Enrolling in an Iowa CDL training school can be very beneficial for anyone who wants to get their commercial driver’s license (CDL) and find employment driving specialized vehicles. Driving commercial motor vehicles such as 18-wheelers, school buses or vehicles transporting hazardous materials requires special skills. These skills are best learned through an approved CDL school through hands-on practice. Taking the course can help you to prepare for the necessary examinations and be completely prepared to operate large vehicles with confidence.

Although there are many benefits associated with enrolling in CDL classes, Iowa does not require drivers to complete this training in order to take the exams and get a CDL. However, the Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT) does highly recommend the classes because they help students develop more skills and be better prepared. To discover more about the various course options, read the sections below.

What is CDL training in Iowa?

Class A CDL training in Iowa consists of providing all students with the information necessary to obtain a CDL Class A license. The Class A license is needed for all combined vehicles that have a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of 26,001 pounds or more.

This license training is available at all schools, and once completed, allows students to pass exams and receive a Class A, B or C license.

Although Class A training is available nearly everywhere, Class B CDL training may be harder to find as it is more specialized and not as comprehensive. A Class B license is needed for single vehicles that are 26,001 pounds and heavier.

This type of training provides students with the information needed to get a Class B or lower license, assuming they also pass the physical examination. Because of the differences between the licenses and training programs, it is essential that applicants determine what type of license they need for future employment before enrolling.

Is CDL school required in Iowa?

The State of Iowa Department of Transportation does not require CDL school to be completed by those applying for a CDL license. Completing the program is not a necessary step, although it is certainly a beneficial step as it will help students to gain the knowledge and skills they need to drive large and potentially dangerous commercial motor vehicles.

Curriculum of Iowa CDL Classes

You can expect to learn a lot about safe driving practices and CDL laws in the CDL courses that you take. The classes will also be broken into two sections; in-class instruction and behind-the-wheel instruction. However, you must note that the exact curriculum will vary depending on the school and program that you participate in.

In-Class Instruction for the CDL Written Test

You must pass a CDL written test before you can get your CDL. This knowledge exam is comprehensive and will test you on a variety of different topics about safely driving a commercial motor vehicle in Iowa.

The in-classroom section of your commercial driving license schooling will provide you with the information that will be found on the test and the instructor will ensure that you understand everything discussed. A few of the topics that may be discussed includes how to use a driving log, how to handle emergency situations, how to perform various maneuvers and more.

Behind-the-Wheel Instruction for the CDL Driving Test

After you have completed a portion of your in-classroom section, you will begin the behind-the-wheel training. This portion involves you physically driving a large commercial motor vehicle alongside the direct supervision of a driving instructor.

This portion is designed to prepare you for the CDL driving test, so you will be taught how to perform vehicle inspections, basic vehicle controls and techniques. After you have completed this training, you should be comfortable with the following:

  • Internal and external vehicle inspections.
  • Backing up, parallel parking, alley docking.
  • Turning, navigating intersections, making lane changes and more.

How long is CDL training in Iowa?

The length of time that IA CDL classes last can range depending on the school and the exact training program that you enroll in. For example, the CDL program offered by the Des Moines Area Community College has a standard training course that is 240 hours long.

However, other courses may be longer or shorter. Choose the option that works best for you and your personal schedule.

Best CDL Schools Near Me in Iowa

If you are curious about, “What is the best truck driving school near me?” it is important that you do your research and enroll in an approved program so that you are taught all of the information and skills necessary to pass the tests.

Two of the best CDL schools in the State of Iowa include:

  • Northland CDL Training and Licensing. This program allows you to complete all of your CDL testing on-site so that you do not need to visit the Department of Transportation to receive your Iowa Class A CDL license. They provide you with the proper vehicle to use when you test so that you can receive the license you desire.
  • Des Moines Area Community College. This college has a Commercial Vehicle Operator Training Course that is based on the Bureau of Motor Carriers Safety Curriculum. There are both daytime and evening classes so you can make the courses work around your regular daily schedule. You will also be graded during the course so that you can understand what you need to improve on.

Benefits of Completing Iowa Truck Driving School

Although receiving instruction so that you can become a confident driver and pass all of the tests is certainly a big benefit, there are other benefits to the training as well.

One important benefit is receiving help finding CDL jobs. Participating in a course can help you to find employment quickly after finishing. This is because most schools offer regularly-updated job boards and even have connections with top trucking companies as well.

This CDL job placement assistance can provide you with an advantage and help you to get a job faster than you may find one if you are job hunting on your own.

CDL Training Costs in Iowa

Tuition is a CDL training cost that must be paid in order for you to enroll in and graduate from a truck driving school in Iowa. The cost of the tuition you must pay ranges depending on the school you enroll in and the program that you choose.

Also, there may be additional fees such as a fee for taking the exam that may not be included in the tuition price as well. Therefore, ensure that you speak with the financial aid department of the school to inquire about what you are responsible for paying and the exact amounts.

If you feel that you cannot afford the cost of tuition, you should note that there are a lot of different types of tuition assistance that you can consider to make the pricing more affordable.

As one example, you may qualify for company paid CDL training if you agree to work for a company that provides tuition reimbursement. To discover if a company you are interested in offers this benefit, contact them directly and ask.

Also, if you are unable to find a company that offers tuition reimbursement, you may want to consider other financial aid options such as payment plans, grants, loans and more. Most training programs have a financial aid office or advisor that you can speak with to decide on a plan that works best for you.

How to Self-Prep for Iowa CDL Exams

The Iowa CDL handbook is most valuable tool you have for studying for the exams on your own. Most of the curriculum from any CDL education program is derived from the information found in that handbook.

Study the guide thoroughly and quiz yourself on the materials in order to be prepared. However, keep in mind that the exams are very difficult, so completing a training program is the most reliable study method you can use.

Last updated on Thursday, February 27 2020.