Though trucking school isn’t necessarily required to earn your CDL A, it is required to get a job at most trucking companies out there. Why? Because there are far too many aspects of truck driving you simply can’t learn from reading some rules, watching a few videos, and taking a test. You need hands-on experience to learn how to properly (i.e. safely) operate a tractor trailer.
The good news is trucking school only takes about 7 weeks, which means you can be ready to hit the road in no time. However, there’s one final hurdle to cross: the cost of trucking school.
Though trucking school costs significantly less than traditional college (averaging between $3000-7000), it’s still more money than most new drivers have on hand. There are a number of ways to pay for truck driving school, including grants and financing. Some schools also provide a discount if you pay all at once.
But one option that’s become increasingly common is company sponsored education. Rather than choosing a private trucking school and paying the cost out of pocket, a trucking company will cover the cost and coordination of your education. Once you pass and earn your CDL A, you can begin working for the company.
It certainly sounds good on paper, but is there a downside? Let’s take a look.
Company–Sponsored Trucking School
With company sponsorship, you attend training that is owned and operated by the company you’re going through. In addition to covering the cost of the education, you’ll often be paid while you’re in school. However, this comes with some fine print. It’s very important that you get all of the facts before signing up for anything.
Obviously, there is the expectation of working for the company once your education is finished. This typically comes in the form of a contract that locks you into working for them for a certain amount of time. Breaking this agreement may result in having to repay some of your education. Additionally, one company might not view another company’s training as valid, requiring you to undergo additional education before you can switch over. This is rare, but it is possible.
Finally, company-sponsored school tends to be more streamlined with larger class sizes and less of a hands-on approach.
Private Trucking School
For most people, private trucking school is going to come with an out of pocket cost. In addition to tuition cost, you’ll either need to be working another job elsewhere or go without making money until you get your first trucking job. Depending on the school you attend, private training may take a little longer than a company-sponsored program.
However, this comes with a greater focus on you as an individual. With private trucking school, you’ll typically have instructors who are more attentive to your needs. Additionally, you’ll likely gain a broader understanding of trucking rather than a specific company’s way of doing things.
Finally, private trucking school comes with more choices. Not only do you get to choose the specific training program you go through, but once you’re finished, you have the freedom to choose who you want to work for. You might not have a solid idea of what type of company you want to work for until after you finish your education.
Deciding What’s Best for You
For those who are fully set on working for a specific company, company-sponsored training can be very advantageous. For those who are less decided and want to keep their options open, private schooling is the way to go. At the end of the day, it’s your choice to make.
Speaking of choices, if you’re looking for a trucking company that provides quality at-home time, paid time off, performance incentives, competitive wages, and more, considering choosing Woodruff Enterprises. At Woodruff Enterprises, we view our drivers as part of the family. Most of our routes are within a 500-mile radius, so you’ll be home more nights than you’re on the road.
Though we’ve traditionally brought on drivers with at least 2 years of professional experience, we’ve recently launched a new program to hire new drivers and provide them with invaluable experience on the road. We currently have trucking jobs available in the Springfield, Ohio area.