Best CDL Trucking Schools in Florida – 2021 Round-up

Don
| Last Updated: March 24, 2021

Known as one of the most successful careers in the United States, trucking has been the choice of career for the majority of the people who like to go for skill-based jobs. Especially in Florida, the trucking industry is at its peak. 

This is largely the reason why there are over 40 schools and institutes in Florida that offer CDL programs you can choose from. Their tuition fee also varies from $2,800 to $6000, depending on the number of facilities you are looking to avail of. 

The demand for truck drivers is also expected to increase, so if you are considering a future in truck driving, now is the time to enroll in one of the best CDL trucking schools in Florida. 

How To Get a CDL In Florida

To apply for a CDL in Florida, the applicants should have an Operator’s License and clear the vision requirements. They must also be 18 years or above of age. If they are younger than 21 years, they can only operate inter-state once they get their license. 

They should then obtain a Conditional Learner's Permit, which lets you practice driving on public roads with a trained CDL holder with you. To get your hands on one, you need to have a Florida driver's license, pass the related exams, provide proof of identity and residency, and submit to a driving record review. 

After completing these requirements, the applicant would have to wait for a maximum of fourteen days, after which they can get their CDL by taking the vehicle driving skills test. This test includes vehicle inspection tests, basic controls testing, and a commercial driving road test. The applicant can refer to the State of Florida CDL Skill Sites page for a list of test sites. 

How Much Is a CDL License In Florida?

Pricing is one of the primary considerations for most people when it comes to choosing a truck driving school. Most CDL trucking schools are comparable in tuition fees, but others may have a $1000 or $2000 difference for various reasons. They might be more established and reputable with better, varied equipment and more experienced instructors. Apart from this, the following costs are incurred; 

  • Commercial driver's license (original or renewal): $75

  • Endorsements: $7 each

  • Knowledge exam retest: $10

  • Skill exam retest: $20

CDL Variations Available in Florida

There are CDL variations available to you as a student once you apply to a CDL trucking school. In all of them, there are underlying mutual aspects such as knowledge tests and skills tests. To break them down for you, we have expanded on each category below;

Class A:

This is opted for when the applicant wishes to drive trucks that weigh more than 26,001 lbs. It calls for knowledge tests such as general knowledge tests, combination vehicles tests, air brakes tests, and other applicable exams for desired endorsements. The other one is a skills test, which includes pre-trip vehicle inspection, basic vehicle control, and an on-road test. 

Class B: 

A class B CDL is required to drive trucks or buses weighing 26,001 lbs or less. It calls for knowledge tests such as general knowledge tests, air brakes tests, and any other applicable exams for desired endorsements, along with skills tests such as pre-trip vehicle inspection, basic vehicle control, and on-road test. 

Class C:

Applicants go for this to drive vehicles carrying large quantities of hazardous materials or vehicles meant to carry 16 or more passengers. It calls for knowledge tests, including a general knowledge test, air brakes test, and an applicable exam for desired endorsements. The skills tests require a pre-trip vehicle inspection, basic vehicle control, and an on-road test. The Gross Vehicle Weight Rating of this one cannot exceed 26,001 pounds.

Review of the Best CDL Trucking Schools in Florida

Since there are many CDL truck driving schools in Florida, we have shortlisted and reviewed some of the best ones to help save your time. After obtaining your CDL license from here, you will be able to land a great job with some of the best established trucking companies in Florida. 

  • Address: 8501-B Sabal Industrial Blvd, Tampa, FL 33619
  • Average Tuition Cost: $5000
  • Average Class Size: 20 students
  • Licensing Credentials and Accreditations:
         - Commission for Independent Education
         - Florida Department of Education
  • Student-Teacher Ratio: 4:1
  • Website: https://tampatruckdrivingschool.com/

Certifications and Endorsements Offered By Tampa Truck Driving School

Tampa Truck Driving School offers various endorsements, including Placarded Hazmat (H), which means you have cleared the written test and can safely drive trucks transporting hazardous material. Alongside that, it also offers Tank Vehicles (N) endorsement, which is useful for those who plan on driving tank vehicles. 

Backed up by multiple departments all over Florida, the student does not have to second-guess the authenticity of this institute. 

Program Details

This institute can be a one-way ticket to a bright new career in one of Florida's largest industries thanks to its efficient and organized training system, which has helped thousands of people land great jobs in Class A after just 15 days of training. They also help their students get hired earlier on with high-paying firms while they are being trained. 

Firms that this institute sets students up with also provide benefits such as health insurance along with a 401K retirement plan. Some firms also offer vacation pay and sick leave. Depending on the performance, employees may also receive sign-on bonuses.  

  • Address: 6000 Cinderlane Parkway Orlando, FL 32810
  • Average Tuition Cost: $4500
  • Average Class Size: 10-15 students
  • Licensing Credentials and Accreditations:
         - Department of Public Safety
         - Commission for Independent Education
         - Florida Trucking Association
         - Department of Transportation
  • Student-Teacher Ratio: 5:1
  • Website: https://www.roadmaster.com/how-to-get-a-cdl-license/

Certifications and Endorsements Offered By Roadmaster Drivers School of Orlando FL

Operating for over 25 years, this institute holds pride in training more than 100,000 people as professional truck drivers in less than four weeks. As a Roadmaster student, you can expect to attain comprehensive knowledge on Class A CDL Training under the guidance of experts. The courses are designed to cater to the flexible needs of all students and help space become more inclusive. 

The classrooms are spacious, and the fields are specially designed to cater to recent tractor-trailer models. Financial assistance is also available for those who qualify for it. Some firms even offer tuition reimbursement for this program. Endorsements offered include Passengers (P) for those who have passed the required written and skills test and will drive passenger vehicles. A passenger vehicle is any vehicle designed to transport more than 15 persons, including the driver. 

Program Details 

Having their practice facility, Roadmaster Drivers School offers automatic transmission training along with map reading, trip planning, and logging. Students learn traffic-related laws along with basic turning, hooking, and unhooking of a 53-foot trailer. They are taught to gain command over tricky driving techniques so they can avoid skidding of the truck. They also learn a lot about methods for truck recovery and emergency actions in case of a break-away. 

The representatives are there to guide you through your career options and link you up with good companies following the kind of pay and benefits you are expecting. Moreover, financial assistance is available for those who qualify. All students are considered equals when it comes to opportunities and payment options. 

  • Address: 6843 North Citrus Avenue Crystal River, Florida 34428
  • Average Tuition Cost: $3600
  • Average Class Size: 15 students
  • Licensing Credentials and Accreditations:
         - State of Florida
         - Connected Vehicle Trade Association
  • Student-Teacher Ratio: 3:1
  • Website: https://icdsflorida.com/driving-program/

Certifications and Endorsements Offered By Interstate Truck Driving School

Putting together a time-sensitive program, Interstate Truck Driving School offers a mechanical program based on 20 years of real-world operation. Field instructors have 50+ years of on-the-job experience, with examiners having 18 years of experience. 

Classes focus on Class A CDL license knowledge and skills, and the schedule is designed such that students get the best out of the indoor classroom and on-wheel instructions. All students are given similar opportunities to be placed with reputable driving firms.

For those who clear the written test along with the driving skill test, the endorsement Double/Triple Trailers (T) and Placarded Hazmat & Tank Vehicles (X) are offered here. These come in handy if you are planning on driving double or triple tractor-trailer vehicles.   

Program Details

The hands-on training offered by Interstate Driving School instructors provides a safety-focused CDL training program that helps students prepare for a career as an entry-level truck driver. Automatic transmission trucks are also available at all their locations through which students can learn all the modern techniques of handling sophisticated vehicles. 

Everything including bumper-to-bumper, maintenance and operational procedures are taught, and since the course is so extensive, the training is completed in more hours than is required by the standard. So, students will get more of what they are paying for. Interstate Driving School also has multiple campuses located across the United States, so students residing outside of Florida can consider this too. However, the Florida location lets you give your CDL license exam at the campus only. 

  • Address: 188 College Drive, Orange Park FL, 32065
  • Average Tuition Cost: $6400
  • Average Class Size: 20 students
  • Licensing Credentials and Accreditations:
         - State of Florida
         - Department of Highway Safety Motor Vehicles
  • Student-Teacher Ratio: 2:1
  • Website: https://truckschool.com/cdl-now-training/

Certifications and Endorsements Offered By National Truck Driving School

If you are looking to drive a semi-tractor-trailer, this is the perfect school for you to enroll in. National Truck Driving Institute offers endorsements such as School Bus (S), which calls for a written and skills test. It comes in most handy for people who are planning on extending their services to school-going students or for school-sponsored events. The Passenger endorsement is also offered. 

The institute’s facilities are sponsored by some of the largest trucking companies for fleet training, so students enjoy first-hand learning experiences from professionals. It has a 350-acres facility for training.              

Program Details

This institute has retained the traditional proprietary method of truck driving training which provides four times the amount of hands-on tool servicing, as compared to most other truck driving schools in Florida. Where others offer only 30 hours of training, National Truck Driving school has a good 120 hours to offer, which means that the student gets to learn professional-level driving skills required on the road in the most efficient manner and at a good pace.   

The program is suitable for those looking to get hired at an entry-level operator position as it teaches all the basic skills to get you started in a short time frame. The institute takes pride in having about forty years of experience, which no other school in Florida has, so there is no question of reliability. Students who graduate from here can easily land jobs in the most well-known trucking firms. 

  • Address: 1414 Lindros St, Jacksonville FL 32206
  • Average Tuition Cost: $3600
  • Average Class Size: 6-7 students 
  • Licensing Credentials and Accreditations:
         - State of Florida 
  • Student-Teacher Ratio: 1:1
  • Website: https://www.cypresstruck.com/about/

Certifications and Endorsements Offered By Cypress Truck Lines

Cypress Truck Lines has one of the most humble and beneficial learning environments for truck driving since students here are paid during training and have no up-front fee to pay. 

During the first three weeks, they are taught about policies and communication systems indoors, after which the course moves on to offer more advanced topics, such as driving range, turning, and gear-shifting. In their final week, students spend time mostly on the driving range, fixing their gear-shifting skills. 

Even though they provide free lodging, students are responsible for their meals. The dorm rooms are on-site, and a short walk away. The student only has to get money for food and toiletries along with their notebook and any other academic supplies they need for personal use. 

Program Details

The school ensures that students can choose from a variety of jobs, including temporary, regional, and over-the-road driving. The jobs students land often have complete medical, dental, vision insurance, and 401k packages. 

Whether you aim to be a safety supervisor or maintenance operator, you will find your place in a high ranking firm. Their graduates are known to earn $40,000-$50,000 yearly right out of school. This school is also very inclusive; it caters to the long-term and short-term disabilities of differently-abled individuals. 

  • Address: Indian River State College 5900 Tedder Road Ft. Pierce, FL 34947
  • Average Tuition Cost: $3000- $7000
  • Average Class Size: 10-15 students
  • Licensing Credentials and Accreditations:
         - Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI)
  • Student-Teacher Ratio: 1:1
  • Website: https://www.sageschools.com/training/cdl-training-programs/

Certifications and Endorsements Offered By Sage Truck Driving School

Known to offer CDL training since 1989, SAGE offers one-on-one driving, which gives students maximum hands-on driving time with minimum distractions. The programs are 150-160 hours long and go one for about six weeks. More of the focus is on driving, with the program providing about 44 hours to run the truck. Sage has also partnered up with community colleges to give more authentic certification and academic learning environment to students. 

One unique thing about SAGE is that it does not have a set observation time during the training. For example, some schools have three to four students in a truck, and rotation is done for everyone to avail their turn. Observation time is the time that the student has to spend like six to eight hours even though they drive for only one or two hours, which leads to fatigue and distraction for the actual driver. 

Program Details

Accredited nationally, SAGE’s programs are known to provide top-notch, precise training to all individuals. The course format helps impart the essential knowledge and practical skills necessary for either an entry-level, supervised, or over-the-road, or in-town driver of tractor-trailers, heavy-duty trucks, dump trucks, and medium-sized delivery trucks. If you have minimal or no truck driving experience, this is the perfect program for you. 

With hands-on labs and independent study labs, students get sufficient behind-the-wheel driving time on public roads and training grounds. The advanced program has 80 hours of instruction (30 driving hours) and goes on for two to three weeks. 

  • Address: 398 NE 79th St Miami, FL 33138
  • Average Tuition Cost: $4000
  • Average Class Size: 3-4 students
  • Licensing Credentials and Accreditations:
         - State of Florida
         - Professional Truck Driver Institute
  • Student-Teacher Ratio: 3:1
  • Website: https://www.metrocdl.com/

Certifications and Endorsements Offered By Metropolitan Trucking and Technical Institute

Offering training in 17 qualifications and having the most reviewed qualifications in Commercial Driver's License (CDL) Class A, this is the best option for those who like to take their time to learn a skill. The average time of completion of this program is two months.

The most known benefits of this school are its flexible class hours and outstanding faculty. Moreover, there are many positive reviews on its hands-on training and positive learning environment. 

Program Details

Having the agenda that education is more than sharing a bunch of facts in a classroom, this school focuses on exploring complex human experience by ensuring a strong bond between the faculty and student so the student can get the best out of the training. 

MTTI believes in high-quality training, which should not cost an arm and a leg. Most of the students aim to land jobs in good trucking firms, and this school helps them get there through free counseling sessions and references, free of charge.

Why Start a Trucking Career in Florida?

Multiple trucking firms are growing in number each day in Florida, creating employment for truck drivers. This makes trucking a reliable industry to gain a skill set for, which is why thousands of people in Florida apply for CDL trucking schools. To help you gain clarity on this matter in case you are considering this as a career option, we have expanded on more benefits below; 

Positive Job Outlook 

The United States Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics has predicted that the employment of heavy and tractor-trailer truckers is expected to increase in the upcoming years. This will lead to a positive change in employment numbers from 2012-2022 because the economy will keep the flow of materials and foodstuff active from one region to another. 

Highly Paid Jobs

Truck driving is often underestimated as a career option, but it has high demand, which is why the people employed to get high pay.  

Flexible Work Hours 

There is a lot of flexibility in this job; many people can opt for this as a part-time job if they have other priorities such as ongoing studies or another career at the side. 

Truck Driving Salary and Job Outlook in Florida 

Higher pay comes with experience, but even beginners are paid well in the trucking industry, as it is an outdoor job and sometimes can involve working in odd-hours. Moreover, many schools offer employment placement assistance, which helps students land good jobs. The salary is also directly related to the work performance and the repute of the firm you are employed in. 

Florida is a high-paying state for truck drivers, as this job calls for precision driving and devotion. Based on the experience you have, the annual salary you can expect to make can be categorized as:

Entry-Level: $25.1K

Mid-Level: $38.8K

Master-Level: $64.4K

The average salary for a truck driver in Florida is around $38,780 per year. Beginner wages start from $25,050 and go up to $64,410. There are also related jobs that pay more per year than a typical CDL Truck Driver salary in Florida, such as team truck driver and truck driver trainer. These jobs have 15% higher incomes than a regular CDL truck driver. So if you are qualified or have prior experience of one to two years, getting hired for one of these can help you make more money. 

Conclusion 

Choosing a truck driving school should be a very carefully taken decision as it can greatly impact your future. There are various truck driving schools in Florida to choose from, which is why you need to be even more careful when deciding between them. Take into consideration factors, such as the tuition fee concerning the facilities, the duration of the program, and its association with trucking firms before you make your final decision. 

People Also Ask

Even though we have covered pretty much all that you need to know to get started with a decent CDL training, there might still be questions that come up later on. To save your time, we have answered some of the frequently asked questions below. 

Do Trucking Companies In Florida Pay You To Get Your CDL?

Paid CDL training is offered as a substitute for private truck driver training schools. It is a viable option for those who wish to get a CDL license but are unable to because of the high cost of tuition. Company-paid CDL training programs are offered by big carriers who pay you during the training period; however, this is usually just the minimum wage. 

Most big trucking companies in Florida have their truck driver training schools where they teach candidates and then give them driving jobs. 

Can You Get Financial Aid For Trucking School In Florida?

Like any other field, trucking schools in Florida have financial aid options. You can also get your trucking school education paid for with Pell grants. These can be obtained by filling out a FAFSA, a Federal application for Federal student aid. Other than these, scholarship opportunities vary from school to school. One of the more common ones is the Herman Fauss Scholarship for high school seniors who wish to pursue a career in trucking. 

When Do I Need a CDL In Florida?

Anyone who wishes to drive commercial vehicles such as semi-trucks and buses will need a CDL. They come in three classes: Class A allows you to operate a truck with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of over 10,000 pounds, which increases to 26,001 lbs or more for Class B and Class C is for vehicles weighing less than 26,001 lbs. 

Where To Get a CDL License In Florida?

A CDL license can be obtained by giving the exam at a CDL trucking school and offering relevant personal information, including your date of birth along with your residing address. More information can be found at the official Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles CDL site.

Don

After spending years on the road, I had a lot of time to think about the hardships that came with the trucking industry. I realized there was an opportunity to lend a hand a create a resource for truckers by truckers. With the help of my tech-savvy son, I built Trucker Geek as a way to show people that becoming a driver doesn’t need to be a stressful headache.