So, you have decided that you need to take up a new career path and trucking seems a good thing to try? Here is the point to confess that the title of the text you are reading is a bit misleading. There is not no such thing as a free lunch and you have probably been skeptical when looking for a free truck driving school, but the good news is that while such schools are not free, they feel pretty much the same. In other words, if you want to be a truck driver but cannot afford the education, there is a way for you to do it without having to pay everything at once.
Without any further introduction, you must know that as a wannabe truck driver you have two opportunities. One of them is those trucking schools known as ‘independently owned’. Visiting such school will cost you somewhere between $3,000 and $7,000, but you don’t have to pay them upfront. Instead, you can apply for a government loan, which you will have to pay back after you graduate. The other option is to visit a school that is owned and organized by a trucking company. At this school, you don’t have to pay anything and you don’t have to take a loan. However, after you graduate, you will have responsibilities for the trucking company which school you have visited.
Independently Owned Schools for Truck Drivers
The independently owned trucking schools are just ordinary schools where you can get commercial driver’s license (CDL). Their advantage is that you can graduate from them with the help of a government loan. It is easy to apply and get such a loan because the government is pretty sure you will pay it back – there is a lot of work for truck drivers and you are bound to make $35,000-40,000 during your first year on the road, while the monthly repayments of your loan will be $100-150 per month. There is only one slight problem – a case in which you cannot find a job after you graduate. However, the chances for this are quite minimal and knowing that it can happen only if you don’t try and are inactive will motivate you and make you even more successful in pursuing your career.
Schools Organised by Trucking Companies
The other option you have if you want to become a truck driver without investing anything at all is to attend a school owned/organised by a particular trucking company. This will practically cost you nothing upfront. However, before starting, you will have to sign a contract with the company which obliges you to work for them for a certain period after you obtain your commercial driving license, for example, a year. Of course, you will not work for free – you will get paid, but at a slightly lower rate that will help the company get back what they have invested in your education. If you decide you would like to leave the company before the end of the period, you will be liable to pay a compensation, which may be equal to the sum you would have to pay to an independent trucking school or, if the contract specifies so – bigger.
The Differences Between Independently Owned and Company Owned Trucking Schools
Normally, you can expect that the driving education you will obtain from these two types of institutions will be generally similar, but with slight differences. For example, the independently driving schools will make sure you follow the books strictly and know your theory. On the other hand, the schools operated by trucking companies will also require from you to know everything written in the books, but may also teach you things that are expected at that particular company – keeping your driver’s log in a particular style, handling the braking system, interaction with clients, etc. The trucking companies are likely to shape your trucking know how through their own prism, thus preparing you to be the ideal employee for them. This is not necessarily bad thing because thus you can learn a lot of tricks and get insider hints that won’t be present in the curriculum of the independently owned schools. This will help you a lot if you decide to run your own company after time or to be an independent driver. In other words, you will learn not only how to drive, but also how to be an efficient and organised truck driver.
Some Final Points to Note
Whichever option you decide to take, prepare to be indebted to someone for a short period of time after graduation – either the government or the trucking company that will take care of your education. However, this is a small price to pay in comparison to $7,000 paid at once – an obstacle that can make you give up your trucking dreams. Make the effort to research the trucking company which school you plan to attend – get to know its policies, conditions, pay rates etc. You don’t want to be stuck in a company that does not respect its employees and is not correct with them, but if you sign a contract, you may have no other choice.
To cut a long story short, now you have the invaluable opportunity to become a truck driver for almost free. If you are considering it, you must have already analysed the advantages a trucking career can bring you. We recommend you take your time and research the options for free trucking education available to you – both can have their positive and negative sides depending on your preferences. Now, however, you know what they are and we hope that it will make the choice easier for you to make.