When you are getting started with truck driving school, you want to make the smartest decision possible. It’s your time and hard earned dollars on the line. Here at Careers in Gear, we have all of the resources you need to help you find the best training facility near you. Start here with this basic guide on choosing the best truck driving school for new drivers.
What to Expect With a Truck Driver Training Program
The primary considerations when choosing a truck driver training program is the cost and timeframe. After all, most people are on a budget and want to find the most affordable training without sacrificing truck driver safety. At the same time, you also need to consider how long it will take you to finish a truck driver training program successfully.
Because, ultimately, that is the goal. You have to get the skills and information while in truck driving school to help you pass the CDL exam. Even if you pass trucking school, you do not actually graduate unless you pass the CDL exam. You may be able to take the CDL exam through your training facility if they are approved, certified training providers. However, most truck driving students will have to go to their local Department of Transportation (DOT) to take the CDL exam.
Time for Truck Driver Training
You’ll find trucking schools that offer to train students in one day, as well as more comprehensive training that takes up to four months. Think about whether you will be able to work while in training since you’ll still need to cover your bills while in school. If you are going to be in truck driver training for a couple weeks, it is a lot easier to manage financially compared to longer training sessions.
Of course, you have to keep in mind the reality of how much you need to learn to become a safe truck driver. Ask yourself: Are you somewhat familiar with operating a big rig? Have you ever sat behind the wheel of a big rig? Do you know how to back up a trailer? If you have zero experience, then a full-scale program lasting at least two months is ideal. You want the most opportunity to be in the truck with a trainer so you can learn as much as possible during this time.
If you have already been training with someone who is a professional driver, then you’re a step ahead of the competition. Maybe you are a military veteran who is experienced as a military truck driver. However, you are required to get a CDL and need to receive some basic commercial driver training. You’ll most likely benefit from a shorter training or a CDL training for military veterans.
Paying for Truck Driving School
The biggest hurdle to overcome for most trucking students is paying for it. Generally, if you’re looking for a truck driving job and need to start a career in trucking, you are not currently in a career that pays well. Maybe you lack savings or credit to get a loan. When it comes to paying for truck driving school, most programs offer a few options, such as:
- Student loans
- Bank loans
- Trucking company partnerships
- Tuition payments
At the same time, you can find plenty of truck driving schools that are sponsored or partnered with trucking companies. These companies typically have some sort of paid truck driver training program or they offer tuition reimbursement for CDL training. Look for sponsored schools to find these types of free truck driver training opportunities.
Finding a Trucking School Near You
A final and sometimes overlooked aspect of truck driving school is how you will pay for living expenses while you are in school. Ideally, you’ll look for trucking schools near you. By going to a truck driver training program in your community, you can avoid having to pay extra for lodging and/or transportation to the school. In addition, you are able to train with other drivers in your area who will become a part of your truck driving community. You are also connected with local trucking companies that often visit trucking schools to meet and greet potential truck drivers.
Learn more about truck driving schools by searching for information and the latest trucking news here at Careers in Gear.