Choosing a trucking school is the first big step to starting your career as a commercial driver. You want to make sure you pick a school that will prepare you and deliver the proper training for life on the road. This includes proper accreditation, experienced teachers and plenty of practice time behind the wheel. Previously, the only place to get semi-truck driving training was at a trucking school.

However, now it is easier than ever to find proper training thanks to community colleges across the country who are beginning to provide trucking classes at their facilities. Here is what you need to know about how community colleges are changing the way future truckers are being educated.

Community Colleges Offer CDL Classes

Previously, depending on location, students would have to travel to other cities to receive a commercial driver’s license. And because CDL courses typically last four to six weeks, it can add excessive extra cost on top of tuition expenses. Students often have to find lodging and spend extra money for food and necessities while away from home. Now, truckers-in-training can take courses in their area at their local community college. This gives more people access to training at an affordable cost without having to leave their families and homes behind.

Many of these community college programs offer added bonuses to make learning this industry even more attractive to young men and women. Some schools, like North Idaho College, have teamed up with driving schools to offer students a unique experience. In the case of North Idaho College, the partnership is with Spokane driving school Drive509. Because the partnership crosses state lines, students at the community college have the chance to qualify for CLD in both Washington and Idaho. This empowers students to broaden their search during their initial job hunt. As of March 2019, over 300 students have graduated from the four-week course, and many have gone on to earn starting salaries of over $40,000 per year.

Pros of Community College CDL Training Programs

While the addition of commercial trucking programs to community colleges will open doors for new young truckers, there are some pros and cons to consider before choosing which school is right for you. Community college programs are a great way to give more students access to quality training. However, not all courses are created exactly the same.

CDL courses at a community college are often less expensive than traditional trucking schools. And because they are not sponsored by a certain company, students are able to work for any trucking company they choose after graduation. Community college classes also often have more flexible hours. You may be able to choose to make morning, afternoon, or evening classes to work around your existing schedule, and weekend classes are usually offered. Community colleges can also offer truckers some of the same financial aid opportunities they can extend to students with a regular two-year curriculum. This can help you manage expenses and get on the road quicker.

Cons of Community College Commercial Trucking Programs

The flexible schedules of community college training courses may be convenient, but it also means taking longer to graduate than at a traditional trucking school. For instance, if you choose weekend-only classes, it could take many more months to complete the number of necessary classroom and driving hours to qualify for your CDL. While many CDL training schools can guarantee students jobs after graduation, many community colleges cannot make the same promise. However, many community colleges are able to offer job placement assistance, which can help in your search. The final con of community college is that the classes may not be offered all year-round. You may have to wait until the beginning of spring or fall semester to take the needed classes.

Future of the Freight Industry

The future looks bright for the commercial trucking industry. Thanks to more and more community colleges opening their doors to future drivers, it is now easier than ever to get quality training and launch your career. This new variety of schooling choices also allows future truckers to have more options than ever and find a school that is perfect for them. We look forward to seeing how education continues to change the transportation and freight industry. After you complete your CDL training, Mission Financial is here to help with all of your commercial lending needs.

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