Completing CDL training in North Dakota is the first step in applying for a commercial driver’s license (CDL). By obtaining a CDL, you are permitted to operate certain types of vehicles that are off-limits to regular drivers. This requires passing a series of exams to measure your knowledge and skills as a safe commercial driver. Much more advanced than standard driver’s license exams, CDL exams require extensive hours of studying and practicing behind the wheel of a large commercial vehicle.

CDL school can provide these hours through in-class instruction and hands-on field training. Additionally, truck driving school can help you obtain a job in the industry through job placement assistance. If you are worried about the cost of CDL classes, there are several financial aid and financing options available. Some employers will even pay for your fees upfront or reimburse you after you have completed training if you agree to employment. Interested in learning more about the different programs available? Read the sections below.

What is CDL training in North Dakota?

CDL training in North Dakota is offered through programs and companies that prepare residents to take their CDL exams. Students typically receive in-class and behind-the-wheel training with licensed instructors who have developed experience in the truck driving industry. While all CDL classes cover the general rules of commercial driving, there are different courses designated to cover specific license classifications. Each class of license determines the type of vehicle a license holder is permitted to operate.

  • Class A: This is the most common and useful type of CDL. With this license, a driver can operate any combination of vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 26,001 lbs. or more, provided that the vehicle being towed has a GVWR above 10,000 lbs. To become proficient at driving a vehicle this large, residents should enroll in Class A CDL training.
  • Class B: This class of license allows a driver to operate a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) that weighs 26,001 lbs. or more with a towed vehicle that does not exceed 10,000 lbs. Those who would like to start a career driving a straight truck or box truck should consider Class B CDL training.
  • Class C: This license is designated for drivers operating a vehicle meant to transport hazardous material or at least 16 passengers. If the vehicle does not meet Class A or B criteria, a driver should consider Class C CDL training.

Note: Those with Class A and B CDL licenses can operate a Class C vehicle with the proper endorsements.

Is CDL school required in North Dakota?

While CDL school in North Dakota is not required, most aspiring truck drivers take the course to pass their CDL exams. Unlike the standard driver’s license exams for first-time drivers, these exams are lengthy and require residents to retain a lot more information. Additionally, some CDL applicants will have to complete additional exams depending on what endorsements they need. This requires hours of studying material and measuring progress through practice tests.

Furthermore, the skills tests portion consists of three types of skills that will be tested: pre-trip inspection, basic vehicle control and on-road driving. Without attending truck driving school, applicants will miss out on the hands-on experience needed to successfully pass these tests. It is important to keep in mind that while CDL training is not state-required, many jobs require applicants to have completed formal training or have experience behind the wheel of a CMV.

Curriculum of North Dakota CDL Classes

Although some CDL classes in North Dakota are more extensive than others, all courses cover the basics rules of commercial driving. The most gainful programs are those that consist of in-classroom and behind-the-wheel instruction to cover both the written and road skills portion of the exams.

In-Class Instruction for the CDL Written Test

Most CDL training programs begin in the classroom to prepare for the CDL general knowledge test. Through in-class instruction, residents will learn all the information needed to pass the general CDL written test, as well as additional knowledge tests needed to obtain any endorsements. These tests include the following:

  • Passenger transport test
  • Airbrakes test
  • Combination vehicles test
  • Hazardous materials test
  • Tanker test
  • Double/Triples test
  • School bus test

In CDL school, students can expect an interactive learning environment, including lectures, discussions, classwork and exams containing real CDL permit test questions. Once this portion of training is completed, students will be ready to obtain their commercial learner’s permit (CLP) and begin driving.

Behind-the-Wheel Instruction for the CDL Driving Test

In the following portion of CDL training, students will test their knowledge and skills behind the wheel of a large CMV. Typically, students are paired one-on-one with a licensed instructor who guides them on the road as they complete various procedures needed to pass the CDL test. This may be as simple as moving a vehicle forward, backward or turning it in a tight area. It can be as difficult as driving up and downgrades or navigating through busy streets and highways.

Furthermore, aspiring truck drivers are taught step-by-step how to complete a pre-trip vehicle inspection so that they know whether it is safe to drive. Without passing the pre-trip inspection, test takers will not be allowed to complete the CDL driving test.

How long is CDL training in North Dakota?

The length of CDL training programs depends on the school, type of training and your availability as a student. While training programs dedicated to commercial driving can take as little as three weeks to complete, CDL programs at community colleges can take up to 16 weeks to complete. Because Class A CDL training covers all vehicles under Class B and C licenses, it is generally the longest type of training.

Best CDL Schools Near Me in North Dakota

Looking for a “truck driving school near me”? There are several high-quality, private companies that offer CDL training in North Dakota. Finding the right program for you means finding one that has the right training for the license classification and endorsements you need, while fitting your price range and schedule availability. Below are some of the best CDL schools in North Dakota:

  • Commercial Education and Safety, LLC: These CDL classes are split into categories based on level of experience. If you are an aspiring professional truck driver with no experience, it is highly recommended that you enroll in the 160 hour course. While the school’s primary focus is to train you as a safe and qualified driver, it does assist in job placement and can get you pre-hired before your graduation. Worried about the cost? CES has financing options available.
  • Cankdeska Cikana Community College: This community college has a CDL training program designed to help you obtain your Class A CDL license. The program provides tractor-trailers and a truck driving simulator so that you can get as much experience driving a CMV. You can either obtain a certificate or associates of applied science, depending on the route you choose to take. Contact the school to learn more about tuition costs and financial aid.
  • Sitting Bull College: You can receive a total of 16 college credits at this CDL school. The course is very comprehensive and can be completed in 15 weeks. You will learn everything you need to know about operating a tractor-trailer, endorsements, first-aid and CPR and necessary job skills.
  • Turtle Mountain Community College: Develop a working knowledge of tractor and trailer through this CDL school, offering a combination of in-class instruction, driving simulation and behind-the-wheel training. Graduates of this program typically move on to become over-the-road drivers, regional drivers or local pick-up and delivery drivers.

Benefits of Completing North Dakota Truck Driving School

If you plan on taking your CDL exams, you should consider the benefits of truck driving school. Most schools have high success rates for students who not only pass their tests on the first attempt, but have been hired immediately upon graduation.

These all-inclusive courses will prepare you for every portion of the exam, helping you identify and strengthen your weaknesses as a commercial driver. Not to mention, these CDL classes are taught by highly qualified instructors with years of experience in the industry.

Due to the high demand of truck drivers, most schools have connections with truck driving companies in the area and can offer CDL job placement. Most of these CDL jobs either require or highly prefer an applicant that has completed formal training.

CDL Training Costs in North Dakota

Before you knock out the idea of CDL school due to its costs, consider all the financing options, scholarships and government grants that most schools offer. You may be eligible to receive financial aid through the Workforce Investment Act and can finance your education through the Pell Grant.

Did you ever think you could get paid while training for CDL? Many truck driving companies cover the costs of CDL training and will either pay for your courses upfront or reimburse you after you have completed a program. When researching CDL programs, make sure to ask about job placement assistance and your chances at getting pre-hired at a job that will cover CDL training cost.

How to Self-Prep for North Dakota CDL Exams

Whether or not you enroll in CDL training, it is necessary that you invest the time and effort to study for your exams. Before taking the written knowledge exam, it is pertinent that you complete at least one CDL practice test. This will measure your status and determine whether you need to spend more time studying.

The most resourceful tool that you can use to prepare for your exams is the ND CDL handbook. This manual contains everything you need to know about testing requirements and the exact material covered on the exams. Additionally, you can take free practices tests online through third party websites or create your own using a CDL study guide.

Last updated on Friday, February 28 2020.