CDL Trucking Schools in Louisiana – 2021 Guide

| Last Updated: May 16, 2021

With the ever-growing demand for truck drivers in the U.S. and around the world, there is no better time to pursue a CDL.

If this is a career path you’re considering, then you probably have some questions.

We’re here to take a look at some CDL Schools in Louisiana and hopefully answer those questions for you. 

Trucking Schools in Louisiana Data

To get things started, let’s take a quick look at what you can expect from a CDL trucking school in Louisiana. 

  • Total Schools: 14

  • Number of Undergraduate Programs: 15

  • Number of Graduate Programs: 3

  • Average Acceptance Rate: 60%

  • Average Tuition Cost: $6361

  • Average Loan Amount: $5066

  • Average Scholarship Award: $4150

  • Average Classroom Size: 21 students

  • Average Length of Program: 6 weeks                         

CDL Requirements in Louisiana

Commercial driver's license (CDL) requirements can vary from state to state, but each will have minimum requirements that you need to meet to obtain your CDL. The requirements in Louisiana are as follows:

  • Be 18 years of age or older

  • Have a valid driver’s license (does not have to be from the state of Louisiana)

  • Meet all medical requirements set by the Federal Motor Carrier Administration and have a certified doctor fill out and sign both a Medical Examination Report and a Medical Examiner’s Certificate to verify that you meet all of the proper medical standards
  • CDL Variations Available in Louisiana 

    There are three different variations of a CDL in Louisiana, all of which can also have different endorsements. To get an idea of which CDL may be the right fit for you, here is a quick overview of each.

    Class A

    This CDL will allow you to drive any vehicle or combination of vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 26,000 pounds or greater as long as the tow vehicle is more than 10,000 pounds.

    Types of vehicles that you can drive with a Class A license can include:

    • Tractor-trailers

    • Truck and trailer

    • Tankers

    • Flatbeds

    Class B

    This CDL allows you to drive vehicles with a GVWR of 26,000 pounds, provided that the tow vehicle is less than 10,000 pounds.

    Types of vehicles that you can drive 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 you can drive 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:

    • Hazmat - An endorsement that allows you to transport hazardous materials

    • School Buses - An endorsement that allows you to operate a vehicle that transports students to and from school and home

    • Tanks - An endorsement that allows you to operate a vehicle with two or more trailers attached

    • Doubles or Triples - An endorsement that allows you to tow multiple trailers

    Review of the Best CDL Trucking Schools in Louisiana

    Now that we’ve had a look at some of the aspects of getting a CDL in Louisiana, let’s take a closer look at the top trucking schools you have to choose from.

    • Locations: New Orleans, LA
    • Website: Coastal Truck Driving School
    • Average Tuition Cost: $5600
    • Average Class Size: 21 students
    • Licensing Credentials and Accreditations: Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools
    • Student:Teacher Ratio: 1:1 in-truck training

    Certifications and Endorsements Offered by the Coastal Truck Driving School

    Coastal Truck Driving School offers in-depth training for Class A CDL as well as Class B CDL certification and prepares its students to not only pass the state's CDL exam but to also operate large commercial vehicles safely.

    The multiple training programs available follow the curriculum set by the Professional Truck Drivers Institute. Of course, the length of training will vary depending on the program you choose, with the Class A CDL course resulting in 160 hours of training.

    The school offers full-time day classes, as well as evening and weekend classes. While all classes have the same result of 160 hours of training, the part-time evenings and weekend classes will take eight weeks to finish as opposed to four weeks for full-time classes.

    Program Details

    The Coastal Truck Driving school offers professional, personal training with one-on-one in truck driving lessons completed in properly serviced and maintained trucks and trailers. 

    On top of local grants that may be available for financial support, Coastal Truck Driving schools offer financing options that help make the school accessible to anyone.

    Working closely with many Louisiana trucking companies, Coastal Truck Driving School also has dedicated job placement professionals to assist the students so they can be successful after graduation.

    Certifications and Endorsements Offered By Thomas Training and Development Center

    The Thomas Training and Development Center offers a wide variety of CDL programs, including School and Passenger Bus training, Class A training, Class B training. It also offers tanker, hazmat, and doubles endorsements.

    Because of the wide range of courses offered, Thomas Training and Development Center 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 five to ten weeks long. 

    Program Details

    Personal one-on-one in-truck training and generally small class sizes help Thomas Training and Development Center provide top quality CDL training that focuses on helping the student obtain their CDL while learning how to safely operate a commercial vehicle of any size.

    The school prides itself on going above and beyond, providing students with clean, state-of-the-art trucks to train in and exceptional in-class training, going the extra mile to ensure all their students are successful.

    A trucking school that comes from a trucking company, Thomas Training and Development Center is a non-profit organization that wants nothing more than the success of their students and will do whatever they can to ensure that success.

    • Locations: Monroe, LA
    • Website: Commercial Vehicle Operation Program | Fast Track Training (ladelta.edu)
    • Average Tuition Cost: $2931
    • Average Class Size: Class sizes can vary considerably depending on demand
    • Licensing Credentials and Accreditations: Regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools
    • Student:Teacher Ratio: 1:1 in-truck training

    Certifications and Endorsements Offered By Louisiana Delta Community College

    Louisiana Delta Community College’s CDL offers an entry-level certificate course that provides new truck drivers with the education they need to obtain a Class A CDL. 

    The comprehensive Class A training program consists of 160 total hours (130 hours of combined in-class and operation observation and 30 hours of driving) and is available as a full-time study or part-time evenings, taking four weeks and eight weeks respectively to complete.

    All of Louisiana Delta’s driving instructors are Louisiana state certified as CDL Skills Test Examiners, with the course outline being developed together with the Diesel Driving Academy.

    Program Details

    Louisiana Delta’s one-on-one in truck training ensures that they do not sacrifice the training quality with every student receiving the same personal driving time.

    The extensive CDL program uses state-of-the-art equipment to provide the best possible environment for students. It provides in-truck training done on both a closed driving range and public roads with the instructor.

    Students at Louisiana Delta have access to the school's many different job placement tools, including resume building, interview prep, and local job boards to help ensure their success after graduating.

    Certifications and Endorsements Offered By Fletcher Technical Community College

    Fletcher Technical offers courses in Class A CDL and Class B CDL. It also offers Class B with Passenger and School Bus endorsements and Hazmat Endorsement Training, with the most popular program being the comprehensive Class A training.

    The two Class B training courses are the shorter of the ones offered, taking two weeks to complete. The Class A course, on the other hand, is offered as full-time and part-time studies. The full-time course takes four weeks to complete and the part-time evening course taking eight.

    All instructors at Fletcher Technical are Louisiana State certified and follow the curriculum for entry-level driver training set by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

    Program Details

    As with other community colleges, class size will vary depending on enrollment at the time, but one thing that does not change is the one-on-one in-truck driving instruction. Driving at the facility is sometimes done with an instructor overseeing a few trucks, but actual on-road time is one-on-one.

    Because the in-truck training involves both driving at the training facility, as well as on the open road, the trucks that Fletcher Technical uses are constantly being repaired and maintained to meet the proper road safety standards.

    Once the course is completed, graduates will not only be provided with the certification that most trucking companies these days will be looking for, but they also have a wealth of school resources to help them in their job search.

    Certifications and Endorsements Offered By SOWELA Technical College 

    SOWELA Technical offers an in-depth program that teaches students all they need to know to obtain a Class A CDL. The single course allows students to operate several vehicles in Class A, as well as Class B and Class C.

    The CDL program offered at SOWELA Technical is more in-depth than others on this list, providing 245 hours of total training. This training can be done either full-time over seven weeks or part-time in the evenings, taking ten weeks to complete.

    Program Details

    SOWELA Technical has multiple tractor-trailer combinations on campus and is committed to providing the best training possible. While the student to instructor ratio will vary depending on enrollment, they balance out driving time by having more truck hours than most other schools.

    Overall training is very in-depth, with comprehensive in-class coverage of inspection and maintenance procedures and truck and trailer safety. The on-site driving facility simulates areas where backing up a trailer is necessary, and the on-road driving instructions puts students into real-world situations under a variety of conditions.

    Students have access to the school's job placement resources, including things like resume building, interview prep, and local job boards.

    • Locations: Crowley, LA, Morgan City, LA, and New Iberia, LA
    • Website: CDL Training | Continuing Education (solacc.edu)
    • Average Tuition Cost: $5000
    • Average Class Size: Class sizes will vary depending on enrolment
    • Licensing Credentials and Accreditations: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools
    • Student:Teacher Ratio: In-yard, training is about 1 instructor for every 3 trucks. On-road instruction is one on one.

    Certifications and Endorsements Offered By South Louisiana Community College

    South Louisiana Community College offers a single training course that provides students with the education needed to obtain a Class A CDL. Once obtained, the Class A license will allow drivers to operate vehicles in Class B and Class C depending on endorsements.

    Like many other community colleges, South Louisiana’s CDL training focuses primarily on Class A driving. While the in-truck, on-site yard training may see many students per instructor, the on-road driving is done one-on-one with the instructor.

    The Class A program is an extensive seven-week training program that involves 245 hours of total training. There is also an option to do the training in the evenings, extending the program to eight weeks while keeping the same 245 hours.

    Program Details

    South Louisiana Community College's comprehensive CDL program educates students on how to safely operate a tractor-trailer and teaches them defensive driving skills and logging practices.

    The in-truck learning takes place, not on the school grounds where the students are alone in trucks, while an instructor observes and on the road where one-on-one instruction time helps them get comfortable with rural, urban, and highway driving situations. 

    As is the case with most community colleges, students in the CDL program at South Louisiana Community College have full access to all of the school’s job placement aids.

    Certifications and Endorsements Offered By McCann School of Business and Technology 

    Another college on this list, McCann School of Business and Technology offers training courses that help students obtain a Class A CDL.

    The in-depth Class A CDL course offers 160 hours, over four weeks. The course can be broken up into four major components; in-class training, skills training (which can consist of at facility driving), observation (student is in the truck while the instructor observes from outside), and on-road training (one-on-one instruction in real driving situations).

    Program Details

    The majority of the driving done during McCann’s CDL program is done at the facility under the observation of the instructor, meaning that students are in their own trucks while the instructor is outside observing them. 

    When it comes time for the students to get real-world, on-road driving experience, the school offers modern tractor-trailer combinations that are both up to date and well maintained. On-road driving is done one-on-one with only the student and instructor in the truck.

    While McCann does not offer job placement, students do have access to the many job aids the school has to offer to help get them on their way to their rewarding careers.

    How to Choose a Trucking School in Louisiana

    When deciding on a career, there are things you need to consider. Choosing the school to get that career started is no different. As overwhelming as it all may seem, there are a few things you should take into consideration before settling on a school.

    Cost

    Cost is usually the first thing someone looks at when trying to find a school, but it shouldn’t be the most important. Depending on the area, most CDL schools in Louisiana will be within a few hundred dollars of each other. If there is a major difference in cost you have to ask yourself, why?

    Financial Aid

    While most CDL school programs do not qualify for federal financial assistance, they will usually offer some sort of financial aid, from being able to make payments, to offering assistance through specific programs or trucking companies.

    Photo credit: apexcapitalcorp.com

    Location

    Ideally students are going to want a school that is close to home. Unfortunately, that can’t always be the case. While some schools will provide hotel rooms or even have housing for students coming from a distance, those rooms are usually provided at an extra cost.

    Training

    Probably the most important thing to consider is the quality of the training. Most schools follow the same basic curriculum, but they differ in the student/instructor ratio. Look for a school that has plenty of one-on-one in-truck training (as opposed to multiple students in a truck at once) to ensure you get the personal training needed.

    Program Length

    Most schools offer the same number of hours for training, in the area of 120 to 160, whether part-time or full-time studies. While all aspects of CDL training are important, a school that offers more in-truck training hours will ensure you know how to properly and safely operate the truck before writing your test.

    Why Start a Trucking Career in Louisiana?

    The demand for truck drivers is ever increasing throughout the U.S. and the state of Louisiana is no different. If you’re considering a career driving a truck, there is no better time than now.

    Salary

    Think of the current state of the truck driving industry in Louisiana as supply and demand. Because there is a high demand for drivers in the state right now, salaries will reflect that. Many companies are forced to pay more for properly trained drivers.

    Cost of Living

    Yes, Louisiana has large cities, but the state also has many suburban and rural areas, which leads to a lower cost of living. 

    Pair this with increasing salaries, and drivers can see wages comparable to other states while spending less on life’s necessities.

    Job Opportunities

    Many of the country's largest trucking companies are in Louisiana.

    Schneider National, for example, works closely with a lot of CDL schools to place students in driving jobs right out of school, be it interstate or intrastate.

    Truck Driving Salary and Job Outlook in Louisiana

    The job outlook when it comes to truck driving in Louisiana has never been better. Even with the slow but steady job loss among many areas in the U.S. trucking remains one of the most in-demand professions. 

    The pandemic has only added to this situation when it comes to the need for drivers. But even without that taken into consideration, trucking is the number one method used to carry goods around the U.S., with 80% of goods delivered by truck.

    While many trucking companies base their salary on the state’s current cost of living, the demand for drivers is starting to change that. Companies are now in a position where they need to offer higher salaries, from entry-level to master-level, with an average salary in Louisiana being $39,000.

    Whether you want to look at things from a state standpoint or look at it countrywide, the numbers prove that the job outlook has never been better and is projected to continue that way for several years to come. 

    Entry-Level: The base salary for drivers right out of school currently sits around $26,700

    Mid-Level: As you gain some experience you can expect the salary to grow to $39,530

    Master-Level: A driver with many hours of experience can make upwards of $59,680 

    Conclusion 

    When you look at the demand and the projected outlook of the truck driving industry in Louisiana, it’s not hard to see why many people are looking into truck driving as a career. But that career has to start somewhere, and with many trucking companies wanting to see a CDL certification before even considering an applicant, that somewhere in school.        

    People Also Ask

    We hope you have been able to take some helpful information from this article and apply some of that to what can be the beginning of a rewarding and often lucrative career in a truck. We understand that there may be some unanswered questions. Here are some of the questions we most frequently get asked.

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

    Yes, some companies will pay employees while they obtain their CDL. Companies that do this will typically pay a low base salary while you are in school and then sign a contract once you graduate.

    Can You Get Financial Aid For Trucking School In Louisiana?

    Financial aid is different for a CDL compared to regular colleges. Most do not qualify for federal support. Instead, they offer grants from local governments or trucking organizations. Many students can get some amount of financial aid this way.

    How Old Do You Have to Be to Go to CDL Driving School In Louisiana?

    To qualify for CDL training in Louisiana you must be 18 years or older.

    Can I Take The Louisiana CDL Exam Without Attending CDL School?

    Most major companies are looking for drivers that have some sort of training. With that said, no law says you have to take CDL training, so, yes, you can write the exam without going to driving school.

    How Much Does It Cost To Get a CDL In Louisiana?

    Aside from the cost of a good CDL school, which can range from $3,500 to $7,000, other fees are associated with getting your CDL. A learner's permit costs $15, and a basic license in Louisiana will cost $60, plus $100 to take the written test, with any additional endorsements costing $7.50 each.



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