What is ELDT?

Entry-level driver training (ELDT) is required for drivers before obtaining a commercial driver’s license (CDL). Prior to February 7, 2022, each state had its own commercial driver’s license training requirements. To establish a single, national standard for obtaining your CDL, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Association (FMCSA) has updated ELDT requirements. ELDT includes theory and behind-the-wheel training and must be completed with an FMCSA registered training program or provider–like TDI!

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Who Needs ELDT?

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Association has made a regulation that requires anyone who wants to obtain a CDL. These requirements apply to you if you are looking to:

  • Obtain a Class A or Class B CDL for the first time 
  • Upgrade an existing Class B CDL to a Class A CDL 
  • Obtain a school bus (S), passenger (P), or hazardous materials (H) endorsement for the first time

What Does ELDT Require?

Entry-level drivers must receive training that allows them to demonstrate proficiency in 1) theory training and 2) behind-the-wheel (BTW) training while complying with training provider requirements. Both portions of training must be completed within one year of each other.

Theory Training

Training includes lectures, demonstrations, and online learning. Trainees must score at least 86% on their assessments with topics including:

  • Basic Operation 
  • Safe Operating Procedures
  • Advanced Operation Procedures
  • Vehicle Systems and Reporting Malfunctions
  • Non-driving activities 

Behind-the-Wheel Training

While theory training may include a stimulator, BTW training may not use a simulator to meet requirements. Behind-the-wheel training includes:  

  • Actual operation of a CMV
  • Takes place on a range or a public road  
  • No minimum number of hours, training provider will determine the driver’s proficiency 
  • Basic vehicle control skills and mastery of basic maneuvers

Training Provider Requirements

Entry-level driver training–both theory and BTW training–must be completed with a registered training provider. As a registered training provider, Truck Drivers Institute meets and exceeds ELDT regulations. TDI makes it easy for you by handling driver training certification, allowing you to skip the search for a trainer provider.

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Why TDI is Your Ideal Trainer Provider

FMCSA may have adjusted its ELDT requirements, but TDI has always held and adapted our program to fit a high standard of safety and skill for entry-level driver training. TDI’s CDL training program is designed to get you on the road safely and successfully in just 3 weeks. Our 15-day intensive class was developed and is updated regularly by seasoned, professional, truck drivers. 

With both classroom instruction and hands-on training, TDI gives you the training necessary to master both the theory and BTW training–and do so within the safety of a large, off-road driving range and on-the-road instruction in modern training vehicles. 

Anyone can take part in our CDL training program. No matter what background or financial situation you are coming from, TDI is here to equip you with the skills and agency to achieve your truck driving goals. Whether you have poor credit or you’re ready to turn your life around, your stories have inspired students from all walks of life to pursue a truck driving career.

TDI offers some of the best financial aid and financing options in the country. We’re proud to offer military benefits, carrier-paid tuition, and various scholarship options for all qualified applicants. Our carrier partners can offer you up to $7,000 in tuition, full employee benefits, a 401(k) retirement plan, rider and pet programs and more.

How Long are CDL Valid in Each State

Frequently Asked Questions about Entry Level Driver Training

Q: Why are these new federal regulations in place?
A: The ELDT mandate aims to underscore the high standard for safety, especially when navigating large loads. Prior to February 7, 2022, each state had its own commercial driver’s license training requirements. The new ELDT means that everyone nationwide will be using the same curriculum, establishing a national benchmark for drivers and their safety skills regardless of which state they come from.

Q: Is there a minimum number of hours required for the theory curricula?
A: No. There are no required minimum instructional hours for theory training, nor for BTW training. At TDI, your instructor will use assessments and evaluations to determine if you are proficient in both theory and BTW curriculums.

Q: With the new federal ELDT regulations, will it cost more to complete training for a CDL?
A: Not at all! Contrary to popular belief, funding your truck driving education through a professional truck-driving school will not break your wallet with thousands of dollars.

Q: What if I obtained my CLP or CDL before February 7, 2022?
A: You are not required to complete ELDT, as long as you obtain a CDL before the CLP or your renewed CLP expires. If your CLP expired before you applied for your CDL, you must complete the required entry-level driver training before you will be permitted to take the CDL skills test. If you were issued an S, P, or H endorsement before February 7, 2022, then you are also not required to complete ELDT, even if it has since elapsed.

Q: If I hold a CDL that was issued before February 7, 2022, what if I apply to upgrade to a higher class of CDL after February 7, 2022?
A: To obtain a higher class of CDL, you must complete the required ELDT for that class of CDL before you are permitted to take the CDL test. For example, if you want to apply for an S, P, or H endorsement, and you hold a CDL that was issued before February 7, 2022, then you would need to complete the required ELDT for the endorsement(s) you are applying for before taking the S or P skills test or H acknowledgment test.

Conquer your Entry Level Driver Training with TDI

Truck Driver Institute is not only here to help you complete your ELDT, but we are also here to go the extra mile in helping you jumpstart your next career. 

No matter what class of vehicle you want to operate, you’ll need to complete entry-level driver training (ELDT) for the class of the vehicle you want to operate. If you are a current CDL holder, you are not affected by these new federal requirements. 

With competitive pay and benefits, new experiences, and an industry that is in high demand, we will have you on the road and working in no time. We offer 10 locations in Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Indiana, Tennessee, Florida, and South Carolina. Get started at one today and be on your way to becoming a successful truck driver. 

Partner With the Best. A Few of Our Carrier Partners:

We have 10 Locations to Choose From:


100 Industrial Park Drive
Forsyth, GA 31029


4939 U.S. 78
Oxford, AL 36203


20214 Highway 49
Saucier, MS 39574


3542 East 500 North
Whiteland, IN 46184


6201 Epps Mill Road
Christiana, TN 37037


3700 St Johns Pkwy
SanfordFL 32771


5750 E. Milton Road
Milton, FL 32583


3425 Lancaster Highway
Richburg, SC 29729


24645 S.R. 23
South Bend, IN 46680


341 East Franklin Street
Tupelo, MS 38802

CALL US TODAY AT 800-848-7364

You can also contact us by filling out this quick and easy contact form. Once submitted we will be in contact with you as soon as we can.

*For Post 9/11 GI Bill® (Ch 33) students and VA Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (Ch 31) students, our tuition policy complies with 38 USC 3679(e) which means Post 9/11 and Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment students will not be charged or otherwise penalized due to a delay in VA tuition and fee payments.  For eligibility consideration, a Post 9/11 GI Bill® student must submit a VA Certificate of Eligibility (COE) and a Vocational Rehabilitation Student must provide a VAF 28-1905 form. Students must provide school with a Certificate of Eligibility (COE) prior to beginning class, but not later than the first day of training. A print screen of Statement of Benefits page will be accepted in lieu of COE and verification of benefits will be required.  Please see 38 USC 3679(e) for complete details. GI Bill® is a registered trademark of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). More information about education benefits offered by VA is available at the official U.S. government website at www.benefits.va.gov/gibill