Skip to main content

How much does it cost to get a CDL? What you need to know

A truck driver with their hand on the steering wheel.

Estimated reading time: 2 minutes 

"How much does it cost to get a CDL?" is a common question among aspiring truck drivers. Many factors influence the cost of obtaining a CDL – including where you live and what driving school you attend but it generally ranges from $4,000 to $12,000. 

Keep reading to learn more about what impacts the cost of getting a CDL. 

What impacts the cost of CDL training? 

One of the first steps in obtaining a CDL is to attend a CDL program at a truck driving school or a community college. This will most likely be the greatest cost associated with getting your CDL. 

Before choosing your driving school, consider how these factors could impact the price of each school: 

1. Public vs. privately funded schools.  

Publicly funded schools are usually less expensive than privately funded driving schools. However, publicly funded schools generally have a longer wait time. 

2. The school’s training program. 

Although most schools have a 160-hour training program, each driving school has its own training preferences and practices. These differences can often affect the price of a school’s CDL training course. 

3. The school’s reputation and job placement record. 

Schools with better reputations and job placement records are typically more expensive. However, the quality of your education is also important to consider, so don’t let cost be the only factor in your choice of CDL school.  

4. Equipment utilization. 

The trucks, technology and equipment schools use can impact the cost of their tuition.  

5. Lodging and extra amenities. 

If the school you choose to attend isn’t close to home, you should expect to also pay for your lodging and extra amenities like meals. 

What variables affect CDL license costs? 

Once you have graduated from CDL school, you will have to take the next steps to actually obtain your CDL. Some of these steps have fees associated with them. 

Some of the fees you should expect when working to get your CDL include: 

1. CDL application fees. 

Getting your CDL begins with submitting an application, which typically comes with a fee. This fee covers the administrative costs of processing your application and can range anywhere from $10 to $50, depending on the state you live in. 

2. Medical examinations. 

There are also costs related to the DOT physical you will be required to get. DOT physicals can cost between $50 and $150. 

3. CDL test fees (skills, road and written test). 

Once your application is accepted, you'll need to take your CDL tests. Some states include these in the application fee, while others charge for them separately. 

4. The license itself (Class A, B, C, etc.). 

Once you've passed all your tests, there's the cost of the CDL license itself. This fee can range anywhere from $30 to $75, although it is higher in some states. The cost of the license often depends on several factors, including the type of license you're obtaining. 

5. Additional endorsements (e.g. hazmat, doubles, etc.). 

CDL endorsements are special permissions that allow CDL holders to operate specific types of commercial vehicles or haul certain kinds of cargo. Each endorsement requires you to pass a separate written and/or skills test, and there's usually an associated fee.

Drivers should consult their local Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to see if their state charges the following fees for getting a CDL. 

Need help covering the cost of your CDL?

Schneider is committed to helping new and returning drivers start their careers off right, which is why we offer a wide selection of company-paid CDL training options. 

About the author
Author Picture

Schneider Guy loves the "Big Orange." He's passionate about the trucking industry and connecting people to rewarding careers within it. He's been the eyes and ears of our company since our founding in 1935, and he's excited to interact with prospective and current Schneider associates through "A Slice of Orange."

More posts by this author
© Copyright 2024, Schneider. All rights reserved.