Why I Prefer Paid CDL Training Over Private CDL Training

by Brett Aquila

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 training 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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What Is Paid CDL Training?

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.

What Is Private CDL Training?

Private CDL training is a truck driving school that is owned and operated independently of any trucking companies. These are often family owned schools or they are offered by a community college.

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.

Wouldn't I Rather Have Choices?

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:

  • Trucking companies that hire from your area
  • Trucking companies that haul the type of freight you want to haul
  • Trucking companies that offer the amount of home time you'd like

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 Reasons I Prefer Paid CDL Training

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.

Rookie Drivers Are In A Tough Spot

New truck drivers tend to have a very tough time learning their trade. New drivers:

  • Don't manage their time well
  • Get tired quickly
  • Don't communicate very well
  • Don't turn enough miles to earn the company any profits
  • Worst of all, tend to get in little fender benders

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.

More Advantages Of Paid CDL Training

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:

  • Breakdown and Maintenance Procedures
  • Payroll Processing
  • Communication With Dispatch
  • Company Policies

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.

Apply For Paid CDL Training Through TruckingTruth

Did you know you can fill out one quick form here on TruckingTruth and apply to several companies at once for paid CDL training? Seriously! The application only takes one minute. You will speak with recruiters today. There is no obligation whatsoever. Learn more and apply here:

Apply For Paid CDL Training


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.


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.


Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.


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.

by Brett Aquila

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Apply For Paid CDL Training Through TruckingTruth

Did you know you can fill out one quick form here on TruckingTruth and apply to several companies at once for paid CDL training? Seriously! The application only takes one minute. You will speak with recruiters today. There is no obligation whatsoever. Learn more and apply here:

Apply For Paid CDL Training

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TruckingTruth was founded by Brett Aquila (that's me!), a 15 year truck driving veteran, in January 2007. After 15 years on the road I wanted to help people understand the trucking industry and everything that came with the career and lifestyle of an over the road trucker. We'll help you make the right choices and prepare for a great start to your trucking career.

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