Community College CDL Journey

Topic 19209 | Page 1

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J W.'s Comment
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I made this thread to chronicle my journey to Class A CDL holder. So I recently decided that instead of going to Jim Palmer for CDL training I would attend the local community colleges CDL training. I like not being committed to one company for one year and one of my goals is to drive tanks which Jim Palmer does not. This is the program offered at North Idaho College in beautiful Coeur d'Alene.


Behind-the-Wheel – 50 hours

Classroom instruction - 20 to 40 hours

Lab, range training, and observation – up to 70 hours

Curriculum for this five-week course follows JJ Keller Tractor Trailer Driver Training Manual. Approved for Washington State CDL Class A training.


Week 1 – Classroom Training

Week 2-5 - Skills training

$ 3595 Course Fee

I was able to get a grant from the school to cover half the cost of the course, which was awesome. Classroom size is 3 students total. Which isn't too bad, but not one on one.

Before you can start the class you must possess your Learners Permit. I took my General Knowledge, Air brakes, Combination vehicle , Tanker, Double/Triples. I still need to do my TSA assessment and study a bit more for the Hazmat endorsement and then take the test.

My first day of classroom instruction is on Monday, I will keep this updated with my daily experiences. The good, the bad and the ugly.


Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.


Hazardous Materials

Explosive, flammable, poisonous or otherwise potentially dangerous cargo. Large amounts of especially hazardous cargo are required to be placarded under HAZMAT regulations

Combination Vehicle:

A vehicle with two separate parts - the power unit (tractor) and the trailer. Tractor-trailers are considered combination vehicles.

Tinker's Comment
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Good luck on your new journey! I am almost done with training at my local community college. It has been a great experience so far. The only advice I can offer is , be patient with yourself, ask questions, and enjoy the ride. Keep us posted.

Han Solo Cup's Comment
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Please continue to post updates. When I start this career, I plan on going to a local community college for training as opposed to a mega school. I'm very interested in hearing how it goes for you both in school and then going from school to landing a job. I would imagine the school will provide awesome job placement help.

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