How Long Does it Take to Start Driving HGVs in the UK?

If you’re thinking it might be time to pursue a new career, with more freedom and earning potential than your current job, an HGV driving course could be the answer. Currently, there’s a shortage of around 100,000 HGV drivers throughout the UK, and the government is even taking steps to

streamline the training process, to help get more professionals back on the road. HGV drivers are an important part of the UK economy, responsible for transporting essential goods around the country. With a lorry driving position for a reputable company, you can earn yourself a reliable career, with a significant wage at the end of each month.

Not only does lorry driving pay the bills, but it’s great for giving you more freedom and fun in your career too, particularly if you like the idea of a life on the road. The only question is, how long does it take to earn your licence and start your new career?

Here’s everything you need to know about the process of becoming an HGV driver.

Related Article: The Top Benefits of Working as an HGV Driver in 2023

Related Article: 3 Reasons an HGV Driving Career is a Reliable Choice

What do You Need to Get an HGV Licence?

Before you can successfully begin the process of becoming an HGV driver, you’ll need to make sure you’re eligible for your training. The good news is there aren’t many requirements to start in this field. You don’t need a degree, just a valid UK driver’s licence, and to be over the age of 18.

If you don’t have a driver’s licence already, this will likely take up the majority of the time involved in becoming a lorry driver. It can take between 1 and 5 months to get your licence, so it’s important to get started as quickly as possible. Of course, most people considering this career path will likely already have a licence to get started with.

If you have your licence already, the majority of the time you’ll spend getting into your new career will be spent applying for your provisional licence, and studying for your exams. The faster you start studying your theory, the better.

How Long Does it Take to Become an HGV Driver for the First Time?

The amount of time it takes to become an HGV driver will depend on a number of factors, including whether you’re entering the field for the first time, or re-entering after some time in another job.

If you’re starting a brand-new career, you’ll need to apply for a provisional HGV driving licence to begin. There are numerous forms of HGV licence to consider, so make sure you know what kind of vehicles you’ll be driving.

Lorries and HGVs will usually fall under the “Category C” licence section, but you can double-check your options on the page. You can apply for your provisional licence either online, or through the post. Usually, you should then receive your licence within about 3 weeks of the
application being received, though it can sometimes take longer.

You may also need to complete a medical check – which is common with most forms of HGV licence. This involves a brief examination and a conversation with a doctor, to ensure you don’t have any conditions which might influence your driving.

Once your check is complete, you’ll need to take a series of four CPC (Certificate of Professional Competence) tests. These include:

  •  Theory test: This examination features two parts: a multiple-choice quiz, and a hazard perception test. You can book your theory test as soon as you receive your provisional licence, so it helps to start studying straight away. You’ll need to take your theory test before you can showcase your abilities in the driving ability test.
  • Case study test: The case study element of your CPC can be booked from the moment you receive your provisional licence too. This certificate will remain valid from the date you complete your test for 2 years.
  • Driving ability test: The driving ability test looks at your ability to drive a lorry or HGV. You’ll need your theory test to be completed before doing this. Usually, it takes around an hour and a half to finish.
  • Practical demonstration test: This is an examination featuring five topics from the CPC syllabus, where you score up to 20 points on each topic. You’ll need to ensure you’re fully informed with plenty of studying.

When you successfully complete your test, you’ll receive your CPC card, which you’ll need when
driving your HGV. On average, the process of completing the practical tests and theory will take
around 5 days, even if you don’t have any prior experience.

What if You Need to Requalify?

If you’ve successfully completed your HGV training in the past, you won’t have to complete the full qualification process from scratch. There’s some extra guidance on the steps you might need to take on the Gov.UK website.

You’ll need to start by checking to see if your licence has expired. From there, you’ll need to renew your information, and check whether the licence you have covers the vehicles you want to be qualified to drive. You may need to complete 35 hours of CPC training, and pass your driver case studies and practice demonstration tests again.

Notably, if you want to remain qualified as a HGV driver, you will need to commit to renewing your licence every five years. People under the age of 45 just need to complete the relevant forms and renew their information, while those over 45 will need a medical assessment. People over the age of 65 will need to renew their licence every year.

Renewing your licence also requires another 35 hours of training every five years, so you can keep your credentials up-to-date.

How Long Does it Take to Become a Lorry Driver?

Changing your career and becoming an HGV driver doesn’t take as long as you might think. If you have your car licence already, you can get a lot of the work done within five days, though you may need to do some studying beforehand.

The best way to streamline the process is to work with the professionals. The team at will help you to get your HGV licence in no time. You could be on the road in your new career within 6 to 8 weeks. Contact HGV training today to start your adventure into the world of HGV driving.