If having the opportunity to get paid while traveling across the nation's highways sounds like your idea of a dream job, then pursuing a career as a truck driver could be in your best interest. In order to legally operate a semi, you must first obtain your commercial driver license (CDL). Training programs that offer the classroom and hands-on experience needed to pass your CDL examination are available, but these programs can be costly.
Here are two ways you can get your CDL training paid for without incurring any out-of-pocket expenses.
1. Contract with a trucking company.
With intermodal transport expected to grow by 5.5% each year from 2016 through 2022, many trucking companies are looking for quality drivers to add to their employee rosters.
You can take advantage of this demand for skilled drivers by negotiating directly with a trucking company to pay for your CDL training expenses. Some companies are willing to foot the bill for your training and education if you sign a contract guaranteeing that you will remain in their employ for a specified number of years.
Don't be afraid to contact a local trucking company and ask about options for paid training if you don't have the money to begin your CDL training right away.
2. Apply for a WIA grant.
If your desire to pursue a career in the trucking industry comes as the result of being laid off by your previous employer, you may qualify for federal funds to pay for your CDL training under the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 (WIA).
This act was designed to help job seekers get the training they needed to become gainfully employed, and receiving a grant to pay for your CDL training through the WIA is a simple way to ensure that your training is affordable.
Grant money doesn't need to be repaid, but you may need to provide evidence that you qualify for help. Be sure to speak with a financial aid officer at the institution where you plan to receive your CDL training to become familiar with any documentation required to apply for a WIA grant.
Finding ways to finance additional training and education can be challenging. By partnering with a local trucking company and having them pay for your CDL training as part of an employment contract or applying for a WIA grant, you will be able to ensure that you can enroll in a training program that will prepare you to pass your CDL testing without breaking the bank.