Truck driving is one of the most in-demand careers of the past few years. According to CNN, salaries for truck drivers have been increasing between 8% and 12% annually over the last several years. The result is that drivers for private fleets like Walmart now earn an average of $ 73,000 per year. With the increase in demand, paid CDL training is something more and more companies now offer.

There are currently a significant number of trucking companies that help newcomers earn their commercial driver’s license, or CDL, which is required to drive a commercial vehicle like a semi-truck. A standard CDL training course from a private school can cost anywhere between $3,000 to $5,000. The high entry cost is what keeps many would-be truck drivers from starting a career in this industry. Luckily there are numerous trucking companies that pay for CDL training. These companies typically require you to sign a contract stating that you will drive with that carrier for a certain amount of time after you earn your CDL. In exchange, the carrier will begin paying you as soon as you’re hired, which mostly covers the cost of your training.

We’ve scoped out the details on company paid CDL training and what you can expect as an employee of each company.

Included In This Article:

  • How long does CDL training last?

  • What are the requirements for CDL training?

  • What does CDL training include?

  • A List of Trucking Companies That Offer Paid CDL Training

  • And More…

How Long Does CDL Training Take?

For most of the courses provided by these companies, CDL training lasts roughly two to four weeks. Some places will require additional on-the-road practical experience after the formal requirements for the commercial driver’s license have been met.

Length can also vary based on whether the program is for a Class A license or a Class B license. Class A licensing programs typically take longer, as they provide certification for a wider variety of loads and truck types. Class B training programs, which are for dump trucks, straight trucks, and other small-load trucks, can be as short as one week. Unless specified otherwise, most of the CDL training programs in this article lead to a Class A Commercial Driver’s License.

What Are the Requirements for Enrolling in CDL Training?

DMV.org publishes the federal requirements to apply for a Commercial Driver’s Permit and a Commercial Driver’s License. For the Commercial Driver’s Permit, drivers must:

  • Be 21 years old in order to drive across state lines or transport hazardous material;
  • Have no prior disqualifying criminal offenses.

In order to obtain a Commercial Driver’s License, the federal guidelines require that all drivers must:

  • Hold their CDP for at least 14 days;
  • Be able to provide the following:
    • Current driver’s license
    • A 10-year driving history (certain states may require applicants to bring in the hard copy; others will verify driving history through an electronic system)
    • A Medical Examination self-certification form (read more about that on the Self-Certification FAQs page of the Department of Transportation website)
  • Pay the applicable fees (these fees vary by state);
  • Pass a knowledge and skills test (the test will have at least 30 questions, and applicants must earn at least an 80% to pass);
  • Provide a vehicle for the skills test;
  • Pass the CDL skills test, which includes three parts:
    • Inspection of the vehicle
    • Basic controls exam
    • Road test

These are the minimum requirements as set by the federal government. Additional application requirements, fees, forms, and necessary documentation may be imposed at the state level. To find out more about state-specific CDL licensing requirements, visit DMV.org.

Trucking Companies That Offer Paid CDL Training

1. Roehl Transport

  • CDL Paid Training Wages: $500/week
  • CDL Training Duration: four weeks
  • Training Locations Offered: Marshfield and Neenah, Wisconsin; Conley, Georgia; Bensalem, Pennsylvania; Gary, Indiana; Grand Prairie, Texas; Phoenix, Arizona
  • Expected Long-Term Compensation: After nine months of driving, drivers can make $50,000+/year
  • Benefits and bonuses: Full benefits offered; hired and paid as an employee on the first day of training; $8,000-$10,000 bonus offered to experienced truck drivers
  • Additional requirements: None specified
  • Read more about getting a CDL with Roehl.
  • For more information, contact Roehl.

2. Jim Palmer Trucking

  • CDL Paid Training Wages: $200/week advance while you train to get your CDL permit (advance to be paid back with future earnings); $600/week or $0.12/mile (whichever is greater) for 10,000 miles as a C-seat company driver trainee; $700/week or $0.14/mile (whichever is greater) for 20,000 miles as a B-seat company driver trainee
  • CDL Training Duration: 2-4 weeks
  • Training Locations Offered: Springfield, Illinois; Missoula, Montana
  • Expected Long-Term Compensation: $0.40/mile as a solo driver or split $0.44/mile as a team company driver
  • Benefits and bonuses: $10,000 longevity bonus offered to safe, dependable drivers who remain with the company for five years
  • Additional requirements: None specified
  • Read more about getting a CDL with Jim Palmer Trucking.
  • For more information, contact Jim Palmer Trucking.

3. FFE Transportation

  • CDL Paid Training Wages: $400/week; housing, transportation, and meals provided
  • CDL Training Duration: three weeks to earn CDL; additional six weeks of paid training with driver trainer
  • Training Locations Offered: Lancaster, TX
  • Expected Long-Term Compensation: Not disclosed; may vary by recruiting center
  • Benefits and bonuses: Medical, dental and vision coverage; disability insurance; paid vacation; 401(k); and more benefits
  • Additional requirements: None specified
  • Read more about getting a CDL with FFE Transportation.
  • For more information, contact FFE.

4. Prime Inc.

  • CDL Paid Training Wages: $200/week advance (repaid through future earnings with a $25 deduction per paycheck). Instruction time is unpaid. $0.14 ($700 weekly guaranteed) for final 30,000 miles of training
  • CDL Training Duration: 3-4 weeks with instructor + 30,000 miles of additional work as a “B2” company driver trainee
  • Training Locations Offered: Springfield, Missouri
  • Expected Long-Term Compensation: $0.395/mile, or $0.445/mile in an ECO49 truck
  • Benefits and bonuses: Multiple incentive programs offered for safe drivers; major medical, pharmacy card, dental insurance; life insurance; and other benefits offered
  • Additional requirements: None specified
  • Read more about getting a CDL with Prime Inc.
  • For more information, contact Prime Inc.

5. Knight Transportation

  • CDL Paid Training Wages: $400/week for trainee’s salary; transportation and lodging not provided
  • CDL Training Duration: 2-3 weeks for CDL classes, followed by 4-6 weeks of over-the-road training as a Squire, 4-5 months solo driving to reach 30,000 miles before graduation
  • Training Locations Offered: Phoenix, Arizona
  • Expected Long-Term Compensation: Up to $0.05/mile quarterly bonus; total not specified
  • Benefits and bonuses: Daily or weekly pay options; paid time off; medical, dental, vision and life insurance offered; 401(k) with company match
  • Additional requirements: Training offered to residents of Arizona, California, Colorado, Kansas Nevada, Oklahoma, Oregon, and Utah
  • Read more about getting a CDL with Knight Transportation.
  • For more information, contact Knight.

6. USA Truck

  • CDL Paid Training Wages: USA Truck does not offer CDL training, but provides scholarships for applicants to earn their CDL through partner driving schools for free. After completion, the scholarship recipients will receive preference for hiring at USA Truck.
  • CDL Training Duration: five weeks
  • Training Locations Offered: Numerous, through USA Truck’s partner schools. Training locations are available in Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Tennessee.
  • Expected Long-Term Compensation: New drivers can earn up to $40,000 their first year. Pay packages for new drivers offer $0.32/mile with the possibility of earning up to $0.385/mile within the year.
  • Benefits and bonuses: Safety and performance bonuses available; sign-on bonuses; medical, dental, vision, and life insurance; 401(k) + match; employee stock ownership plan; loyalty and referral bonuses; paid vacation increases with experience
  • Additional requirements: Students must live within 25 miles of a partner driving school.
  • Read more about getting a CDL with USA Truck (look for the section titled USA Truck Career Launch Program)
  • For more information, contact USA Truck.

7. Schneider

  • CDL Paid Training Wages: Schneider can help provide funding or grants for employees who need to obtain a CDL through partner driving schools; paid orientation once hired
  • CDL Training Duration: Varies by partner driving school; most courses are roughly three weeks
  • Training Locations Offered: Wilmington, Ohio
  • Expected Long-Term Compensation: Not disclosed; may vary by recruiting center
  • Benefits and bonuses: 401(k) savings plan with match; medical, dental and vision insurance; paid time off
  • Additional requirements: Must be a resident of Ohio
  • Read more about getting a CDL with Schneider.
  • For more information, contact Schneider.

Paid CDL Training: Final Thoughts

In the United States, there is a shortage of nearly 50,000 truck drivers as of 2016. Truck driving is an extremely in-demand career. If you feel that it might be the right career for you, there are numerous options that will help you prepare while getting paid for your training time. We hope the information in this article has pointed you in the right direction for your next steps in a happy, safe, and lucrative career driving trucks.