Cost of CDL License Classes
How much is truck driving school?
The cost of CDL school is generally between $1,500 to about $8,000. Yes, that's a wide range in price but there are many different types of trucking schools. Unlike colleges that charge per credit hour, truck driving schools charge you one price for the entire program. Prices do not reflect whether or not the education is better, it just could mean that the facility has state-of-the-art equipment for you to learn on, while others’ trucks may not be the latest year.
Some reasons behind the cost of truck driving school are:
Its reputation (organizational memberships etc, + reviews)
The technology available for student training
The experience of the instructors
The intensity of your classwork (double sessions, night/weekend)
Accuracy in job placement services
Whether you're getting CDL A, B, C or a combination of these
Extra endorsements classes like HAZMAT(H), Tanker Operator(N) or School Bus(S). Each endorsement adds an additional cost to the price
Read about financial aid for CDL training, which can lower the cost of school substantially if you qualify.
A Short Truck Driver's License Reference to Help Explain Added Costs
There are three types of CDL licenses, and they are based on the total weight and different designs of commercial vehicles—like whether it's a tractor trailer, hazmat tanker, tour bus, or school bus.
The cost of your commercial driver's license classes will depend on the school and training you choose. Some students achieve multiple licenses and endorsements, and they get the best jobs out of the gate, but they spend more at first.
Keep an eye out for tuition reimbursement because many trucking companies offer this option in exchange for you to drive for them for a certain amount of time. It’s important to be aware of what the licenses are and what they are for.
Class A License – The training necessary for this license is the most expensive of all of them, but it is required in order to drive trucks professionally. Any driver operating a vehicle and trailer with a combined weight of more than 26,001 lbs is required to have a Class A CDL, if Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) is over 10,000 pounds. (cdl test general knowledge)
Class B License – The Class B CDL is required for vehicles weighing in excess of 26,001 lbs or pulling another vehicle with a GVWR under 10,000 lbs. Prices will vary per school.
Class C License – Large passenger vehicles (over 16 passengers including driver) and vehicles used to haul hazardous materials are covered by a Class C CDL. This training is not available at all schools, so you should check with the ones you’re interested in for availability and cost.
CDL License Endorsements
Endorsements are added to your CDL license that qualify you to operate specialized vehicles, carry hazardous materials, and other cargo. Adding endorsement classes to your training will add cost to your overall tuition spending, but these open up more doors for you. Some drivers even choose to get all of them.
H – HAZMAT (cdl test hazmat): This endorsement costs $100 plus an additional $87 for the TSA screening. There may be additional costs from your state, as well. You will have to renew this endorsement every five years. Some companies reimburse the $100 cost.
N – Tanker Truck Operator: (cdl test tanker endorsement) With this endorsement, you’ll be able to drive a truck that can carry over 1,000 gallons. You will have to take a 20 question exam, but no skills test is necessary.
P – Passenger Transport Vehicle Operator (tour bus): The average fee for the passenger endorsement is $14. With this endorsement, you’ll be allowed to drive over 16 passengers and it’s available for all CDL classes. You will have to take a 20 question test, plus a skills test. Read more about passenger endorsement.
X – Transporting HAZMAT In A Tanker: (HAZMAT practice test) There is a 30 question tanker test and a 20 question hazmat test you’ll have to take to receive this endorsement. No skills test is required. This endorsement costs an average of $14.
L – Operating Commercial Vehicle with Air Brakes: (cdl test air brakes) Costs for this endorsement vary by state. It’s best to take this test at the same time as your CDL so that you can immediately have the air brakes restriction removed, assuming you pass this first time. Try studying using practice tests!
S – School Bus Driver: (cdl test school bus endorsement) The average cost for this endorsement is $14 and is an addition to the passenger transport vehicle operator endorsement. You will be taking a 20 question passenger test and a 25 question school bus test. The school bus portion will be taken again when you go to renew this endorsement. A skills test will be required.
If you choose get all the endorsements available, you’ll put yourself ahead of the competition. Sure, it may cost a bit more up front, but once you start getting all the driving gigs, it will pay off for you in the long run!
Read our in depth CDL License Facts for CDL Restrictions and more in depth information about each license type and endorsement.