Free truck driving schools, paid CDL training programs, are a GREAT way to become a truck driver. It’s the best way to get a good deal for your driver training and the most bang for your buck. Taking advantage of one of these programs is a pretty smart way to get your CDL.
What are Free Truck Driving Schools?
Some programs do not have upfront fees. Some do. Some trucking company sponsored CDL training programs have a plan where the company deducts the training fee from their monthly pay…. and some will reimburse the training fee to the driver, should they stay with the company for ax extended time period.
Several of the large American trucking companies operate their very own truck driver training schools. They will teach candidates how to drive a big rig, get their CDL and then give the graduates of their training program a driving job. It’s like a 2-For-1 deal….. training AND a job.
Free trucking school programs/company sponsored training are probably the most cost effective way to get a CDL, with the least amount of money paid to the training school. However, after factoring in the low wages during the first year or so as a driver, while fulfilling the contractual agreement for receiving the free training, a private training school option may be the better choice. It all depends on your personal situation.
Paid CDL Training Schools
These trucking companies offer CDL training with a job, upon completion of their program.
- Swift Transportation
- CR England
- Knight Transportation
- USA Truck
- Werner Enterprises
- Prime Inc
- US Express
- Averitt Express
- Pam Transport
Who Will NOT Benefit From Paid CDL Training
Driving schools will welcome you with open arms once you have signed on the dotted line….. no question there. However, there are some circumstances which will NOT make you a good candidate for one of these programs.
If you have accidents or a D.U.I. on your driving record or a criminal history, you may not get a driving job AFTER your training. They may tell you it won’t be a problem, but in most cases it IS a problem. The trucking companies are at the mercy of their insurance companies and if the insurance company rejects a driver, they cannot be hired.
Don’t waste your time and money thinking you can outsmart the system or believe what the program rep tells you. Move on to another career where these circumstances will not stand in the way.
Related > I’m a New Truck Driver: Now What?
What are the advantages of a company sponsored CDL program?
Training programs vary from company to company. Most of them stipulate that you run with a trainer in one truck for a period of time, in order to gain valuable practical experience behind the wheel.
- There are a few distinct advantages in enrolling in one of these free truck driving schools. Most of them do not require any money upfront, as compared to the private truck driving training schools which can be very expensive…. thousands and thousands of dollars.
- Another perk is the graduates are guaranteed a driving job at the trucking company. This is pretty important stuff, as graduates from some training schools may find it difficult to secure employment. Many trucking companies prefer to hire drivers with experience…… kind of challenging when you’re a brand new driver out of school! Very disheartening to pay all that money, get your CDL and then can’t get a job.The carriers have the benefit of hiring a new driver, so it’s a win-win situation for both company and new driver.
- Another perk is there are lots of these companies around the U.S. and Canada which have implemented this style of training. They ALL want you to come to their driving school and hire you! Many of the mega carriers have branches in many different parts of the country, so you won’t need to travel far to attend one of their schools.
Related > Starting a Truck Driving Career
Any Downsides to a Trucking Company Training School?
This type of training is what I like to call fast track training. They are normally programs which teach the trainees what they really need to know , in order to pass the driving test. They aren’t always in-depth, comprehensive courses. After all, it would be nearly impossible to master all the skills required to be a top notch driver in just a few weeks.
The really big kicker here is you may find future employers will look negatively on these programs. Some employers feel the training is insufficient and doesn’t meet their hiring standards.
Shopping For a Paid CDL Training School
- When looking for a training school, be certain to check out the details of the training program: Thoroughly review all details, especially the repayment of the training, if any works and how much you can expect to be paid. Be sure your financial obligations are in writing, after all, this is a contract you’re about to enter. Talk to some driver graduates of their program, if you’re able….. find out about their experiences.
- Find out what type of trucking the company does and where they run. Do they specialize in produce hauling, flatbed work, tanker hauling, dry vans? Do they run OTR (long haul trucking)? Short haul? Or just in a specific region of the country? Teams? All of this information will have a bearing on your choice of training school. Try to choose a company which does the kind of work you are interested in. Otherwise, you may be unhappy right from the start. If you’re going to be working for them for the next year or two, it may as well be doing something where you’re reasonably happy.
Trainers – Free Truck Driving Schools & Programs
Trainers are just part of life for a trainee. Like it or not.;) Living in a truck for a few weeks with a driver trainer can be a trying experience.
Some trainers are better qualified and more skilled than others. Some do the job because they actually enjoy it and like the company of a second driver. Others do it solely for the money.
Be aware that some driver trainers can be difficult to get along with, and it may be necessary to ask the trucking company for a different trainer, due to personality conflicts. However, be prepared to ride the wave with whoever you are assigned to as the company may not care about whether you get along with the trainer!
Getting your CDL from a trucking company driver training school is a stepping stone into a trucking career. The experience gained initially with your training will give you what you need to secure the exact driving job you want later in your driving career.
Keep in mind that you’ll likely need to spend an extended period of time with the same company after training, to fulfill your contractual obligation. However, the guaranteed job will get you some good experience so you can then go out in the future and get the job you really want.
It’s the easiest, simplest and least expensive way to get your foot in the door and get your career underway as soon as possible. There are numerous advantages and some downsides. However, it boils down to individual preference.
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