on EU regulations, but they’ve now been converted to British law. The UK HGV driver may now work the following hours:

  • There is a 9-hour limit on driving per day. 2 days a week, 10 hours per day is allowed.
  • The maximum weekly quota is set at 56 hours

You can drive an HGV as soon as you’ve passed all your tests and taken your Driver CPC, even before the card arrives.

You should get your photo ID card within 20 days of passing your HGV test.

LGV stands for Large goods Vehicle and HGV stands for Heavy Goods Vehicle, and there is no difference between the LGV and HGV licences under current UK legislation (and EU law); They are the same licence, and both cover any truck over 3.5 tonnes.

In 1992, the meaning of LGV changed from Light goods vehicle, to large goods vehicle, which is where some of the confusion arises. If you would like more information on this, a good training provider will explain all of the different licences available and what is entailed in each.

Selecting the right HGV Training provider

In order to increase your chances of success, it’s important to select a good training provider. One that can guide you through the process – from applying for your provisional all the way through to helping you with your job search. We recommend doing a thorough search, reading the reviews and not to go for the cheapest option. This is an investment in your future, and you want it to be as seamless as possible.

Looking to get started on your HGV training?

Fill in our form below to get more information from 3 leading HGV providers

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