Commercial driving license (CDL) training is a specialized course/program that helps you obtain skills to drive a large commercial vehicle like a semi-truck. Holding a CDL license implies that you, as a driver, are skilled enough to drive a commercial vehicle safely and have the required knowledge to safely operate any kind of commercial vehicle.
It takes about nine weeks or 180 hours to complete the training program if you have no previous experience. Most truck driving schools charge anywhere from $3000 to $7000 for the entire course, which may not be feasible for everyone.
Before considering the fees of a training school, there are other factors you should understand. For example you need to think about which truck driving school you want to attend, the documents you will require for this, and what medical conditions you cannot have if you need to get a commercial driving license.
You will be pleased to learn that there are various scholarships and government grant for CDL training. These include:
Federal Government Grants:
- The Pell Grant: The Pell Grant is financial aid for students from low-income families. You will need to fill out the federal application for federal student aid, also known as FAFSA, which will eventually help you pay for college classes.
Once you’ve completed the FAFSA, you will have to show documents to prove you’re a U.S citizen. You need to be an undergraduate student with satisfactory academic progress and no default on any federal loan. The Pell grant may not work for every driving school, but schools with longer programs, around 24 weeks, can work.
- Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act: The program helps job seekers to get training, employment opportunities, and education to succeed. Priority is given to adults who have been unemployed for a long time, adults with a lack of skills, veterans, low-wage income employees, and dislocated homemakers/ workers.
This type of grant may be difficult to get, but it will pay for the entire CDL program if you are eligible and get approved.
The federal government grant for CDL training has many criteria that may not always favor every individual.
Below are some state grants that also help with CDL training:
State Government Grants:
- Migrant Educational Training: Texas provides its residents with migrant educational training (MET) program. This program allows people who have previously worked in a migrant job, such as farming or packing house and low-income households, to retrain themselves in food service, A/C repair, and CDL training.
- Michigan 2-1-1 Program: If you’ve committed a felony previously, federal grants will not work for you. Individuals with felonies like intent to murder, smuggling, felonies using a commercial vehicle, etc., will not be able to get their CDL. But programs such as Michigan’s 2-1-1 assist ex-offenders in applying for pieces of training and job opportunities.
There are also scholarships, such as the women in trucking foundation, that focus on providing better opportunities to women. CDL training is accessible to every individual through federal grants, state grants, or scholarships. It is upon the individual to choose what suits them better, depending on their background and preference.