A question we're frequently asked on the Driver Solutions Facebook page is, "What should I bring with me to CDL training?" Well, you want to bring enough to be comfortable for the few weeks you'll be at training, but not so much that you look like you're moving cross country!
This is such a common question in fact, that we decided to address it here on the blog. Please leave any of your packing suggestions in the comments below this post!
First things first - make sure you bring everything you need to actually get through school! CDL training schools require that you bring certain documentation with you. The required documents may vary depending on the school you’re attending, but here is a general overview of Driver Solutions' requirements:
- Birth certificate. A government-issued or state-issued birth certificate is required - no hospital copies. To get a copy of your birth certificate, visit the VitalChek.com website. Prices vary by state and preferred shipping method. A US Passport or INS Permanent Resident Card I-551 ("greencard") will be accepted if you don’t have a copy of your valid birth certificate.
- Social Security card or NUMI report from the Social Security Administration
- Valid U.S. Driver’s License.
- Proof of your name and home address. Driver Solutions requires you to bring two proofs of identity with you to training. These must show your name and home address as listed on your driver's license. Any of the following will work: a computer-generated W2, a computer-generated bill (gas, electric, phone, etc), a computer-generated bank statement, or a computer generated pay stub.
You'll be away at school for 3-4 weeks (unless you commute from home), so make sure to have enough money (either in your bank account or cash on hand) to get you through the entire duration of training. It's hard to put a number on it since everyone's spending habits differ, but you'll want to have enough money to cover the following:
- CDL license fees. This will differ from state to state. Contact your CDL training representative for more information on fees.
- Food for at least 3 weeks. Maybe more, depending on the program length. I recommend picking up some groceries on your way into town. You’ll save money by shopping for groceries and packing sack lunches as opposed to eating fast food for every meal.
- Travel expenses. Bring enough money to cover any expenses to get to and from school. This includes gas, bus tickets, and/or airfare.
- Lodging (if necessary). Some CDL training programs cover student lodging with your tuition, but if you're attending a school that requires you to make your own arrangements, make sure to budget enough money to cover a motel room for the duration of training.
When packing for truck driving school, make sure to plan accordingly for the time of year. First and foremost, bring comfortable clothes that will be easy to drive in. The following will also be helpful during your time at training:
- Appropriate driving shoes. Tennis shoes or steel toe boots are the best options. Steel toe boots are not a necessity, but you do need to make sure you have safe and comfortable closed-toe footwear to drive in.
- A heavy jacket. Bring a good, heavy jacket to training, regardless of the season. Class starts bright and early, and mornings on the range can be chilly.
- A hat and sunglasses, because you’ll be spending most of your days outside.
- Work gloves are helpful when performing pre-trip inspections, coupling/uncoupling, etc. These will come in especially handy if you end up working with flatbed trucks after training.
The first week of your training will be spent in the classroom, so you’ll want to make sure you’re prepared to take in everything that’s thrown at you. You might consider bringing the following with you for classroom learning:
- A notebook for taking notes during the classroom portion of training.
- Folders. You’ll be getting a lot of paperwork and handouts that the first week. You'll want a folder to keep everything organized.
- Writing utensils. Again, to take notes during the classroom portion of training and to fill out all school paperwork (there will be a lot).
- A flashlight is helpful when performing pre-trip inspections.
- A calculator for learning how to fill out log books.
You’ll be at school for at least three weeks, so make sure you bring enough personal items to live comfortably for that time. This includes:
- Toiletries. Soap, shampoo, shaving cream, toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, etc. Basically, any personal care items you need for day to day living.
- Bedding. Some of the schools Driver Solutions works with providing students with a hotel room which comes with bedding. Other schools place students in a dorm room, in which case, you’ll need to bring your own sheets, blankets, and pillows. Check with your school on whether you're responsible for providing your own bedding.
- Entertainment. Some students bring things to pass the time when they’re not in class. Bring these things at your own risk, however. It might be better to rely on a Smartphone for internet access rather than bringing an expensive laptop. Books are good options in case you ever have any free time. Don't bring anything that will be a distraction to your studies (xBox, movies, etc).
- Sunscreen. As I said, you'll be outdoors for a lot of your training.
- Laundry bag and detergent, unless you plan on packing three weeks worth of clothes.
- Phone Charger.
You don't need to pack like you're moving out, but you do need to make sure you bring enough to live comfortably out of a dorm room or motel for three weeks. Pack enough to get you by, but not so much that you don't have room for everything. And remember, your main focus at truck driving school is to get your CDL, not to have a great vacation, so pack only the necessities.
What else do you recommend students bring with them to trucking school? Share your packing suggestions below!
If you're ready to get on the road to a successful future, apply for a truck driving job with Driver Solutions! Just fill out our no-obligation online application. From there, you can schedule a time to speak with a Driver Agent about your options.