With the current driver shortage, there are an abundance of trucking companies hiring drivers, but not all are willing to train new drivers to thoroughly understand the safety procedures and rules and regulations needed to be successful.
Depending on the type of commercial driver’s license (CDL) you obtain and any additional endorsements, your out-of-pocket costs for CDL training may range from $3,000 to $7,000 dollars.
Given the upfront investment, if you are entering the trucking industry as a rookie driver, you may be interested in finding trucking companies that train their drivers to be safe and efficient.
TOP Trucking Companies That Train Drivers
If you decide that paid CDL training is for you, there are many trucking companies from which to choose. Your decision will be highly personal based on your situation, but here are a few of the many trucking companies that offer training.
- Roehl Transport – Roehl’s “Get Your CDL job & truck driver training” gets you ready to test for your Class A CDL just like a private truck driving school. However, because you are on employee on day one of training, you're getting paid CDL instruction.
- Swift Transportation – With eleven training locations dispersed across the United States, Swift Academy offers a tuition assistance program designed to help students earn your Class A CDL with limited upfront costs.
- USA Truck – Recommitting its corporate culture to the new driver experience, USA Truck helps you establish your truck driving career under a team of passionate leaders.
Types of Commercial Drivers Licenses
There are three types of CDL licenses that are issued to truck drivers upon completion of their selected CDL training:
- A Class A commercial driver’s license is required to operate any combination of vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating of 26,001 lbs. or more, including a towed vehicle that is heavier than 10,000 pounds. You must be over 21 and carry a Class A license to drive across state lines.
- Class B drivers operate any single vehicle which has a GVWR of 26,001 pounds or more, provided towing does not exceed 10,000 pounds.
- A Class C CDL is required to operate a vehicle that is designed to transport 16 or more occupants (including you, the driver) or transport hazardous materials (HazMat), materials that are classified as hazardous under federal law and do not fall under the classifications of other licenses.
In order to begin your training, a prospective driver must first obtain a CDL learner's permit.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration offers the following points to keep in mind when applying for your CDL learner’s permit:
- Your driving record will be checked for past 10 years in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
- You must present proof of medical qualification.
- You may need to pass a DOT physical to obtain a DOT medical card.
- You must possess your learner’s permit for at least 14 days before taking the Skills test to earn your CDL.
What is CDL Training?
It's important to understand what you're getting into. CDL training is one of the most important phases in your trucking career. While it usually lasts less than a month, your time in training will deliver essential knowledge that you will use for a life-long career in the trucking industry.
It is vital that prospective truck drivers learn established trucking rules and regulations to ensure your safety, the safety of the load you are carrying, and other drivers on the road.
- Did you know that there are load weight limits that must be followed?
- Did you know that you can only drive for a certain amount of time before you are required to take a break?
- Do you know how to check your truck and ensure that everything is running properly and efficiently?
- Do you know where to go or who to call should your truck break down?
- Do you know the procedures and policies for getting to safety if your truck starts giving you problems?
These are some of the questions that your employer will require you to know, understand, and follow when you are out on the road. Proper training will educate drivers, allowing them to pass their CDL test and learn what to do in case of an emergency or situation.
Types of CDL Training
One of the first decisions a prospective driver will need to make is whether to attend a private truck driving school or find a trucking company, similar to those noted above, that offers paid CDL training. In the end, the type of CDL training you choose is a matter of personal choice. Each route will allow you to obtain your CDL and move into the driver's seat.
Private Truck Driver Training
Private trucking schools are not associated with any particular trucking company bur rather are independently owned and operated. As a result, the training you receive is universal to the trucking industry rather than only geared to the needs of one carrier.
Typically, a private training school will require the student to bear the burden of tuition and other costs up front. Depending on your needs, students will usually choose to attend a driving school nearby and commute for the duration of the training program. While some private training programs offer job placement assistance, at the end of the program, the driver is free to join any trucking company they like.
Trucking Companies That Train
As noted, many trucking companies are willing to train drivers and operate company sponsored CDL schools. Students receive training very specific to that company’s operational procedures, routes, and equipment, allowing them to hit the ground running once they complete their training. In this scenario, the trucking company absorbs all the student’s costs - training, lodging, travel, and meals. In return, the driver commits to work for the company at the conclusion of their training.
While each company may structure their program differently, the students who successfully complete their training are guaranteed a job driving for the company. The driver generally contracts to work for the carrier for an agreed upon period of time.
It is not unreasonable to expect that investing in a driver should provide a benefit for the company. However, it is always wise to thoroughly research any company sponsored CDL training program to determine the length of contract required and terms to compensate for your training if you would happen to leave before fulfilling your obligation. Make sure you read all of the fine print and are clearly aware of your obligations to your potential employer.
Whichever training route you choose, a career in the trucking industry will open doors to many job opportunities.