CDL Training or ELDT (Entry Level Driver Training) is a specialized instructional program designed to prepare a candidate to obtain their CDL (Commercial Driver’s License), which is compulsory for a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) driver in America. The CDL is issued by the Department of Transportation (DoT). There are different classes of CDL and endorsements along with it which are required to operate certain commercial vehicles. Most CDL training colleges/schools provide Class A CDL training. During the training, students are taught necessary skills (knowledge and behind the wheels training) to pass a series of tests in order to obtain the CDL. The minimum age for intra-state driving of a CMV is 18 years, and 21 for inter-state travel.
There are three types of CDL training schools/colleges – a) community colleges, b) private trucking schools/colleges and c) trucking schools operated by trucking companies.
How does a paid CDL training work?
Paid CDL training or a sponsored CDL training is a course where the candidate contacts a carrier company which offers sponsored CDL training and both the parties agree on terms, which says, the company would pay for the student’s CDL training and after graduation the CDL holder would work for the company itself.
Some carrier companies have a policy for their sponsored CDL training programs. These plans/policies include deduction of training fee(s) from the monthly payments to their employees or, other kind of reimbursements. And, for many companies, the training is really free.
However, there are a few qualifications for getting into a company paid CDL training:
- Clean driving record
- Clean criminal record
- Pass drug screen test (required by DoT)
- Pass physical test (required by DoT)
- 21+ (age)
- Valid U.S driver’s license
- Legal U.S citizen
- Proper work history for at least 36 months
- Commit to contract of employment with the particular trucking/carrier company for 1 year (or more/ less depending upon the company policy)
What trucking companies will pay for CDL Training
One way to get the CDL is to approach a big carrier company and get enrolled in their trucking program. This is one of the least expensive methods. Many trucking companies pay for CDL training, especially the bigger carrier companies. Some carrier companies even offer to sponsor the CDL candidates.
Some trucking companies that pay for CDL training:
- Maverick transportation
- Prime Inc. Trucking
- TMC trucking
- Swift Transportation
- Jim Palmer Trucking
There are a few advantages also if one gets into a company-sponsored CDL training program:
- Cost effective
- Better chances at job placement
- More personalized training
How long does CDL Training take
The time span of CDL training course varies from school to school. The program can range from a few weeks up to six months.
Mostly, there are some factors that determine how long CDL training might take:
- Class of the CDL (A/B/C)
- Additional endorsement on top of the CDL
- Whether the training program is full time or part time
- How much time is spent in the classroom
- How much time is spent driving
- How quickly CDL test can be scheduled by the candidate
How much does CDL training cost?
CDL training cost varies. On an average truck driving schools might cost up to $ 8,000. A temporary truck driver’s permit costs $10 to $30 (varies state to state).
Can I get a grant for CDL training?
There are some government sponsored programs which may offer funding for CDL training. The sponsorship acts include – The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) and Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) for certain technical training programs at certain schools. Candidates may be able to receive grants to pay the full or partial tuition fee/s of their CDL training.