CDL Training in Texas
Texas CDL training is an important component of obtaining your CDL license in the state. While CDL classes are not mandatory and training is not required through the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) when applying for your license, it can help you to obtain your CDL more efficiently. There are two tests that you must pass before you can earn your commercial drivers license in the state, including a written test, which must be completed before you are provided with a commercial driver’s permit (CDP), and a road test, which you must pass to attain your license.
By enrolling in a TX CDL school, you can ensure you are properly prepared for these tests before you take them. The DMV provides CDL information in the handbook and through online videos that you can use to help you study for the written test. However, obtaining hands-on experience and having an in-person instructor who can answer your questions through a CDL course can be extremely helpful when you are preparing for both the written and road tests. To find out more about truck driving school and how to choose a course that will help you pass these tests, read through the following information.
What is CDL training in Texas?
Texas Class A CDL training will differ from the training provided by schools for other commercial class driver’s licenses. Therefore, before you sign up for a CDL training course, you should ensure you know which class of CDL license you need to attain. There are three different categories of CDL licenses you can earn and the training for each class of license will vary significantly. The basic categories include:
- Class A. This type of CDL is the most common because it is the one that potential truck drivers must attain before they can begin driving. It permits the license holder to operate vehicles that have gross combination weight ratings of 26,001 pounds or more. The gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle or vehicles being towed will exceed 10,000 pounds.
- Class B. You should take Class B CDL training in TX if you plan to become a commercial or school bus driver. With this CDL, you can operate a vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 pounds or more, but the vehicle being towed cannot have a GVWR of more than 10,000 pounds. If you hold a Class B CDL, then you can also operate a commercial vehicle that holds up to 24 passengers.
- Class C. With a Class C CDL, you can operate any commercial vehicle that does not classify in Class A or B. You can also operate a vehicle designed to transport hazardous material or 16 to 23 passengers including yourself as the driver.
Unlike regular driving school, CDL school is specifically designed to increase your confidence and skill when operating your commercial vehicle of choice. Therefore, if you plan to be a truck driver and you enroll in truck driving training, then you will be provided with assistance in studying for the written knowledge exam you must pass with the DMV.
Additionally, you will experience hands-on training with driving exercises that will allow you to learn how to operate the type of vehicle that pertains to the license class you want to earn. You should consider this training if you are applying for a CDL for the first time or you are applying for an endorsement or class change for your existing CDL.
Is CDL school required in Texas?
TX CDL classes are not required to obtain a CDL in any class. The DMV provides online videos and a Texas Commercial Motor Vehicle Drivers Handbook to assist self-studiers in preparing for the knowledge exam to obtain their CLPs. However, once a CLP is earned, a permit holder can only operate a commercial vehicle with a CDL holder present.
Once a permit is held for at least 14 days, the permit holder can then attempt to complete the road test to obtain his or her own CDL. Therefore, CDL training classes are necessary so an aspiring commercial driver can gain hands-on experience driving a commercial vehicle with an instructor.
Without Texas CDL training, it can be hard for a potential CDL holder to gain the experience necessary behind the wheel to pass the road test. While the CDL handbook is helpful, classroom and hands-on instruction at a commercial driving school is often what helps most potential commercial drivers to pass these mandatory exams on the first try.
Curriculum of Texas CDL Classes
The topics covered in CDL school are dependent upon the type of training you have signed up for and your commercial driving goals. Throughout the curriculum, instructors are dedicated to teaching you driving techniques, ensuring you can stay safe on the road and increasing your confidence behind the wheel.
In-Class Instruction for the CDL Written Test
To help you prepare for the CDL written test in Texas, commercial driving schools provide in-class instruction that focuses on the rules of the road and state laws. No matter which school you choose, the in-class curriculum will most likely cover subjects relating to the CDL general knowledge test including:
- Transportation agency laws and regulations.
- Techniques for safe driving.
- Emergency and technical procedures.
- Map reading and trip planning.
- Reading log books and completing documentation.
Some schools allow you to complete this CDL training online, which includes reviewing the information provided in the state’s commercial driving handbook and completing practice tests. However, most of the schools approved by the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) require in-person instruction and do not offer online classes.
Behind-the-Wheel Instruction for the CDL Driving Test
Since the Texas CDL test includes a road test, training courses will also have you behind the wheel and practicing your driving skills. It is important to gain confidence behind the wheel and learn the mandatory skills for the CDL driving test with an instructor who has years of commercial driving experience. By spending many course hours practicing your driving skills, you will be able to perform the maneuvers necessary to pass the road test.
How long is CDL training in Texas?
The length of a TX CDL training class may vary and depends on the CDL license class you are attempting to pursue. Truck driving school can take four weeks to six months to complete depending on the course you choose to enroll in.
The first portion of the class is usually dedicated to in-class training to learn about the mechanics, safety and laws of commercial driving. The second portion of the course includes behind-the-wheel training, teaching you to maneuver the truck and respond to specific situations you may encounter on the road and during the road test.
Best CDL Schools Near Me in Texas
It is important to not simply search online for “truck driving school near me” and choose the first search result. You should look for a school that is approved by the Texas Workforce Commission since these schools must attain a level of curriculum and quality that is approved by the DMV. Some of the best CDL schools in TX include:
- Action Career Training. This school offers a thorough 160-hour truck driving course (Class A) with funding options. It held a 95.9 percent student completion rate for its fall 2017 semester. After graduation, the school also provides assistance with job placement.
- Center for Employment Training. You will know this is the best CDL school near me when you find out this course is 630 hours and takes about six months to finish. It had an 87.1 percent completion rate in the fall 2017 semester and also offers job placement assistance.
- Aspire Truck Driving School. This 200-hour course focuses on preparing you to successfully pass the CDL exam. It offers financing options and had a 90.2 percent completion rate for the fall 2017 semester.
Benefits of Completing Texas Truck Driving School
If you are worried about the number of CDL jobs in Texas, then keep in mind you can receive job placement assistance through the CDL school you attended. The strict curriculum and hands-on training provided by the school can also help you to pass your CDL exams on the first try, which can save you time, money and frustration.
Additionally, some schools are certified to administer the DMV road test to students upon completion of the instruction. This allows them to take the test in a comfortable environment and eliminates an appointment at the DMV to complete the exam.
CDL Training Costs in Texas
You should review the TX CDL training cost before you sign up for a course since the cost can vary. For example, the Aspire Truck Driving School CDL course costs $5,000 while the Action Career Training course costs almost $6,000.
Keep in mind, many of the class costs also include the DMV fees to take exams and obtain your license. However, the expense for the required DOT physical exam in TX will not be included in these fees. The cost of the class is dependent upon the:
- School you choose to attend.
- Type of class you signed up for.
- Purpose of the course, including its extensivity and length.
- CDL class or endorsement you need to obtain.
In some cases, you can qualify for paid CDL training if you already have a job offer or employment through a commercial driving company. If you must pay out-of-pocket, then most CDL schools also offer financing options.
How to Self-Prep for Texas CDL Exams
There is no Texas CDL practice test in the DMV commercial driving handbook, but the manual does provide more information on what you can expect on the knowledge and road tests. If you want to prepare for the test on your own, then you should review this manual thoroughly before making an appointment at the DMV. In addition to the CDL handbook, you can use the DMV website to review several online videos that explain some of the skills you will be tested on during the road test.
- How do I apply for a Commercial Driver License? from Texas.gov