CDL School Costs
Truck driving is quite a lucrative career choice as there is always work available. Companies are constantly searching for reputable and reliable truck drivers to transport freight from one destination to another. Whether you have been working full time for many years or you are just starting to build your career, there is a trucking job out there for you.
Many trucking companies will hire you and pay for your training, which can take a great deal of stress off of your shoulders. Paying for education and training can be a costly expense and one that many cannot afford without assistance. There are companies that will help you pay for your CDL license and truck driver training as long as you commit to working for them for a set amount of time.
There are many options when it comes to earning your CDL license and completing a truck driving program. This article will serve as your guide and will share all that you need to know when it comes to CDL school costs and truck driver school costs. This article will outline some of the best trucking company teaching options as well as private training options. By the end of this article, you will be able to make a concrete decision on what will be the best option for you and your career goals.
Truck Driving Schools to Consider
When you look for a truck driving school, it is important to ensure that it is accredited by a national organization and that the training is certified by the Professional Truck Driving Institute. This will ensure that the program that you are striving to complete is reputable and well known in the industry for producing highly qualified truck drivers. You will also want to look for a school that will help you find a job after you complete the program.
Now that you know what to look for in a truck driving school, here are some schools to consider. For each school highlighted, we have once again provided the pros and cons to each school. Knowing the pros and cons will help you in making a decision as to what will be the best option for you and your family. It is important to note that the schools are in no particular order.
Swift (Company sponsored)
This company is well known for providing top notch company sponsored CDL training. In this training course, you will have 2 weeks of total training with some in classroom instruction and testing as well as on the road training and testing.
- You have a variety of locations to choose from when it comes to training. There are 5 locations within the US for training. They are Arizona, Idaho, Texas, Tennessee, and Virginia.
- The company will provide students with financing for accommodations. It is important to note that there can be 2-5 students in one room
- Complete online training at home before you arrive on location
- 40 hours of classroom construction
- Work for Swift for 13 months and the training program will only cost you $1800. Work with them for 26 months and the training is free
- You must stay with the company for 26 months to receive the training program for free. If you choose to leave the company after 13 months, you will be required to pay back $300 per month for the training program.
- If you do not live near the truck training, you will need to pay for your private accommodations.
- All students are required to pay a $150 seating fee on the first day of class.
- All students will be required to purchase permits for various states as well as pay for department of transportation drug testing.
Stevens Transport (Company sponsored)
If you have an interest in working with a temperature-controlled trucking company, Stevens Transport is one to consider as it is highly reputable. This trucking company is privately owned and has been in business since the 1980s. They are well known for training skilled truck drivers who stay with the company for a noteworthy amount of time.
- A variety of training program locations are available. Texas, North Carolina, Colorado, Georgia, Florida, and Tennessee all have training locations which can make it convenient to find a place closer to home
- You can attend their training or pay for a training through another school if you choose
- You can choose to finance your training and accommodations through the company or you can go through the program completely free. The way that this works is that you will pay back your training expenses with an interest free loan. You will be charged $27 per week via payroll deduction for the course. If you have personal expenses such as accommodations, you will pay the company back $25 per week via payroll deduction
- The training program is 3 weeks long with 1 day off per week
- You will be required to pay a $100 non-refundable registration fee and a $70 licensing fee
- You may start off with a low annual pay, but this will increase each year that you are employed
Knight Transportation (Company sponsored)
You have probably seen Knight trucks on the highway as they are one of the leading trucking companies in the industry. Students may find it competitive to be accepted into the training program as they have to meet with a recruiter before submitting their application. While this training is considered to be a top tier program, it is not for the faint of heart.
- Highly reputable program
- Required to pass a CDL exam, obtain a learner’s permit from their home state, and pass the CDL skills training test before they can start their driver training
- Training does offer students a $400 per week stipend to help cover food and other expenses.
- Students can opt to pay for training up front and will receive a 10% discount
- Guaranteed a job upon graduation of the program
- Program costs are covered up front by the trucking company
- You are required to apply to the program and get accepted by a recruiter
- Students are required to log over 30,000 miles before they can officially graduate from the program
- Must stay with the company for 1 year after the program
- $50 per week payroll deduction will be taken from the employee’s paycheck to help pay back the training expenses
- 9-week program with 6 weeks behind the wheel. This training is extensive and can be a challenge for those who will want to see their family more often than a few times over several months
SAGE Driving School (Private)
SAGE is a well-known private truck driving school that teaches many drivers that work for leading companies around the nation. The training is considered comprehensive which includes CDL courses with in classroom instruction as well as “hands on the steering wheel” instruction. When you attend SAGE, you can rest assured that you will be receiving training that is modeled after the highest curriculum standards in the trucking industry.
- Privately owned training program which means that you can work for any trucking company that you wish upon completion and certification
- Offers training at over 25 locations in the US which is convenient
- SAGE will help train you to work in the industry. They will also help you find a job
The cost is not readily available on their website. You will need to submit your contact information to receive additional details about the costs associated with the program.
As you can see, there are a variety of options when it comes to financing your truck driver training. If you are financially stable and can afford to spend money on truck driver school as well as meals and accommodations while in training, this is quite a privilege not something that many can relate to. Funding your truck driver training can be a significant burden for families which is why many companies have come up with unique payment plans or opportunities to work off the cost of the training over a period of time.
Whether you choose to work for your training program by committing to a company for a set period of time, or you choose to make smaller payments for the training via payroll deduction, there are many ways that you can learn how to become a truck driver.
Company-sponsored truck driver training
Many novice truck drivers find this option to be the most appealing as it does not require any out of pocket expense or hardship on one’s family. In addition, when a company sponsors and pays for your training, you can rest assured that upon completion of the program, that you will have a job. While this is good news, you need to keep in mind that most trucking companies that finance your schooling will expect that you work for them for a significant period of time.
Some require that you work with them for 26 months, while others require only 12 months. Before you commit to a training program, be sure to read the fine print and details on the training program and the company payment plan that coincides with your training expenses.
Flexible payment plans ranging from $25 per week via payroll deduction
Truck companies are really trying hard to be flexible and offer attractive options to potential truck drivers. The industry is hurting and because of this, there is a shortage of good drivers out on the road. One of the reasons that there is such a shortage in truck drivers is because the cost of the training and CDL is very high. Because of this, trucking companies have been working to create flexible options for potential employees.
Some companies allow you to attend training and pay them back slowly with an interest free loan. It is not uncommon to work for a trucking company who offers flexible payment plans ranging from $25 per week via paycheck deduction.
Discounts for paying tuition in full
Some training programs offer you the option of paying in the tuition at one time. When you choose to pay all at one time and before the training ends, you will often receive at least a 10% discount. This can be a significant savings and one that you may want to consider.
Grants and scholarships
While these are far and few between, there are some company and government sponsored grants and scholarships that one can apply for. Because there are few of these opportunities, it can be difficult to earn a scholarship or a grant to pay for your training. While there are options out there, it is best for students to keep an open mind and explore other options while waiting to hear about the status of a grant or scholarship.
Paying for training out of pocket
Some can afford to pay for training out of pocket. To pay for training, license fees, Hazmat application, accommodations, meals, and other fees, one can expect to pay around $7,000 to $10,000 to complete a reputable training program. Not many have that kind of money available to spend, so it is quite a privilege when one can pay for the training course up front.
It is also important to note that while a student can pay in full for their tuition to the program, it is not guaranteed that they will find a job right away after the completion of the program. It is important to keep this in mind so that you can be on the lookout for your dream trucking job while you’re in school.
CDL and truck driving school can be expensive, but it is not out of reach. Many companies will sponsor a new employee in exchange for a set time commitment. Others will offer flexible financing options so that you can attend training and pay back the cost over a period of time, interest free. If truck driving is your career aspiration, don’t let the financial implications of training deter you for starting today!