Few jobs offer the same advantages without a college degree like trucking, and now is the time to get in on the action. While the truck driver shortage is easing up slightly from its record high in 2021, skilled truck drivers are still in high demand.
Fortunately, it’s becoming easier for new truck drivers to join this lucrative career. Here’s what you need to know about taking CDL classes online!
Types of CDL Licenses
First, let’s understand the different types of CDL licenses you can earn. The most common type of CDL is the Class A CDL, which is used for large trucks, and requires that drivers must be at least 18-21 years of age depending on the state issuing the license. This covers flatbeds, truck and trailer combinations, and other large vehicles.
Class B CDL drivers are permitted to operate any single vehicle that isn’t hitched to a trailer. This includes commercial vehicles that have a cab and cargo area.
Trucks with a weight greater than 26,000 pounds, or trucks with a trailer that weighs less than 10,000 pounds fall under the Class B umbrella. Think of dump trucks, straight-trucks, garbage trucks, school buses, and similar vehicles, as well trucks pulling smaller trailers.
Finally, Class C CDL drivers can operate a single vehicle with a gross weight of 26,000 pounds or less. Also, a vehicle towing another vehicle that weighs less than 10,000 pounds, or that transports 16+ passengers (driver included) will fall under Class C.
All of these licenses serve their purposes and will come with different job opportunities, salary ranges, and more. Once you have your CDL, you will need endorsements for other factors such as transporting passengers, hazardous materials, and other specialties.
Can You Take CDL Classes Online?
Yes, you absolutely can! Some courses will offer general knowledge and skills through an online, self-paced platform. Some online CDL training courses like ours meets federal ELDT (Entry Level Driver’s Training) requirements and are approved in all 50 states.
This means that no matter where you intend to find work in the US, you can take online training for the first part of your CDL education. Depending on your type of CDL, this could take as little as 12 hours on your own time. This will cut out nearly all of your classroom learning, allowing you to continue working while earning your certificate.
After completing the online CDL training you’ll need to take behind-the-wheel training at an approved training provider.
What Do Online CDL Classes Cover?
Online CDL classes cover essentially everything an in-person CDL class would cover, minus the hands-on experience. In the industry, this is called “theory”. Once you complete the online theory training you can acquire the necessary driving experience with a behind-the-wheel course, and take an in-person exam to obtain your CDL.
In an online class, students will learn technical driving theory, safety practices, and more. You will also have regular assessments to help reinforce the information you’ve learned. All of this will prepare you for the written examination and skills assessments.
Online CDL Class Cost
On average, an online CDL class will cost between $150 – $400. However, our Class A & B courses cost much less at only $125 for the class!
From there, you will need to take behind-the-wheel training and the skills test in order to obtain your license. Behind-the-wheel training typically runs between $3,000 -$7,000 depending on what school you attend and how long their program is.
You may even find a trucking company willing to teach you the hands-on skills necessary upon an employment agreement, which will be much easier to obtain once you’ve completed the theory portion.
The cost of the driving exam varies between states, with most charging fees of between $30 and $60. Some states have higher fees of between $70 and $100, but you shouldn’t expect to pay much more than that. The exam cost is included in the price of the training at most behind-the-wheel training providers.
Retesting may require a fee depending on your state, but with an online course, you can access your materials and resources without additional fees. However, that’s not the only benefit of enrolling in an online class!
Benefits of Online CDL Courses
Of course, you can always take the traditional route, but should you? Here are some of the key benefits of taking an online CDL class!
Cost to Salary Ratio
We already mentioned the costs of taking the classes and examinations, but you have to consider the context. Many truck drivers, especially Class A CDL drivers, earn high salaries. In many cases, this can be close to six figures or even in the six figures.
Of course, if you decide to work independently later in life, the sky is the limit. Truck owner-operators can earn $120,000 a year or more in their careers!
Beyond financial costs, the limited amount of study is also a bonus. This way, you won’t have to miss work to attend classes, which means it won’t interrupt your income! These are some of the hidden costs of most educational programs that often go overlooked.
Go at Your Own Pace
With online CDL classes, you can work around your existing work schedule and achieve your career goals on your own time. This can make it possible for anybody looking to make a career change at any point in their lives.
Plenty of Work to Go Around
If anything, there are too many open trucking jobs around the country. This makes pay, benefits, and perks more competitive. Consider it a seller’s market, and you’re the one selling your services!
Take a look just in your area online. Chances are that there are plenty of available jobs near you, with over 80,000 open trucking jobs in the US and plenty of other jobs for CDL drivers.
Start Your New Career Today
When you look at it from a financial perspective, try to find a better investment than taking CDL classes online. It takes only a small fee to get you started on the path of a lifetime of high salaries, benefits, and a rewarding career. It’s only a click away!
Stay up to date with our latest trucker tips, and don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions or for help with enrollment.