How to Fund Your CDL Training
Are you ready to get your Commercial Driver’s License (CDL)? Trucking provides job security, good pay, good benefits, and great career opportunity. Trucking is a fast-growing industry. The average salary of a truck driver is between $57,500 and $65,000 annually – that’s more than some college graduates! Becoming a truck driver is a great way to kickstart a great career quickly because you’ll spend a fraction of the cost and time in training compared to most other college degrees or job training programs.
How long will it take you to become a truck driver? Truck driving school and CDL programs usually take about 7 weeks, which is great news for anyone who wants a trucking career and doesn’t want to spend 4 years in school to get there.
How Much Does CDL Training Cost?
So, how much does it cost to get a CDL? Most CDL programs range from $3,000 to $7,000 depending on the type of CDL license, the reputation of the school, the quality of the equipment, and the required coursework. However, it differs from a traditional college in that the full amount for the program is typically due up front. This could seem like an immediate obstacle. But don’t get discouraged. There are a couple of options to make truck driving school more affordable. Here’s how:
Trucking Company Financial Aid
This may be one of the most exciting possibilities to pay for your CDL. Essentially, due to the shortage of drivers, companies needing drivers are willing to pay for or reimburse your CDL training in exchange for you working for them for a certain amount of time. Each company provides its financial aid differently, so you will want to do research. But if you can get your CDL costs covered, then you have received a free education with high earning potential.
Scholarships and Grants
Paying for your CDL through scholarships and grants helps you significantly cut down costs or possibly eliminate them altogether. If you spend your out-of-pocket money to cover the CDL, then you might spend the first few months working as a driver reimbursing your bank account. Grants and scholarships are free money. You do not have to pay them back like loans.
Before beginning to look for these scholarships and grants, fill out your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). FAFSA provides loans and grants backed by the government to those who qualify. You may be required to have this filled out prior to receiving a scholarship or grant.
Consider private grants, federal grants (such as the Pell-Grant), VA education benefits, or additional scholarship opportunities. There might even be a financial aid office or information available at the driving school you choose. They could help you take advantage of opportunities you may be overlooking.
Plan and Pay in Full
After exhausting your scholarship and grant potentials, you may still be left with a portion of the cost. You might be able to plan to pay the rest in full rather than financing it. You can begin setting aside money by determining a future date to begin your CDL training. Divide the remaining cost by the number of months between now and your start date. Then you will have an amount that you need to save each month in order to be able to pay it out-of-pocket.
For example, if you would like to start your training in 12 months and your outstanding balance after grants and scholarships will be about $3,000, then you will need to save $250 a month to reach this goal. When you think of the total cost for the CDL in terms of smaller installments then it seems less overwhelming.
Private Loans for CDL Training
Finally, there are always bank loans. We included this as our last item because private loans often have a high interest rate, so remember that you must pay back the cost of the CDL training program and any interest attached to the loan. The quicker you pay back these loans, the less you pay in interest. So, it’s super important to have a plan and a job lined up once you finish your training. For many, this is still worth it due to their earning potential and quick career prep.
As you can see, there are many ways to afford the cost of your CDL. This is an exciting and worthwhile opportunity. With the growth of the industry, you could be on your way to a lucrative career in trucking.
Got your CDL? We can help you start your own trucking company through the Apex Startup Program. And when your company is up and running, Apex offers cash flow assistance through factoring. We are ready for you! Check out our website or simply give us a call at 855-369-2739.