If you’re interested in starting a career as a truck driver, one of the first questions you probably have is: how long is truck driving school? Trucking school is a critical step to getting your CDL (commercial driver’s license) and becoming a professional trucker.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about the length of truck driving programs, from short 2-3 week courses to more extensive 8 week classes.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: the length of truck driving school typically ranges from 2-8 weeks for full-time students. Programs offering CDL Class A training tend to run longer, while Class B license programs may be shorter.

CDL Classifications and Requirements

Class A CDL

The Class A Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) is the highest level of CDL classification and allows drivers to operate vehicles with a gross combination weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 pounds or more, provided the towed vehicle weighs over 10,000 pounds.

This classification is required for drivers who want to operate tractor-trailers, semi-trucks, and other large commercial vehicles. To obtain a Class A CDL, applicants must pass both a written knowledge test and a skills test, which includes a pre-trip inspection, basic vehicle control, and on-road driving.

Class B CDL

The Class B CDL allows drivers to operate vehicles with a GCWR of 26,001 pounds or more, but the towed vehicle must weigh less than 10,000 pounds. This classification is suitable for drivers who want to operate buses, delivery trucks, dump trucks, and other heavy vehicles.

The requirements to obtain a Class B CDL are similar to those for a Class A CDL, including passing a written knowledge test and a skills test. However, the skills test for Class B CDL drivers may focus more on specific maneuvers and control of larger vehicles.

Class C CDL

The Class C CDL is the lowest level of CDL classification and is required for drivers who want to operate vehicles designed to transport 16 or more passengers (including the driver) or vehicles carrying hazardous materials.

This classification may also apply to smaller commercial vehicles that do not meet the criteria for Class A or Class B CDLs. To obtain a Class C CDL, applicants must pass a written knowledge test and a skills test that may include specific requirements for passenger transportation or hazardous materials handling.

It’s important to note that the specific requirements for each CDL classification may vary slightly between states. It is recommended to check with the local Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) or equivalent agency for the most accurate and up-to-date information.

Length of CDL Training Programs

When considering a career in truck driving, one of the first questions that often comes to mind is, “How long is truck driving school?” The length of CDL (Commercial Driver’s License) training programs can vary depending on several factors, including the type of program and the specific skills being taught.

Here is a complete guide to the different lengths of CDL training programs:

2-4 Week Programs

For individuals looking to get their CDL quickly, there are 2-4 week training programs available. These programs are often intensive and provide a comprehensive overview of the skills needed to become a professional truck driver.

Students in these programs can expect to learn about vehicle inspection, basic driving techniques, and federal regulations. While these programs offer a quicker path to a CDL, it’s important to note that they may require a more significant time commitment during the training period.

4-6 Week Programs

Another common length for CDL training programs is 4-6 weeks. These programs typically provide a more in-depth education and offer additional training on specialized skills such as hazardous materials handling or driving in extreme weather conditions.

They may also include more extensive practice time behind the wheel to ensure that students are fully prepared for the challenges of the road. While these programs may require a slightly longer time commitment, they often result in a more well-rounded education and increased job opportunities after graduation.

6-8 Week Programs

For those who want to receive a thorough education and gain a higher level of expertise, 6-8 week CDL training programs are available. These programs offer a more extensive curriculum, covering a wide range of topics such as advanced driving techniques, defensive driving strategies, and customer service skills.

Additionally, students in these programs may have the opportunity to gain experience driving different types of trucks, including those with specialized equipment or configurations. While these programs require a longer time commitment, they can provide a competitive edge in the job market.

Longer Specialized Programs

In addition to the standard CDL training programs, there are also longer specialized programs available. These programs focus on specific areas of trucking, such as long-haul driving, refrigerated transport, or oversized load handling.

The length of these programs can vary depending on the specific skills being taught and the level of expertise required. Students who choose these programs often have a specific career goal in mind and are willing to invest the extra time and effort to gain specialized knowledge.

It’s important to note that the length of CDL training programs can vary depending on the training provider and the specific state requirements. Before enrolling in a program, it’s recommended to research different schools and compare their curriculum, reputation, and job placement rates.

Additionally, it’s always a good idea to reach out to current or former students to get their insights and experiences with the program.

For more information on CDL training programs and requirements, you can visit the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration website or reach out to local truck driving schools in your area.

What Impacts the Length of Truck Driving School?

CDL Class and Licenses

The type of Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) class you are pursuing can significantly impact the length of your truck driving school. CDL classes are categorized into three types: Class A, Class B, and Class C. Class A CDL is the most comprehensive and allows you to operate a combination of vehicles, including tractor-trailers.

Class B CDL is for operating single vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 26,001 pounds or more. Class C CDL is for vehicles that do not fit into the previous two categories and may require additional endorsements.

The duration of training for each CDL class may vary depending on the complexity and scope of the skills required. Generally, Class A CDL programs tend to be longer due to the extensive training needed to handle larger vehicles and perform maneuvers like backing up and parallel parking.

Class B and Class C CDL programs may be shorter as they focus on specific vehicle types and driving scenarios.

Full-Time vs Part-Time Schedule

The schedule you choose for your truck driving school can also impact the overall duration of the program. Some schools offer full-time programs that require students to attend classes and training sessions on a daily basis.

These intensive programs can be completed in a shorter timeframe, typically within a few weeks.

On the other hand, part-time programs allow students to attend classes and training sessions on a more flexible schedule. This option is suitable for individuals who may have other commitments or responsibilities.

While part-time programs may take longer to complete, they provide more flexibility and allow students to learn at their own pace.

Individual Learning Pace

Every individual has a different learning pace, and this can impact the length of truck driving school. Some students may grasp the concepts and skills quickly, enabling them to complete the program in a shorter time.

Others may require more time to practice and gain proficiency in various driving techniques. Truck driving schools typically offer personalized instruction to cater to the different learning needs of their students.

Additional Certifications

In some cases, truck driving schools offer additional certifications or endorsements that can enhance your job prospects and increase the duration of the program. These certifications may include hazardous materials (HAZMAT) endorsement, passenger endorsement, tanker endorsement, or double/triple trailer endorsement.

While these additional certifications may extend the length of your training, they can provide you with a competitive edge in the job market.

It is important to note that the length of truck driving school can vary across different institutions. It is advisable to research and compare various schools to find the one that best suits your needs and goals.

Make sure to consider factors such as reputation, accreditation, and the quality of training provided before making a decision.

Tips for Choosing the Right Program Length

When considering truck driving school, it’s important to choose a program length that suits your needs and goals. Here are some tips to help you make the right decision:

Consider Your Prior Experience

If you have prior experience in driving trucks or operating heavy machinery, you may be eligible for an accelerated program. These programs are designed for individuals who already have some knowledge and skills in truck driving.

By opting for an accelerated program, you can complete your training in a shorter amount of time and start your new career sooner.

Factor in Time for Licensing Exams

Obtaining a commercial driver’s license (CDL) is a crucial step in becoming a professional truck driver. Make sure to consider the time needed to prepare for and take the licensing exams when choosing a program length.

Some truck driving schools offer programs that include CDL preparation, which can save you time and ensure you are well-prepared for the exams.

Evaluate Quality Over Speed

While it may be tempting to choose the shortest program length available, it’s important to prioritize quality over speed. Look for truck driving schools that have a good reputation, experienced instructors, and modern training facilities.

A comprehensive training program will provide you with the necessary skills and knowledge to become a safe and competent truck driver, ultimately leading to better job opportunities.

Ask About Testing Policies

Before enrolling in a truck driving school, inquire about their testing policies. Some schools may offer on-site testing, while others may require you to take the licensing exams at an external testing facility. Consider your convenience and preferences when choosing a program length.

Additionally, check if the school has a high passing rate for the licensing exams, as this can be an indicator of the effectiveness of their training program.

Remember, the length of a truck driving school program can vary depending on various factors, including your prior experience, the school’s curriculum, and the specific requirements of the licensing exams.

Take the time to research and evaluate different programs to find the one that best suits your needs and sets you up for success in your truck driving career.

Getting Licensed and Hitting the Road

Truck driving school is an essential step to becoming a professional truck driver. It equips you with the necessary skills and knowledge to safely operate a commercial vehicle on the road. But how long does it take to complete truck driving school?

Passing the CDL Exam

One of the main requirements to become a licensed truck driver is to pass the Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) exam. This exam consists of both a written test and a skills test. The written test covers topics such as traffic laws, vehicle maintenance, and safe driving practices.

The skills test evaluates your ability to perform various maneuvers, such as backing up, parking, and turning.

The time it takes to prepare for and pass the CDL exam can vary depending on the individual’s prior experience, knowledge, and dedication to studying. On average, most students spend around 4-8 weeks in truck driving school to adequately prepare for the exam.

Finding a Trucking Job

Once you have successfully obtained your CDL, the next step is to find a trucking job. The trucking industry offers a wide range of opportunities for new drivers, including local, regional, and long-haul positions.

The time it takes to find a trucking job can vary depending on factors such as the current job market, your location, and your preferences for type of driving.

It is recommended to research different trucking companies, attend job fairs, and network with other drivers to increase your chances of finding a suitable job. Some trucking companies may offer their own training programs for new drivers, which can provide additional on-the-job training and support.

Continuing Your Training

Truck driving school is just the beginning of your journey as a professional truck driver. Once you start your trucking career, it is important to continue your training and education to stay updated with industry regulations and advancements.

Ongoing training can help you improve your skills, stay safe on the road, and advance in your career.

There are various ways to continue your training, such as attending specialized courses for hazardous materials or advanced driving techniques. Additionally, staying informed about industry news and changes through websites like FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) and American Trucking Associations can provide valuable insights and resources for professional development.


When exploring trucking schools, don’t let length be the only factor—also consider the program’s quality, services, and ability to thoroughly prepare you for a truck driving career. With the right training, you’ll gain the skills needed to pass the CDL exam and transition into a rewarding job as a professional driver.

We hope this guide gave you a comprehensive overview of how long truck driving school takes. The length can vary from just a few weeks to 2 months or more. Focus on finding a top-notch CDL training program that provides the education you need to kickstart your trucking career!

Similar Posts