Oregon CDL training is one of the best tools for drivers seeking a commercial driver’s license. CDL classes allow drivers to gain the knowledge and experience they need to pass their CDL exams and become professional drivers in the industry. To do this, a truck driving school covers every aspect of truck driving, from the general CDL regulations to the mandatory pre-trip safety inspection. While it is not required, drivers receive many benefits from enrollment in these programs.

In addition to CDL prep for the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) exam when applying for a commercial license in Oregon, drivers also receive valuable career assistance. Many professional trucking companies hire drivers directly out of these training programs. Some courses even guarantee lifetime job placement assistance for graduates. In order to access all of these benefits, it is important for drivers to learn how these programs work and where to find them.

What is CDL training in Oregon?

CDL school in OR refers to companies and programs that offer courses in commercial truck driving. Through CDL permit test questions, all drivers must demonstrate their knowledge regarding proper commercial driving practices and rules in order to obtain a permit and, ultimately, a commercial license.

Residents seeking CDLs and various endorsements seek out these courses to help them to prepare for their exams. Different testing is required depending on the type of CDL classification a driver needs. For this reason, programs offer comprehensive training for one or more of the following CDL classes:

  • CDL Class A – Drivers seek Class A CDL training when they plan to drive combination vehicles. Combination vehicles are those that tow more than 10,000 pounds and have an overall gross weight rating of at least 26,001 pounds.
  • CDL Class B: Similar to Class A, Class B CDL training applies to vehicles more than 26,000 pounds. However, this classification is used for trucks towing 10,000 pounds or less.
  • CDL Class C: The C classification is used for most other commercial vehicles that do not fit into the above categories because they weigh less than 26,001 pounds. This usually includes vehicles that transport hazardous materials or at least 16 passengers.

Is CDL school required in Oregon?

Enrollment in OR truck driving school is not currently required for residents. Drivers seeking a CDL can apply at any time by making an appointment with the DMV after preparing for the exams at their own pace. However, the DMV highly encourages all applicants to enroll in CDL training anyway, as guided instruction is one of the best ways to become proficient in commercial driving techniques and regulations. Without training, it is more difficult for drivers to gain the experience they need to safely get behind the wheel.

Furthermore, most truck driving companies expect employees to have sufficient CDL training under their belts. It is used to determine whether a driver is qualified to become a member of the team or not. As such, it is important for all drivers who are interested in the commercial driving industry to consider enrolling.

Curriculum of Oregon CDL Classes

Just like the official CDL exam, OR truck driving schools typically divide coursework up into two sections. The first half of the CDL class introduces students to topics that appear on the written test. The second half focuses on every aspect of the driving test.

Each part of the over test is equally important because failure to pass any step along the way means that you must take the test again. As such, it is vital that you learn as much as you can during both the in-class and hands-on portions of your course.

In-Class Instruction for the CDL Written Test

These programs do not offer CDL training online because physically getting behind the wheel is a vital part of the coursework. As a result, you must attend in-class sessions regularly to study for the written knowledge test, which is more intensive than when applying for the standard drivers license in Oregon. Depending on the CDL classification you plan to apply for, you may need to complete several tests during this stage. For example, the Class A CDL also requires a combination vehicles test.

However, all drivers must first pass the CDL general knowledge test before moving on to the endorsement exams. Completion of this test allows drivers to earn their CDL permit, which they must hold for at least 14 days before taking the driving exam. Most training programs offer an online CDL test at the end of each course, which simulates the general knowledge and endorsement exams. The CDL permit test questions cover everything from safety precautions to basic commercial road rules.

Behind-the-Wheel Instruction for the CDL Driving Test

The second part of the CDL test is the driving exam. Similar to the written portion, the CDL driving test requires several steps. These steps include the pre-trip inspection test, the vehicle control skills test and the on-road driving exam. In order to pass, drivers must complete each step one at a time. Those who fail the inspection or control portion cannot go on to the on-road driving test.

In order to prepare drivers for each of part of the CDL driving exam, training courses dedicate dozens of hours to hands-on instruction. During this time, drivers practice completing the vehicle inspection and driving commercial trucks on the roadway. This allows them to obtain real-world experience behind the wheel, so they are prepared for various situations while operating these vehicles.

How long is CDL training in Oregon?

CDL classes consist of many hours of training in order to cover all of the relevant material for both the written and driving tests. Since these CDL courses are not required to obtain a CDL, there is no local standard for course length.

The typical course lasts three to four weeks on average. However, some programs offer more intensive courses, which can last between five and six weeks. Most companies provide instruction in eight-hour increments, five days per week. Students who are currently employed elsewhere can seek out courses that are available at night or on the weekends.

To provide adequate CDL prep, courses are often divided into the classroom portion and the hands-on portion. This means that the first week or two of coursework usually focuses on the written exam. The final weeks are used to make sure drivers receive plenty of practice on the road. Significant time is also spent on the vehicle inspection requirement, including vehicle maintenance and safety.

Best CDL Schools Near Me in Oregon

Applicants wondering, “What is the best truck driving school near me?” do not have to look very far. These CDL programs are offered at a variety of locations throughout the state, including at technical and community colleges. Many private companies also specialize in this type of training. The following list contains some of the top schools and programs for aspiring trucking professionals:

  • Western Pacific Truck School of Oregon is known as one of the best CDL schools in OR largely because of its 96 percent placement rate. Many trucking companies hire directly out of this program. Moreover, this program provides lifetime CDL job placement services, ensuring that most students have continued career support.
  • Elite Truck School also offers lifetime job placement to course graduates with a 96 percent placement score. In addition, drivers can participate in refresher courses to brush up on the latest industry techniques and regulations. Refresher courses may be needed if retesting is needed when renewing CDL credentials in the state.
  • IITR Truck School is a convenient option for most drivers because it offers weekday, weekend and night classes. Students can pursue their Class A CDL training education on their own time. While the program generally runs four weeks, drivers who need additional help can participate in the fifth week of instruction.
  • Rogue Community College (RCC) offers an accredited CDL training program that allows students to earn 12 hours of college credit. This option is beneficial for drivers seeking additional education or who prefer the college classroom environment.

Benefits of Completing Oregon Truck Driving School

Although formal CDL training is not required for CDL applicants, these programs are highly beneficial for anyone who wants to become a professional truck driver. In fact, enrollment can even help students to secure permanent CDL jobs by the time they complete their coursework. Overall, drivers who participate in formal training can:

  • Become more likely to pass the CDL exams. Applying for a CDL requires plenty of knowledge and skill. These courses prepare drivers to pass these tests quickly and easily.
  • Gain valuable hands-on experience with guided instruction. It takes time and experience to become a confident commercial driver. Participating in a course ensures that drivers are ready for any situation they might face on the roadway.
  • Receive career assistance. Many training companies offer lifetime CDL job placement assistance to graduates. This gives drivers the reassurance that they can always find a great trucking job.

The career benefits that come with enrollment in CDL training do not end there. In addition to job placement, some programs offer students cover the cost of their training. Certain professional trucking companies will reimburse these fees and even pay new employees while they complete their training program. However, licensing fees, such as the expense for the mandatory DOT physical exam for CDL applicants, may not be included.

CDL Training Costs in Oregon

Free CDL training is one of the biggest benefits drivers can receive when they enroll in a course with the right company. In general, the CDL training costs of a program depends on the classification drivers are seeking and which programs they choose to enroll in.

Tuition typically varies between $2,800 and $4,700 including registration fees. This is a significant investment for most applicants, so some companies offer discounts and tuition assistance to help students afford their training. Schools also sometimes able to accept FAFSA and other government grants as well.

More importantly, it is even possible for students to get company paid CDL training by their future employer. Many trucking companies offer tuition reimbursement for new employees in order to encourage more drivers to obtain CDLs. Some drivers can even get paid while training for CDL privileges and endorsements. To ensure they receive the most qualified candidates, companies hire new drivers on the condition that they complete their training right away.

Other top trucking companies offer paid CDL training in-house. Rather than reimbursing employees for training programs with a third party, these companies design their own training programs. That way, drivers can train on-the-job and start to receive a salary immediately. Overall, trucking companies that pay for CDL training encourage more drivers to enter this in-demand industry with little risk.

How to Self-Prep for Oregon CDL Exams

Drivers who want additional preparation can take advantage of free CDL practice test websites and other study materials. Like end-of-course exams, these practice tests simulate the official written test. This often includes the general knowledge portion as well as subsequent tests required for endorsements.

Practice exams can help drivers learn what to expect when they apply, and also help them identify topics they struggle with. Then, they can create a CDL study guide using the official CDL manual from the DMV.

The DMV offers the Oregon CDL handbook for free to drivers as well. The Oregon commercial driver handbook covers all of the topics relating to CDLs in the state, from testing to safety violations.

This makes the CDL book one of the most valuable tools available for aspiring commercial drivers. However, it is important to note that this does not provide the same benefits that come with formal training.

Last updated on Wednesday, May 1 2019.

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