Best CDL Trucking Schools in Kentucky – 2021 Round-up

| Last Updated: May 4, 2021

Kentucky is a hotspot for manufacturing different products and equipment. From mechanical parts to pharmaceuticals and medicines, the region produces a variety of export products. These products need to be transported within and outside the state. 

Expensive, fragile, and dangerous materials like aerospace parts and hazardous chemicals need to be transported to and from Kentucky. Therefore, a strong transportation system backed by experienced and well trained commercial drivers is crucial. 

As a result, there are plenty of CDL Trucking Schools in Kentucky that aim to provide the necessary training.

How to Get a CDL in Kentucky

The process of getting a CDL in Kentucky is not complicated and matches the requirements of other states. The applicant must be 18 years of age to hold a CDL in Kentucky and drive a commercial vehicle within Kentucky. However, for interstate driving and dealing with hazardous material, the age requirement is at least 21 years.

A Department of Transportation (DOT) physical exam is required, which could be obtained from any DOT Physical Lab or a DOT-certified physician.

After that, you need to submit the DOT medical card, your application, and a self-certification, certifying that you will only operate in one of the four categories of the CDL. Ten business days are required for processing the application before you can take a CDL permit test.

The CDL permit test is a series of written tests, including general knowledge, air brakes, and combination vehicles. Upon passing the written tests, a CDL permit is given to the applicant. 

The next step is a skill test. Various schools help train for this test. The test's main components are a pre-trip inspection test, basic maneuvering skills test, and a driving test. This costs $50 for CDL A test. 

After you have passed your skill test, you can go to your local license branch to get your CDL license issued. The applicants must not be revoked, suspended, disqualified, or canceled from driving in Kentucky or any other state to qualify for the license.

Photo credit: 160drivingacademy.com

CDL Variations Available in Kentucky

There are three variations of CDL available in Kentucky. Each needs specific training and allows the holder to operate certain types of vehicles. These variations are discussed below:

Class A CDL

A CDL A is necessary for operating a vehicle or any combination of vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 26,001 pounds or more. The GVWR of the towed vehicle should be more than 10,000 pounds. 

Class B CDL

The following list of vehicles require a CDL B for handling, operation, and driving.

  • A straight truck with two or more axles and a GVWR of 26,001 pounds or more.
  • Any other vehicle with two or more axles and weighing 26,001 pounds or more.

  • A pulling vehicle with a maximum GVWR of 10,000 pounds.

  • A single-vehicle designed for transportation of at least 16 people, including the driver, and weighing 26,001 pounds or more.

Photo credit: tatcdl.com

Class C CDL

Vehicles carrying hazardous materials that require placarding and have a GVWR of a maximum of 26,001 pounds or a vehicle designed to transport 16 or more passengers (driver included) weighing not more than 26,001 pounds need a CDL C for operation and driving in Kentucky.

Additionally, some endorsements entail the holder to drive certain types of hauls. You can get these endorsements along with your CDL in Kentucky. These include Double/Triple Trailer, Passenger, Tank, Hazardous Materials, and School Bus.

Review of the Best CDL Trucking Schools in Kentucky

Due to the demand for skilled CDL drivers, various schools in Kentucky provide the necessary training for CDL driving. Numerous courses are offered across the states that impart staunch working knowledge and skills required to handle, drive, and maintain a commercial vehicle.

This section takes a detailed look at some of the best CDL Trucking Schools in Kentucky. 

Trucking School Details

Certifications and Endorsements Offered By Diverse Resource Center school

Offering one certification for CDL A training only, Driver Resource Center School gives full attention to each student. Classroom training is followed by road and skilled training to equip students with theoretical knowledge and practical experience. 

In the 40-hour classroom training, trainees are taught to endure extreme driving conditions and night-time driving as well as other crucial skills like map and highway safety. A 120-hour road training follows, which includes a pre-trip inspection, vehicle management, road backing (45° and 95°), space management, parking, and rural and urban driving. At the end of this course, trainees are well-aware of road safety and commercial driving.

Program Details

This school works with several trucking companies and even provides lifetime job placement. US Express, Melton, and Convent Transport are some of the many companies that the school is associated with. Upon successful graduation, the school offers job placement with one of these companies. 

But that’s not all; even if you are an alumnus or previous graduate of their partner schools in need of a job, all you have to do is hit them up, and they will find you one. Jobs in various capacities like over-the-road, LTL, dedicated, team, and regional driving are available with them.

Trucking School Details

Certifications and Endorsements Offered By Truck America Training

Truck America Training is another popular school in Kentucky that provides specialized training in CDL A. It also offers a 160-hour-long training course divided into classroom and behind-the-wheel training. Expert instructors work with small classroom sizes throughout three and a half weeks to prepare them for their CDL A tests and impart crucial knowledge for safe and efficient road procedures.

Various aspects of the training include driving skills like backing, parking, and turning to equip students with range skills as well as map reading, compliance, trip planning, and maintaining logbooks. This is a full-time course that individuals above the age of 18 can take.

Program Details

One of the best things about this school is that it prepares its students according to the state laws of commercial driving. Financial aid is also provided to those who qualify. Graduates can find jobs as entry-level drivers with various transportation companies. The school provides help with job placement as well. It could either get you a job at one of their associated trucking companies or help you with your application and selection process elsewhere. 

Graduates of the school have built successful careers at renowned transportation companies like Maverick, Werner, Averitt, May Trucking, and many more. Students are encouraged to look into what each company has to offer and decide based on their suitability.

Trucking School Details

Certifications and Endorsements Offered By Bluegrass CDL Academy

Bluegrass CDL Academy is the only school in Lexington providing a four-week premier CDL A training. This program, too, spans over 160 credit hours that are broken down into five sections. Training consists of classroom learning, range, and driving skills. 

Students get a hold of the basic operation, vehicular management, maintenance, coupling/uncoupling, and non-vehicular activities. Section five is solely dedicated to teaching non-vehicular activities, like personal health and safety, trip planning, accident procedures, etc. By the end of the course, students are well-equipped to take their CDL A exam and pass with flying colors.

Program Details

This school accepts various payment options and is also associated with many agencies in Kentucky that may finance the training of individuals who have no payment options. The overall tuition fee totals to around $4500. Lexington has benefited greatly from the first trucking school as it also offers day and evening classes for its students.

Trucking School Details

Certifications and Endorsements Offered By Lake Cumberland CDL Training School

Lake Cumberland CDL Training School offers two different CDL training programs. It enrolls students to prepare them for their CDL A, and CDL B. Class A refresher courses are also offered in three phases separately. 

The CDL A training spans 48 credit hours of classroom instruction. This part of the training provides them with the knowledge and understanding of commercial driving needed to get the CDL permit. 112-hour-long field training follows classroom training. Here, students learn to handle commercial vehicles, including their operation and maintenance. Crucial skills like uphill and downhill driving, hazard perception, and speed control are also taught during this course.

Program Details

A Class B licensing training also comprises classroom and behind-the-wheel training. However, only 30 classrooms and 70 yard and over-the-road training credit hours are required. Instructions and skills related to Class B are taught in this course. Another course is offered that teaches students to safely operate vehicles in a yard setting.

With a vision to provide the best services to whoever wants to enroll, the school extends its services to individual students, commercial clients, and Kentucky Commercial and Technical Colleges. After the completion of training, Kentucky police tests the students on school property. The school aims to help students achieve their CDL A and CDL B with a minimum number of attempts.

Trucking School Details

Certifications and Endorsements Offered By Ashland Community and Technical College

The CDL A program at the Ashland Community and Technical College is designed for individuals with little to no knowledge of commercial driving and prepares them for starting a commercial driving career immediately. Full-time enrollment is required in four weeks. Morning and evening classes are available for students to avail, depending upon their schedule. 

Applicants must be 18 years of age at the time of application with a DOT physical exam. A total of 180 credit hours are offered that are divided into classroom and field learning. The course provides hands-on training and operating knowledge and teaches about road safety and report keeping.

Program Details

Ashland Community and Technical College offer various payment methods for the ease of their clients. Workforce Investment Act (WIA) and Veterans Administration (VA) benefits are also available for qualifying individuals. 

Even though the minimum age for admissions is 18 years, individuals of age 21 years and above are preferred for job placement. The school also advises its students to obtain a copy of the Motor Vehicle Report from the Circuit Court Clerk’s Office before starting the course.

Trucking School Details

Certifications and Endorsements Offered By Hazard Community and Technical College

Similar to Ashland Community college, Hazard Community and Technical College also offer career-starting training for commercial drivers. Only CDL training is offered at the campus. The course is divided into two parts. Classroom learning completes 40 credit hours and is followed by the range and road skill training. 

Throughout the duration, students get familiar with the working of various commercial vehicles and road regulations. Skills related to handling vehicles like angled backing, parking, and harsh condition driving are imparted to students.

Program Details

The program teaches various aspects of commercial driving in the light of federal and state regulations. As a result, graduates are fully ready to start their careers with reputed companies. The fee structure is lighter compared to some other schools offering the same training. However, the costs of additional tests like physical or drug tests and the fee of the permit or licensing exam are not included in the structure.

Trucking School Details

Certifications and Endorsements Offered By 160 Driving Academy

Closer supervision and personalized instructions are the key focus of 160 Driving Academy. This school offers a low student-to-teacher ratio so that each student is given sufficient attention to their skill and career development. 

The school offers refresher courses as well as a training course for CDL A. Like all other schools, this one too has a period of 160 training credit hours. Trainees learn to understand vehicle working, maintenance, and handling as well as non-driving tasks, such as logbook keeping, map reading, cargo handling, etc. 

Dedicated instructors work alongside students to understand their needs and career aspirations and help them throughout the course. Refresher courses are also available for those retaking the CDL A exam after a while.

Program Details

Sponsorships and job placement benefits are available at 160 driving Academy. If the applicant is 21 years of age without any traffic violations, DUIL, or felony and holds a driving license, then the school helps them get sponsorships. Different companies have partnered with the school to offer 100% sponsorship for their courses. Upon graduation, job placement is also offered to those above 21 years of age and with no record of felonies or traffic violations.

Why Start a Trucking Career in Kentucky?

Quite a few reasons make Kentucky a favorable place to start a trucking career. The state has certain advantages that benefit truck drivers, especially if they are skilled and professional. Let’s take a look at what makes Kentucky such an attractive state for a trucking career.

Reputed Schools

Kentucky harbors some of the best trucking schools in the United States. These schools are dedicated to meet the local demand for CDL drivers. Trained and experienced professionals teach students via lectures and also give a professional life simulation through driving practices. All the variations of CDL are trained for in one school or the other in Kentucky. Some schools even find job placement for their graduates.  

Hiring Companies

Multiple transportation companies operate in Kentucky. They are involved in inter and intra-city as well as inter and intrastate transport business. Job offers are always available to skill aspiring CDL drivers. Schools also help in the recruitment process. Some are linked to a specific company and provide the company with their graduating students. Hence, Kentucky provides sufficient job placement options as well.

Flexible Working Conditions

You will be amazed to find that transportation companies in Kentucky have different jobs catering to almost everyone’s needs. Full-time, part-time, temporary, and commission jobs are available. Drivers can run different route lengths, depending upon their expertise level. 

All experience levels can find jobs, and the benefits are sufficient too. Employee stock ownership plan, 401 (k), fuel discount, health insurance, and paid toll fees are some of the benefits that drivers may get from their employer companies. 

Photo credit: lakecumberlandcdl.com

Truck Driving Salary and Job Outlook in Kentucky

As discussed earlier, transportation companies in Kentucky have jobs for all experience levels. However, the salary for each level may differ. The average salary for a truck driver is $53,111 per year. All employers also provide common benefits like fuel discount, referral program, and paid time off. 

To better understand the average salary for different expertise levels, let’s take a look at the three levels one by one.

Entry Level

At the start of their career, drivers with an experience of less than a year or a maximum of two years are entry-level. They earn an average of $49,689 per year with benefits. The demand for entry-level drivers is the highest in Kentucky.

Mid Level

Anyone with experience ranging from three to five years is considered a mid-level driver. Such drivers earn an average of $50,376 per year with added benefits. They are usually employed for interstate non-hazardous deliveries.

Master-Level

Experience extending over nine to ten years puts the driver at a master level of the skilled trade. Master-level drivers are usually hired for long-distance transport of hazardous or fragile products. On average, they earn $59,970 per year with additional benefits.

Recap - Best CDL Trucking Schools in Kentucky

Before you leave, here's a refresher on the best CDL trucking schools in Kentucky:

  1.  Driver Resource Center School
  2.  Truck America Training
  3.  Bluegrass CDL Academy

Conclusion

Our above discussion shows that Kentucky is a good place to train for and start a truck driving career. There are various schools across the state that impart theoretical and practical knowledge necessary to not only pass the CDL test but also to operate efficiently in the professional world. 

With the presence of widely operating companies like UPS and Transport America, among many others, the job prospects for truck drivers are also bright. Moreover, sufficient salaries and benefits are provided for each level of expertise.



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.