Chose only the best driving school
As with anything, you must research, shop around, and get the best value for your money. Remember cheaper isn’t always better and expensive doesn’t always mean best. So, when you look into schools, do your homework!
Most offer financial aid, tuition assistance, or a payment plan. Some will offer special deals or support for military Veterans (but make sure they are accredited and VA approved).
Keep in mind there are other cost as well, such as living expenses, and other fees not included in the school.
When researching a school, check their student feedback and related reviews. You can do a Better Business Bureau check as well. Another option is to go online and ask question on the various trucking related forums.
How long does it take to get CDL
That is a good but tricky question. The short answer is fairly quick because, in some states, it is not an actual requirement that a person, who is pursuing their CDL, must go through a formal training course. So basically, if you have access to a vehicle, can study the materials, and pass the exams, well that is all that you need.
From the other side, the reality is something else. Most, if not all, companies will not hire you unless you have attended a proper training program or if you don’t have several years of proven, safe driving under your belt, since receiving your CDL. Or, another option is if you were a CDL operator (transportation) while serving in the US military.
With that in mind it highly, highly recommended that you attend a formal CDL training program. These are in every state; they can be private, at the community college, or for a trucking company.
Once you have successfully completed all the requirements your license will be good, in the state of issuance, regardless of where you work. And just like your regular driver’s license, a CDL is recognized from state to state (just make sure the additional endorsements are as well).
Different training centers have different standards. But a safe estimate is 160 hours of drivers training, and about 72 hours of classroom training, or about 6 weeks.
But most drivers say, “They never actually stop learning”.
What is the price?
Like as with any long term commitment, this is an investment as well, so try not to think of it as a cost. Once you’ve earned your CDL, it will pay off in the long run. There are companies that will pay for you to get your CDL.
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However, they do require you to contract with them for a period of time, typically 2 years. Other companies will deduct the cost installments from your pay. However, many companies are looking for experienced drivers or those who already have their CDL in hand.
As mentioned earlier, there are several ways to pay for the schooling. A company sponsored training program or a private driving school. There are of course pros and cons with any program. Time and the overall commitment can be something to consider.
But the most important factor is cost versus reward. If you are seeking a rewarding worthwhile career, than this is it. As mentioned there are programs and companies that will either pay for the training or reimburse you. If you choose to pay for the program yourself, programs start around $4000.00 and go as high as $10,000.00.
So as with anything, research the school first. Compare cost; check out reviews, and other key factors, based on your goals and needs.
Trucking is great industry to be a part of. Though, like any industry there can be slow times, there will never be a time when freight isn’t needed to be delivered. The people at the store never stop to consider that without the trucking industry they would not be able to buy the things they want and need.
So with all that said, the good news is that deciding to start trucking carrier and investing in CDL is never a bad thing, it means you will never be jobless. This is a carrier with big future! People need you!
Remember when choosing a school, there are a few things to consider:
- How long have they been around?
- Do they offer job placement assistance?
- Which carriers do they work with?
Keep in mind, just like anything there are scams, fly-by-night, and simply poor quality schools. So always know what you’re getting into by doing a little research. Stay away from those with bad ratings.
I know this article today isn’t all inclusive, but hopefully it has pointed you in the right direction.
Saddle up and happy trails!