Paid CDL training, also known as company-sponsored CDL training, and private CDL training are the two main categories of truck driving schools that you can choose from. Personally I prefer paid CDL training over private, and I'll explain why in a minute. First I want to give a brief explanation of each type of CDL training.
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Paid CDL training, also known as company-sponsored CDL training, refers to truck driving schools which are owned and operated by trucking companies. These trucking companies will sponsor a student's CDL training by paying for the up front costs of the training and paying the student during some or all of the training process.
In return for this sponsorship the student will sign a contract agreeing to work for the trucking company for a specified amount of time, normally between eight months and one year.
Some of the paid cdl training companies will require you to pay back the tuition during the contract period, others will not. Each program has their own unique setup so you'll want to do some research and explore the different offerings from each company.
We have a complete list of Paid CDL Training Program Reviews so check those out if you decide to go this route.
Private CDL training must be paid for by the student up front. Upon graduation the student is free to go to work for any trucking company that is willing to hire them. They will not be under contract or have any restrictions on where they go to work.
On the surface it would seem wonderful to have the power of being a free agent after graduation. After all, truck drivers are in high demand, right? Yes, that's true. But in reality you won't have as many choices as you might expect.
When you're choosing a trucking company you're going to narrow the list of choices based on a few criteria. You're looking for:
After you narrow down the list using that criteria, you're only going to have a few choices. Most people wind up with between two and five choices. But there's no guarantee that the companies you choose are going to choose you. Often times you may technically qualify to work for a company but they won't extend you an offer because they have better candidates to choose from at the time.
So in the end most people have very few choices after graduating from a private school anyhow. The "power of free agency" isn't really that powerful at all.
The main reason I prefer paid CDL training over private CDL training is because the company which provided the training has made an investment in you personally. The company has used their equipment, their facilities, their CDL instructors, their time, and their money to teach you how to drive that truck.
You must succeed as a driver if the company is going to recoup their investment in you!
That's a great position to be in and it's far more important than most people realize. Let me explain.
New truck drivers tend to have a very tough time learning their trade. New drivers:
Here are a couple of good sources to help new drivers:
Now say you make a couple of mistakes in the first few months of your career. You're late for a couple of loads, you're running out of hours on your logbook when you shouldn't be, you back into a telephone pole at a customer, and you tear off the front bumper of another truck in a truck stop. This is starting to look really bad for you.
If you went to private school, the company that hired you doesn't have anything invested in you. If they fire you right now they really don't lose anything. In fact, they probably figure they're going to save some money on insurance costs and save themselves the hassle of dealing with any future problems you may cause. You've already proven yourself to be mistake prone, and it might only get worse.
If you get a couple of safety violations and then get fired from your first company you are going to have a very hard time finding another job after that. Unfortunately, this is far more common than you might think.
However, if you went to a paid CDL training program the company certainly doesn't want to fire you. They have a lot riding on this. They've already spent a lot of money training you, and now they've spent even more money covering for your mistakes. If they let you go now then all of that money goes right down the drain and you move on to one of their competitors. Yes, you're going to have a heck of a time finding a job, but you'll find one. The company that fired you, however, is never going to get their investment back. That money is gone for good. This is the worst case scenario for them.
Another thing I like about paid cdl training is that you're being trained on the equipment you're going to be driving once you graduate from the program. Instead of learning on some old, rickety, retired rigs at a private school you're going to be using your company's current equipment to learn how to drive. So you won't have to make a big adjustment to new equipment after graduating from a private truck driving school.
You will also be trained immediately on your company's procedures for everything, including:
You will be learning all of that stuff right from day one at a company school. After graduating from private school you would be starting from scratch with everything specific to your new company.
To be clear, both types of schooling can train you effectively to get your CDL and land a job in the trucking industry. In fact, I went to a private school myself and it was a great experience! Bet you didn't expect that, right?
But if I had to do it all over again I would almost certainly choose a paid cdl training program for all of the reasons above. I especially love the idea that the company has made an investment in me and they truly care that I succeed as one of their drivers. That's exactly what I want early on in a career that's full of risk and uncertainty. I want someone who has a financial incentive to keep me around and make sure that I'm successful.
A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:
A written or electronic record of a driver's duty status which must be maintained at all times. The driver records the amount of time spent driving, on-duty not driving, in the sleeper berth, or off duty. The enforcement of the Hours Of Service Rules (HOS) are based upon the entries put in a driver's logbook.
When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.
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