Many people dream of getting a commercial drivers license (CDL) and becoming self-employed in the trucking industry. Having your own business can be exciting and financially rewarding, as long as you understand the cost of commercial driver’ license training and are prepared financially ahead of time for the investment.
Commercial driving licenses are a separate class of license issued by Departments of Motor Vehicles around the country. If you want to drive a truck, bus, or another large vehicle, you must first get a CDL for the class of vehicles you plan to drive. Getting a commercial driving learner’s permit is one of the first steps you need to take when you go to a commercial driving training program.
Cost of Commercial Driver’s License Training Programs
Hundreds of commercial driving training schools are located around the country, and the cost varies significantly from one state to another and from one school to another. Some of these school require a full-payment of tuition costs at the beginning of the course.
In most cases, the cost of tuition ranges from $3,000 to $7,000 dollars for the complete program. While this is a large sum of money for many people to consider paying for employment training, it is only a small fraction of what it cost to get a degree or certificate at a college or university for many other types of employment.
Commercial driver training programs are also typically much shorter in duration than programs for other types of certificates and degrees. So, you can complete commercial driver training, get a CDL, and start earning money in a much shorter time than it would take to get many other types of certificate or degree.
What to Look for in a Commercial Driver Training Course
Each state issues its own CDLs, and the requirements for a CDL vary somewhat from one state to another. Look for a state-accredited school in the state where you are planning to apply for a license, so you will receive training specific to that state’s laws and regulations for commercial drivers.
While many schools require full payment upfront, some do not, and some training schools offer financial aid. If you cannot afford the full cost at the start of the program, look around and see if there is a commercial driving training program in your state offering help with financing or a graduated payment plan.
Using Commercial Driver’s License Practice Tests
Getting a CDL involves taking a written knowledge test and a behind-the-wheel test, just as for a regular drivers license. You can get started by taking online commercial drivers license practice tests.
Each state also issues a Driver Handbook for commercial licenses. Go to the Department of Motor Vehicles or equivalent agency in your state and get a copy of the state handbook for commercial driving. This booklet provides a complete overview of what you must know to pass the written part of the CDL test.
Behind-the-Wheel Training for a CDL
You also need a specific number of hours behind-the-wheel of a truck to get a commercial license. Commercial driver training programs have practice courses and vehicles for students to learn the skill needed for passing this part of state CDL tests.