Finding a Truck Driving School

Education
two truck drivers ride in a tractor trailer

Even with the advancements in air freight and efficient transport of cargo through the rail system, businesses still heavily rely upon truck drivers to move products around the country. There is a steady need for new drivers because many people retire from this business each year.

If you are interested in becoming a licensed long- or short-haul driver, you will need to complete a certified course. Many schools offer complete training and certification but choosing the school that is right for you involves research and important decisions about costs and possible relocation.

School Criteria

Before applying to any truck driving school, remember that not all of them offer the same exact course material. Your best bet may be company-sponsored schools that offer CDL training. Trucking companies own these types of schools and often require little up-front money for tuition.

In most cases, company-owned schools will deduct tuition fees from paychecks once you begin driving for the sponsoring company. Tuition costs vary considerably, but most standard courses that last about a month will cost around $2,000. Private schools may charge more up front.

Company-owned schools generally offer job placement after coursework is completed. This is not always the case with private trucking schools. The only advantage of attending a private truck driving school is that you have the freedom to choose the company you work for. A company-sponsored school requires you to complete your tuition payments by working exclusively for them.

Questionable Programs

It is wise to avoid schools advertising certification in one or two weeks. This often means that the curriculum is problematic, and trucking companies will be suspect of the resulting certification. These companies know their stuff and will normally reject an application that contains a certification from a quick-to-graduate program.

Location Factors

Location is another important consideration. Choosing a school merely because it is close by is not an intelligent move. Since no two trucking schools are exactly alike, it is best to make up a list of those that seem to offer the best training, regardless of their actual location. Think of your school and the time it takes to get there as your first experience with long-haul trucking.

Training Criteria

Most aspiring truck drivers would believe that one-on-one instruction is the best way to get a truck driving education. In fact, it is not truly cost-efficient in terms of the tuition. Observation time and driving time are two separate things. Observation time does not count toward the required driving time, so be careful to choose a school that allows for a good amount of both. Team observation is fine so long as the school has a good reputation for delivering well-qualified students into the marketplace.

To summarize, make location a low priority and the overall learning curriculum a high priority. Assess the cost of a program and know your financial limits, but apply to the most appealing schools regardless of the tuition amount. You may be able to secure a student loan, and the tuition payments at a company-owned school can often be spread out over months or even a year.

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