Before you can be a successful truck driver, you’ll need CDL training. You’ll want a great team to help you learn all the tricks of the trade. There are many options when it comes to truck driving courses. You can choose to pay for training out of pocket, you can find grant money, your truck driving school may have financing options, or a trucking company might sponsor you. Certainly one of the most attractive ways to start your truck driving career is getting paid CDL training – earning while you are learning.  There are benefits and disadvantages for each option, and ultimately you’ll need to consider your family situation as well as your finances before making this decision. Keep reading to learn more about each option, and to understand the pros and cons of company paid CDL training vs. out of pocket truck driving schools.

Company paid CDL training programs are those that pay for potential employees to attend truck driving training over the course of several weeks. This benefits some trucking companies because they do not have to develop or invest in a training program for educating future employees. For most companies, the expertise and overhead to train their own student drivers is far too expensive a proposition. So, because they need employees, some trucking companies will send potential employees to a company sponsored truck driving school. Others do not offer free tuition up-front, but they will pay back your tuition in small increments once you are hired as a truck driver.

The pros of company paid CDL training (sponsored by a trucking company):
  • Free truck driver training that allows you to keep your savings in the bank to use for your long-term goals.
  • No previous experience in the trucking industry is required, or expected.
  • A short training period where you dedicate several weeks for intensive learning. This means you’ll be out on the road earning a pay sooner than later.
  • Many companies do not require a credit check since they are the ones paying for your training.
 
The cons of company paid CDL training:
  • If you are not hired by the company, you are often responsible for the tuition at the truck driving school.
  • Many truck driving schools that do contract training for trucking companies offer the bare minimum to get your CDL. They often do not care if you really have the skills to be a successful truck driver.
  • These programs may treat you like a number (or worse), instead of a person seeking a career change.
  • In most cases, you have to agree to work for the company for a certain time period. If you decide to leave the company before, you will have to pay back the cost of the training program.
Choosing to pay for a CDL program on your own (or obtaining funding from a government or other source) has the following advantages:
  • The freedom to work for the trucking company you choose. You are not tied to one company, and you want your first job after you get your CDL to provide the best “finishing” (on-the-job) training possible. Because how well you get trained during this transition period can make or break your year or even your career. Sadly, some companies treat new drivers like indentured servants (or worse); thankfully there are plenty of places to check trucking company reviews.
  • Flexibility in term of choosing a program that is less intense or occurs over a longer time periods so that you can manage your responsibilities at home.
  • You can choose a program that is geographically close, which gives you the ability to live at home while you train so that you can see your loved ones every day, and save on the cost of long distance travel.
  • Again, federal and state grants may be available to help you with the cost of tuition.
The cons of out of pocket truck driving school are:
  • Up-front costs that will reduce your bank account anywhere from $3,000 to $8,000.
  • Potentially having to borrow money to pay your tuition.
  • Not being able to secure a school loan if your credit is bad.
  • Lack of financial aid for courses that are only several weeks long.
Getting paid while getting your CDL is a wonderful option, if you qualify. Roehl is an example of a top trucking company that invests in employees by paying a salary during CDL training. In fact, Roehl was the first trucking company to offer the Get Your CDL program, and the company has a long history of training student truck drivers to be successful (over 25 years).

The positives of getting paid while you get your CDL are pretty straightforward:
  • Earn while you are learning.
  • Company invests a lot of time and financial resources in you – they want you to be successful.
  • Some programs (like Roehl) will hire you on the first day so you know you have a job when you have your CDL.
  • No truck driving school tuition debt.
  • You can focus on getting your CDL as a part of your job.
  • You likely train on the equipment you’ll operate when you have your commercial driver’s license.
  • A high CDL test pass rate. Companies that are paying you while you are learning are motivated to help you get your CDL and move into the next phase of your training, and that’s in stark contrast to other programs where the number of times you take a CDL test is really up to you (and the costs associated with those re-tests are also your responsibility).
Some of the negatives of a paid CDL training program are:
  • The program may not be available for you. Programs like Roehl’s know they can attract the best, and they typically have much higher standards than truck driving schools or other company sponsored training programs.
  • You may have to travel to a training location outside of your home geography. This is really something to consider because if you are unwilling to do that while you are getting your CDL, you could find the rigors of being a professional over-the-road truck driver very challenging (and potentially unsustainable).
  • You will have an agreement to fulfill. This is a negative only if you could have obtained funds from a federal or state source (with no strings attached).
  • You may need to obtain your commercial learner’s permit (CLP) by yourself. This is another big hurdle for some potential truck drivers. Most trucking schools will spend the first week covering the content you’ll need to know to test for your CLP. While Roehl offers plenty of resources to help, including practice CDL tests and CLP step-by-step instructions, some candidates would rather go to a school. Remember, if you are at a school for an extra 40 hours or so of training to just get your CLP, you are already a week behind in what you could be earning (and with Roehl, you’d be even further behind because we pay you while you are getting your CDL).
  • The length of the program. For some people, a shorter program simply is not enough time for them to master the skills they need to be a successful truck driver. Roehl’s program is typically four weeks long, and there are people who benefit from an 8-week or even 16-week technical course. With Roehl’s GYCDL program, you are trained to get your CDL in four weeks.
Whether you decide to apply for a CDL training program that sponsored by a trucking company, pay the cost of school on your own or you qualify for a program like Roehl’s that pays you as you learn, you must determine which is most beneficial for your own situation. Whichever options you choose, remember that Roehl offers excellent training, pay and benefits to recent CDL school grads, GYCDL employees and experienced truck driving veterans, too. So, when you are ready to be a leader, consider TeamRoehl – we wish you Driver Success and safe miles.
 
 
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