Best CDL Trucking Schools in Michigan – 2021 Round-up

| Last Updated: May 4, 2021

The demand for goods and services is only ever-increasing, which translates to more demand for truck drivers. Furthermore, the advantage in terms of little education requirement puts aspiring truck drivers at a highly secure career path. 

But there are a few requirements that need to be fulfilled before you can acquire your CDL and drive your vehicle of choice. The most important one is obtaining the necessary skills as well as experience on the road. 

This article lists some of the best CDL trucking schools in Michigan, bringing you one step closer to the job of your dreams. Read right head. 

Photo credit: wmcdl.com

How to Get a CDL in Michigan

To acquire your Michigan CDL, you’ll need to go through a rigorous process from documentation to meet physical requirements. Let’s discuss these in detail: 

Fulfill the Documentation Requirements

When you’re ready to apply for your CDL, you need to visit your local Secretary of State and present a list of documents, which may include, driver’s license, proof of social security number, permanent resident card, etc. 

Fill Out the CDL Certification Form

Next, you need to fill out the CDL certification form, which includes a statement that certifies that you meet all the commercial driver medical requirements. 

Meet the Driver Eligibility Requirements 

The driver eligibility requirements include no violations, revocations or suspensions, preventing you from driving a commercial motor vehicle. Other requirements include being a Michigan resident or a U.S citizen. 

Successfully Pass the Knowledge and Vision Tests

Because you must pass all the knowledge tests to acquire a CDL, passing this test is as crucial as any other step. 

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Temporary Instruction Permit

The temporary instruction permit or TIP permits you to practice driving under a CDL driver's supervision. The driver should have a certification to drive the vehicle you want to operate. TIP is also required for taking any CDL skill test. 

Pay the CDL Group Designation and Endorsement Fee

Of course, every certification requires a few fees.

CDL Skill Test

After fulfilling all the requirements, you can contact an approved third-party testing organization to schedule a date and then take your CDL skill test. 

After Passing the CDL Skill Test

You will receive your Michigan Department of State Driver Skills Test Certificate. This test will be valid for one year. Take the certificate to the Secretary of State’s office and pay a correction fee to obtain a temporary CDL permit. 

You will receive your CDL about 10-14 days from the time your CDL permit was issued to you. 

How Much Does it Cost to Get a CDL in Michigan?

Getting a CDL license in Michigan can cost you anywhere from around $25 to $50. The fee for an operator license is $25 standard and $45 enhanced, while the fee for a chauffeur license is $35 standard and $50 enhanced. 

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CDL Variations Available in Michigan 

There are many different CDL licenses offered by the State of Michigan, depending on the type of vehicle you want to operate. Let’s go over what these are:

Class A CDL

This license is required to operate combination vehicles with a GCWR of above 26,000 lbs, and a GVWR of the vehicle being towed is more than 10,000 lbs. 

Class B CDL

The Class B CDL license is required to operate a single or combination vehicle. The GVWR of the single-vehicle should be more than 26,000, while the vehicle to be towed should be less than 10,000 lbs. 

Class C CDL

This license is required to operate a single or combination vehicle that is not included in Class A or B. The vehicle should be designed to transport 16 or more passengers, including the driver, or used to transport hazardous materials

Review of the Best CDL Trucking Schools in Michigan

This section elaborates on some of the best CDL trucking schools in Michigan. We’ve provided all the important details to make choosing the best school easier for you. 

Trucking School Details

Certifications and Endorsements Offered By Suburban Truck Driver Training School

Suburban Truck Driver Training School is one of the best truck driving schools in Michigan. They have some great courses and programs meant to make you an expert truck driver. These include:

  • CDL Class A

There are two variations of this program, with one requiring around 162 hours to complete while the other requires 100 hours. This will include you going over Michigan CDL Manual, taking practice quizzes & tests, learning mapping, safety procedures, and much more. You will also learn other skills such as maneuvering, with one on-the-road driving lessons with experienced instructors. After your road training is complete, you will take your road tests and graduate.

  • CDL training for veterans

This is a training program for VA students and other eligible beneficiaries. 

  • CDL Refresher courses

Refresher courses are offered to individuals who have already completed a truck driver training course or own a CDL but have not been on the road for driving a CDL vehicle in a long time. 

Program Details

The school provides a detailed schedule for classes on their website if you are interested. They have some of the best skilled instructors available who have years of trucking experience. Suburban Truck Driver Training School has a great and positive environment meant to foster learning and to get you ready for the trucking lifestyle. They have an impressive fleet with some of the latest equipment for you to use in your learning. 

Furthermore, they have an amazing job placement assistance program that will help you every step of the way. Some of their partners include Swift Transportation, US Express, and Werner Enterprises.

Trucking School Details

  • Locations: 3388 Busch Drive SW. Grandville, MI 49418
  • Website: http://www.wmcdl.com/4-week-course/ 
  • Average Tuition Cost: inexpensive
  • Average Class Size: not available 
  • Licensing Credentials and Accreditations: recognized by the State of Michigan

Certifications and Endorsements Offered By West Michigan CDL

Testing services provided by West Michigan CDL include:

  • Class A CDL: hands-on experience for driving a semi tractor-trailer

  • Class B CDL: experiential training to drive straight trucks and trailers

  • Class C CDL: first-hand experience in terms of driving passenger vehicles and school buses

The course duration is three weeks for each training program.

Program Details

West Michigan CDL is the way to go if you’re not interested in in-classroom training and want to get hands-on experience on the road. The three-week CDL program is unlike any other because you’ll begin driving on your very first day. 

The school lays a strong emphasis on behind-the-wheel training to help its students master the art of safe maneuvering of a CDL vehicle. The course will provide you with maximum driving time to prepare you for your career. 

Furthermore, you’ll be equipped with all the necessary experience and skill requirements of an entry-level truck driver. The company provides modern equipment and a clean facility with numerous indoor bays to ensure that students remain safe and comfortable while training during inclement weather. Lastly, the company provides CDL skill testing at no additional cost. 

Trucking School Details

  • Locations: 6272 Midland Rd, Freeland, MI 48623
    Gladwin, Michigan
    Mount Pleasant, MI
    Flint, MI
    St, Johns, MI
    Roscommon, MI
    Big Rapids, MI
    Bad Axe, MI
    Niles, MI
  • Website: https://www.triareatruckingschool.com/#request-info 
  • Average Tuition Cost: $6287
  • Licensing Credentials and Accreditations: instructors certified by the State of Michigan, company approved by Michigan Works!, credentials available on request

Certifications and Endorsements Offered By Tri-Area Trucking School

Tri-Area Trucking School proudly offers training courses in the following CDL programs 

  • Class A CDL

This is a training program for driving tractor-trailers to prepare candidates for the CDL driving exam. The full program is of 160 hours, while for those who only want on-the-road training and have passed their written test, it’s 80 hours. A refresher is for 24 hours for those who have prior truck driving experience

  • Class B CDL

The Class B CDL training program is designed to prepare candidates for the CDL examination and driving trucks. The full program is for 24 hours while refreshers are also offered who’s class times are scheduled on an individual basis. 

Program Details

The school helps its students in preparing for a Commercial Drivers License in three weeks. All their programs are hands-on and are specially designed to get candidates out of the classroom and on the road. 

Students have the opportunity to get behind the wheels as soon as the training starts. This field-based training, in turn, helps them learn on-the-job skills and acquire experience faster than usual. The program further aims to provide all relevant instructions and knowledge to aspiring truck drivers so they’re successful in both obtaining their CDL and their career. 

Lastly, the school helps its graduates in acquiring a job by encouraging them to contact them if they need help with their job search.

Trucking School Details

  • Locations: 6500 15. Mile Rd, Sterling Heights MI, 48312
  • Website: https://usdts.edu/   
  • Average Tuition Cost: ranges from $1500 - $8995 
  • Average Class Size: not available 
  • Licensing Credentials and Accreditations: approved as a third-party testing facility for the state of Michigan, accredited by the Council on Occupational Education, approved by the Michigan State Approving Agency for the training of VA students and other eligible beneficiaries

Certifications and Endorsements Offered By U.S Truck Driver Training School

U.S Truck Driver Training School provides aspiring truck drivers with the following programs and short courses:

  • Professional Tractor-Trailer Training Program 602

The program is designed for individuals interested in learning more and gaining certification beyond Class A CDL. Students will get the opportunity to learn to operate multiple vehicles, including but not limited to, sleeper cabs, day cabs, class B vehicles, passenger vehicles, flatbed trailers, and dry vans. 

  • Entry Level Tractor-Trailer Training Program 160 for Class A CDL

This is an entry-level tractor-trailer training program. It’s designed to prepare individuals for the entry-level requirements needed to obtain the Class A CDL. Students here will receive lab, range, and road instructions throughout their training. The full-time course for Class A CDL students is a minimum of four weeks long. On the other hand, the part-time course for Class A CDL students is a minimum of ten weeks long. 

  • Class A CDL Refresher Courses

The refresher course is designed for individuals possessing a temporary instruction permit or those that are to be employed or are already employed by a company. There are two courses offered under this term with a duration of one week (40 hours) and two weeks (80 hours). 

  • 40 Hour Class B CDL Course

The CDL B course is designed to teach individuals about a box truck's basic operations with a six-speed manual transmission with air brakes. This is a strictly hands-on course. Upon successful completion of this 40-hour program, students will be assigned a designated time to take their State of Michigan CDL skills exam. 

  • 16 Hour CDL “B/P” Training Program

This program is made to teach individuals about the basic operations of a passenger bus with an automatic transmission with air brakes. This certification is necessary for anyone who wants to operate a commercial motor vehicle weighing 26,001 lbs or more and a towed vehicle weighing no more than 10,000 lbs. This is a hands-on course. After completing this course, students will be allotted a designated time to take their State of Michigan CDL skills exam.

  • 80 Hour Class B CDL Training Course

The 80-hour class B CDL course is designed to teach individuals how to operate a box truck with a six-speed manual transmission with air brakes. This course incorporates 40 hours of classroom instructions and 40-hours of hands-on training. Once the course is completed and the student has successfully passed the exam, they will possess an unrestricted Class B CDL. 

Program Details

Each training program provided by the school has been carefully designed to cater to very specific criteria and requirements. So, this is an excellent school for individuals who have specific needs regarding the acquisition of their Commercial Drivers License for a particular vehicle. 

The programs are a conglomeration of classroom instructions and behind-the-wheel training, so you can pick and choose whichever suits you best. Students will be taught valuable skills, including how to safely operate on public roadways and pre-trip safety inspections. 

There’ll also be rigorous training regarding basic controls and skills associated with the State of Michigan CDL exam, including straight-line, 90-degree, and offset backing. Knowledge of things like lane control, sign identification, hazardous perceptions, and maximum heights of bridges will also be taught. 

Trucking School Details

Certifications and Endorsements Offered By Michigan Truck Driving School

Michigan Truck Driving School is known for providing two of the following CDL certifications

  • Class A CDL

This is a 162-hour training program encompassing classroom, yard, and on-the-road training. This is a certified program that meets and exceeds the criteria set by a majority of truckload freight companies. 

  • Class B CDL

This is an 80-hour training program constituting classroom, yard, and on-the-road training. This program covers knowledge of air brakes and pre-and post-trip inspections. 

Program Details

Both programs offered by Michigan Truck Driving School are administered by third-party examiners and provide the right kind of knowledge and skills to acquire your CDL A or B license. 

The CDL A program provides additional behind-the-wheel training and eligibility for Hazmat endorsement. This course is specially designed for individuals who have never driven a manual transmission vehicle.

CDL B provides on-the-road navigation through some different roadways. The course also helps you in training for procedures such as straight-line backing, coupling, and uncoupling of the trailer, 45-degree pull up, right-hand turn, 90-degree alley docking, and sliding of the tandems.

Trucking School Details

Certifications and Endorsements Offered By All Stars Truck Driving School

All Stars Truck Driving School offers courses that span from 17 hours to around six months, depending on which certification you are opting for. The courses and programs currently being offered here include:

  • CDL Class A

If you want to operate a tractor-trailer or any vehicle with (GVWR) of 26,001 pounds or more, this is the program for you. This will make you competent to drive not only locally but also regionally and/or across the country. 

After receiving training, you will be tested for endorsements of passenger and school buses. Once the program is complete, you will have the knowledge and skills to take your road tests for your CDL.

  • CDL Class B

This program is specifically designed for individuals who are interested in operating light trucks, dump trucks, delivery vans, and/or straight trucks, etc. You can also drive school buses after you get your passenger endorsement.

  • Endorsements

The P & S endorsement will enable you to drive pre-primary, primary, and secondary school buses.

Program Details

This is one of the most premier truck driving schools in the midwest. The programs are for not only beginners but also experienced drivers. They provide classroom preparation, yard training, and finally, on-the-road personalized lessons from the best instructors available. 

All Stars Truck Driving School is known for having very friendly and helpful staff with an incredibly positive environment and flexible class hours. They believe this to be a very important step to foster your growth and development as a truck driver. They offer government assistance programs for your career every step of the way, even after you have graduated and are looking for your entry-level job. They also offer some decent equipment and trucks for you to work with.

Trucking School Details

Certifications and Endorsements Offered By Rassem Trucking Driving School

Rassem Trucking Driving School is a great school you can join even if you are working or studying something else. This is because Rassem provides very flexible class hours for your convenience. Moreover, graduates describe it as, “You get what you pay for.” It offers some great programs if you’re interested in getting into the trucking career and lifestyle. These include:

  • CDL Class A

If you are interested in operating a vehicle with (GVWR) over 26,000 pounds, this is the program for you. This will also enable you to operate a semi-trailer and/or trailer with (GVWR) over 10,000 pounds. To complete the program and get your certification, it would take somewhere between one to two months (with a median of 4.8 weeks).

Program Details

With over 40 years of trucking experience, Rassem Trucking Driving School has perfected the best program and course. The environment is very easy-going and pleasant, with some great instructors who are not only experienced but will teach you beyond just driving. You will learn in classrooms and receive one-on-one driving lessons behind the wheel as well. 

Apart from driving a truck, you will also learn in-depth about how proper inspections and maintenance work. It may take a little bit more time comparatively due to the larger class sizes relative to the equipment, but we think it’s worth it. They are known to assist you further with job placement with a genuine interest in your growth and career development.

Why Start a Trucking Career in Michigan?

Starting a trucking career in Michigan can mark the beginning of a highly propitious employment journey. You will be able to enjoy a myriad of benefits, some of which include:

Excellent Entry-Level Pay

Becoming a truck driver in Michigan means that you’ll enjoy an incredible salary package right off the bat. Drivers having an experience of less than one year earn around $58,300 per annum. In addition to that, you’ll enjoy plenty of benefits and perks. This salary is more than enough to cover the cost of living in Michigan. 

Good Training Schools

Most CDL training schools in Michigan focus on behind-the-wheel training. So, you can be sure that you’ll acquire the best skills and necessary experience for your career ahead. The strong emphasis on on-the-road training empowers aspiring drivers to acquire hands-on experience and learn practical skills regarding truck driving. Furthermore, all schools encourage their graduates to contact the company in search of employment opportunities and guarantee secure jobs. 

Get Paid to Travel Around the State

Michigan is a state rich in natural attractions and state parks. While being a truck driver, you’ll be getting paid to travel around the state and enjoy its beauty while also enjoying independence. 

Photo credit: ustdts.edu

Truck Driving Salary and Job Outlook in Michigan

According to statistics, the truck driving industry will experience a huge influx in demand, and the job openings will increase by approximately 11% by 2022. This shows that this career indicates highly promising prospects, all while offering a good salary and job security. 

The salary differs based on years of experience. On average, you can expect the annual income to be:

  • Entry-Level: $58,300

  • Mid-Level: $66,265

  • Master-Level: $70,100 

Conclusion

From how to obtain your Michigan CDL to why obtaining it in the first place might be the best choice for you, we believe we’ve covered quite a bit. All that’s left to do now is for you to pick a training school so you can get one step closer to your trucking career. Good luck and happy driving!

Recap - Best CDL Trucking Schools in Michigan

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

  1.  Suburban Truck Driver Training School
  2.  West Michigan CDL
  3.  Tri Area Trucking School

People Also Ask

Last but not least, we advise you to go through our Q/A guide as it might help clear up any confusion that’s left. 

Do Trucking Companies in Michigan Pay You to Get Your CDL?

Several companies help you finance your CDL and truck school education. This is mainly because there is a huge demand for truck drivers with limited supply. There are many forms this compensation can, such as reimbursement or financial aid. So, in short, to answer the question, yes, trucking companies do pay you to get the CDL.

Can You Get Financial Aid for Trucking School in Michigan?

Yes, several trucking schools offer financial aid in Michigan. We have listed some of these amazing schools, such as Suburban Truck Driver Training School. For further in-depth information, you should visit and contact the school you are interested in.

How Long After a License Suspension Must I Wait to Get My CDL in Michigan?

This can take you anywhere from 60 days to three years, depending upon the extent of the offense. You can check out the State and federal regulations to get a better idea. 

Who Needs a CDL in Michigan?

A CDL in Michigan is required to drive and operate commercial vehicles. For detailed information, you can visit the office of Secretary of State website. The general guidelines are as follows:

  • Single Vehicles: For anyone who wants to operate a vehicle with a (GVWR) over 26,000 pounds.

  • Combination Vehicles: For anyone who wants to operate a semi-trailer and/or trailer with GVWR over 10,000 pounds or when the GCWR is 26,001 pounds or more.

  • Vehicles: For anyone driving a vehicle made to transport 16 or more people (including the driver) or transporting hazardous materials in amounts with placarding.


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.