How Long is Truck Driving School Really?
If you’re interested in a new career path or you’re looking for your first real job, getting your CDL can open up a lot of exciting opportunities. Before you dive into it, you may wonder, “How long is truck driving school?” To understand that, you first have to know the benefits. Drivers with Class A and Class B CDL licenses are currently in high demand. Because of that, there are tons of companies looking to hire qualified drivers in the United States. Once you have your class A license, you’re able to explore many different types of jobs, from long-haul trucking to driving an inner-city transit bus, becoming a dispatcher, or even a truck driving school instructor.
The best part is that attending trucking school and getting your CDL lets you get started in a new career fast. So, exactly how long is truck driving school? Which factors determine how long the program will actually take?
To answer the question, “How long is truck driving school?” let’s explore a few key factors that affect the total length of the program. This page will also include some other useful information that can help you make a decision regarding getting your CDL and becoming a professional driver.
How Long is Truck Driving School?
One of the most common questions people ask when researching a new career in the trucking industry, is how long is truck driving school and how long will the training period take? Ultimately, there isn’t just one simple answer. The length of truck driving school will vary depending on a few different factors. The first factor is whether or not you’re trying to gain your Class A, Class B or Class C license.
Class A CDL
Arguably the most versatile CDL license available, a Class A CDL allows a driver to operate a vehicle weighing 26,001 or more pounds provided the vehicle(s) being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds. Contrary to the Class B or Class C CDL, a Class A CDL also allows you to drive across state lines.
This degree of mobility is widely preferred among new and seasoned CDL drivers because it allows you to pull more miles each year. Ultimately, this could result in better pay and benefits. Class A CDLs also open more doors to a wider range of companies because Class A CDL drivers can operate most of the vehicles that Class B and Class C CDL drivers are authorized to operate.
There are several programs available that offer training for a class A license, including Truck Driver Institute. Although you can opt for a school that takes several months, TDI’s training program can be completed in just 3 weeks. When selecting a truck driving school, it’s important to be sure the program will prepare you for all aspects of the CDL test, from the written exam to the road test.
TDI’s 15-day intensive program was created by experienced, professional, truck drivers and it is updated regularly. The training program includes classroom sessions with a knowledgeable instructor, hands-on training on an off-road driving range, and on-the-road driving instruction with the TDI team.
At TDI, we recognize the importance of behind the wheel training. After all, the only real way to learn how to operate a big truck is to hop into the driver’s seat. So, if classrooms aren’t really your thing, TDI’s program puts you behind the wheel of the equipment you’ll be operating on the job while other schools put you behind the wheel of a simulator.
Class B CDL
A Class B CDL enables a driver to haul smaller loads than a Class A license does. The difference between class A, B, and C CDLs are based on the GVWR for the vehicle, or trucks carrying hazardous materials. A vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds or that is towing another vehicle no more than 10,000 pounds, requires a Class B CDL.
However, it should be noted that certain vehicles do require additional training and certifications to operate. These vehicles include but aren’t limited to:
- Hazmat vehicles
- Passenger vans
- Other fluid trucks or tankers
For this reason, the length of Class B CDL training varies depending on what your career goals are. Usually, people who get a Class B CDL license do so to meet the requirements of a job or position they already occupy.
The length of time Class B truck driving schools require will depend on the particular training program as well as the state that you live in. Certain states require more driving hours than others, which would therefore extend the length of the truck driving school. If you’re unsure of which program to choose, reach out to your local DMV and ask for their recommendation.
Class C CDL
A Class C CDL is required for vehicles that do not classify within a Class A or B license, transport 16 or more people, or carry hazardous materials. Class C CDLs require additional endorsements, depending on the type of vehicle. For example, in order to drive a school bus, a school bus endorsement is required. Additionally, to haul hazardous materials, a hazmat endorsement is required.
Much like the Class B CDL, the question of how long is truck driving school for a Class C CDL will vary.
As with Class B CDLs, the length of time a Class C program takes will depend on your state’s requirements, what you want to do with your CDL, and the school you select.
Factors That Affect How Long Truck Driving School Is
There are several factors that affect how long truck driving school takes to complete. Explore some of the most common points to consider below.
- The amount of required driving time in your state. State laws can be a little complicated when it comes to commercial drivers, so this factor will be an important one to consider before your commit to a truck driving school in your area.
- The hours of classroom instruction provided by the course. In order to properly prepare students to pass the CDL exam we provide both classroom and driving time. TDI’s CDL program takes a mere three weeks compared to other schools that take longer. At TDI, you’re guaranteed classroom time and driving time so you understand the ins and outs of what it takes to become a professional driver.
- Whether or not the program is an authorized third party CDL administrator. If they’re not, you’ll need to find a time to take the CDL exam either at a government agency or authorized CDL testing site. TDI offers CDL tests on-site. This means you can pass your exam right there on our closed course and on the road even though we’re a private company. In the end, you save time because you don’t have to jump through extra hoops to get certified after you finish your training.
- Whether or not you choose to attend a program that is full time or part-time. This can drastically affect the length of the program. If you want to get your CDL in as little time as possible, full time would be the best option. If you’re worried about the commute, it’s worth mentioning that TDI offers full on-campus lodging at each of our schools. This makes getting your CDL on a full time schedule easy for people who don’t live right around the corner from us.
- The endorsements you choose to test for. These may include a passenger transport endorsement, hazardous materials endorsement, a school bus endorsement or other. This decision is more based on what your professional goals are and what you aim to do with your CDL license.
How Long is Truck Driving School? Determining The Cost
At other schools, you may find options such as “discounted tuition.” Although this is an attractive offer at surface level, you may lose out on big earnings and benefits in the future during your career.
In reality, these truck driving schools are owned by carriers who hire the students who pass through their schools. This practice is called “contract training,” and it could limit your options after you finish CDL school. Contract trained drivers have no choice but to work for the carrier that owns the school, even if that company isn’t their best fit.
At TDI, we don’t participate in contract training. However, we do offer a variety of great financial aid options to make sure your training at TDI is as affordable as possible. These options come in the form of grants, scholarships, and military and GI Bill compliance. If you qualify, you could get your CDL at TDI for as little as $225.
Through our job placement program, we can also pair our students with carriers that offer tuition reimbursement. Tuition reimbursement allows the carrier you choose to pay a portion of your tuition here at TDI.
With our financial aid offerings and the tuition reimbursement programs offered by select carriers, you could pay just as much out of pocket at TDI as you would at a contract training school while receiving much better instruction.
Job Placement at TDI
We’ve been in the truck driving industry since 1973. Our experience and reputation as one of the best truck driving schools in the United States means we’ve created professional relationships with great carrier companies that are just as invested in your future as we are.
Since your success is our priority, we’ve teamed up with our carrier partners to create a job placement process that boasts a 90% success rate.
This impressive record of success is made possible because the process takes place over three stages.
First, we review your application before your training even begins. This helps us get an idea of which carrier you’re most qualified to work with.
Second, our placement specialists work closely with you over the course of your training. The better we get to know you, the easier it will be to pair you with the company that best fits your interests.
Lastly, in case you didn’t receive an offer during your time at TDI, we provide you with post-graduate job placement services after you leave. This option is perfect for those who want to change carriers in the future.
Although TDI cannot guarantee placement, many past students have benefitted from our efforts, and many continue to benefit to this day.
How Long is Truck Driving School?
The TDI team has trained tens of thousands of students over the past 46 years and has locations in 8 states, for the students’ convenience. They also offer job security by working with 20+ carriers to help their students get hired at a trucking company after graduating. TDI’s trucking schools have a reputation for graduating safe CDL drivers and connecting graduates with the top trucking carriers in the business.
Whether you’re looking to get into a CDL training course for the immediate job security in the trucking industry or its affordable tuition costs, you can explore our truck driving school locations to get started.
We hope we were able to help you understand how long it might take you to complete truck driving school. If you’d like to learn more or have any questions regarding getting your CDL at TDI, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us online or give us a call at (800) 848-7364.
We look forward to hearing from you!