There aren’t many professions that you are able to enter without at least some training. For some, this is just a day or two on the job learning the ins and outs, but when it comes to transportation — and specifically, operating large commercial vehicles — there are matters of both skill and safety that require truck drivers to have more training than some other professions. As a result, you have to become officially licensed before you are eligible to operate any commercial vehicle.
What is a CDL? A commercial driver’s license (CDL) is the permit that you are given upon completing your training and passing the relevant tests.
How much does a CDL cost? There are a number of factors that will affect the cost but in this article, we have laid out exactly what you need to know.
How much does it cost to get a CDL?
There are a number of factors that will affect exactly how much you have to pay to get a CDL — each of which we will break down in the next section — but the average cost will usually be somewhere between $1000 and $8000.
Perhaps that number seems a little high, but operating a commercial vehicle is no small task, and they don’t hand licenses out to everybody. As such, obtaining a CDL is more of a process than an event. That’s why the question is “how much does it cost to get a CDL” rather than “how much does a CDL cost?” You are not paying for a card or piece of paper, rather an entire qualification.
To make it clearer, let’s break down some of the things that you may be paying for, which are wrapped up in that cost (again, depending on a few varying factors):
- Application fee
- Knowledge test
- Road skills test
- Actual license itself
- Endorsements, if any
- CDL school costs
- Vehicle maintenance costs and gas if you are driving your own vehicle, or renting one
Those are the most common costs across the board, with a few exceptions or extra fees in some states or locations.
Factors that affect CDL costs
As mentioned, it’s difficult to narrow down exactly how much each person will end up paying in order to obtain their CDL, as there are a number of factors that affect the final cost. So, to help you better understand and figure out a budget, here are some of the main factors that affect how much it costs to get a CDL.
Every state has its own procedure for issuing commercial driver’s licenses, and with that, its own requirements. Some states may require a certain number of driving hours before you can take the test, some may have regulations regarding what kind of CDL training you have to undergo first, and some may simply have a more expensive CDL application process. The most important thing you can do while you research CDL costs is to look up specific costs and requirements in your state.
Type of CDL
Not all CDLs are created equal. Just as there are different kinds of commercial vehicles across the country, there are different licenses and qualifications required for each one. There are three main types of commercial driver’s licenses: Class A, Class B, and Class C — you can read more about the differences between them here. Within these main classifications, there are also ways to boost or restrict them, which may save or cost you money.
One way to boost your CDL is with endorsements. A CDL endorsement is something that you can add to your CDL that qualifies you to drive certain types of specialist vehicles. For some classes of CDL, certain endorsements are actually required, so as you decide which kind of commercial vehicle you want to drive, make sure that you are aware of all the potential costs associated with training for it.
Whether You Have a Vehicle
Securing a car for a standard vehicle driving test is usually just a matter of borrowing one from a friend or family member. But when you are dealing with commercial vehicles, there aren’t usually many available to simply borrow for cheap or free. Some companies will wrap it up in your CDL driving school costs, but if you are looking to complete your training and tests without going to an official driving school, you may have to also pay for the cost of renting a vehicle to drive before you get your CDL.
CDL School Cost
Speaking of truck driving school, this is something that you will almost certainly have to pay for before you are able to obtain a CDL. There are, of course, a number of different ways to undergo CDL training, but the most common (and arguably simplest) is to go to a CDL school. Regardless, these training costs will also be something that you have to budget for.
When it comes to overall CDL school cost, there are a wide variety of factors that may affect how much you pay. These are many of the same variables that we have mentioned above, but just so that you are fully aware, they may include:
- Nature of training (which type of CDL you are training for)
- The type of school you attend
- Whether you are a part-time or full-time student
- Potential reimbursements
As you can see, there are a lot of factors that affect how much a CDL costs, but it is certainly an investment that will give you a lot of return. Once you have obtained your CDL and have at least a year’s experience, apply for a position at Matheson. Take a look at our careers page to learn more about driving with us and the unique benefits that we offer.
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