With the ever-growing demand for truck drivers in the U.S. and around the world, there’s no better time to pursue a commercial driver’s license (CDL).
Here, we’ll take a look at some CDL Schools in Indiana and answer questions you may have about this potential career path.
Trucking Schools in Indiana Data
Here’s look at what you can expect from a CDL trucking school in Indiana.
- Total Schools: 22
- Number of Undergraduate Programs: 17
- Number of Graduate Programs: Eight
- Average Acceptance Rate: 72%
- Average Tuition Cost: $13,802
- Average Loan Amount: $6,367
- Average Scholarship Award: $5,780
- Average Classroom Size: 18 students
- Average Length of Program: Will vary from three weeks to three months, with the average length being seven weeks
CDL Requirements in Indiana
CDL requirements can vary from state to state. The requirements in Indiana 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 an Indiana driver’s license that’s been valid for at least one year
- You must have proof of U.S. citizenship or lawful permeant residency status and eligibility to work in the U.S.
- You must be a permanent resident of Indiana
- You must meet all of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s medical requirements. An FMCSA-certified doctor is also needed fill out and sign a medical examination report and a medical examiner’s certificate to verify that you meet all of the medical standards
- You must self-certify which type of driving you intend to do with your CDL: interstate non-excepted, interstate excepted, intrastate non-excepted, or intrastate excepted
CDL Variations Available in Indiana
Indiana offers three different variations of a CDL, all of which can have different endorsements. Here’s a quick overview of each CDL.
This allows you to drive any vehicle, or combination of vehicles, that has a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 26,001 pounds or greater, as long as the tow vehicle is more than 10,000 pounds. You’ll also be able to operate Class B and C vehicles, depending on endorsements.
This CDL lets you 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 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
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:
- Passenger vans
- Small hazardous material vehicles
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 - Lets you transport any liquid or gaseous materials in a tank
- P - Allows you to transport 16 or more passengers
- S - Lets 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 both the H and N endorsements, allowing you to transport hazardous materials and tankers
Review of the Best CDL Trucking Schools in Indiana
Now let’s examine the top trucking schools Indiana has to offer.
- Locations: Training facility located in Indianapolis
- Website: safedriversinstituteofamerica.com
- Average Tuition Cost: $4,797
- Average Class Size: Maximum of six students per class, with one-on-one truck training
- Licensing Credentials and Accreditations: Indiana State Certified
- Student:Teacher Ratio: One teacher for every five-to-six students
Certifications and Endorsements Offered by the Safe Drivers Institute of America
The SDIA is an Indiana state-certified school that offers in-depth training for Class A CDLs. It prepares its students to pass the state's CDL exam and safely operate large commercial vehicles.
The single training program uses the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI) curriculum. It takes five weeks to complete and includes safety training and forklift training at no extra cost.
The SDIA offers professional, personal training with one-on-one driving lessons completed in properly serviced and maintained trucks, trailers, and forklifts.
The SDIA ensures that students gain the knowledge needed to pass the Indiana state CDL exam and learn how to safely operate large commercial vehicles.
Working closely with many Indiana trucking companies, the SDIA offers job placement assistance. With a 100% graduation rate, 95% of its students have a job in the trucking industry within two weeks of earning their CDL.
- Locations: Muncie, IN
- Website: www.sageschools.com
- Average Tuition Cost: $2,900, but tuition will vary from $100 to $5,000 depending on the program.
- Average Class Size: Typically ranges from 6-11 students, with one-on-one in-truck training.
- Licensing Credentials and Accreditations: Accredited by the ACCSC
- Student:Teacher Ratio: In-class learning consists one instructor for every 6-11 students. In-truck learning is 1:1.
Certifications and Endorsements Offered By Sage Truck Driving School
The Sage Truck Driving School 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.
Because of the wide range of courses offered, Sage Truck Driving School can cater to any student depending on what they want to get out of their CDL. As with tuition, course length will vary based on the program, with basic training lasting two weeks, and more in-depth training being anywhere from 5 to 10 weeks long.
Using Indiana state-certified instructors to ensure the highest level of education, Sage courses are all based on the entry-level driver training standard put in place by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
Personal one-on-one in-truck training 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 of any size.
The Sage Truck Driving School also provides students with clean, state-of-the-art trucks to train in and exceptional in-class training.
But Sage’s services extend beyond enrolment, offering job assistance programs like resume building and interview coaching that any graduate can take advantage of to make the job hunt less stressful and more successful.
- Locations: Ivy Tech offers CDL training in Anderson, Frankfort, Lawrenceburg, Connersville, Terre Haute, and Fort Wayne
- Website: www.ivytech.edu/workforce/cdl/index.html
- Average Tuition Cost: $4,950
- Average Class Size: In-class sizes can range from 11-22 students
- Licensing Credentials and Accreditations: North Central Association of Colleges and Schools
- Student:Teacher Ratio: Some campuses offer one-on-one in-truck instruction, while others have two or three students per instructor
Certifications and Endorsements Offered By Ivy Tech Community College
The Ivy Tech Community College’s CDL offers certificate courses in Class A CDL training, Class B CDL training, and refresher courses for those who’ve had previous truck driving experience.
Ivy Tech’s main focus is its comprehensive Class A training program, which consists of 130 hours of combined in-class and operation observation, as well as 30 hours of driving, over a span of three-to-four weeks. It also features an eight-week internship with a local trucking company.
All of Ivy Tech’s driving instructors are Indiana state certified. The course outline is developed with the Indiana Motor Truck Association.
While Ivy Tech’s program may not be as personal as others on this list, it still offers high-quality training, with every student spending the same number of hours driving.
This is the first CDL program in the country that can be covered by federal financial aid, making it accessible to a wider range of people.
Ivy Tech has well-established relationships with multiple trucking companies, offering its graduates a variety of job opportunities for both local and national trucking.
- Locations: Indianapolis
- Website: www.cdlxpress.com
- Average Tuition Cost: $5,000
- Average Class Size: N/A
- Licensing Credentials and Accreditations: BBB accredited
- Student:Teacher Ratio: In-truck student-to-instructor ratio is 1:1
Certifications and Endorsements Offered By CDL Xpress Truck Driving School
CDL Xpress’ main focus is on training inexperienced drivers for their Class A CDL, but the school does also provide refresher courses for those who want to renew their license.
CDL Xpress’ refresher course is 40 hours long and available part time, as well as on the weekends. The Class A program, on the other hand is, much more comprehensive and will take three-to-four weeks to complete.
All CDL Xpress instructors are either Class A certified or Commercial Vehicle Training Association (CVTA) certified.
CDL Xpress’ class sizes will vary depending on enrollment, but the school always offers one-on-one in-truck driving instruction.
Because the in-truck training involves driving at the training facility and on the road, CDL Xpress’ trucks are constantly repaired and maintained to meet road safety standards.
Once the course is completed, graduates will receive the certification most trucking companies are looking for and have a special department focused on job placement to help them find a job.
- Locations: Vincennes and Indianapolis
- Website: www.vinu.edu/web/workforce-development/tractor-trailer-driver-training
- Average Tuition Cost: $4,882
- Average Class Size: 17 Students
- Licensing Credentials and Accreditations: The Higher Learning Commission
- Student:Teacher Ratio: In-truck driving training has a ratio of three students to every instructor
Certifications and Endorsements Offered By Vincennes University
Vincennes University offers an in-depth program that teaches students all they need to know to obtain a Class A CDL. The school also offers refresher courses for those who need to renew their license.
In-class learning at Vincennes University is comparable with other schools on this list at 120 hours. The program stands out with its in-truck training, where students can receive anywhere from 70-120 hours of hands-on training. Overall, the program is six weeks and 240 hours long.
Vincennes University has multiple tractor-trailer combinations at each of its campuses. While the 3:1 student-to-instructor ratio may not seem ideal, the program offers more in-truck hours than most other schools.
Overall training at each campus is in-depth, with comprehensive in-class coverage of inspection and maintenance procedures, as well as truck and trailer safety. The on-site driving facility simulates areas where backing up a trailer is necessary, and the on-road driving instructions put students into various real-world situations.
This program’s graduation rate is 100%. Plus, thanks to the close relationships Vincennes has with multiple trucking companies, as well as an in-depth placement program, its job placement is also 100%.
- Locations: Whiteland, South Bend, and Sellersburg
- Website: www.drivebigtrucks.com
- Average Tuition Cost: $5,000
- Average Class Size: N/A
- Licensing Credentials and Accreditations: N/A
- Student:Teacher Ratio: In the yard, training is about one instructor for every three trucks. On-road instruction is one-on-one.
Certifications and Endorsements Offered By Truck Driver Institute
Established in 1973, the Truck Driver Institute is well-versed in CDL training, offering programs for Class A, Class B, and Class C licenses, as well as a refresher course.
Like many other CDL schools, the Truck Driver Institute training focuses primarily on Class A driving. While the in-truck, on-site driving may not be as personal as other schools, this program let’s you learn at your own pace thanks to extra in-truck hours that are available for students.
The Class A program is a three-week fast-track that has students spending the first week in the classroom and the other two weeks with hands-on in-truck training, both at the school and on the road. With extra hours available, the program can result in 150-160 hours of training.
The Truck Driver Institute does things a little differently than some of the other schools on this list. Where other programs will combine daily in-class and in-truck instruction, this school, as mentioned above, fast-tracks the in-class portion before focusing on hands-on learning.
The in-truck learning first takes place on the school grounds, where students are alone in a truck while an instructor observes. It then moves to one-on-one on-road instruction, with the teacher guiding the student through real-world situations.
The Truck Driver Institute has job placement relationships with many major logistics companies, including FedEx, Schneider, and Werner, resulting in a 90% placement rating.
- Locations: Indianapolis
- Website: http://www.cdltraining.com/
- Average Tuition Cost: $4,500
- Average Class Size: 15 Students
- Licensing Credentials and Accreditations: Indiana Commission for Higher Education and BBB Accredited
- Student:Teacher Ratio: 1:1 in-truck training
Certifications and Endorsements Offered By Commercial Driver Training Consultants
A private, independent truck driving school, Commercial Driver Training Consultants offers courses for Class A and Class B CDLs, though its focus is on the Class A license.
Class B CDL courses will take about five days, or 40-50 hours of in-class and in-truck training, to complete. The Class A CDL course is more in-depth, taking three weeks, or 150 combined hours, to finish. It also has an optional, paid four-to-six-week training session with a participating trucking company.
Commercial Driver Training Consultants’ husband-and-wife team provides the appropriate training needed while maintaining a personal feel with one-on-one in-truck training.
Its state-of-the-art equipment helps to put students at ease, creating a comfortable learning environment for those of all experience levels.
Because of its close relationship with many of the top local truck driving companies in the Indianapolis area, Commercial Driver Training Consultants can offer extensive paid training, as well as in-depth job placement assistance.
How to Choose a Trucking School in Indiana
If you’re considering obtaining your CDL, the schooling options can seem overwhelming. Here are a few things to consider.
The price of schooling is one of the first things students will consider, but that doesn’t mean it should be the most important factor. Depending on the area, most CDL schools in Indiana will be within $500 of each other.
While most CDL school programs don’t qualify for federal financial assistance, they’ll usually offer some sort of financial aid. This includes offering assistance through specific programs or trucking companies.
Ideally, students are going to want a school that’s close to home. Unfortunately, that can’t always be the case. While some schools will provide hotel rooms, they’re provided at an extra cost.
This is the most important thing to consider. Most schools follow the same basic curriculum, but where they differ is in their student/instructor ratio. Look for a school that has one-on-one in-truck training to ensure you’re getting the proper training.
Most schools offer around 120-160 hours in training. While all aspects of CDL training are important, a school that offers more in-truck hours will ensure you know how to properly operate the truck before writing your test.
Why Start a Trucking Career in Indiana?
The demand for truck drivers is increasing throughout the U.S., and the state of Indiana is no different. If you’re considering a truck driving career, there’s no better time than now.
Salaries are reflecting the current high demand for drivers in Indiana as companies are being forced to pay more for properly trained drivers.
Cost of Living
Indiana has many affordable suburban and rural areas.
Pair this with increasing salaries, and drivers can see wages comparable to other states while spending less on life’s necessities.
Many of the country’s largest trucking companies can be found in Indiana. Schneider National, for example, works closely with a lot of CDL schools in the state to place students in driving jobs, whether they’re interstate or intrastate.
Truck Driving Salary and Job Outlook in Indiana
The job outlook for truck driving in Indiana 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 a state’s cost of living, the demand for drivers is starting to change that. Companies are now being put in a position where they need to offer higher salaries, from entry level to master level. An average trucking salary in Indiana now stands at $47,300 to attract drivers.
Whether you want to look at it statewide or countrywide, the numbers prove that the job outlook has never been better. Plus, 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 $29,000
Mid Level: As you gain some experience, you can expect the salary to grow to $47,000
Master Level: A driver with many hours of experience can make upward of $77,000
When you look at the demand, and the projected outlook of Indiana’s truck driving industry, it’s not hard to see why many people are turning to this career path, and CDL trucking schools.
People Also Ask
Here are our answers to some of the most frequently asked questions regarding the trucking industry and truck driving schools in Indiana.
Do Trucking Companies in Indiana Pay You To Get Your CDL?
Although not as common, some companies will hire untrained employees and then pay you while you do your CDL training. Companies will typically pay a low base salary while you’re in school and then raise it upon completion.
Can You Get Financial Aid For Trucking School In Indiana?
Typically, financial aid is different for a CDL. Most don’t qualify for federal support. Instead, students are mainly offered grants from local governments or trucking organizations.
How Much Does It Cost To Get a CDL In Indiana?
A good CDL school can cost between $3,500-$7,000, but there are other fees associated with getting your CDL. A learner permit costs $17 and a basic license in Indiana will cost $30, with any additional endorsements costing $20.
How Long Does It Take To Get Your CDL in Indiana?
Getting your CDL license in Indiana can take anywhere from 3-12 weeks, depending on the program and whether it continues with weeks of employment training.
How Many Questions Are on the CDL Permit Test In Indiana?
The written CDL permit test has a total of 50 questions. You must answer 40 correctly to pass.
Do You Need a CDL To Drive a School Bus In Indiana?
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.