Without New York CDL training, obtaining your commercial driver’s license (CDL) can be very difficult. There are several exams you need to pass in order to receive your license, including the written knowledge exam, pre-trip inspection test and road skills test. According to feedback received from the motor carrier industry, many drivers are having a difficult time with certain sections of the new federal CDL test.

While there are resources provided by the NY Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), enrolling in a truck driving school is the best way to ensure a passing score. Through both classroom and behind-the-wheel instruction, students are guaranteed the proper knowledge and skills needed to safely operate a commercial motor vehicle (CMV). While CDL school can be costly, there are various financing options and government grants available. To learn more about different CDL classes in New York, read the following sections below.

What is CDL training in New York?

Unlike standard driver’s education courses, a CDL prep course provides students with the advanced skills needed to operate a large CMV with a hefty load. Drivers are taught to make tight turns, park, back up and maneuver these vehicles in numerous traffic situations under various weather conditions. Aside from learning the basics, there are specific skills needed to operate certain types of vehicles. These vehicles are separated into different class licenses: Class A, B, and C.

In order to operate any combination of commercial vehicles at or above 26,001 lbs., provided that the vehicle being towed is 10,000 lbs. or more, students will need to enroll in Class A CDL training. This is the most common type of training, because it covers all types of vehicles, including Class B and C vehicles, with the proper endorsements.

On the other hand, Class B CDL training teaches drivers how to operate Class B vehicles only, including straight trucks and large buses. These vehicles are 26,001 lbs. or heavier, with a towed vehicle weighing no more than 10,000lbs. Class C CDL training is most beneficial for drivers who intend to transport hazardous materials or a minimum of 15 passengers in a vehicle that does not meet the criteria for a Class A or B vehicle.

Is CDL school required in New York?

Although CDL school is not required to obtain your CDL in New York, completing a course can improve your chances of passing your CDL exams. The NY Commercial Driver’s Manual recommends CDL training as the most reliable way to learn the appropriate knowledge and skills to pass all exams. While the manual serves as a study guide, formal training in an interactive environment is most effective for retaining material.

Curriculum of New York CDL Classes

CDL classes cover a variety of topics specific to commercial driving and operating different types of vehicles. Most programs are offered through both in-class and behind-the-wheel instruction so that students can apply the material they learn on the road.

In-Class Instruction for the CDL Written Test

CDL training programs typically offer in-class instruction to improve chances of passing the exams needed to obtain your commercial learner’s permit. These exams consist of the following, depending on the type of class license and endorsements you need:

  • CDL general knowledge test
  • Combination vehicles test
  • Doubles/Triples test
  • Hazardous materials test
  • Passenger transport test
  • School bus test
  • Tank vehicles test
  • Air brakes test
  • Road skills test

In order to pass each test, you will need to receive a passing score of 80 percent. Most CDL schools administer mock tests with CDL permit test questions that emulate real questions on the exam. You can expect for your licensed instructor to go over the material in depth and answer any questions you may have directly.

Behind-the-Wheel Instruction for the CDL Driving Test

Once you have obtained your CLP, you will be ready to get behind the wheel of a commercial vehicle. Before you can take the CDL driving test, state law requires that you wait a minimum of 14 days. Additionally, you must be accompanied by a commercial license holder when operating a CMV.

In CDL school, you will be paired with a professional licensed instructor who is proficient in commercial driving, specifically in mastering the road skills exam. He or she will go over all three types of general skills that will be measured on the CDL test. This includes pre-trip vehicle inspection, basic vehicle control and on-road driving.

How long is CDL training in New York?

The amount of time it takes to complete a CDL training program usually depends on the school and how thorough its courses are. While you may complete just a few lessons behind the wheel, there are complete training packages that offer up to 160 hours of classroom instruction and hands-on training.

Typically, a Class A CDL training course takes longer to complete than a Class B course. Additionally, the length of the program can vary, depending on whether you choose to enroll as a part-time or full-time student.

Best CDL Schools Near Me in New York

Looking for a local truck driving school in New York? Thankfully, there is a school located in almost every county in the state. Before researching “CDL school near me”, look at the list below, which compiles some of the best schools in New York state.

  • Colwell’s Driving School: Family owned and operated, this CDL school provides lessons to help you obtain your Class B license with a passenger or school bus endorsement. You can receive a CDL complete training package for $2,000, including 40 hours of classroom time and 25 hours of vehicle training. The cost covers all testing fees and the fee for your required medical exam.
  • National Tractor Trailer School, Inc.: Whether you are in search of part-time or full-time training, this truck driving school offers a variety of classes that can fit your schedule. Additionally, the school provides housing and financial aid to help alleviate training costs. You can expect classroom instruction to prepare for the written exam and a hands-on driving portion to enhance your road skills.
  • Sunny Truck Driving School: With courses starting as low as $900, this school offers flexible scheduling and a comfortable learning environment. Whether you choose to go part-time or full-time, you can receive individual instruction and hands-on learning from your very own licensed instructor.
  • Sage Truck Driving School: This CDL school offers both comprehensive and refresher classes for those looking to drive a tractor-trailer or straight truck. It also provides employer tuition reimbursement plans and trucking employer-paid plans through partnered employers. This means you can be guaranteed a job as a professional truck driver upon course completion.

In addition to the best CDL schools in New York, there are many other programs that offer quality classes at a reasonable price. When searching for a school best suited for you, make sure to ask about their scheduling, pricing and job placement assistance programs.

Benefits of Completing New York Truck Driving School

With so many drivers competing for CDL jobs, it is important to set yourself apart. While formal training is not required, completing a program can boost your resume and make you the ideal candidate for both national and local truck driving companies. In fact, most job postings require experience behind the wheel.

Truck driving school provides you with enough field training so that you and your employer are comfortable with your skills and CDL driving record. Additionally, most schools partner with companies to provide CDL job placement for aspiring truck drivers. Not only you are you more likely to pass your exams on the first attempt, but you can begin working as soon as you obtain your commercial license.

CDL Training Costs in New York

The CDL training cost of a course can vary, depending on the school and type of class license you are receiving. While a simple lesson can cost as little as $75 at Colwell’s driving school, a CDL training package can cost up to $2,000. This is fairly affordable, considering that programs can cost up to $6,000.

Before deciding on a school, you want to weigh out your options and make sure you are getting the most out of your money. For example, does your tuition cover exam fees? What type of benefits will you receive? Many schools offer job placement assistance, connecting you to trucking companies that pay for CDL training.

These companies may reimburse you after you have completed a program or or before you begin your course. On top of that, there are companies that offer paid CDL training, meaning you can get paid while completing the program.

How to Self-Prep for New York CDL Exams

In addition to receiving CDL training, it is highly recommended that you prepare for your exams on your own time. As with any exam, preparation involves reading, creating studying guides and taking practice tests. You can find a CDL handbook containing everything you need to know about the exams, as well as the type of material covered, on the DMV website. This manual also contains some of the exact questions you will find when taking the general written knowledge exam and other endorsement tests.

Furthermore, you can find a multitude of free practice tests online that mimic the real deal. As for the road skills exam, you will need to be accompanied by a CDL holder in order to get the practice you need to do well on your exam. Simply have him or her perform a CDL practice test with you. You can show him or her how to start the engine, complete an in-cabin inspection and identify certain parts of the vehicle.

Last updated on Friday, February 28 2020.