Paid CDL Training – Is It Right For You?

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:

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.


20 Responses to “Paid CDL Training – Is It Right For You?”

  1. Antonio says:

    Huge thanks for creating this site – a wealth of information. I’m interested in driving local, with a Class B CDL, in California. I wouldn’t mind OTR, but I have an elderly father to look after. Are most companies looking for long distance driver’s, if you know, or is there a chance I can receive training for local, or at least regional runs? Thanks for your time, Aidan!

    • Aidan says:

      Hi Antonio, there are lots of local driving jobs on offer – in fact, there has actually been a rise in demand for drivers across the entire nation in recent months…

  2. Samuel Wong says:

    I’ve been researching CDL training, and some people suggest getting your CDL at your local community college. Any thoughts?

    • Aidan says:

      I’ve heard several folks say, and I’ve read it online also, that going to a community college is one of the best ways to get your training. The classes tend to be smaller in many cases and the course sometimes lasts longer, and more education and training you can get before you start driving, the better off you are, in my opinion.

  3. Michael Bailey says:

    What happens if you quit before you’ve paid back the money the company spent for your training?

    • Aidan says:

      Sometimes you don’t have to pay any money back if you sign an agreement to work for the company for a specified length of time. If you leave before that time is up, you may be held liable for the balance of what the company paid for your training.

  4. Billy Torres says:

    You rock man! Really awesome site!

  5. Marvin says:

    I used to drive a flatbed, but it’s been 12 years ago since I was driving professionally. Do I need to go through training again, and if I do, can I get a company to pay for it?

    • Aidan says:

      Marvin,
      Thanks for stopping by. I can’t say for certain, but I think you’ll probably have to go through at least a refresher course, unless you’ve kept your CDL active all these years. Your best bet is to check with your state requirements, and then question some trucking companies for their policy on paid training.

  6. Jessie says:

    Hey man, just want to say thanks for putting this website together, it’s a great resource!

  7. Sarah says:

    Hi,
    My son will be coming home from the military soon and wants to learn to drive a truck for a living. He’s 35 now, can he still get in or is there an age limit for when the schools won’t take them anymore?

    • Aidan says:

      Sarah,
      As far as I know, there’s not an age limit. I know a lot of military folks who come home and decide to make their living driving a truck. Shop around with the trucking companies, some have special programs in place specifically for veterans.

  8. Clint says:

    If I already paid for my truck driving school training, any chance there’s a company out there that will reimburse me?

    • Aidan says:

      Clint,
      It’s possible. You’ll need to ask the trucking company you’re interested in, to see if they offer that option.

  9. Brad says:

    How much do they pay you while you’re training?

    • Aidan says:

      Brad,
      It varies from company to company, but generally it’s enough to cover your expenses while you’re on the road, such as meals, lodging, etc. and usually you’ll have a little bit left over.

  10. Jared says:

    For the 7 companies listed at the top, do they make you pay them back for the training?

    • Aidan says:

      It depends on the company. Generally speaking, if you end up getting a job with them, then you won’t need to pay anything for the training.

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