Ohio CDL training is an important tool for local drivers who are interested in obtaining a commercial drivers license (CDL). In CDL school, students can choose a course pertaining to one of the three CDL classifications offered. They can also learn about the endorsements available for these licenses as well. All drivers applying for a CDL in OH are required to pass certain examinations. These exams allow the Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) to verify each applicant’s ability to operate a commercial vehicle.

Enrolling in a truck driving school is one of the best moves a commercial driver can make in his or her career. During these courses, students gain valuable skills and knowledge to prepare for the exams as well as their future jobs. In many cases, trucking companies hire directly out of these programs. Some even cover tuition costs or offer their own training programs to employees. Enrollment in one of these courses is sure to provide the vital CDL prep drivers need to get behind the wheel.

What is CDL training in Ohio?

Drivers may consider Class A or Class B CDL training when researching training for obtaining professional driving credentials. All drivers are required to pass a written CDL general knowledge test in order to receive a CDL. They must complete a driving skills test using an approved commercial vehicle as well. The vehicle must be registered and have proper Ohio auto insurance from a provider approved by the state. Additional testing is also required to add an endorsement to a CDL or remove airbrake restrictions.

Drivers enroll in CDL classes in order to learn more about commercial driving and to prepare for these exams. Any driver seeking a CDL license can enroll in one of these classes. However, applicants must be at least 18 years of age and hold a valid Ohio driver license. They must also provide proof of legal residence in the country.

The type of CDL course you need to enroll in depends on the license classification you want to obtain. These licenses are divided into several classifications, and each authorizes you to drive a different type of commercial vehicle. In Ohio, courses are available for the following types of CDLs:

  • Class A licenses: Class A CDL training is used to prepare for driving combination vehicles more than a certain weight. This classification covers vehicles with a gross weight of more than 26,000 pounds when you are towing more than 10,000 pounds.
  • Class B licenses: Similar to Class A training, Class B CDL training is used for vehicles more than 26,000 pounds in gross weight but when you are towing less than 10,000 pounds.
  • Class C licenses: This classification covers smaller vehicles transporting 16 passengers or more, with the driver included. It is also needed for the transportation of hazardous materials or driving school buses that weigh less than 26,001 pounds.

Is CDL school required in Ohio?

Formal CDL education is not required in Ohio for any classification or endorsement. However, enrollment in one of these CDL prep courses has many benefits for individuals who are interested in the truck driving profession. Operating a commercial vehicle takes more knowledge and skill than driving a personal car or truck.

As such, it is important to gain experience operating this type of vehicle, so that drivers know what to expect when they get behind the wheel. Formal training is widely considered the most reliable way to obtain this experience. Most CDL training programs cover topics including but not limited to:

  • Safety procedures for drivers and various types of cargo.
  • How to perform a CDL vehicle inspection.
  • How to operate airbrakes.
  • Different types of commercial vehicles, including tank and combination trucks.

Curriculum of Ohio CDL Classes

Each OH truck driving school typically divides the coursework into two parts. The first portion consists of in-class instruction, which helps students prepare for the written exam. The second half puts students in the driver’s seat, where they can practice their skills for the mandatory driving test. Each of these approaches to instruction provides vital knowledge and experience that drivers need before they head out on the road.

In-Class Instruction for the CDL Written Test

Most programs do not offer CDL training online due to the necessary driving component. Instead, drivers must attend courses in-person to learn about the different topics covered on the written exam. The official CDL written test is divided into several different parts depending on the type of commercial vehicle an applicant plans to drive.

Every applicant is required to complete a CDL general knowledge test first, which consists of questions similar to those on the driver’s license test. The following tests may also be required to obtain a CDL:

  • Passenger transport test
  • Airbrakes test
  • Tank vehicle test
  • Hazardous materials test

In many cases, these training programs offer an online CDL test at the end of the course that is similar to the official state tests. It covers the same general topics and questions, so you can effectively use it as a practice test. Once you pass the official written knowledge test provided by local BMV office locations, you can go on to take the driving skills exam.

Behind-the-Wheel Instruction for the CDL Driving Test

The second portion of the CDL test covers driving skills. Like the written test, the driving test consists of multiple parts, including vehicle control, road skills and inspection. To help prepare applicants for this half of the test, training programs provide extensive hands-on instruction. During this time, students are able to take the knowledge they learned in the classroom and put it into practice. Instruction programs typically provide the students with training vehicles and safe areas to drive.

Most of the hands-on portion of these CDL training courses cover vehicle control and road skills. Students learn how to properly maneuver their vehicles and handle different situations on the roadway. However, another important factor students must prepare for is the inspection test. All applicants are required to pass a CDL pre-trip inspection in Ohio before completing the driving test. Those who fail this first step of cannot go on to the next part of the exam. For this reason, most training programs dedicate a few hours to practicing this inspection as well.

How long is CDL training in Ohio?

CDL classes in OH cover a wide variety of topics, which are all vital for entering the commercial driving industry. As a result, each course typically lasts between three to five weeks, made up of 120 hours of instruction or more. Instructors are responsible for dividing up this period into in-class instruction and behind-the-wheel experience.

To do this, many CDL schools designate a certain number of hours to each portion of the course. For example, popular courses often structure a course to include 40 hours of in-classroom work and 40 hours of driving practice. The remaining hours are typically used for observation and to practice vehicle inspections.

Best CDL Schools Near Me in Ohio

When asking, “What is the best truck driving school near me?” locals have several different options to choose from. Training courses are offered through a variety of entities, including universities, trucking companies and third-party programs, including the following:

  • Cuyahoga Community College, also known as Tri-C, is a community college that offers programs for both Class A and Class B CDL training. The school also offers access to a commercial driving simulator to help new drivers practice different road situations before they climb into a vehicle.
  • Napier Truck Driving Training is considered one of the best CDL schools due to its career placement services. The program offers all graduates lifetime job placement assistance and pre-hire career opportunities. Another benefit is that students have the option to attend instruction full-time or on the weekends at their convenience.
  • Great Lakes Truck Driving School is an accredited program that offers several different training courses for students, including a Class A CDL course. The program offers many financial aid options as well, including the Pell Grant and GI Bill. Students can customize their training to include heavy machinery and equipment in addition to CDL instruction.
  • Jim Palmer Trucking is a family-owned company that offers paid on-the-job training to qualified applicants. The company guarantees successful students a driving position in the company once they obtain their CDLs. Students can also expect gradual pay increases as they proceed through the training.

Benefits of Completing Ohio Truck Driving School

CDL driving schools have many obvious benefits for students. When you choose the right school, you can gain everything you need to become a successful professional in the trucking industry. Enrolling in one of these courses help you:

  • Increase the likelihood that you will pass your written knowledge and driving skills tests.
  • Earn your permit and eventually your CDL.
  • Obtain a wealth of experience and knowledge to prepare you for different situations on the road.

Most importantly, enrolling in one of these courses can also help you find CDL jobs in your area. Many trucking companies hire directly out of professional training programs in order to find the newest and most qualified employees. Other trucking companies offer their own training and CDL job placement services, which can help you reduce or even eliminate your tuition costs.

CDL Training Costs in Ohio

CDL course costs are often steep due to the extensive knowledge provided by these programs. The typical course runs between $4,000 and $5,500 depending on the classification you are seeking. These tuition fees are used to cover study and testing materials as well as industrial equipment and vehicles. However, the fee for the DOT physical exam for CDL applicants is typically separate from the tuition cost. Fortunately, there are a few ways to obtain free CDL training in OH and avoid these hefty costs.

Company-paid CDL training is a common practice in this industry. This approach allows trucking companies to ensure that their employees are qualified for their positions. Some employers agree to hire a driver and cover the costs of any necessary training with a qualified third-party training program. Once an applicant completes the hiring process, he or she can enroll in a course and receive reimbursement later. Trucking companies that pay for CDL training help drivers eliminate the financial risk of pursuing their CDLs.

Other companies create their own in-house training programs and guarantee permanent positions to students who pass. These options give drivers the ability to get paid while training for CDL authorization. In some cases, drivers may even receive pay increases as they complete different aspects of their training.

How to Self-Prep for Ohio CDL Exams

You can seek out a CDL practice test and other materials if you need more preparation for your exams outside of the classroom. Taking multiple practice tests is an effective way to simulate your official written exam. Some third-party companies offer a free CDL practice test online, similar to the one offered in many training programs. Using this tool, you can learn which questions and topics require further study.

A CDL study guide is another helpful tool for this purpose. Like practice tests, many third parties offer study guides to help drivers learn more about commercial driving practices and regulations. One of the best study guides available is the CDL handbook, which is provided directly through the BMV.

This extensive Ohio commercial driver handbook covers every detail regarding CDLs, including the tests required to get one. You can use it to find in-depth answers to topics you are unsure about. Make sure to use the most recent version of the CDL book from the BMV, so that you learn the most up-to-date information.

Last updated on Friday, February 28 2020.