Paid CDL Training: Too Good to Be True?
Paid CDL training, is it too good to be true? On the surface, getting paid to train in a CDL program might seem like a dream come true: you get paid to be able to get paid. The logic seems airtight, but like most major decisions in life, it is a good idea to take a step back and analyze it fully.
Private Trucking School and Paid CDL Training
While attending a private trucking school on your own dime is nowhere near as expensive as attending a university, it still requires a decent chunk of change for an initial investment. Costs can range from $1,500 to $8,000, depending on a variety of factors such as:
- School reputation.
- The depth of the curriculum and how much you learn.
- Additional licenses such as a tanker truck endorsement, beyond the class A CDL.
Unless you plan to go into business for yourself as an owner-operator, it is generally a good idea to avoid the cheaper, less reputable schools. If you are not going into business for yourself, you still have to get hired once you graduate, and the trucking school listed on your resumé will be a key factor in determining the job you get.
With paid CDL training, not only could the schooling be tuition-free, but you get a little bit of spending money as well. Plus, the company paying for your training will want to hire you right away. So far this appears to be a pretty good deal for new truck drivers wanting to enter the transportation industry!
Paid CDL Training’s Fine Print
With the projected trucking shortage supposedly impacting the trucking industry, there is a small chance that the terms of the paid CDL training will be no obligation: you do the training with the company, get hired on for the company, and if things just fail to work out, you walk away with no problems. This could happen, but it would be a very rare case.
Usually, the case is that the company that wants you to attend training will require you to sign a contract. As annoying as it can be to read these contracts in their entirety, make sure that you do so. There will often be caveats that protect the company; here are some examples:
- The cost of driving school and payment you receive will be deducted from your first few paychecks with the company, which means you paid for it and the payment was simply deferred.
- The company will want you to pay upfront for the training and will slowly reimburse you as you work for them afterward.
- The trucking company that paid for your training may include the right to a refund for the cost of school and paying you for training should you decide to leave the company.
- Once the company hires you, your rate per mile may be lower than if you were already trained.
- The CDL training may be located far away from home, and the company may not provide transportation.
- The tuition itself is covered, but miscellaneous expenses such as food and toiletries are not, the costs of which would come out of your payment.
- Training could be 12 hours a day, rain or shine, in an attempt to expedite you into the driver’s seat.
Because of all of these various potential rules within the contract, signing on a dotted line before you understand the terms in full could come back to bite you.
Companies that Offer Paid CDL Training
All of those potential caveats sound scary when piled on in a massive list, so here is a shortlist of companies and the terms listed on their website.
Roehl Transport – You are paid $500 a week for four weeks of training. Roehl Transport will charge you for the training unless you fulfill 120,000 miles (about 15 months) with them before leaving. Training locations in the eastern half of the United States and within the Arizona/Nevada desert area. Transportation to the training locations is not included.
Knight Transportation – Paid an undisclosed amount of money for training, and a job is assured upon graduation. Tuition costs $3,000 to $4,000, but there is no obligation to stay with Knight for any set amount of time. Transportation and miscellaneous expenses are not covered.
Jim Palmer – Paid an undisclosed amount for training, and a job is assured upon graduation. Details are sparse on their website without contacting them with your personal information so they can set up the terms for you.
Averitt Express – Averitt Express has a five-week training course where they pay you $800 per week. You pay upfront for training out of pocket, but you are reimbursed for most if not all training costs over 24 months of employment. They do not train the drivers with their own program but instead have partnered with numerous training schools in 30 states.
No training program is identical. Make sure to research the company you plan to sign on with for CDL training. Some may say “paid CDL training” but mean that the CDL training is paid for, not that you receive a paycheck for each week that you learn. Ultimately, it is in your best interest to do your research.
Some companies will have all the details listed on their website, others will want to get into contact with you personally before divulging more information. Hopefully, this guide has helped you think twice before agreeing to a program just because you are promised some additional cash flow. After you get your CDL and have finished your agreed employment period, we here at TopMark Funding finance CDL drivers who want to set out to become owner-operators or expand their fleet.
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