The Complete Guide To A Career In Trucking

What you should know, and ask, about attending private truck driving school

Private CDL school will require that drivers pay up front for tuition. Many companies will offer tuition reimbursement to recent graduates, but the initial expense is the responsibility of the student.

Students will generally be attending school near their home, at either a stand-alone school or through the many CDL training programs offered through local community colleges and technical schools.

Students also need to make sure that the school meets certain training standards, as many states and companies will require a minimum number of hours of schooling, or require schools to be accredited or certified.

How do I choose a truck driving school?

The biggest concern for new students is making sure that they can get hired from their school of choice after graduation. There's really no sense in attending a school if you can't get anyone to hire you to drive for them.

The other main issue is figuring out how to pay for it. There are various options for paying for CDL school below.

What companies hire from this school?

New students will want to be sure, and ask both the school and to the trucking companies, that there are companies willing to hire new graduates from the school. Many schools will require a driver to get pre-hire letters first, as their reputation in part hinges on their ability to place drivers.

You will want to get as many pre-hire letters as you can before attending school, which does not guarantee a job with the company, but will establish that you appear to have met the requirements for hire as long as you graduate, and will at least get a new driver to company orientation.

Additionally, many companies will require that a student attends a PTDI-certified school, a national organization which sets and standardizes minimum requirements for trucking schools.

How long should the training be at private CDL schools, and how does the length and intensity compare with company-sponsored training?

The industry-standard accepted length of training at private CDL schools, and the minimum that most companies will accept, is 160 hours, and that is what new students should look for in a school.

Private CDL school will generally be longer, slower paced, and less intense than company-sponsored. Drivers will tend to get more one-on-one attention and practice in the private schools.

How much will private trucking school cost, and how am I going to pay for it?

One of the biggest barriers to attending private school is usually the cost, and coming up with tuition up front. Students can expect to pay anywhere from $4,000-7,000 for their CDL schooling, in addition to gas money, etc., depending on where they decide to attend.

If you are not in possession of that much cash, some students will take out personal loans from the bank or even family, though it's not necessarily recommended. Many states have assistance, aid, and grant programs, as well, so you should check with your individual state.

The Workforce Investment Act (WIA) is also one way that many, many, people have paid for CDL school, open to most people who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own, i.e. layoffs, downsizing, etc.

Members and ex-members of the military also have available to them a bunch of Veteran's Administration and Federal programs available to them to help pay for school, the most popular being their GI Bill benefits.

Where can I find a private school?

Quite literally, anywhere. There are around 1,000 private truck driving schools in the United States, so wherever you live, you're sure to find one nearby. Keep in mind that many local colleges and technical institutes will also offer CDL training.

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