One of the biggest barriers to education can be cost. And even though attending a vocational program can often provide a career-building education at a comparatively low price, making that initial investment can still be daunting. So, how much does trucking school cost, and what are some options for how to pay for it? Below, we have a breakdown of paying for your trucking program.
Truck driving school cost
Receiving your Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) typically costs between $3,000–$10,000 in total, depending on the specific school and where its located. But this number isn’t just about the price of the program itself. Beyond tuition, there are various factors that can affect this total cost, including:
- The license you’re receiving (Class A, Class B, etc.)
- CDL application fees
- Road test fees
- CDL skills test fees
- Additional endorsements (e.g. hazmat, doubles, etc.)
As for the program tuition, that number can be influenced by location, the reputation of the school, how up-to-date their equipment is, and whether they provide other amenities like food or lodging. Additionally, publicly-funded school will generally be less expensive than privately-funded ones.
These programs can also be completed relatively quickly — on average, it takes seven weeks to get your CDL. Depending on factors such as the type of license you’re receiving, your class schedule, and more, some programs may take up to six months, and others may take as little as three weeks.
It takes an average of 7 weeks to get your CDL,
and some programs can take as little as 3 weeks!
How can I pay for trucking school?
Upfront, in full
If you have enough money saved up to cover your program’s tuition, any necessary supplies, and living expenses such as rent and groceries, paying out of pocket is your best option. While this method does require the highest upfront cost, you won’t owe any money in interest, there’s no credit check, and you won’t have to worry about remembering to make monthly payments. Since CDL programs can cost up to $10,000, look around to see if there are any scholarships or grants available that can help ease the tuition amount!
Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act
The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) and Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) are government-sponsored programs that provide grants and scholarships for technical schools. With these, you may be able to cover the partial or full tuition amount for your CDL course! To find out if these are available for your program, you’ll need to contact your school directly.
Employer reimbursement programs are fairly common in the commercial truck driving field. How does it work? Once you complete your program, your future employer pays for your tuition in exchange for an employment contract. In general, these contracts require a 1–2 year commitment of employment in exchange for the full tuition.
This can be a great way to pay for your CDL program, but you’ll want to make sure you read the contract carefully — in some cases, if you stop working for the employer before the contract expires, you’ll be required to pay back the full tuition amount.
If you’re interested in taking advantage of this payment option, reach out to your school to see which companies they partner with!
Pay-as-you-go payment plan
For those who are unable to pay the full tuition cost upfront and aren’t using a scholarship, grant, or employer reimbursement, some schools also offer payment plan options. This allows students to make several smaller payments over the duration of the program, in order to lessen the upfront cost. It includes no credit check and no interest — so you’ll ultimately pay less than you would with a loan. However, payments are spread over a much shorter period of time than other financing options, so although you’ll pay less overall, your monthly payments will be higher.
A student loan can be a good choice for students who need to make the smallest monthly payments, rather than larger payments or all upfront. While not all trucking schools offer federal student loans, private student loans may still be available. Depending on the loan terms available for your program, you may have the option of full deferral, interest-only deferral, or immediate full repayment.
Climb partners with several trucking schools for financing, and we only perform a hard credit pull once a loan is funded. So, you can submit an application to check out our options with no impact to your credit score!
There are some things you’ll want to keep in mind, though. Most loans come with an interest rate, which means you’ll ultimately end up paying more than the tuition amount. Your credit will also be pulled once loan funds are sent, so your credit score may be impacted. At the end of the day, you’ll need to consider what works best for your situation — smaller monthly payments while paying more overall, or higher monthly payments while paying less overall.