Truck driving is the perfect job for anyone looking for a career with stability and a good income that doesn’t require years of school. As a side benefit, truck drivers get to explore new places and build their own business if that’s what they’re interested in.
But you can’t jump right into operating heavy machinery on the highway. It does take some training and a special type of license. Depending on what you want to drive, you’ll need a Class A or Class B CDL driver’s license.
You can get either of these at a truck-driving school.
Both licenses will give you the skills and legal requirements to operate a big truck. However, each one has its own limitations. Let’s review the types of CDLs, what you’ll learn in truck-driving school, and Philadelphia’s top 13 options!
The Main CDLs Explained
There are three main types of CDLs. Each one gives you the authority to take on a little extra responsibility.
Class C is a specialized CDL that lets you operate a vehicle that carries more than 16 passengers. You can also drive a specialized truck, like a double trailer or a Hazmat.
The Class B CDL limits you to any vehicle that doesn’t have a trailer but does weigh more than 26,000 pounds. You’d be able to work in jobs that require you to drive a straight truck, a large or segmented bus, a box truck, or a dump truck.
Most truck drivers go straight for the gold: the Class A CDL. It’s known as the “universal” license because you can drive just about anything with it.
A Class A is what you’d need if you plan to drive any vehicle that weighs 26,001 pounds or more. This would include semis and tankers, as well as allowing you to transport livestock.
When you sign up for your course, you can let your instructors know which CDL you plan on applying for. However, most schools focus on the universal Class A because it gives you all the requirements you need for any CDL you want.
What’s Included in Truck-Driving School?
It doesn’t take long to learn what you have to know, from inspections to operating the vehicles. This valuable information will help you get hired at some of the most competitive companies in the area. Or it can set you on the path to start your own truck driving business.
Although “going to school” may not have been what you were hoping for, this job does demand intensive knowledge and training. However, most truck driving schools offer courses as short as one-week long.
During your course, you’ll learn the skills you need to operate big rigs, perform basic upkeep and maintenance, and follow state and federal government regulations.
Because truck drivers are essential, you can find schools in your area and any big city. In and around Philadelphia, these are the top 13 CDL businesses that will get you started on your path to a career in driving big trucks.
1. Global CDL School
Qualifying students in the Philadelphia area often choose Global CDL as their school of choice. The 8-week program contains 220 hours of hands-on and in-class training.
Part of the course is online, with computers provided for you. The other part is two miles from the classroom at a driving range where you’ll learn all the job’s technical and mechanical parts.
Financial assistance is available for those who meet the requirements.
3. Smith & Solomon
Smith & Solomon offer multiple training courses, including CDL and forklift operator driving. However, the most popular course is the Class A CDL, which takes just 160 hours.
You’ll learn what it takes to keep your truck running in good shape, get through inspections, and drive a heavy vehicle. With supervised instruction, you’ll even get to drive a tractor-trailer in real traffic.
3. AAA School of Trucking
AAA School of Trucking is in the heart of Philadelphia. Students get the unique education of a teacher/student one-on-one or one-on-two ratio.
With new classes starting on Mondays, you can quickly get signed up for your Class A or B CDL training. The school will help you find a job while you’re learning the ropes, so by the time you graduate, you could already have work!
4. Express Driving School
Express Driving School offers refresher CDL training to Philadelphians and those in the surrounding counties. Their other courses vary. Contact the school for hours and pricing.
5. Accident-Free Driving School
At Accident-Free Driving School, students of all ages and experiences can earn their CDL. The coursework is digital (on the computer), and you can schedule the hands-on part individually.
The school is open seven days a week, so this is a good choice for anyone looking for private instruction on a flexible schedule.
6. Start CDL Training
Those looking to learn what it takes to pass a CDL test can “start” here at Start CDL Training. With individual training, online and in the field, you’ll have a thorough understanding of everything you’ll need to drive a big truck.
The company also hires those who do well with its training program, so if you’re looking for a stable job making up to $100,000/year, Start CDL is the place to go.
7. All-State Career Truck School
All-State Career Truck School offers students a six-month training program to prepare for the CDL exam and life on the road.
The company offers flexible scheduling and financial aid for those who qualify. Currently, most of the learning is virtual and online. However, there are behind-the-wheel requirements you’ll have to meet in person.
8. Roehl Transport
Roehl Transport has been in the news in Philadelphia and the surrounding areas lately. Its recent announcement of a driver pay increase has made it a popular training school for recruits.
If you meet their qualifications, you could have your CDL training paid for and a job waiting for you when you graduate!
9. Duie Pyle Truck Driving Academy
Just outside of Philadelphia, in West Chester, is the Duie Pyle Truck Driving Academy. The school offers a 10-week CDL training program. During this time, eight weeks is in the classroom and 40 hours are behind the wheel.
Duie Pyle pays for your housing during this time and even gives you a check for going to school. There aren’t too many truck-driving schools that offer these perks!
10. Total Equipment Training
Total Equipment Training specializes in offering businesses training for heavy equipment operating. But they also find workers who have the skills to do the job, which means getting you CDL certified.
They only offer the Class A CDL training, but if that is what you’re looking for, check with the company to see when their next courses start.
11. Sage Truck Driving School at Chester County IU
Sage Truck Driving School has locations all over the country, including Chester County in Pennsylvania. The CDL training programs meet entry-level training needs and are available online and in-person. The behind-the-wheels requirements are in-person.
Each location has different schedules. Check with your closest school to see when their training programs are on the schedule.
12. KV Express CDL Training
KV Express CDL Training is a locally-owned and operated driving school in Philadelphia without a website. The school runs daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
It’s an in-person training with a small teacher-to-student ratio. If you’re interested in working with KV Express for your training needs, contact them at (609) 424-4349.
13. North & South Express CDL Training
North & South Express CDL Training, partnering with Start CDL Training, offers one-on-one tutoring for your CDL exam.
You can request information and schedule an appointment to meet with the trainers on the company’s Facebook page. The school offers flexible course schedules and financial aid for those who qualify.
With so many schools offering high-quality CDL training, you can easily find one that works with your schedule and budget. Your education time will be over before you know it, and you’ll be on the path to a high-paying career on the road!
Adam Marshall is a freelance writer who specializes in all things apartment organization, real estate, and college advice. He currently works with Varsity House Gainesville to help them with their online marketing.