Completing an approved Illinois CDL training course is an effective way to prepare to obtain your commercial driver’s license (CDL). Operating a commercial motor vehicle takes a high level of skill, so you must complete both knowledge and behind-the-wheel testing in order to be considered skilled enough to get a CDL. The most highly recommended and reliable methods you can use to study for those tests and gain valuable driving practice is to participate in a truck driving school. These classes provide you with instruction and practice that can help you jumpstart your career.

In addition to helping you become more prepared for the examinations, a CDL school can also help you to secure a job as well. This is because there is typically job placement assistance available at most Illinois schools. In addition, if you are concerned about the cost of enrolling in courses, it is important to know that there are many instances where you can receive training for free or at a discounted rate. To learn more, read the sections below.

What is CDL training in Illinois?

Class A CDL training is required if you want to operate a combination of vehicles with a Gross Combined Weight Rating (GCWR) of 26,001 pounds or more, provided that the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is less than 10,000 pounds.

Most schools offer CDL Class A license training because this the Class A license allows you to operate any type of commercial vehicle.

Class B CDL training in Illinois is only available at certain schools because it is not as comprehensive and only provides you with information about single vehicles that have a GVWR of 26,000 pounds or more.

You cannot tow another vehicle if you have a Class B CDL, and you are therefore limited in the type of commercial vehicles you can operate. Ensure that you take Class B training if it is required for your specific occupation.

Is CDL school required in Illinois?

Although it is recommended by the Illinois DMV, it is not a requirement that you complete CDL classes to obtain your CDL in Illinois.

Enrolling in classes provides you with many benefits and can help to ensure that you pass your exams and receive your CDL with less stress, but participation is completely optional. You also have the option of studying for the tests on your own, but it is important to keep in mind that participating in IL CDL training is much more reliable and effective.

Curriculum of Illinois CDL Classes

You must complete both written knowledge exams and behind-the-wheel skills exams before you can obtain your CDL. Therefore, the purpose of the CDL course curriculum is to prepare you for those exams. You will learn about the various CDL laws and regulations in Illinois, how to safely operate commercial vehicles and more.

In-Class Instruction for the CDL Written Test

To be prepared for the CDL written test you must understand a variety of important information. The following information is generally included in all courses:

  • Illinois CDL laws
  • Commercial vehicle street signs
  • Types of endorsements
  • Handling emergency situations
  • Transporting cargo safely
  • Keeping a driving log

Behind-the-Wheel Instruction for the CDL Driving Test

The last portion of the course is typically the on-the-road portion that is designed to have you practice driving commercial vehicles so that you are prepared for the CDL driving test.

The CDL test in Illinois requires you to preform straight line backing, offset backing and parallel parking. You will learn how to execute these specific maneuvers and you will also prepare for the basic driving portion of the exam by practicing navigating through intersections, completing turns and other safe practices.

You can also expect to learn how to do things such as complete inspections of your vehicle, communicate with other drivers and deal with driving in extreme weather.

Practicing these techniques under the supervision of a trained professional commercial vehicle driver is very important for both your safety and the safety of those around you.

How long is CDL training in Illinois?

Each Illinois commercial driving training school has different programs that all last a different amount of time to complete.

The exact amount of time that you can expect to be in the classroom or behind the wheel depends on the school and the program that you choose. For example, the company Expert Driving School has a basic CDL Class A course that is 160 hours, an advanced training that is 180 hours, or a refresher course that is 130 hours.

You can select whichever option you qualify for that is most convenient for you.

Best CDL Schools Near Me in Illinois

If you have the question, “What truck driving school near me is best?” it is crucial that you do your research before enrolling. Also, you must keep in mind that the State of Illinois recommends that you participate in a school that is CDL-certified.

There are many different CDL programs across the state and they all vary in quality, so it is important to do your research beforehand. A few schools that are CDL-certified and highly-rated in Illinois include:

  • Expert Driving School. This highly-rated company offers private one-on-one behind-the-wheel instruction to students for 60 minutes during each lesson. There are also options for tuition reimbursement that you may qualify for as well.
  • Eagle Training Services Truck Driving School. This school is another Secretary of State-certified institution, and it works closely with recruiters to help graduates secure employment. It also provides part time courses that can be adjusted to work with your schedule.
  • Progressive Truck Driving School, Inc. Another one of the best CDL schools offered in Illinois, has received accreditation and awards from a variety of different institutes, including the Better Business Bureau. This school covers all kinds of important skills needed for passing the exams and also offers financing options so that you can receive your training at a reasonable price point.

Benefits of Completing Illinois Truck Driving School

The truck driving industry is very competitive, and companies are looking for the most qualified drivers to take their available positions.

Completing a trucking school provides you with an advantage over other applicants and can also help to ensure that you are qualified for the best jobs, assuming you also pass the physical requirements. Also, most schools offer CDL job placement assistance.

This may include providing graduates with access to frequently updated job boards or even direct connections that can lead to interviews with companies that are hiring.

The other benefit to completing CDL prep courses is that you are much more likely to pass the required written and road exams on your first try.

Simply reading through the handbook on your own is not going to prepare you as well as taking a course is. The CDL exams are difficult, so having instruction and hands-on practice beforehand can make a big difference in the scores you are able to achieve.

CDL Training Costs in Illinois

One of the most important factors you must consider before enrolling in a school is the CDL training cost.

Tuition varies depending on the company and the program you choose, and it is also important to keep in mind that some fees, such as the testing fees due at the Secretary of State office, are not included in the price of tuition. Therefore, it is crucial that you contact the school to learn about the tuition and fees you must pay.

There are trucking companies that pay for CDL training as well, so keep in mind that you do not always need to pay for the full tuition on your own.

Some trucking companies offer to either cover the cost of your tuition, provide reimbursement or assist you with a discounted rate. Do your research on various companies to determine if you qualify for any of those options.

Even if you do not find a company that offers paid CDL training, you can still look into other financial aid options such as loans or payment plans that can help you to afford your schooling.

How to Self-Prep for Illinois CDL Exams

If you opt to self-prep for the exams instead of, or in addition to enrolling in a course, it is critical that you study the CDL handbook thoroughly.

The Illinois CDL study guide can be found online for free and provides you with all of the information that you need to pass the written knowledge exam. It also includes information about what you must do in order to pass the behind-the-wheel exam as well.

Last updated on Thursday, February 27 2020.