Now, that you made up your mind that being a truck driver is the career you want to pursue, you may be asking yourself, how much does it cost to get CDL A or B license and attending truck driver training school.
Please do remember if you have a CDL license, you will be able to explore different employment opportunities in this industry and you are more marketable and most likely be offered with better pay.
In order to get a CDL license, you need to be prepared for the tests and you can do this by attending a program offered by a truck driving school.
There’s a real cost involved in this.
Knowing the cost of getting into this career can definitely help you prepare for this another stage of your life and ensure that you have adequate money.
If you don’t know how much money you need to obtain this credential, we made this article to give you the bird’s eye view of the expenses and how you could pay for the school tuition.
Costs in the Application of CDL License
Since the costs of the application for CDL license varies from state, but generally, here are the expenses you have to pay during:
For you to start the CDL application, you must first apply for a commercial learner’s permit (CLP), and obtain CLP involves taking the knowledge test. The knowledge test fees cost in the range of $5.00 to $20.00 only. Depending on the state where you are applying, you have to pay separately for the test fee and CLP.
Once you have obtained your CLP and you are ready to take the road skills test, this test costs around $30.00 and $60.00. The three (3) exams that cover in the road skills test are pre-trip inspection, road test, and backing maneuvers. You must pass all of these in order to pass the test and obtain your CDL. Again, the road skills test fee will depend on the state where you are taking it.
Actual CDL license application fee costs between $75.00 and $100.00.
For you to be able to operate a certain type of commercial vehicle or haul a certain type of goods, an endorsement is needed. The cost of the application for an endorsement is between $5.00 and $10.00.
Applying for an endorsement will prompt you to take another knowledge test and skills test for that type of vehicle you want to get licensed on.
Other expenses that you to shoulder in order to apply for the CDL license are substance abuse screening, background check, physical and medical tests, learning materials.
Attending a Truck Driving School & Tuition Cost
Here is the fun part, in order to boost your chance of passing the knowledge and road skills tests, you have to be prepared for it. Preparation happens in school.
The school tuition varies from institute to institute but it is safe to say that the cost of taking the truck driving training can range from $2,000.00 to $6,000.00 and may include other expenses prior to enrollment.
If you want to attend school and you don’t know where to enroll, we made a directory, in the menu, just click the state where you are, there you’ll the list of truck driving schools in your area.
The school provides the students with the theoretical knowledge and practical skills necessary not only for passing the CDL tests but also more importantly for doing the actual job as a truck driver.
How Will You Pay for Truck Driving School?
I understand that not everybody can afford to pay the school right upfront and that’s fine. Fortunately, there are ways to pay for it.
- The first way to pay for truck driving school is through a loan. But you may become hesitant availing such load as you would end up paying way more than your loan amount because of huge interest. If this the only you have, be careful with the loan, as this will put in not so good situation because of debt.
- Another way to pay for the school is to approach a trucking company and have they pay for you to go to school. The problem you could face with that route is that after you come out of school, the trucking company will ask you to work for them for a certain period. You are basically locked in a contract for a particular period. Another disadvantage with that is the trucking company will give you wage significantly less than the industry standard. You may be thinking this probably not the best option for you to commit yourself with an employer. But please, let me explain further this, see below is company-sponsored training good.
- Financial aids, grants, scholarships are also ways you can pay. If you would like to know if you are qualified for such a benefit, talk to the school about what they can offer you. Workforce Investment Act (WIA) funds are often available for students and offered by trucking school.
- There are also scholarships for veterans, active-duty military members, or their spouses. Federal aids are also a way to pay for the training if you can prove that you cannot afford to pay for the program.
Can I Get Financing from Truck Driving School?
Financing your own education is good if you are truly sure that being a truck driver is the job you want to get into. Contact your local truck driving school and talk to them if there is an in-house financing option they offer for their students.
One noticeable advantage of financing is that your application can be surely accepted even you have bad credit. If I were you, I would choose a driving school that offers both financing and job placement at the same time. So that if you go all-in with financing, you are assured of employment after graduation.
Is Company-Sponsored Training Good to Finance CDL Training
This probably the easiest to finance your school these days. You have to approach a trucking company and tell that you want to drive for them but they need to take you to the training and obtain a CDL. Most big carriers today are giving such an offer.
The two (2) most obvious advantages of getting company-sponsored training are that you’re not laying out money upfront, they’re paying you instead of you paying them and you are guaranteed a job after graduation.
While you can also gain the seat time through the sponsoring company. The seat time is required to build experience because the experience is what all matter with this industry. Experience makes you more marketable when you apply for a job with another company and you can demand better pay.
Be aware as well that when you signed up with a company-sponsored training, you will be agreed in a contract stipulating you will stay with them for a period of time. The duration of such an agreement is only a year or two, or depending on the time you agreed that you want to drive for them but don’t agree for longer than 3 years.
Some companies are known for not paying particularly well during the training period and the initial period after. Just make sure you are making enough money to support your family. If you getting paid by the mile, make a clear understanding with the company how many miles a week you drive, you are figuring out how much money you can make and if the money is not good enough, try to negotiate with the company or look for another deal.
Different Types of CDL Licenses
Knowing what type of license you need will shorten the time it takes to complete the application process and make it easy for you to prepare the requirements. There are three (3) types of licenses you can apply for, namely Class A, Class B, and Class C.
What is CDL A License and Who is Covered by This?
The class A license allows a driver to drive a combination vehicle (Semi, tractor-trailer, tanker vehicle, Big Rig or 18-wheeler, flatbeds, etc.) with a gross combination weight rating (GVWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, including its towed vehicle weighing more than 10,000 pounds.
Class A is issued to those truck drivers age 21 years old and above. With this license, you are able to cross state lines and operate along the interstate. With this ability what makes Class A CDL popular among drivers because it permits them to pull more miles resulting in better wages.
With Class A CDL license and proper endorsement, you can operate vehicles that fall under the classification of Class B and C. This means you can be employed in a wide range of companies or be preferred by a hiring manager.
What is CDL B License and Who Must Have It?
Contrary to Class A, a Class B is license permits drivers to drive any single vehicle that isn’t attached to a trailer (commercial trucks that have a joined cab and cargo area with a combined weight greater than 26,000 pounds) as well as trailer trucks with a detached towed cargo vehicle that weighs less than 10,000 pounds.
Examples of vehicles fall under Class B are pickup and delivery (PU & D), box trucks, parcel delivery, dump trucks with small trailers, furniture delivery, and household goods movers, straight trucks, large buses, garbage trucks, utility repair vehicle, etc.
In order to apply for the Class B license, you must be at least 18 years old. Please do keep in mind that this license allows you to operate a commercial vehicle only in the state where you applied for it (intrastate). If you are a new driver, you may begin with a Class B CDL license and get a job in the local trucking company.
Who is Class C CDL License for?
- A driver who will drive a commercial vehicle not classified either as Class A or Class B is required to have a Class C license.
- A driver of a single vehicle with GVWR of less than 26,001 pounds or a vehicle towing another vehicle that weighs less than 10,000 pounds.
- Those who will transport 16 or more people including the driver.
- Those drivers of vehicles hauling the placarded amount of hazardous materials, as specified by federal guidelines, will need a Class C license as well.
Know More About the Endorsements
After you’ve obtained your CDL license, a proper endorsement will need to be applied. An endorsement permits you to drive a certain type of commercial vehicle or move certain kinds of cargo.
Let’s say for example if you will drive a school bus which is a vehicle that carries more than 16 people, the bus endorsement is needed to be able to operate such a vehicle. The same thing if you will move hazardous material, the hazmat endorsement must be in your license.
Tanker endorsement is required in order to drive tank vehicles and double or triple trailer endorsement for transporting multiple trailers. To know more about the different endorsements you can apply, click here.
To Make a Conclusion
Now that you know how much does it cost to apply for a CDL license and attend training school, it is important to discern what you reap from exhausting all your effort. The truck driver who has a CDL A license can make a salary up to $55,000.00 per year. If you think of it, you can easily recuperate all your expenses in no time. So, you don’t have to worry about how much you will spend on the application of a CDL license and attending the school.
The job outlook for truck drivers is good as well. The best opportunity is out there because of the shortage of truck drivers, you just have to have the qualifications and experience, you will get a job. Now is the time to take action.
Exhaust some resources, you would not regret it. Good luck with your career!