Aug 2, 2022

Paid CDL Training and Everything You Need to Know

Are you thinking about getting your CDL license but are put off by the high cost of tuition at private CDL schools? Paid CDL training is an alternative to private truck driver training schools. 

That's why most trucking companies find it more convenient and practical to be part of a Consortium/Third-Party Administrators (C/TPAs) like Labworks USA to manage all, or part, of an employer's DOT drug and alcohol testing program and other DOT or FMCSA compliance needs. THIS SAVE THEM A LOT OF TIME AND RESOURCES that they can redirect on any additional expenses like for private CDL school training for their drivers. We perform tasks as agreed to by the employer to assist in implementing the drug and alcohol testing program and to help keep the employer compliant with the DOT/FMCSA Drug and Alcohol Testing rules and regulations. We as a DOT Consortium can help you.

After all, it never feels right to spend a lot of money just to make some extra money. If you want to become a truck driver, one way to go about doing so is by approaching a large carrier and telling them that you’d like to be hired. It's not about them having a training facility.

Most major trucking companies offer company-paid CDL training for you to become a professional truck driver. They even offer to train you for free during the training period. This is a big factor for success in your trucking career. It may seem too good to be true, but it isn't. There are definite benefits to attending a company-sponsored CDL school and some potential drawbacks. Ready to have your very first wheel training? 

Paid CDL training programs are an excellent way to become a trucker. It’s one of the best ways to get a good deal on your CDL training and maximize your return on investment. Of course there will be an application process but it's going to be worth it.

If you're going to take advantage of any of these programs and the education benefits, it makes sense to go for the CDL program. Receive proper education with a balance of classroom instruction up to driving an actual commercial motor vehicle.


Company-sponsored CDL training programs are exactly what they sound like. They aim to raise commercial truck drivers who are safety-conscious drivers. It actually doesn't matter if you are an entry-level driver but it is a key factor if you have prior knowledge already.

So, how does it work? 

You contact a trucking company and say you want to learn to be a driver. From there, they agree to pay you for your training on the conditions that you work for them after you finish your training.

It seems to be an automatic entry-level job and all you need to do is to go through complete training and on-the-job training provided.

Here's the thing...

Do you know that many of the larger American trucking companies run their own truck driving school or CDL Training Services?

They will teach candidates how to drive a big rig, get their CDL and then give the graduates of their training program a driving job. Exciting to hit the public roads soon? 

It’s a two-for-one deal! training AND a career.

It sounds pretty good, doesn't it? You can use them, but you must make sure your contract is clear from the beginning.


It depends. Some programs don't have an upfront fee. Other people do too.

Some trucking companies offer drivers a reimbursement program for attending CDL training classes. If the driver stays with the company for an additional six months after completing the class, he or she may be eligible for the reimbursement.

Most free truck driving school programs aren't free. You might even get paid for training.

If you want to become an independent driver for a company, free truck driving schools/company-sponsored training courses are probably the best option. They're usually the cheapest, too.

However, after factoring in the low wages during the first year or so as a driver, while fulfilling the contractual agreement for receiving the free training, a private training school option may be the better choice. (So in reality, it’s really NOT free.)

It all depends on what you're looking for.

Ask questions before signing up for anything so that you fully understand what you're getting yourself into.


These programs just don’t take anyone on board.

  • To qualify for most of the employer-sponsored programs, you need to meet these requirements.
  • A good, squeaky-clean driving history
  • A good squeaky clean criminal record.
  • Able to pass the physical (required by D.O.T.)
  • Able to pass a drug screen test (required by D.O.T. and can be endorsed by a DOT Consortium)
  • 21 years old +
  • Valid U.S. Driver’s License
  • American citizen
  • Solid work history for at least 36 months (and proof that this work history is valid).
  • Commit to working at the trucking company for one year (or longer, if they offer).


Training varies from company to company.

  • Affordable commercial driver’s license training for truck drivers

There are several distinct benefits to enrolling in one of these free truck driving schools.

Most of them do not require any money upfront, as compared to the private truck driving training schools which can be very expensive. Private CDL schools charge thousands and thousands of dollars per year.

Yes, the price is right! Truck driving school is cheap.

  •  Guaranteed Truck Driving Job

Another perk is the graduates are guaranteed a driving job at the trucking company. This is pretty important stuff, as graduates from some training schools may find it difficult to secure employment.

Many trucking companies prefer to hire drivers with experience. That’s no surprise but it makes it a little bit of a challenge when you’re a brand new driver out of school!

It can be very discouraging when you spend all that time and money obtaining your CDL and then don't end up finding a job.

Carriers have the advantage of hiring a new driver because they don't have to pay them any benefits. It's a win-win situation.

A guaranteed trucking job in the end is something worth having.

  • Learn About Company Equipment

It’s also an advantage to learn about company equipment. Chances are, as a new driver, you’re bound to have a few little bang-ups here and there as you learn to maneuver and navigate the truck in tight spaces.

So, it’s best if you’re going to ricochet off something, to do it in a truck belonging to a mega carrier.

These huge trucking companies are very accustomed to equipment damage, so it’s more likely the penalties for the driver won’t be so severe. Or maybe no penalties at all. But always good to learn about big company equipment first.

Another advantage of running for one of the big carriers is that they generally have the easiest equipment to drive.

Generally, they’ll have drop nose trucks with great visibility and automatic transmissions. You will have enough to think about when you’re learning so you don’t want to be worried about whether you’re hitting the right gear or not.

There is a distinct advantage to using automatic transmissions for a training period. It lets you concentrate more on where the vehicle is on the road rather than have to worry about where the stick should be. When you’re learning, the easier the better.

  • Many Carriers Are Looking to Train New Drivers

Another perk is there are lots of these companies around the U.S. which have implemented this style of training. They ALL want you to come to their driving school and hire you!

Many of the mega carriers have branches in many different parts of the country, so you won’t need to travel far to attend one of their schools.

  • Earn Money While Learning

It won’t be loads of money, but most company-sponsored CDL schools offer trainees pay while learning the ropes.


  • Only Learn Enough to Get a CDL

This type of training is what I like to call fast-track training. These are normally programs that teach the trainees only what they really need to know in order to pass the driving test.

They aren’t always in-depth, comprehensive courses. After all, it would be nearly impossible to master all the skills required to be a top-notch driver in just a few weeks.

The really big kicker here is you may find future employers will look negatively on paid cdl training programs. Some employers feel the training is insufficient and doesn’t meet their hiring standards.

However, not ALL company-sponsored programs are like this. There are some reputable programs.

  • May Need to Travel to Training School

The trucking company’s training program may be held far away from where you live. This can cause inconveniences to you and your family if you are not prepared for it.

  • Expenses While Away at CDL Training

Some schools cover accommodation expenses/meals while at training. Some do not. Some schools provide accommodation (be sure to check into the accommodations provided to be sure they are up to ‘your standards’. After all, you’ll be there for a while.)

  • The Training Period Is Short + Moves Fast!

Most company-sponsored school training is short and moves along VERY FAST. The school days start early in the morning and run for long sessions. It is not unusual for the training days to run as long as 12 hours or more per day.

The trucking companies who train will train you just enough that you can successfully pass your CDL and their goal is to do it in as little time as possible.

  • Commitment to the Trucking Industry

After training, as a new CDL driver, you will have a commitment to the trucking company, to stay and work for them for a period of time.

If the company isn’t a good fit for you, you are stuck for the duration of the time (could be 6 months, 1 year, or even 2 years).

If you leave the company, you will be legally obligated to pay back the trucking company for the driver training. They WILL collect from you.

If you have further inquiries about CDL training, feel free to reach out to us at Labworks USA.

If you are looking for more information about drug and alcohol testing as a truck driver, visit LabWorks USA. Our DOT Consortium's friendly team will be more than happy to discuss any concerns you may have and work with you to ensure you are always fully compliant specially with random DOT drug and alcohol testing pre-employment testing. Moreover, if you need help with FMCSA Clearinghouse registration, we can further support you.