If you’re interested in truck driving, now is one of the best times to get into the transportation industry. There is currently a massive shortage of drivers, which means plenty of trucking companies are looking to hire. The average base salary for truck drivers is $77,527. Plus, since drivers are in high demand, they are receiving sign-on bonuses ranging from $2,500 to $7,000.
You may be hesitant to enter the transportation industry if you don’t have a commercial driver’s license (CDL). Fortunately, there are a variety of ways to get licensed. Better yet, you can even get paid while you learn.
Investing in education and licensing is never cheap. The average cost of CDL training is between $3,000 and $7,000, with private truck driving schools being even more expensive. If these training fees seem a little steep, you could consider a CDL apprenticeship.
There are plenty of different kinds of apprenticeship programs. Some are expedited five-week programs, while others can be up to two years long and naturally turn into full-time jobs.
Through a CDL apprenticeship program, a trucking company will cover the costs of training needed to obtain a Class A CDL. The only catch is that you must agree to work for that trucking company for a specified period after you are licensed.
While apprenticeship programs lock you in with a specific trucking company, it guarantees you a job following your training. This is a much better situation than paying for expensive CDL training and having to find work on your own. You kill two birds with one stone with apprenticeship programs.
Paid CDL Training
An alternative to an apprenticeship program would be to seek out paid CDL training.
Many of the big carriers pay newcomers for the duration of the training period. The pay won’t be anything crazy, but it should be enough to pay the bills. Most paid training programs pay strictly by the mile. So, establish how many miles a week you’ll be driving during the training program to get an accurate estimate of your expected earnings.
For paid CDL training, it is also expected that you will work for that trucking company once your training is complete. As long as you make sure your contract is clear from the start, this can be one of the best ways to get your CDL.
Company Sponsored CDL Training
You may want to pursue company sponsored CDL training. This is similar to the previous training methods but has some important differences.
Usually, sponsored programs involve trucking companies paying for the upfront cost of training. The training could occur at their company, or they may pay for your attendance at a separate school of your choice.
Even though you can choose where you want to complete the training, your options aren’t unlimited. You’ll usually be provided with a company-approved list of training schools to choose from.
If you have already paid for your CDL training, there are still ways to get back the money you spent on your license. If you apply to the right trucking jobs, you could get 100 percent tuition reimbursement.
With the ongoing driver shortage, many trucking companies are looking for fresh new hires that have recently acquired their CDL. As such, they are advertising attractive incentives, such as tuition reimbursement.
Most driving companies roll out tuition reimbursement through a series of monthly payments. They do this to make sure you are committed to their trucking company. They don’t want new truck drivers leaving after their first month on the job.
If you have some money saved up, it isn’t a bad idea to pay for your own CDL training with the plan of seeking out tuition reimbursement from your future employers. This will give you plenty of freedom to choose the training program right for you or one that is close to your home.
Company Funded Lodging, Meals, and Transportation
CDL training can be completed in as little as three weeks, but the average full-time training program takes about seven weeks. Likely, whatever training program you’ll be going to isn’t going to be right down the road from your house. Even if your training expenses have been paid for, you might still end up paying a hefty sum due to living away from home for nearly two months.
If you are concerned about living expenses while completing CDL training, try to find paid or sponsored programs that include funds for accommodations and meals. Not all accommodation and meal plans are created equal, so be sure to do a bit of investigating before locking into a program.
Since truckers are in high demand, you can do a bit of shopping around. Some programs offer company-paid hotel stays as well as $500 a week.
Other programs offer paid transportation to their training facilities rather than lodging. This can be a great option if you don’t live too far from the program and prefer the comfort of your own home and family.
There isn’t a better time to become a trucker than right now. If you take a look at the news, everyone is talking about the supply chain crisis. One of the main causes is a lack of truck drivers to keep up with the unprecedented number of shipments.
Trucking companies are in desperate need of truckers. As a result, many are willing to pay to get you trained. There aren’t many job opportunities that will give you free education and a guaranteed job that averages approximately $77,000 a year.
It has never been easier to get your CDL, so don’t miss out.