How Much Does CDL Training & Truck Driving School Really Cost?
If you’re considering getting your CDL license, you may be wondering what exactly that entails. Specifically, does CDL training cost money? If so, what are the costs involved with each type of license, and how do they compare with other types of education options?
Before you commit to getting your CDL or enrolling in a truck driving school, it’s important to fully understand how much it all costs.
Changing job industries and researching new opportunities can be exciting and a bit intimidating. Don’t let the fear of unknown training costs deter you from making a valuable career change.
Today, we’re outlining exactly how much CDL training costs, as well as what’s involved. Let’s dive in!
Why Does CDL Training Cost Money?
First, you may be curious about why CDL training costs money. To clarify, CDL training is optional and is not required to get your commercial driver’s license. It is a program that people can enroll in to become properly prepared before they take their CDL test.
CDL training programs, otherwise known as truck driving schools, typically consists of a written curriculum as well as a driving portion of the course. The school’s sole purpose is to cover all aspects of the CDL exam, so the course content generally includes information on topics such as log books, service requirements, map reading and how to plan a trip. Additionally, students learn proper backing maneuvers, highway driving, and night driving. For tips on how to pass the CDL test, check out these tips and resources.
In addition to preparing students with a thorough course curriculum, CDL school also provides supportive student advisors to help navigate the job–hunting process and a team of experienced instructors. Like any other type of schooling or job preparation program, CDL training costs money to cover the expenses incurred by the school.
Does an Actual CDL License Cost Money?
When someone applies for their CDL license, they have to pay a fee. The fee depends on several factors, including:
- Which state you’re applying for your CDL in.
- What type of CDL you’re applying for.
- Whether or not you’re applying for any endorsements.
- Your age (this applies to specific states only).
For example, someone applying for their class A CDL in Maine, with no additional endorsements, would pay approximately $70. However, someone in Texas applying for the same CDL will pay closer to $61 if they’re younger than 84, and $25 if they’re 85 and older.
To determine the exact cost of applying for your CDL, contact the DMV’s office in your state and inquire.
What are the Different Types of CDL Licenses?
There are several different types of CDL licenses. These include a Class A, Class B and Class C license. Each type of CDL allows drivers to operate vehicles of varying gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR). Additionally, depending on the type of vehicle a driver is operating, they may also be required to get certain endorsements.
- Class A CDL License – Truck Trailer or tractor-semi, trailer combination vehicles with a GCWR of 26,001 lbs and the unit being towed exceeds 10,000 lbs.
- Class B CDL License – Single vehicles weighing 26,001 lbs or more and the unit being towed is less than 10,000 lbs.
- Class C CDL License – Vehicles carrying more than 16 passengers (including the driver) or transporting hazardous materials in quantities that require placarding.
Truck Driver Institute’s CDL training program focuses primarily on the Class A license. If you have any questions on which license would be best for you to receive, please reach out to our experienced customer representatives today and they can assist you.
Does Each Type of CDL License Vary in Cost?
Generally, the cost of applying for your Class A, Class B or Class C CDL costs the same in each state. However, as we outlined above, the exact cost will vary state by state. Emailing or calling your local DMV will ensure you have the most up to date information about the exact cost of applying for your commercial driver’s license.
How Much Do CDL Endorsements Cost?
CDL endorsements are additional authorizations for your CDL license that allow you to operate certain types of vehicles or operate specific types of cargo. Examples of CDL endorsements include operating a commercial vehicle with air brakes, HAZMAT, and the authority to become a school bus driver.
Similar to the varying costs of applying for your CDL, the cost of CDL endorsements also differ by state. For example, each individual CDL endorsement is an additional $20 in the state of Maine, and only $7 in Florida.
Do All Truck Driving Schools Cost the Same?
Due to the fact that CDL training is an optional, out of pocket program, the costs per program vary greatly. The cost of training may depend on several factors. Before enrolling in a truck driving school, be sure to research some of the following:
- The reputation of the school and how long they’ve been in business.
- Online reviews from past students.
- The experience level of their instructors.
- The availability of student advisors to help with job placement and other student concerns.
Ultimately, CDL training may also vary due to the school’s location, the length of the program and many other factors. Below is a breakdown of costs associated with TDI’s program:
Costs of Truck Driving School
- $200-$300 (general) out of pocket program cost
- Travel expenses if you attend a school out of state
- Lodging costs (TDI partners with local hotels who will offer discounted rates)
- Meals for 3 weeks
Certain trucking school programs, such as TDI, offer career education funding opportunities to ensure the cost of CDL training is as affordable as possible. Truck Driver Institute also works with several trucking carriers to offer tuition assistance programs for students.
Career Education Funding
TDI’s Student Services Department is available to assist in coordinating and implementing the best funding option for you. This includes working with you to secure several financial assistance options.
Employer Tuition Assistance
Many of the trucking companies that TDI works with are willing to invest in your education through Tuition Assistance Programs, once hired after graduation. This incentive is above and beyond a very attractive pay package. The TDI team can let you know which carriers offer this benefit.
Next, let’s compare the cost of CDL training to other types of education options, such as traditional college.
How Does the Cost of CDL Training Compare to Other Education Options?
A CDL training program is a great alternative to college for many reasons. The benefits of a truck driving school include the inexpensive cost of the program, the ability to get a job quicker, and the opportunity to land full-time employment with fantastic benefits.
Additionally, at Truck Driver Institute, you don’t have to worry about trying to navigate the process of enrolling our trucking driving programs by yourself, either. Our experienced team of advisors will help you figure out what you need to attend our school, what will be required of you, and what to expect after you graduate.
We’ve outlined the minimal costs of attending a CDL training program in the section above, so now let’s explore some of the common costs associated with college, to compare.
- College classes (these can be thousands of dollars per class)
- Travel expenses if you attend an out of state school
- Course books (these are often hundreds of dollars per semester)
- Room and board
- Expensive meal plans for 2-4 years
- Library fees
- Campus transportation
- On-campus facilities such as the gym
- Course-specific fees (ex: science lab fees)
- Dorm room furnishings
- Electronics such as laptops, printers, etc.
- Health insurance (if you’re older than 26 and need health insurance for the 2-4 years you’ll be attending school)
As you can see, there is a huge difference in costs between the two education options. Additionally, the student advisors at CDL training schools such as TDI work with students, even after they’ve graduated, to help them land jobs in the truck driving industry. The same cannot be said for most colleges.
Enroll in an Affordable CDL Training Program Near You
Truck Driver Institute offers an all-encompassing, 3-week CDL training that successfully prepares students to pass their CDL test and get their Class A license. The TDI team has trained tens of thousands of students.
For more than 46 years, Truck Driver Institute has offered professional CDL training in the industry and has locations in 8 states. TDI’s trucking schools have a reputation for graduating safe CDL drivers, and connecting graduates with the top trucking carriers in the business by working with 20+ carriers to help students get hired after graduating.
Explore TDI’s truck driving school locations now online to get started.