CDL Trucking Schools in Colorado – 2021 Guide

| Last Updated: May 16, 2021

Truck drivers in the U.S. and around the world have never been in higher demand than they are right now, so there’s no better time to pursue a commercial driver’s license (CDL).

But it’s not always easy to figure out where to start. 

Here, we’ll look at some CDL schools in Colorado to help you with your decision.

Trucking Schools in Colorado Data

First, let’s examine what you can expect from a CDL trucking school in Colorado.

  • Total Schools: 32

  • Number of Undergraduate Programs: 10

  • Number of Graduate Programs: Three

  • Average Acceptance Rate: 40%

  • Average Tuition Cost: $13,125

  • Average Loan Amount: $7,989

  • Average Scholarship Award: $5,552

  • Average Classroom Size: 20 students

  • Average Length of Program: Will vary from four weeks to eight months, with the average length being five weeks

CDL Requirements in Colorado

CDL requirements will vary from state to state. The requirements in Colorado are as follows:

  • You must be 18 years of age or older (21 if you intend to pursue a passenger vehicle endorsement).

  • You must have a valid driver’s license, regardless of the state.

  • You must be able to show proof of legal residence.

  • You must have documentation proving you’re a permanent resident of Colorado.

  • You must meet all the Federal Motor Carrier Administration’s medical requirements and have a valid DOT medical card.
  • CDL Variations Available in Colorado

    There are three different CDL variations in Colorado, all of which can have different endorsements. Here’s a quick overview of each CDL.

    Class A

    This CDL will allow you to drive any vehicle or combination of vehicles that have a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 26,001 pounds or greater, as long as the tow vehicle is more than 10,000 pounds. This license will also allow you to operate Class B and C vehicles, depending on endorsements.

    Types of vehicles that can be driven with a Class A license include:

    • Tractor-trailers
    • Truck and trailer
    • Tankers
    • Flatbeds

    Class B

    This CDL allows you to drive vehicles with a GVWR of 26,001, provided that the tow vehicle is less than 10,000 pounds. Depending on the endorsement, this license will also allow you to operate Class C vehicles.

    Types of vehicles that can be driven with a Class B license include:

    • Tractor-trailers
    • Segmented busses
    • Large passenger busses
    • Box trucks
    • Dump trucks with small trailers

    Class C

    A Class C CDL will allow you to drive vehicles that can transport 16 or more passengers or materials that are considered hazardous.

    Types of vehicles that can be driven with a Class C license include:

    As mentioned above, each license class can also be paired with a different endorsement. These endorsements include:

    • H - Allows you to transport hazardous materials

    • N – Let’s you transport any liquid or gaseous materials in a tank

    • P - Allows you to transport 16 or more passengers

    • S – Let’s you operate a vehicle that transports students to and from school

    • T - Allows you to operate a vehicle with two or more trailers attached

    • X - Combines the H and N endorsements, allowing you to transport hazardous materials and tankers

    Review of the Best CDL Trucking Schools in Colorado

    Now, let’s look at some of the top trucking schools in Colorado.

    • Locations: Denver and Grand Junction
    • Website: www.sageschools.com
    • Average Tuition Cost: Average cost is $3,500, but tuition will vary from $1,500 to $5,000 depending on the program
    • Average Class Size: Class sizes typically range from 6-11 students, with one-on-one in-truck training
    • Licensing Credentials and Accreditations: Certified by the State of Colorado
    • Student:Teacher Ratio: In-class learning is one instructor for every 6-11 students. In-truck learning is 1:1

    Certifications and Endorsements Offered By SAGE Truck Driving Schools

    The SAGE Truck Driving Schools offers a wide variety of CDL programs, including comprehensive tractor-trailer training, CDL essentials, Class A training, Class B training, and truck driver refresher courses.

    Course length varies based on the program, with basic training lasting two weeks and more in-depth training being anywhere from 5-10 weeks long.

    SAGE courses use Colorado state-certified instructors and are based on the entry-level driver training standard put in place by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

    Program Details

    Personal one-on-one in-truck guidance and small class sizes help SAGE provide top-quality CDL training that focuses on helping the student obtain their license while learning how to safely operate a commercial vehicle.

    The SAGE Truck Driving Schools provides students with clean, state-of-the-art trucks and exceptional in-class training.

    SAGE also offers job assistance programs like resume building and interview coaching, making the job hunt less stressful and more successful.

    • Locations: Denver and Colorado Springs
    • Website: ustruck.com
    • Average Tuition Cost: $4,000
    • Average Class Size: 21 students
    • Licensing Credentials and Accreditations: Colorado State approved and BBB accredited
    • Student:Teacher Ratio: 6:1 for range driving and 2:1 on-road driving

    Certifications and Endorsements Offered By United States Truck Driving School

    The United States Truck Driving School offers certificate courses in Class A CDL training and Class B CDL training, as well as a permit prep course and refresher classes.

    This school’s focus is its comprehensive Class A training program that consists of 130 hours of combined in-class and operation observation as well as 30 hours of driving, which takes three-to-six weeks and is available both day and night.

    All of the school’s driving instructors are Colorado state-certified and have many years of combined driving experience.

    Program Details

    While the student-to-instructor ratio is 5:1 in the training facility, it drops to 2:1 on the road.

    The United States Truck Driving School provides both a state-of-the-art learning facility as well as up-to-date equipment, with new trucks being brought to their facilities every few years.

    The school has well-established relationships with multiple well-known trucking companies like Schneider, JBS Carriers, and TransAm Trucking. It also offers lifetime job placement assistance to all of its graduates.

    Certifications and Endorsements Offered By Aims Community College

    Aims Community College offers a wide variety of CDL Courses, including Class A and Class B training programs as well as permit classes and refresher courses.

    Aims Community College’s refresher and permit classes can be done in one day. However, the Class A CDL course is more in-depth and runs for three weeks, providing 120 hours of training both in-class and in-truck. The Class B CDL course is five days and 40 hours long.

    Program Details

    Aims Community College’s class sizes vary depending on enrollment. Not everyone will be cut out for Aims, as training classes can include up to 20 people.

    The school’s CDL program doesn’t qualify for financial aid, which is only available for the college’s credit courses. However, some financial aid may be available through other local resources.

    Aims currently don’t offer job placement assistance to its CDL graduates, but it helps students connect with local trucking companies throughout the course period.

    • Locations: Morrison
    • Website: CDL Safety School 1-800-TRUCKER
    • Average Tuition Cost: $5,000
    • Average Class Size: 17 Students
    • Licensing Credentials and Accreditations: Approved by the State of Colorado as a Third Party Testing Center
    • Student:Teacher Ratio: 1:1 in-truck training

    Certifications and Endorsements Offered By CDL Safety School

    CDL Safety School offers multiple programs, including refresher and permits prep classes. It is most popular, though, is an in-depth Class A training course.

    Learning at CDL Safety School varies considerably depending on the program, but students can expect the Class A course to take between 10-12 days, comprised of 10-12 hours per day, and provide between 160-200 hours of training time.

    Program Details

    CDL has multiple tractor-trailer combinations. Plus, all of its trucks are modern and well maintained.

    Considered by instructors as more of a mentorship than training, the one-on-one in-truck training provides the personal tutelage that many first-time truck drivers need to succeed.

    Certifications and Endorsements Offered By Careers World Wide

    Established in 1994, Careers World Wide is well-versed in CDL training, specifically Class A instruction.

    Careers World Wide provides personal one-on-one in-truck training. Plus, with 17 trucks on-site, the school has one for each student.

    The Class A program, which is three weeks long, combines in-class instruction and hands-on in-truck training, both in the yard and on the road, for a total of 170 hours.

    Program Details

    Careers World Wide was founded on the premise that students need to spend more time in a truck learning how to drive than in a classroom. While it provides in-class instruction, it makes up only 20 hours of the 170-hour program.

    Careers World Wide also introduces students to local trucking companies both during and after the program to assist them in the job hunt.

    • Locations: Fort Collins
    • Website: THE NORTHERN COLORADO TRUCK DRIVING ACADEMY - Home (cdltest.net)
    • Average Tuition Cost: $4,795
    • Average Class Size: Less than 10
    • Licensing Credentials and Accreditations: Recognized by the Colorado Department of Higher Education and The Department of Private Occupational School
    • Student:Teacher Ratio: 1:1 in-truck training

    Certifications and Endorsements Offered By Northern Colorado Truck Driving Academy

    Northern Colorado Truck Driving Academy offers courses for Class A and Class B CDLs, as well as smaller refresher classes. However, its primary focus is Class A training.

    A Class B CDL course will take 10 hours of one-on-one training to complete. The Class A CDL training is more in-depth, taking three weeks, or 160 hours, to finish.

    Program Details 

    Northern Colorado Truck Driving Academy currently has a 98% graduation rate.

    Students admit the provided equipment is out of date, but it didn’t tarnish the overall experience.

    Because of its close relationship with many of the top local truck driving companies, Northern Colorado Truck Driving Academy can introduce students to potential employers as they learn and after graduation.

    • Locations: Colorado Springs
    • Website: Drive Your Future (springstruckdrivingschool.com)
    • Average Tuition Cost: $5,000
    • Average Class Size: N/A
    • Licensing Credentials and Accreditations: Colorado State Certified
    • Student:Teacher Ratio: 1:1 in-truck training

    Certifications and Endorsements Offered By Springs Truck Driving School

    Springs Truck Driving School offers training for both Class A and Class B CDLs, as well as refresher courses and skills tests. However, its focus is on Class A training.

    A Class B CDL course will take about five days, or 40 hours of both in-class and in-truck training, to complete. The Class A CDL course is more in-depth, taking three weeks, or 160 combined hours, to finish.

    Program Details

    Springs Truck Driving School provides various types of vehicles to their students, letting them get hands-on training with a variety of equipment and ensuring they’re ready to drive whatever employers may offer.

    Springs takes a no-pressure approach. Students learn at their own pace while instructors remain available for any extra help that may be needed during the process. As a result, course lengths can vary, but it’s a big reason why the school has a success rate of 98.5%.

    Where most schools train in their facilities, Springs puts its drivers in real situations, using loading docks and having its students drive to gas stations.

    How to Choose a Trucking School in Colorado

    Choosing a CDL school can seem overwhelming. Here are a few things to consider:

    Cost

    The price of schooling is one of a student’s primary considerations, but it shouldn’t necessarily be the most important factor. Fortunately, most CDL schools in Colorado generally cost the same.

    Financial Aid

    Most CDL programs don’t qualify for federal financial assistance, but they’ll usually offer some sort of financial aid through specific programs or trucking companies.

    Training

    The actual training is probably the most important thing to consider. Most schools follow basic curriculum standards set by the Professional Truck Driver Institute. However, they can differ in their student/instructor ratio. Look for programs that offer one-on-one in-truck training.

    Program Length

    Most schools in Colorado offer 120-160 hours of training, whether for part- or full-time studies. But not all programs offer in-truck training. Hands-on driving time will better prepare you for the state’s CDL test and make you a more capable driver.

    Why Start a Trucking Career in Colorado?

    The demand for truck drivers is increasing throughout the U.S. The state of Colorado is no exception. If you’re considering a truck-driving career, there’s no better time than now.

    Salary

    Because there’s currently a high demand for truck drivers in the state of Colorado, companies are being forced to pay more for properly trained workers.

    Freedom

    Truck drivers have the freedom to travel all over the country and set their own schedule. 

    They’re often in control of when and how much they work, especially if they’re independent truckers.

    Job Opportunities

    The job opportunities for a truck driver are abundant. Your local job board will probably feature several spots at local or national trucking companies. With ever-increasing demand, those opportunities will only increase.

    Truck Driving Salary and Job Outlook in Colorado

    The job outlook regarding truck driving in Colorado has never been better. Even with the steady job loss among many areas in the U.S., trucking remains one of the most in-demand professions.

    Trucking is the No. 1 method used to carry goods around the U.S., with 80% of goods being delivered by truck.

    While many trucking companies base their salary on the state’s current cost of living, that’s beginning to change with the demand for drivers. Companies now need to offer higher salaries, from entry-level to master level. The average salary in Colorado is now $46,000 to attract drivers.

    Whether you’re looking statewide or countrywide, the numbers prove that the job outlook has never been better, and this trend is projected to continue for several years to come.

    Entry Level: The base salary for drivers right out of school currently sits around $31,900

    Mid Level: As you gain some experience, you can expect the salary to grow to $46,680

    Master Level: A driver with many hours of experience can make upward of $68,840

    It’s not hard to see why many people are looking into truck driving as a career. With many trucking companies looking for CDL certification, school is the place to start.         

    People Also Ask

    Here are our answers to some of the most frequently asked questions regarding trucking and trucking schools in Colorado.

    Do Trucking Companies in Colorado Pay You To Get Your CDL?

    Some companies will hire untrained employees and pay them while they do their CDL training. Companies will typically pay a low base salary while you’re in school before raising that salary upon completion.

    Can You Get Financial Aid For Trucking School in Colorado?

    Most CDL schools don’t qualify for federal support, but they do offer grants from local governments and trucking organizations.

    How Long Does It Take To Get Your CDL in Colorado?

    Schooling in Colorado can take anywhere from 3-12 weeks depending on the program and whether it includes employment training.

    Do You Need a CDL To Drive a School Bus in Colorado?

    Anyone intending to drive a school bus with 16 or more people on board (including the driver) must have a CDL with a “P” (passenger) and “S” (school bus) endorsement.

    Do I Need To Go To CDL School In Colorado For Truck Driving?

    You’re not legally required to attend a CDL school in Colorado, but more and more trucking companies are looking for licensed drivers who’ve completed some type of CDL training.



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