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Truck driving can be an exciting and rewarding career. It also can be a good choice for someone who wants to change professions later in life. Truck driving offers good pay, benefits and the allure of traveling to different places. Trucking involves more than simply knowing how to drive. Skilled and licensed truck drivers are always in demand, but if you want to be a trucker, you must be trained in special driving and trucking skills. If you think becoming a truck driver might be for you, you must obtain a commercial driver’s license (CDL), which this involves going to trucking school.
There are trucking schools in every state in the United States, so you should not have any difficulty finding a school. Most truck driving courses last about four weeks. The costs vary depending on school, length of training and state, but in general, trucking school tuition is between $3,000 and $4,000.
Ways to Lower Costs
This is a great deal of money to pay at one time, so most prospective drivers look for ways to cut costs. One way to get quality training at a lower cost is to take trucking courses at a community college. They usually last longer than trucking school courses but offer good training and are gentler on the budget. Dislocated workers or veterans also can be eligible for government grants and assistance.
Truck drivers are in such demand that many companies will pay for the driver to go to a private trucking school if he agrees to work for them for a certain amount of time after graduation and pay interest on the loan.
Almost all trucking companies offer a tuition reimbursement plan. They will repay you a certain amount each month, generally between $100 and $150, to cover what you paid for trucking school. This means that even though you might have paid $3,000 up front, in the end, the cost of the school can be almost free, depending on interest.
Many trucking companies have their own truck driving schools. If you pass the course and all the physicals and Department of Transportation tests, you have a guaranteed job with them. This can be an excellent choice for someone with no money to pay a trucking school out of pocket.
Cons of Company Training
There is a drawback to going through company trucking schools: You will be expected to work for that company for some time, and if you resign, you will be responsible for paying back the full cost of your training.
Amber D. Walker has been writing professionally since 1989. She has had essays published in "Fort Worth Weekly," "Starsong," "Paper Bag," "Living Buddhism" and more. Walker holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of Texas and worked as an English teacher abroad for six years.