The US driver shortage is a hot topic, with experts citing that the shortage will double in the next 10 years as more drivers retire. The American Trucking Association predicts that 160,000 driver positions will be unfilled. So, recruitment is a key strategy for many trucking companies, and they are working hard to make obtaining a CDL attractive.

As per the FMCSA, “Driving a Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV) requires a higher level of knowledge, experience, skills, and physical abilities than that required to drive a non-commercial vehicle. In order to obtain a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL), an applicant must pass both skills and knowledge testing geared to these higher standards. Additionally, CDL holders are held to a higher standard when operating any type of motor vehicle on public roads. Serious traffic violations committed by a CDL holder can affect their ability to maintain their CDL certification.”

There are two main options when it comes to Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) training: company sponsored or private trucking schools. With company sponsored CDL, you will attend a truck driving school that is owned and operated by a trucking company. With private trucking schools, the profit is obviously kept with the private schools, and drivers pay 100% of the fees. Many drivers opt to take the company sponsored route. But there are pros and cons to this choice.
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The Pros of Company Sponsored CDL Training

  • Less Expensive: tuition for private schools can cost up to $10,000, and many drivers apply for federal grants or bank loans to cover this cost. With a paid CDL training, there are no up-front costs for the driver.
  • Job Security: drivers are guaranteed a job when you complete the training and successfully obtain your CDL.
  • Options: most large companies offer some sort of company sponsored training (for example, Roehl, CRST, and CR England). And, there are options within those companies on how it will work. According to CDL.com, the two main ways are in-house training, where you have a 1yr commitment and the company provides the training themselves which you repay the cost of training over time through payroll deductions. The other option is tuition-sponsored training which generally requires a 1yr contract and the company sends you to the local paid truck driving school, and you pay them back over time through payroll deductions.

The Cons of Company Sponsored CDL Training

  • Pay: many drivers report first year low wages when going this route. Another pay consideration is the payroll deductions for training repayment, which often have interest.
  • Time Commitment: a 1-year commitment to the company that paid upfront for your CDL is common.
  • Contracts: oftentimes, they can have various tricky details, such as the responsibility for the cost of training if you do not fulfill the contract, limited time off, commitment to longer hauls, etc.

If you do opt for company sponsored CDL training, it is critical to weigh these pros and cons, and to see where you sit based on your specific situation. If you do take the company-sponsored route, make sure you have all the information and read the contract carefully so that you are confident you are making an informed choice.
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