Finding the best trucking school in Maine can be challenging since there are many options you have to consider. However, this trouble will shortly be over if you read through our article and follow the guidelines closely to select a favorite school based on our carefully considered review.
Truck driving training provides you with the opportunity to get started and advance in the trucking industry with the chance to earn a high annual salary while you tour the state or the country at large as you work on different tasks.
Let’s jump in and see why you should consider a trucking career in Maine if you love life on the road while operating commercial motor vehicles.
Data on Trucking Schools in Maine
- Total Schools: 14
- Number of Undergraduate Prog: 8
- Number of Graduate Programs: 1
- Average Acceptance Rate: 58%
- Average Tuition Cost: $10,227
- Average Loan Amount: $5,352
- Average Scholarship Award: $5,636
- Average Classroom Size: 16
- Average Length of Program: 5-10 Weeks
How to Obtain a CDL License in Maine
The requirements to obtain a CDL in Maine fall into various categories as below.
You must be at least 18 years old to operate as an intrastate commercial motor vehicle (CMV) driver within Maine. The age requirement for interstate CMV driving and transporting hazardous materials that require a placard is 21.
Drivers must produce the state's medical examiners certificate and a medical examination report that they can obtain through an advanced practice registered nurse, licensed physician assistant, licensed United States doctor of medicine, a chiropractor, or a doctor of osteopathy.
In Maine, every commercial driver's license applicant must self-certify regarding the type of driving they plan to do once they obtain their CDL. The type could be either intrastate or interstate.
Applicants must also self-certify that they have fulfilled all medical requirements by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).
Commercial Learner's Permit
Before taking the CDL skills test, you must obtain a commercial learner's permit (CLP). You also need to have a valid Maine Class D driver's license.
To get the Maine CLP, you have to, other than the age requirements, provide proof both as a legal U. S. national and a resident of Maine, produce your Social Security Card, provide a medical examination report and medical examiner's certificate.
You must also pass the CDL written general knowledge test and pay the application fee for the CLP.
CDL Skills Test
Each CDL applicant in Maine must complete the CDL skills test that is in three parts that include:
- Pre-trip Inspection
- Basic Controls Test
- Road Skills Test
CDL Variations Available in Maine
Like most other states, Maine has three CDL variations. Let's take a glance at these variations.
Class A CDL
The Class A CDL applies to any combination of vehicles with a Combined Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of 26,000 pounds or over, with the towed vehicle having a GVWR of over 10,000 pounds.
Holders of Class A CDL can drive both Class B and Class C commercial motor vehicles.
Class B CDL
A Class B CDL is a requirement for driving any single vehicle with a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating of 26,000 pounds or more, as well any vehicle that tows another vehicle whose GVWR is no more than 10,000 pounds.
Holders of Class B CDL can operate Class C commercial motor vehicles but cannot drive Class A CMVs.
Class C CDL
The Class C CDL comes in handy for any vehicle or combination of vehicles that fails to meet the classification criteria for either Class A or Class B but serves to transport hazardous materials or 16 or more passengers with the driver counting as one of the 16.
The Hazardous Materials Transportation Act enlist the different substances considered a hazard, and for which a placard is a must.
The Class C CDL thus requires that each driver should have hazardous materials or passenger endorsement.
The following are Maine's CDL endorsements.
- Placarded HazMat (H) for transporting hazardous materials
- Tank Vehicles (N), for transporting liquids amounting to 1,000 gallons or more in bulk containers
- Tankers/Hazardous Materials Combination (X), for transporting hazardous materials using tank vehicles
- Double/Triple Trailers (T), for operating multiple trailer haulers
- Passengers (P), for operating passenger vehicles
- School Bus (S), for operating a school bus. The passenger endorsement is also a requirement in this case.
It is worth noting that you shouldn't drive either Class A or Class B commercial motor vehicles as a Class C CDL holder.
Review of the Best CDL Trucking Schools in Maine
If you are wondering when we will let you look at our list of the best CDL trucking schools in Maine, now is the time. You will find a suitable school to learn how to become a truck driver through high-quality instructors and using the best equipment.
- Locations: Saco, ME
- Website: http://godriving.co/
- Average Tuition Cost: $3,195 Class B, $4,595 Class A CDL
- Average Class Size: 22
- Licensing Credentials and Accreditations: Not specified
- Student: Teacher Ratio: Varies in class, 1:1 in the truck
Certifications and Endorsements Offered By GoDriving.co
GoDriving.co offers interested students CDL A and CDL B license options that lead to a Certificate of Completion after five weeks.
The Class A CDL course costs $4,595, while the Class B CDL costs $3,195.
The school also offers CDL-related services, including:
- Car lessons at $55 per learning hour
- Road test prep lessons at $55 either in your car or theirs
- Car for use for your road test at $120 for one hour lesson and use in the test
- General driving lessons at $55 per learning hour on areas you specify that you need help
Teen driver lessons are also available via Zoom classrooms.
GoDriving.co's Class A CDL involves 78 learning hours, 22 hours on the range, and 22.5 hours on the road in the school's trucks. The school has both shift and automatic trucks.
Classes run any day of the week, including weekends, as the need may be. Students learn the maneuvers necessary to pass the test, pre-trip inspection, and shifting.
Private lessons for Class A CDL are available for students who already have their permits. Such classes cost $135 every learning hour, and students usually take six hours to use the school's trucks for the test in the Scarborough Dot Lot.
The Class B CDL involves 42 study hours with 20 hours on the range and ten on the road using the school's trucks. Private lessons are also available under the same circumstance and conditions as the Class A CDL exam.
- Locations: Mexico, ME
- Website: http://www.region9truckdriving.org/programs.html
- Average Tuition Cost: $4,000
- Average Class Size: 6
- Licensing Credentials and Accreditations: Department of Veteran Affairs (VA Certification)
- Student: Teacher Ratio: 1:1 depending on the learning mode you choose
Certifications and Endorsements Offered By Region 9 Professional Truck Driver Training
Region 9's trucking courses include both Class A and Class B variations lasting ten weeks. Class A has two options, namely:
- Class A Tractor Trailer Driver Training
- Class A/ & School Bus Training
Class B CDL also has two options as below:
- Class B
- Class B/ School Bus Training
The school offers different endorsement programs such as:
- Hazardous Materials
- Passenger bus
- School bus
If you would like to take a refresher course, the school has a solution for you that matches your specific needs and runs according to your schedule based on what time you are available.
The Region 9 trucking school programs have the following dimensions:
- Defensive driving course
- DOT physical and Drug test
- Entry-level training certification
- HazMat background checks
- Job placement opportunities
- Permit test preparation
- Flexible learning schedules
- Online classes
- Individual training
Multiple funding options and job placement services are available.
- Locations: Scarborough, ME and Bangor, ME
- Website: https://www.ntinow.edu/programs/cdl-truck-driver-training-program/
- Average Tuition Cost: $6,040
- Average Class Size: 8
- Licensing Credentials and Accreditations: State of Maine Department of Education, Commercial Vehicle Training Association (CVTA) member, Council on Occupational Education
- Student: Teacher Ratio: 2:1 in class, 1:1 in the truck
Certifications and Endorsements Offered By Northeast Technical Institute
Northeast Technical Institute (NTI's) offers the only Nationally Accredited commercial driver's license training in Maine. It offers both Class A and Class B CDL courses for which graduates receive an undergraduate certificate.
The Class A CDL course lasts five weeks for full-time students and ten weekends for part-time learners. The total hours of training are 200, with 23 of these being behind-the-wheel hours.
Students in NTI's trucking courses enjoy classroom instruction, skills training, and on-the-road training.
Classroom instruction involves aspects such as:
- Map reading
- Trip planning
- Emergency protocol
- CDL written exam prep
- Cargo handling
Skills taught here include training for pre-trip and post-trip inspection, shifting, double-clutch, backing, docking, serpentine, coupling and uncoupling, parallel parking, and CDL skills test prep.
Road training sessions involve observations, downgrades, inclines, shifting, rural road driving, city street driving, speed management, road skills test prep, highway driving, and space management.
- Locations: Readfield, ME
- Website: https://www.maranacook.org/o/adult-education/page/cdl-class-b
- Average Tuition Cost: $2,500
- Average Class Size: 8
- Licensing Credentials and Accreditations: Department of Education
- Student: Teacher Ratio: 1:1 in the truck
Certifications and Endorsements Offered By Maranacook Adult Education
Maranacook's trucking program offers the Class B CDL option that leads to an undergraduate certificate. Classes happen in the late fall, early spring, and summer semesters at the school's Readfield Campus.
The school offers four endorsements, namely:
- School Bus
- Hazardous Materials
The Class B CDL program by Maranacook spans 42 learning hours, with 20 hours spent behind the wheel in the school's training yard and 10 hours driving in both urban and rural environments.
The school charges only $2,500 for the program. The cost includes tuition fees, books, state testing fees, materials, one endorsement, DOT physical, and DOT drug test.
- Locations: Westbrook, ME
- Website: http://westbrook.mainecte.org/program/commercial-drivers-license-cdl/
- Average Tuition Cost: $4,500
- Average Class Size: Not specified
- Licensing Credentials and Accreditations: New England Schools and Colleges (NEASC)
- Student: Teacher Ratio: 1:1 in the truck
Certifications and Endorsements Offered By Westbrook Regional Vocational Center
Westbrook Regional Vocational Center (WRVC) is a unique school as it offers both Class A and Class B CDL courses that are only available to current high school students.
The two CDL courses are offered either as a one- or two-year program. Students earn a 10-hour Occupational Safety and Health (OSHA) Certificate and a Certificate of Completion.
Students also receive the double/trailer endorsement.
The WRVC Class B CDL course is available for both juniors and seniors, while the Class A option is only available to senior students. Those who complete the Class B course and get their Class B license enjoy preferential admission to the Class A CDL program.
In the two programs, students learn aspects such as:
- Operation of air brakes
- Trip planning
- Vehicle size and weight limits
- Record keeping
- Maintaining logbooks
- Laws and regulations that guide trucking
Other crucial course activities include pre-trip inspection, backing up, driving commercial motor vehicles on the range and public roads, and parallel parking.
- Locations: Bangor, ME
- Website: https://www.emcc.edu/workforce-development/non-credit-and-continuing-education-classes/cdl/
- Average Tuition Cost: $5,357
- Average Class Size: Not specified
- Licensing Credentials and Accreditations: New England Commission of Higher Education
- Student: Teacher Ratio: Not specified
Certifications and Endorsements Offered By Eastern Maine Community College
Eastern Maine Community College's (EMCC) CDL course takes ten weeks to complete. The courses run every 12 to 15 weeks year-round. The school offers students three road tests included in the total cost of the program.
Other CDL course options are available such as the hourly practice that starts from $99 and seeks to offer students both range and road hours, including tests using the school's vehicles.
Throughout EMCC's CDL course, students learn the following:
- In-depth vehicle operation
- Trip planning
- Proper use of logbooks
- Basic motor vehicle controls
- Safety and defensive driving
- Knowledge needed to pass the commercial learner's permit (CLP) test and select endorsements
The instruction happens on a one-on-one basis. Students should be ready to pass random drug screenings.
If you need some financial assistance for the course, the school partners with Workforce Development to help students access funding.
Considerations When Choosing a Trucking School in Maine
Choosing the best trucking school in Maine can be challenging if you have no idea what to look out for in the many schools ready to enroll you. Let's explore some key factors you should keep in mind during the search.
Cost of the Program
Different schools price their CDL programs differently. However, there is only about a $500 difference in the tuition cost, although it may be over $1,000 in some cases.
It is worth noting that even though a program may be cheap or cheaper than others, it doesn't necessarily mean that it has low quality. In the same vein, highly-priced programs are not automatically of high quality.
While cost is not too much of a concern in most scenarios, it is crucial to consider it when you are on a limited budget. Be sure to check why the more expensive schools charge higher. If they offer better services, narrow them down to one based on other related factors.
The State of Maine requires CDL students to complete 147.5 hours of training. The training hours are spread out within 5-10 weeks on average if you are studying full-time.
Part-time students can expect to complete their CDL course in about 16 weeks or ten weekends if they only study on Saturdays and Sundays.
You should check to ensure that the program's duration is proven to cover the required hours of training for class study and time behind the wheel on the range and the road.
Some schools are referred to as CDL mills and may deceptively promise to help you complete the CDL training in just three weeks, which is impractical and will result in half-baked graduates.
However, some accomplished trucking companies do provide paid CDL training in just about three weeks but on an accelerated basis where you have to study most of the day, every day of the week.
Time Behind the Wheel
Behind the wheel time refers to the time a CDL student spends in the training vehicle behind the steering wheel learning steering, shifting, backing up, parking, braking, and other critical basic controls.
Most schools offer their students enough behind-the-wheel time, but some defraud the students and only rely on passenger seat observation time or simulator time.
The last option usually happens if a school has a high number of students and either an inadequate amount of equipment, available instructors, or both.
You might also want to consider other factors, such as:
- Accreditation by various bodies, organizations, or government agencies
- The ratio of instructors to students
Why Start a Trucking Career in Maine?
A trucking career in Maine will be good for you for several reasons, as discussed below.
Attractive Salary and Job Security
The State of Maine has an average base salary of $65,436 per year for truck drivers as of March 26, 2021, which is 5% higher than the national average. In 2018, the average salary was $38,300, which was then below the national average by 38%.
From the two salary amounts, it is evident that the state's pay for truckers has been on the rise, and the job security is now higher, with doubles/triples endorsement being the more preferred license.
Other than a basic salary and depending on the employer, Maine truckers also enjoy benefits such as:
- 401 (K)
- Health insurance
- Paid toll fees
- Employee stock ownership plans
- Referral payments
- Dental and vision insurance
- Disability insurance
- Fuel discount
- Life insurance
- Paid time off
Room for Advancement
There are plenty of truckers’ opportunities to earn more by advancing into more lucrative trucking work, such as heavy haul and operating tankers.
Generally, truckers who operate vehicles transporting hazardous materials earn higher because there are more significant risks involved in their jobs. HazMat jobs require more skill and specialization, and with the endorsement for the same, you stand to earn more.
Dedicated Trucking Jobs
Maine truckers can choose dedicated trucking jobs because of their reliability and schedule stability. Dedicated trucking involves driving routes for only one customer that could either be a trucking company or a client of trucking companies.
Dedicated trucking allows you to master the route, work schedule, and expectations you have to observe every day. Besides the schedule stability, you will also enjoy two paid days off as you will only be required to work five days a week as a dedicated driver.
Truck Driving Salary and Job Outlook in Maine
The job scene for truck drivers in Maine has been growing steadily over the years. From a 38% level below the national base salary average in 2018, the state has now had the base salary for truck drivers hit the $65,436 mark, which is 5% above the current national average.
Based on the years of experience, the average annual truck driving salaries in Maine count as follows:
If you are considering a trucking career in Maine, you are on the right track. Maine offers an excellent platform to start and advance your career through the running schools and several local trucking companies like H.O. Bouchard, Central Maine Transport, and Pottle's Transportation.
Be sure to follow the guidance in this article on choosing the best school by considering the cost, location, type of instructors, behind-the-wheel time, student-to-teacher ratio, program duration, and unique or extra courses that a school may offer.
People Also Ask
Finding the best trucking school is not easy. You probably have many questions that you would love to get answers to before deciding on the one school to join. Let's see the common questions people usually have about Maine trucking schools.
How Long Does Trucking School Take in Maine?
Trucking school in Maine takes between five and ten weeks for full-time students. Part-time learners can expect to complete CDL education in 16 weeks or about ten weekends depending on the school.
Do Any Truck Driving Schools in Maine Offer Financial Assistance?
Some truck-driving schools offer scholarships to their students based on merit. The scholarships are limited in that only a handful of students qualify through competitive systems.
Besides the school scholarships, you can also benefit from federal grants, government student aid, loans, or scholarships by various organizations such as the Women in Trucking Foundation.
Do You Have to Go to Trucking School to Get Your CDL in Maine?
You have to go to trucking school to acquire a CDL in Maine. Only a few people are exempt from the need to obtain a CDL. Such people include:
- Military vehicle operators who have worked as CMV drivers in the military within the past year and want to operate a CMV in civilian life
- Recreational vehicle operators driving recreational vehicles for their personal non-commercial use
- Farm equipment operators under certain conditions
- Firefighting equipment operators