How Much Do CDL Training Classes Cost?
The cost of CDL school generally ranges between $1,800 to about $8,000 (excluding multi-month programs for the GI Bill eligibility). This wide range is due to the different types of trucking schools, their equipment, programs, and what your specific needs are. Unlike colleges that charge per credit hour however, truck driving schools usually charge once for the entire program.
It is important to note that prices don't necessarily indicate whether one school's education is better than another. It more so pertains to the quality of equipment available to students. While one school may have the latest trucks on the market, others may have older models for students to learn with. Still, you can get a great education at any accredited CDL school.
Find CDL training near you.
Behind the Cost of CDL Schools
School reputation (organizational memberships, reviews, location, etc.)
The technology available for student training
The experience of instructors
The intensity of your classwork (e.g. double sessions, night/weekend classes)
Quality and accuracy of job placement services
Whether you're getting CDL-A, B, C, or any combination of these licenses
Extra endorsements like HAZMAT (H), Tanker Operator (N) or School Bus (S). Each endorsement you receive will have an additional fee
There are also resources available for those who qualify. You can read about financial aid for CDL training, which can substantially lower the cost of school.
Understanding Added Costs
There are three types of CDL licenses, and they are based on the total weight and different designs of commercial vehicles — whether it's a tractor trailer, hazmat tanker, box truck, school bus, etc.
The cost of your commercial driver's license classes will depend on the school and training you choose. While getting additional licenses or endorsements is typically more expensive, doing so can open doors for you in the future.
First, let's review the different types of CDL licenses:
- Class-A License – Generally, the training necessary for your CDL-A will be the most costly. However, the opporuntity cost is much lower compared to many other career paths and is likely to pay off as your career progresses. Drivers operating a vehicle and trailer with a combined weight of more than 26,000 lbs. will need a CDL-A. Prices will vary per school. Read more about the CDL-A here.
- Class-B License – The Class B CDL is required for single vehicles weighing in excess of 26,001 lbs or, those 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. CDL-C training is not available at all schools, so be sure to check with the ones you are interested in for their availability and rates.
You should also keep an eye out for tuition reimbursement, because many trucking companies offer this option in exchange for the students who are willing to work for them for a predetermined period of time.
CDL License Endorsement Costs
Endorsements can be added to your CDL license, qualifying you to operate specialized vehicles, carry hazardous materials, and other cargo. Adding endorsements to your training can increase your overall tuition spending, but are necessary for many trucking jobs. Some drivers even elect to get them all.
H – HAZMAT: This endorsement costs $100 plus an additional $87 for the mandatory TSA screening. There may be additional costs depending on your state as well. You will have to renew this endorsement every five years. Some companies reimburse the $100 cost. Take the practice HAZMAT test.
N – Tanker Truck Operator: With this endorsement, you’ll be able to drive a truck that can carry over 1,000 gallons of liquids or gases. You will have to take a 20 question exam, but no skills test is necessary. Take the practice tanker endorsement test.
P – Passenger Transport Vehicle Operator: The average fee for the passenger endorsement is $14. With this endorsement, you’ll be allowed to transport over 16 passengers. You will have to take a 20 question test, plus a skills test. Read more about the passenger endorsement.
X – Transporting HAZMAT in a Tanker: 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: Costs for this endorsement vary by state. Taking this test at the same time as your CDL test is recommended. Doing so allows for your air brakes restriction to be removed if you pass the first time. Take the air brakes practice test.
S – School Bus Driver: 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 also be required. Take the practice school bus endorsement test.
Getting any necessary endorsements helps drivers stand out in the employment process. They are typically a great investment for anyone with a CDL who wishes to pursue a diverse array of driving jobs.
Read our article about the types of CDL licenses, endorsements, and restrictions for more in depth information.