The decision to attend paid CDL training or a private truck driving 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 paid CDL training 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.
Paid CDL training, which is also referred to as "company-sponsored CDL training", is when a trucking company pays the up front costs of your CDL training. The company will normally pay you transport you to their facility and pay for a hotel room while you're in training at their facility. Some companies will even cover the cost of meals and loan you money to pay your bills while you're in school.
Many trucking companies operate their own CDL schools, while others partner with nearby private schools. The trucking company will cover the costs of training, lodging, travel, and meals and in return the driver agrees to drive for the company for a certain period of time, or their tuition is paid off gradually as time passes. Each company structures their programs a little differently. Those who make it through the training are guaranteed a job driving for the company.
Here is a list of companies that provide sponsored CDL training
Article: Why I Prefer Paid CDL Training Over Private CDL Training
You can also apply to several paid CDL training programs right here on TruckingTruth. Click the following link to learn more and apply:
Private schools are truck driving schools which are independently owned and operated. They will generally require students to pay tuition up-front, and all associated costs will be the responsibility of the student. Students will typically live nearby and commute to school.
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.
Here is a list of private truck driving schools by state
Here is part of Brett's book - Becoming A Truck Driver: Private Schools
Private schools are not associated with any particular trucking company. They are run independently so upon graduation, students can choose to go anywhere they would like. The schools range in price generally from $2000-$5000 and can take anywhere from 3 weeks to 8 weeks to complete for your Class A license
A pre-hire letter is basically a formal invitation to the driver by a trucking company to attend new driver orientation, at the company's expense, after getting their CDL.
Really, there aren't many cons to attending paid CDL training. The company pays for everything, and you wind up with a guaranteed job.
The obligation to sign a contract to drive for the 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 one year anyhow.
Article 5: Advantages of Company Sponsored CDL Programs vs. Private Truck Driving Schools
The best way to get started without coming up with the money upfront is to go with a trucking company that offers training for inexperienced applicants.
Article - The Boot Camp Known As Company-Sponsored Training Programs
Wow, it’s like boot camp. It’s a challenge. You definitely don’t want to go into this lightly. Don’t even consider it if you don’t take orders well.
Forum - Review of CRST after 3 months
28 days with my trainer and now starting into 2 months with my co driver. It has been a solid and sometimes scary adventure. We have made it through our mistakes, which have included twice making wrong turns and coming up on low marked over passes.
One of the major hurdles for drivers who would rather attend private school is 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.
Forum - CDL Schooling - Private vs Public?
I know I’ve read versions of this question before, but for those that have gone the private school route, is it worth plunking down 5K+ for a CDL if I’m going to sign on with a company that offers company training, like a Prime etc?
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.
Forum - Company Paid vs. Private School CDL Training - What's your choice?
I'm 54 and want to be a Driver. I've reached out to a bunch of recruiters and got lots of advice on Facebook from folks. My concern about going to "Free" CDL training paid for by a company is getting "locked into" a contract.
Article - Private Schooling Versus Company-Sponsored: The Basic Differences
Both of these schools do the same thing - they teach you what's required in order to pass your CDL exams and get your CDL license. That's pretty much it. Regardless of which type of school you graduate from you will have your CDL license and will then enter into a new phase of training.