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What is the Cheapest Way to Get CDL License

Date of publish: 06/24/2022
Author: Katie Dobrogorskaya

Getting a CDL is a key to getting into the trucking business. But can you get it without proper investments? We’re talking about it in this post.

Cheapest Way to Get CDL License

A commercial driver’s license allows a driver to operate cargo vehicles, such as semi-trucks, and move freight across the US. Getting a CDL requires a lot of preparation, tests, passing permits, and money. The financial aspect is a serious obstacle for many candidates, as getting a license may cost between 4,500 and $10,000. 

What affects the price:

– Class of the CDL. There are three types of CDL – A, B, and C.

– State where you are getting your CDL.

– Additional endorsements for hauling hazmat, liquids, and double trailers.

Most of the applicants choose to obtain a Class A CDL to allow them to work as a company driver or an owner operator. And the cheapest way to get CDL class A is to stick to a carrier company that pays for your training. In exchange, you will work for them for a certain period of time (mostly a year).

With the driver shortage growing, the demand for new drivers is high. It is a great chance for you to get into the trucking business with minimum effort. Apply for a training program from a company you are interested in and gain your experience while studying. Also, you will have peace of mind about finding a job as the company already holds a place for you.

How to Reduce the Price of a CDL?

If you don’t want to attend company-sponsored training and be obligated to work for them, you can look out for ways to reduce your spending. Paid courses can hit your wallet, but there are a few ways of making that impact less significant.

Grants and Scholarships

Grants and scholarships are one way to reduce the cost of truck driving school. Grants and scholarships are available in some circumstances to assist students who satisfy particular requirements.

Grants and scholarships, such as Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act and Trade Adjustment Assistance, are available as government-funded choices. However, there are still plenty of scholarships available at the city and state levels, and starting small is usually the best way to secure financing. You have a higher chance of receiving small scholarships with less competition and a local-first approach.

In addition to those, if you are a woman, you can check the Women in Trucking Foundation Scholarship award. They work towards inclusion and help women to adapt to the predominantly male industry of trucking. Also, there are foundations that support specific ethnic groups. 

GI Bill for Veterans

The GI Bill covers not just the expense of the Class A CDL exam but also truck driving school tuition and apprenticeship training. GI benefits make it easier for veterans to enter the workforce by covering the costs of licensure examinations, tuition, and stipends.

Don’t Apply for Unnecessary Endorsements

As you may know, there are six primary endorsements that you can apply for to be able to operate specific trucks and trailer types. Each of them adds a number to the final cost of the CDL training. These endorsements are:

– Double or triple trailer

– Hazardous materials

– Passenger transport

– School bus and passenger transport

– Tank and hazmat

– Tanker trailer

If you are planning to work only with, for example, dry vans, then you don’t need to apply for all these. Not to mention that certain endorsements require more tests, background checks, and documentation. This means more spending.

Location of the School

Might seem like a silly thing to assume, but CDL schools in big cities are usually more expensive than those in rural areas. So if covering a few miles to the school is not a problem, you can find more affordable options.

While CDL school appears to be an expensive investment upfront, the cost-cutting strategies we’ve mentioned are widely available. Check out each school’s financial assistance options, or talk with possible employers about their willingness to support your tuition expenses. As the demand for drivers grows, so do the opportunities for help!


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