What Are The General Tuition Costs for a CDL?
Based on a sampling of random schools we reviewed, trucking school costs between $3,200 and $8,400 for the entire program. The length of time and the cost depend on whether you want a Class A or Class B license and which endorsements you want on your license.
So depending on the time you need to train to earn your chosen license, the higher the tuition cost will be. Often you can earn your CDL and start making money in several weeks. Most trucking schools charge one lump sum for the entire course, and tuition costs can vary between different parts of the country and sometimes between schools in the same area.
Are Their Funding Options?
Many students don’t have to pay the full cost of trucking school. Sometimes if you sign with a carrier before you graduate, they may cover some or all of your schooling costs. In areas of the country with trucker shortages, some schools may give scholarships and grants to students, so be sure to ask about these opportunities.
Even if you don’t qualify for financial aid, you may have other options. Student loans may defer payments until after completing your training. Many schools accept monthly payment plans, so ensure you have investigated all options before you apply.
How Can I Justify The Time And Cost?
When you consider trucking school think about how it will change the next 30 to 40 years of your life. The cost is a drop in the bucket compared to college tuition and you’ll be making money as soon as you get a job so you’ll be able to make up the tuition costs in a month or two.
If you’re already in another career and are interested in getting a job in the trucking industry think about the increased salary. If you’re currently making $30,000 a year and decide to become a CDL driver the median annual salary is $41,340. So think about how much that $11,000 per year will provide for every year before you reach retirement.
Also trucking companies have benefits just like many other corporations so you’ll be getting the usual benefits and maybe some extra depending on the company. Common benefits include healthcare, flexible schedule, paid vacation, an office with an incredible view, and the ability to see the country.
What Are Some Ways I Can Pay For My CDL Training?
Scholarships – the school you apply to should have a list of available scholarships. Before applying make sure you read all the requirements.
Federal Grants – Fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Grants are often based on financial need, so depending on your situation you may or may not qualify.
TAA Grant – If the U.S. Department of Labor determines an applicant lost their job through no fault of their own, and the job loss was caused by a change in international trade, money is often granted for retraining as well as other benefits to successful applicants. To apply you just fill out their form for the Trade Adjustment Assistance Grant (TAA Grant).
Private Grants – Trucking companies give grants to students who agree to work for the company for a set number of years after graduation. Just make sure you read the fine print:
- How long do you have to be a driver for the company?
- Will they make you pay back training costs from your paychecks?
Trucking companies know that if they help with a student’s financial obligations they’ll have a knowledgeable and safe driver working with them for many years.
Miscellaneous Cost Considerations
Fill out all forms completely and double-check your spelling. Mistakes on these forms can lead to more paperwork or totally missing out on funding.
If you don’t feel comfortable filling out the forms or find you are becoming overwhelmed, contact the financial aid office at the trucking school to which you’re applying. They help students find funding every day and they’re familiar with the forms and eligibility requirements.