If you’re considering a career as a truck driver, one of your options for getting trained is paid CDL training. Some trucking companies will pay you while you’re being trained for commercial driving and allow you to pay them back after you’ve been hired.
Before going any further, I recommend you read about some of the companies that offer “on the job” training:
- Swift Transportation
- Stevens Transport
- Schneider Trucking
- Prime Trucking
- Werner Enterprises
- FFE Transportation
- PAM Transport
Here’s how it typically works: You will spend a few weeks with a CDL instructor, learning the basic skills of driving a commercial vehicle. You’ll need to take and successfully pass the state-required knowledge and skill tests. When you have accomplished that, you will then be eligible to apply for your commercial driver’s license.
Once you receive your CDL, you will be assigned to a driver-trainer, and you will spend several months, (usually a minimum of 3 months and can take up to 6 months), learning to perfect your driving skills.
You and your trainer will usually be out on the road for several weeks at a time. It’s very common for trainees to spend 4 to 6 weeks traveling in the truck before coming home for a few days, so be prepared for that likelihood. After you’ve been home for a handful of days, you’ll be expected to go out on the road again for another 4 to 6 week stretch.
Each company that offers paid CDL training will have their own set of policies and training regulations. Just be sure to ask enough questions to have a good understanding of what will be expected of you, so there are no surprises.
The trucking company will loan you a certain amount of money for food and minor expenses each week throughout your training time, which you will pay back through payroll deductions once you start working for them.
While the amount you’ll be paid is not a lot, it’s usually generous enough to cover all your weekly expenses and still have a little left over. The point is not to actually “make” money while you’re completing your training, but to get all the training you need without it costing you anything out of your own pocket up front.
Some companies will waive the loan if you commit to working for them for a given period of time. Most require a contract for at least one year’s service in order to dismiss the loan amount.
Paid CDL training can be a great option for you if you’re able to find a trucking company you’d like to go to work for and can commit to the time frame they require after your training is finished.