Truck Driving School

Would you like a career that allows you to travel? Consider signing up for truck driving school to enter an in-demand field.

Truck drivers are always needed to transport goods across the United States. Some truck drivers move goods short distances. Others are long haul truckers that driver across many different states. If you would like to be a truck driver, you can choose either type of driving. However, you must attend truck driving school to get a commercial driving license (CDL) either way.

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), you must have a CDL to drive tractor trailer trucks and other large vehicles. In previous years, you could get a CDL without attending a formal trucking school, if you had an experienced truck driver to train you. However, that regulation is changing. As of February 7, 2022, you must receive training from an acceptable training school on the Training Provider Registry in order to obtain a CDL. Below is an overview of what you need to know about the field of truck driving and what to expect from truck driving school.

Why Truck Driving is a Desirable Career

There are many pros of becoming a truck driver. If you love driving, it gives you a chance to turn your passion into a career. Truck driving is also perfect if you like to travel and see the sights of the United States. You can do so alone if you prefer a quiet lifestyle, but you can also opt to bring a spouse or pets with you on the road. You do not have to spend all day cooped up in an office with a lot of co-workers, but you do not have to be lonely either. Some other benefits of truck driving include:

  • Setting Your Own Driving Schedule

  • Stopping for Food or Breaks Whenever You Want

  • Building New Friendships in the Tight Truck Driving Community

  • Listening to Music, Eating, or Otherwise Entertaining Yourself While Working

  • Dressing Casually

  • Having Plenty of Earning Potential and Room to Advance in the Field 

Current and Projected Truck Driving Job Availability

There has been an ongoing shortage of truck drivers in the United States throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, and even prior to it. There is always a high demand for drivers, and there are not enough drivers to meet that demand. According to a 2018 Washington Post article, there were approximately 51,000 trucking positions without truckers available to fill them that year. After the COVID-19 pandemic started, that problem only increased.

From 2018 to 2021, more consumers started working from home, and more of them started placing online orders for goods, particularly during the COVID-19 crisis of 2020-2021. Companies are constantly looking for truck drivers to help them meet those demands. Data released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) in 2020 indicated there were approximately 1,951,600 available in the United States. The BLS states job availability is projected to increase by six percent between 2020 and 2030.

How Much Can You Earn Driving Trucks?

The amount you can earn as a truck driver is up to you. The BLS states the average pay for a U.S. truck driver in 2020 was $47,130 per year. However, certain types of driving positions are more lucrative than others. For example, HAZMAT driving is the transportation of hazardous materials. Since it is a dangerous job, HAZMAT jobs often offer higher pay and better benefits. Other high-paying trucking jobs include:

  • Mining Industry Driving

  • Team Hauling

  • Ice Road Trucking

  • Owning/Operating Your Own Truck

  • Hauling Over-Sized Loads

  • Hauling Tankers

What Does Truck Driving School Teach?

Before you enroll in truck driving school, you need to know what to expect. Truck driving school typically consists of classroom learning time, as well as practical driving time. Both environments will provide you with the knowledge needed to safely operate large vehicles on the road. Among the skills you must learn during the school training are: 

  • Basic Rules of the Road

  • Winter Driving Skills

  • Night Driving Skills

  • HAZMAT Transport Practices (When Applicable)

  • Laws Relating to Trucking (Such as Distracted Driving Laws)

  • Practical Driving Skills

How Much Does Truck Driving School Cost?

The cost of truck driving school can be as little as approximately $3,000 or in excess of $10,000. Variables like the geographic location in which you live and the specific school you pick affect the cost. How much you have to pay also depends on the steps you plan to take and the particular certifications you want. You must pay standard course fees, written exam fees, and road test fees. You must also pay for the specific license or licenses you desire. For example, a HAZMAT certification in addition to a standard CDL licenses costs more, regardless of the school you attend.

What Are Your Financial Aid Options for Truck Driving School?

If you cannot afford to invest $3,000 to $10,000 to obtain your CDL, financial aid is available. Some CDL schools, such as Schneider's offer special options like paid CDL training. Many trucking companies also offer tuition reimbursement when they hire truckers who have just completed training. Several truck driving schools also offer special discounts for veterans and family members of veterans. Other financial aid options include but are not limited to:

  • Personal Loans

  • Student Loans Offered by Trucking Schools

  • Carrier Sponsorship Programs

  • State Assistance Programs

  • Federal Aid Like Stafford Loans 

Getting a Job After Earning Your CDL

One of the most convenient things about pursuing a career in CDL driving is many truck driving schools offer immediate job placement when your training is complete. You can also apply ahead of time to a trucking company that may pay for your training and give you a position as soon as you complete it. Even if a job is not provided to you, there is an ever-increasing demand for truck drivers. You can easily find a position by checking with local companies or browsing online job listings. For example, the popular job search website Indeed routinely lists thousands of available truck driving jobs. Alternatively, you can easily find a truck driving position through websites specifically devoted to trucking jobs, such as AllTruckJobs.