The decision to choose company-sponsored CDL training or a private school is going to depend mostly on your personal situation. Either option is a great choice, and will get you your CDL and on your way.
Students who are not in a position to pay up front for schooling, can't get financing, or have some issues in their past or on their record, may find the best option for finding a driving position is with a company-sponsored program, in which the company puts you through school and trains you, and guarantees you a job upon completion.
Drivers who can afford to pay for private school, are able to get a bunch of pre-hire letters, and wish to be closer to home during their schooling, many times will choose that option. Many trucking companies also offer tuition-reimbursement for recent private school graduates.
Often billed as "free CDL school", you basically get your CDL and training for free, and work it off by driving for the company, and are sometimes contractually obligated for a certain period of time..
Many companies operate their own CDL schools, or partner with nearby private schools. They will pick up the bill for the schooling, lodging, travel, and meals, and in return the driver agrees to drive for them for a certain period of time, or their tuition is paid off gradually as time passes, depending on the company. Those who make it through the training are guaranteed a job driving for the company.
Independently operated, private schools will generally require students to pay tuition up-front, and all associated costs will be the responsibility of the student. Students will typically be local, commuting to school, so the cost of meals and lodging is not really a factor.
Before choosing a private school, drivers will want to get as many pre-hire letters as possible, and also make sure that their companies of choice actually hire from that school.
Really, there aren't many "Cons" to attending company-sponsored school. The company pays for everything, and you get a guaranteed job.
The obligation to drive for a certain company turns some people off, but since your first year is generally regarded as "solo training", and we always recommend drivers stay with their first company for at least that first year, it is an excellent option.
One of the major hurdles for drivers who would rather attend private school is one of paying the tuition. The cost will generally run somewhere between $4,000-8,000, and normally will need to be paid up front. Many times it involves taking out loans, or borrowing from friends and family.
That said, it will give drivers who can acquire a lot of pre-hire letters a wider choice of companies to drive for, and the programs will generally run longer than company-sponsored school.
There is no "right answer" as you decide whether to go with private or company-sponsored CDL school.
For those who can afford it, private school can offer a more extensive training period, and more driving options in the end, while company-sponsored training guarantees drivers that finish training will have a job, without the up front expense.
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