I am looking to get my CDL as soon as possible but want something that is going to be valid for employers. I have found three options.
1) local community college, seems well-funded, but the program takes 8 weeks full-time (10 weeks if you do a night/weekend program). It also doesn't start until early January so I would be waiting almost 2 months from now, and it would not complete until the end of February 2020. Total about $4000-4500
2) 160 Driving Academy local branch - they say it can be completed in 3 or 4 weeks, unsure when the next class begins but hopefully sooner than January (total cost about $4000-4500)
3) Drive Rite 57 where you can pay by the lesson: CDL Training – Drive-Rite I was told the total cost is about $2500 but that it varies based on how many lessons you need to pay for, i.e. if you are struggling you will need more lessons before you get there.
As far as I know the only one that is "accredited" is the community college. But does this make a difference? I would like to have the best experience, but I also don't want to not be able to drive until 4 months from now, when some of these programs take a few weeks.
Does anyone have thoughts? I am in Maryland, if there are any other good local options such as company training programs, etc. I would prefer to have a regional position when I get my CDL rather than OTR if that is possible. Tanker or hazmat would be interesting to me too.
If I pass the CDL test, but attended one of the less-legit schools, would a company not want to hire me even though I had demonstrated by passing the CDL test that I had learned the same material?
Training options to choose between
Fed-ex has a driver apprentice program. Look into that and see if your local hub is hiring for that position. Youll be a dock worker while they train you and get experience driving. Will take longer but its paid and youll have a job with no previous experience.
I’d suggest the community college
In my state that’s the best training by far, and also the least expensive .
They spend two weeks in a classroom learning the rules and regs then one week learning how to do a pre trip inspection , 2 weeks learning how to shift gears, then two weeks backing trailers in the parking lot
You’ve got a couple of months to work overtime and save some money ,
The course shouldn’t be expensive but the not working while you’re in class can be hard, although you can work part time somewhere nights and weekends when you’re not in class .
Most states have some form of tuition assistance , either loans or grants .
in my state the community colleges and vo tech schools are “third party testers “ if you pass the class , get your CDL,
The class IS your road test .
there will be plenty of recruiters at the class , and some of the companies will actually be good ones to work for , you just have to figure out which ones they are by asking the recruiter the questions that no one else will .
Everyone will ask about average earnings, you need to ask about training , opportunities for advancement , (which usually don’t exist in trucking , you’re a driver , what’s above that ? Nothing )
And ask about turnover rate , most companies brag when their turnover is less than 100% a year . and ask about home time .
some companies will guarantee home on weekends , and some companies will have you on the road for months at a time
my nephew completed a CDL class at a state vo tech school last year , and there were tons of companies recruiting , but one company did oversize overweight and super heavy haul.
And they hire people with new CDLs
But they haul secure loads and are very selective , and required an extensive background investigation, and only 3 of the 29 students were even eligible to apply for the background investigation, the other 26 students had bad driving records , terrible credit reports, or criminal arrests .
The background investigation application is 250 pages and includes your siblings , parents and in-laws, since the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.
And the background investigation takes 6-12 weeks .
My nephew got hired and after completing the company’s 12 month paid training program is now driving a 2 yr old 600 horsepower , 18 speed W-900L hauling 12 foot wide loads that gross 110,000 lbs , and home every weekend
After you drive another 12 months for them , they issue the driver a brand new truck , and send the driver to the KW dealer to select the color of the new rig
there are some good companies out there to work for , it’s your job to find them ,Last edited: Nov 17, 2019