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                Paying for Truck Driving School

Now is one of the best times to get your CDL and pursue a job in the trucking industry. Truck driving is an honorable profession, is a vital part of our economy and it continues to be one of the highest paying careers available without a college degree. There is a high demand for skilled truckers right now. The American Trucking Association estimates that there is an annual shortage of over 20,000 truck drivers and that shortage is rising. This means that people graduating from driving school are almost guaranteed employment with a local or regional trucking company.

One of the main questions people considering a career as a truck driver has is "How am I going to pay for truck driving school?" Driving schools that offer 4 week courses charge on average $4,000 for tuition. This covers the school's cost to pay for instructors, insurance, trucks, fuel, rent and advertising. There are other costs the students must pay that go toward driver training and obtaining a CDL; these include: driving permits, licenses, copies of your motor vehicle record, DOT physicals and drug screens. It is important to remember that these upfront fees are an investment in your future. Truck drivers can earn an annual wage of $30,000 to $80,000 based on experience. That is a quadruple return on your investment in just the first year.

So what are your options to pay for truck driving school? The first option is to pay for your tuition out of pocket using money from a checking, savings, money market, certificate of deposit or other financial accounts. If $4,000 is not available in a bank account you could consider borrowing the money from a friend or family member. Tuition can also be charged using a credit card, or you can apply for a loan from a bank, credit union or other financial institution.

Another alternative to pay for truck driving school is to apply with a trucking company that offers tuition assistance. Contact the trucking company you're considering working for and ask their human resource department if they offer a tuition payment program. Some trucking companies will front you the costs for your driver school training and will then have you repay them after you begin employment. Most will deduct a reasonable payment from your checks until the balance is paid off. Other companies may offer tuition reimbursement programs. They'll pay you back the money you spent on driving school after you've been driving for them over a certain amount of time. After reimbursement you've essentially received your driver training for free.

If bank loans or company assistance programs aren't available then discuss payment options with the driving school you'll be attending. Truck driving school financial advisors have information and resources available to help you apply for private or government funding that is offered to provide grant money for skills training. Some of these programs include the Workforce Investment Act (WIA), vocational rehabilitation (VocRehab), Trade Adjustment Assistance (TRAY/TAA), and the welfare-to-work (WtW) programs. Military veterans have the additional option of applying for funding through the Veterans Administration (VA).

The important thing to remember about paying for truck driver training is that you have options. So don't wait. Waiting will only cost you more time and money.

Kelly Bingham is a freelance writer and public relations specialist. He is currently working with DriverCareers (, an online company that matches individuals with accredited trucking schools and national trucking companies; and Neutron Staffing, a vocational school recruiter.

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Paying for Truck Driving School