Bad Trucking Idea #1: Train Here/Work Here

Bad Trucking Idea #1: Train Here/Work Here

A potential student, considering driving school, is bombarded with advertisements that read “Train Here/Work Here.” Many large trucking companies run their own driving schools. You take classes at a company terminal. When you get your CDL, the company makes you a driver trainee (driving with a trainer for 4–8 weeks). When the trainer signs off on your qualifications, you get your own truck.

It is a tempting offer. You will not have any out-of-pocket costs for school, and you will move directly from student to driver-trainee, and then to driver. Sounds great, right?


“Train Here/Work Here” is a bad idea. A very bad idea.

There are two different ways to get your CDL. You can go to an independent school—or, you can take classes with a driving company. Both methods will cost you about $3,000.

If you go to an independent school, you pay the money upfront, out-of-pocket ($2,000–$2,500 to the school—the rest for tests and fees).

If you get your CDL with a driving company, you pay nothing out-of-pocket—school costs get taken out of your checks once you are driving—or, you are forgiven your school costs after you have been driving for 6 months, or so.

In the long run, finances work out the same if everything works out according to plan. However, life is not predictable and you’ll need to consider these facts:

  • An independent school will include two tries at the DMV driving test as part of your tuition. If you don’t pass on two tries, they will rent you a truck for a third try for a nominal fee.

  • A company school will include two tries at the DMV driving test as part of your program. If you don’t pass on two tries, you will be cut from the program. If you get cut from the company driving program—you don’t get your CDL and you still own the $2,000 to $2,500.

  • If you can’t finish the 6 months of driving with the company, you keep the CDL, but you will still owe the $2,000 to $2,500.

  • Companies that have their own schools tend not to be the best paying companies. Check with your local independent school. They will have good information on pay rates.

  • Your commitment to the company driving school is 10 months:

    • 2 months in school
    • 2 months as a driver trainee
    • 6 months to qualify for tuition reimbursement
  • A lot of things can happen in your life in 10 months. If any of them keep you from completing your contract, you keep your CDL, but you will owe the company school all their money back.

Get your CDL through a respectable driving school. It will cost you about $3,000 and take you 5 to 6 weeks. Then the driving school will help you find a job. Here is some information on finding a good driving school.

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