We have all seen on TV, or heard on the radio, the advertisements for company sponsored CDL training. So, what exactly is meant by ‘company sponsored CDL training’?
Well, ‘company sponsored’ simply means a trucking company will pick up the cost associated with getting your license and learning how to operate a commercial vehicle.
In order to operate a commercial vehicle you will need a CDL, commercial driver’s license.
So basically, they are promising to train you, license you, and hire you! Provided you meet all the CDL requirements and pass the entire test with good enough scores. In order to get you to join their team they will say things like:
- No previous driving experience necessary!
- No out of pocket expenses, company provided training!
- Become a driver for (insert company name here)!
- Act now, because driving school classes are filling up fast!
But just how true is that? Can you really get company sponsored CDL training? Well yes and no. Most don’t require any previous commercial driving experience. But there are other factors to consider.
Factors such as? – You probably wonder… Well you still have cost.
Yes they might offer paid CDL training, the testing, and the actual license (all of which can add up and get expensive), but you must cover your travel, lodging, food, and related cost.
By joining an organization that offers company sponsored CDL training, they will train and provide you the knowledge to become a professional driver. There is more to this than just driving the truck. There are all the federal state and local regulations to learn as well.
But don’t worry; they will assist you with all the necessary skills to aid in your preparation for taking the CDL exam. After you graduate from their driving school and have the CDL the sponsoring company makes an offer to join their team.
There are lots of free truck driving schools. In one of my previous articles I have mentioned the 10 best free truck driving schools.
Now there are different ways the driving schools will pay for the training.
- Paid 100% by the company, (usually involves a 12-24 month commitment).
- Reimbursement after completion of the school (usually a contractual commitment).
- Payroll deductions, monthly tuition cost taken directly from your salary.
Different companies have different needs. Some have contract drivers and some have actual employees. There are those who do both. Also the freight they handle varies.
They’ll transport anything from retail merchandise to industrial materials. Many companies try to limit how much the drivers must handle the freight, no touch or drop and hook, but that is not always the case.
Before touching on how to get company sponsored CDL training there are a few other points and basic requirements to mention, this is according to the Department of Transportation (DOT). Though the DOT overseas these requirements, the actual licensing is done through your state of residence.
Company Sponsored CDL Training DOT Requirements
The first step required from The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), is getting a Commercial Learner’s Permit (CLP). This permit will only allow you to practice on public roads with a qualified CDL holder in the vehicle. They don’t just give a CDL to you.
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Of course you must be thoroughly knowledgeable on the vehicle you wish to operate and pass associated test. They also will look into your driving record for the past ten years. You must pass the DOT medical exam, and provide proof. Most states will require proof of residency before allowing you to take the medical exam test.
There are associated fees with the CDL (your company sponsored CDL training should cover all of those). It is highly recommended that you get a copy of your state’s CDL training manual. This is something the company should provide, but they are free (in most states).
The second step, after possessing the CLP for 14 days, you can take the CDL skills test. Check with your state regarding CDL training and prior to testing. If you are part of a company sponsored CDL training program they will take care of all of these requirements.
The good thing about a proper training program is that you will practice the inspection tests and the maneuvers that will be part of the test. It is mandatory that you pass the 3 testing categories.
They are referred to as the ‘skill test’, the vehicle inspection test, the basic controls test, and the actual road test. Unfortunately taking the test doesn’t guarantee you’ll pass so study and pay attention. Taking the Skills test is really not that hard if you practice and prepare, some states even allow study guides during testing.
The final step, this is where attending a company sponsored CDL training program pays off.
All the documentation must be taken to the licensing office. Depending on your state, they will either issue the license or mail it out to you. Just like any official material make sure everything is correct before you leave. Once you have your CDL in hand you can enjoy your new career as a professional commercial driver.
Company Sponsored CDL Training Cost Advantages
So now you know there are many options for getting your CDL. You can find someone who has a truck; get your CLP, practice, and attempt to test. This is not recommended for many reasons.
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The most obvious is finding a truck that you can have access to, and a CDL holder who ride with you while you practice. Also most companies won’t’ hire you unless you attended a driving school of some sort; they are constantly in look to hire the best truck drivers in USA.
So then you have the option of attending a school and paying for it yourself. After completion apply to the various trucking companies and find an employer. This can be hard for a new driver with no experience, but not impossible.