Tuition Reimbursement vs. Company Sponsored CDL Training

If you're looking to become a truck driver, you've probably started to think about how you're going to pay for trucking school.   Two options you'll see advertised quite a bit are "truck driving school tuition reimbursement" offers and "company sponsored CDL training’ programs."

Today, we're going to take a closer look at these two options and provide some real world examples of differences, advantages and disadvantages of each. Here is a comparison of the 2 options

Tuition Reimbursement For Truck Driving School

Example:  Schneider is offering a $6,000 truck driving school tuition reimbursement program to help the driver recoup money he/she spent for training.  So, is reimbursement of school tuition a good deal?  It could be…

IF:

  • You have the initial $6,000 needed to cover the upfront tuition for CDL training
  • You are confident that you'll get hired by Schneider within 60 days of completing school
  • You don't mind waiting over 3 years to get fully reimbursed (39 months to be exact)

The biggest factor here is of course the upfront cost of truck driving school.  Not many people have the school tuition money (about $6,000) to pay before you attend a reputable trucking school.  Tuition reimbursement is good concept, but if you don't have the money to get started, reimbursement isn’t even an option.  

The second factor is that you must be hired by Schneider within 60 days of completing truck driving school.  That may not seem like a big deal with all of the recent news about trucking jobs being in demand, but at the same time, there are going to be certain qualifications that all new truck drivers must meet in order to get hired. Just because you've completed trucking school doesn't mean the job is a sure thing.

Finally, if you are able to afford the $6,000 for upfront tuition costs, it will take 39 months to be fully reimbursed and that’s if you remain employed at Schneider. That’s like loaning your money to the trucking company interest free. And if you leave, the reimbursement payments stop. Many new truck drivers get in a year of experience over-the-road (OTR) and move on to regional or local truck driving jobs.  Staying with your first company for several years isn't unheard of, but it might limit opportunities that could open up after the 1st year.

Company Sponsored CDL Training Programs

Example:  Driver Solutions offers a company sponsored CDL training program that covers upfront tuition costs for training.  This helps drivers get started as they're only responsible for licensing fees and food money during school.  So, is this program a good deal?  Yes, of course it is...

IF:

  • You don't have the upfront money to pay for truck driving school
  • You are able to commit to drive with the company covering your tuition for at least 1 year
  • You would rather repay a portion of the training over a period of 1 year

Again, the biggest factor here is the upfront money.  With company sponsored CDL training, you don't have to come up with the $6,000 to get your career started.  Now, you are committing to work for the company that is sponsoring your training for a period of one year. 

The second factor to look at here is the job opportunity.  Unlike the tuition reimbursement program, you will be qualified for a job opportunity prior to starting training.  This means a lot of the qualifications have been covered upfront, helping with your chances of getting hired by the trucking company sponsoring your tuition. 

Finally, let's talk about time.  Would you rather pay back a portion of your tuition over 1 year or get reimbursed over a period of 39 months?  Once you've fulfilled your commitment to the company sponsoring your training, you can find other job opportunities after a year.  One year may seem like a long time, but when you consider that you're getting good experience and compare it to over 3 years, it doesn't seem bad at all.

Wrapping Things Up

In closing, take the time to think about your current situation and the long term. Getting all your tuition paid back to you does seem great, but are you patient enough to wait 39 months to earn it all? Keep in mind that in the chance that you don't make it the whole 39 months, you will only be reimbursed for the time that you stay with the company, so if you decide to leave after a year, you will only earn $1,800 of the possible $6,000 back.

The payment plan you choose depends on your current financial situation and your career goals. Be sure to think both training options over before making a decision. Really think about where you want to be in one or three years, and pick the program that best suits your needs.

You’ll hear the argument that a sponsored CDL training program commits you to drive for a trucking company for a full 12 months and you don’t have any option. The same can be said about tuition reimbursement plans. Trucking companies sell reimbursement as a benefit to the truck driver, but in reality, it’s a driver retention tactic. That means, the trucking company will dangle the tuition reimbursement over your head for over 3 years! When you compare the two offers, it’s easy to see the best deal is company sponsored CDL training.

Apply Now

Have you always been interested in truck driving, but never knew how to start? Simple! Just fill out our no obligation online application! This doesn't commit you to anything, but allows you to schedule a time to speak with a Driver Agent about your career options.

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