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.
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.
Article - What You Need To Know Before Choosing A Truck Driving School
You want the best quality education you can get for the money, and most importantly you want to be able to land a job after graduation.
Article Category: Choosing A Truck Driving School
We have plenty of articles written specifically to help new drivers in their decision making process.
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.
Forum - What makes a CDL Course (approved) by carriers?
I found some of the big carriers preferred some schools over others, but as long as the school met the minimum requirements for CDL testing/licensing, they'd accept you.
Wiki - What You Should Know About Pre-hire Letters
Pre-hire letters will be based on the drivers application and include a background check, employment verification, and motor vehicle report (MVR) check.
Article - Understanding Pre-Hire Letters: What, Why, And How Of This Step
Pre-hire letters are acceptance letters from trucking companies to students, or even potential students, to verify placement.
Professional Truck drivers Institute (PTDI)
PTDI is the first nonprofit organization to develop uniform skill performance, curriculum, and certification standards for the trucking industry.
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.
Forum - 150 TT vs. 160 TT certificate
Yep, sorry to hear you didn't get more than 150 hours of training time. Most companies do want to see a tad more. 160-175. It seems rather arbitrary, but it's just another one of those hoops we gotta jump through.
State CDL Manuals And DMV Links
Some states will require private schools to certify a minimum number of hours of training has been given to each student, and some require that schools be registered and certified with the state.
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.
Article - Financing Options For Truck Driving School
So how can you can afford to get your truck driving career started? Fortunately, there are numerous financing options available.
Forum - Anyone use the WIA grant program to help pay for CDL school?
I'm in PA, hoping to get my CDL. Was wondering if anyone used WIA (Workforce Investment Act) for tuition assistance.
Wiki - WIA: Workforce Investment Act
The Workforce Investment Act is a Federal program that provides training and job placement for dislocated and displaced workers, who have lost their employment.
The U.S. government has created several programs that make it easier for ex-military to re-enter the civilian workforce, and receive necessary skills training.
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.
Article - Truck Driver Training: The Beginning
When I enrolled in the truck driver training course at an area technical college I knew I’d spend many hours with my nose buried in books.
Forum - Private trucking school or a community college
My question is: Which would be my best choice ? I've read that companies are reluctant to hire drivers from a community college.
Request Free Information From Truck Driving Schools In Your Area
All of the schools in our network hold one or more of the following quality standards: state licensure, PTDI Certification, or nationally recognized accreditation.