CDL Trucking Schools in Oregon – 2021 Guide

| Last Updated: June 1, 2021

Truck drivers are the life-blood of the American economy and transport the goods and services that keep the country going.

For this reason, they’re very much in demand.

A career in driving gives good income and benefits, as well as stability. It’s well worth a look. 

Data on Trucking Schools in Oregon

  • Total Schools: 14

  • Average Tuition Cost: $5,999

  • Average Loan Amount: $5,815

  • Average Scholarship Award: $2,222

  • Average Classroom Size: 18

  • Average Length of Program: 3 weeks to 3 months, depending on several factors 

CDL Requirements in Oregon

In Oregon, all drivers who operate any commercial vehicle are required to obtain a commercial driver’s license (CDL). There are many types of commercial vehicles, and the license requirements for each will differ. 

In general, the applicant should have the following:

  • A non-commercial license Class C, with a minimum of one year of experience

  • No disqualifications or suspensions in any state

  • Must be 18 years old to drive commercial vehicles within Oregon and 21 years old to drive across state lines

  • Proof of identity, proof of US citizenship, a Social Security number, and also proof of residence in Oregon

  • Evidence of mental and physical fitness by a medical certification that meets Oregon state standards

  • For those applying for Hazmat certification, a background check is mandated, along with fingerprinting and a police background check

CDL Variations Available in Oregon 

There are three basic types of CDL licenses in Oregon state. These are called Class A, Class B, and Class C. Here is a brief breakdown of what they are:

Class A 

Any vehicle which tows trailers, or other vehicles, over a weight of 10,000 lbs. It also includes any classification which falls into the Class B or C license. 

Class B

Allows for the operation of any single vehicle over 26,000 lbs, or which tows a trailer below 10,000 lbs. It also includes any Class C classification. 

Class C

This license permits the driving of any vehicle 26,000 lbs or less, which is designed to carry 16 passengers, including the driver. It also covers vehicles carrying hazardous materials

Other Specifications

Besides these three main classifications of licenses in Oregon, there are several other specifications, relating to particular uses of the vehicle. 

Hazardous materials, tankers, passenger vehicles, school buses, vehicles fitted with air brakes, and double or triple trailers are all specific variations within the above three license types and require specific training. 

They also each carry specific knowledge and/or driving tests in order to qualify. Some will also require background checks, particularly the hazardous materials license and the school bus license. 

Review of the Best CDL Trucking Schools in Oregon

Here are a few selected options for anyone interested in a career in truck driving. We’ve put together a short list of some of the best schools and academies in Oregon, which we think are representative of quality instruction. 

1. Elite Truck School

  • Location: 560 SE 4th Ave, Hillsboro, Oregon
  • Website: https://www.elitetruckschool.com 
  • Average Tuition Cost: $3,800 - $5,000
  • Average Class Size: Unavailable
  • Licensing Credentials and Accreditations: Workforce Training Accreditation under the Private Vocational Schools Act
  • Student to Teacher Ratio: Unavailable

Certifications and Endorsements Offered By Elite Truck School 

The Elite Truck School offers Class A CDL training, which is a total of 160 hours of both classroom and hands-on training, spanned across a four-week program. They also offer practice testing for the courses offered. 

Program Details 

With the standard CDL training program, the course is 160 hours across a four-week period. The first week is spent in the classroom, which focuses on the knowledge requirements of the license. 

The following three weeks are spent in and around the trucks themselves, from pre-trip inspections to driving the vehicles themselves. On the final day of the course, a third-party tester from either Oregon or Washington state will provide an assessment and give the skills performance test.

2. 160 Driving Academy

  • Locations: 13605 SE Highway 212, Clackamas with many other locations, countrywide
  • Website: https://160drivingacademy.com 
  • Average Tuition Cost: $5,000
  • Average Class Size: 18
  • Licensing Credentials and Accreditations: Illinois Secretary of State approved, and also CVTA 
  • Student to Teacher Ratio: 1:18 (class), 1:9 (yard), 1:3 (road)

Certifications and Endorsements Offered By 160 Driving Academy 

160 Driving Academy focuses on CDL training courses, and also offers CDL refresher courses, as well as prep courses for the test. More or less all the major certifications and endorsements are offered here, with great student-teacher ratios throughout the training. 

Program Details 

The standard course offered by 160 Driving Academy is a 160-hour course, over a period of four weeks. The first week is classroom-based and covers the theoretical aspects of the license, and the following three weeks are devoted to operating the trucks themselves, with a hands-on approach being applied. 

The in-class aspect covers all of the written tests, and the practical driving side is covered by actually driving on the course provided and out on the public roads as well.

3. IITR Truck School

  • Location: 667 NE Jackpine Ct., Redmond, Oregon 
  • Website: http://www.iitr.edu/
  • Average Tuition Cost: $4,750
  • Average Class Size: 18
  • Licensing Credentials and Accreditations: Oregon Higher Education Coordinating Commission
  • Student to Teacher Ratio: 1:18 (class), 1:9 (yard), 1:3 (road)

Certifications and Endorsements Offered By IITR 

The school offers a Class A CDL program, as well as a specialized doubles course, and CDL refresher courses. The standard CDL program covers the 160 hours mandatory clock time, while the doubles course is 5 hours, and the CDL refresher course is a 40-hour program. 

Program Details 

The school boasts a 2:1 ratio of students to trucks where possible, and never more than 3:1. All equipment is provided, and the school also offers an extensive Lifetime Placement Assistance program, in partnership with many local and national trucking companies. 

They operate a preapproval scheme, in which employers are invited to preapprove particular drivers, before the completion of the program.

4. Western Pacific Truck School

  • Location: 13691 NE Whitaker Way, Portland, Oregon 
  • Website: https://www.wptruckschooloforegon.com 
  • Average Tuition Cost: $5,000
  • Average Class Size: Unavailable
  • Licensing Credentials and Accreditations: Authorized Private Vocational School (Oregon and Washington).
  • Student to Teacher Ratio: Unavailable

Certifications and Endorsements Offered By Western Pacific 

The school offers a standard 160-hour CDL training program, which is spanned across four weeks. This class runs 10 hours per day, Monday to Thursday. There are also weekend classes available. 

Both Class A and B courses are offered, with a strong focus on the regulatory aspects, as well as defensive driving and safety. 

Program Details 

The school has extensive relationships with trucking companies, both locally and nationwide. It also works closely with several public agencies, which are listed on the site. The trucks used are three-axle conventional tractors, Volvo or Freightliner. 

There are both automatic and manual transmission options. This school offers modern facilities and extensive networks.

5. Pacific NW Professional Driving School

  • Location: 2747 NW Rogers Cir., Troutdale, Oregon. 
  • Website: https://pacificnwpds.com 
  • Average Tuition Cost: $4,500
  • Average Class Size: Unavailable
  • Licensing Credentials and Accreditations: Commercial Vehicle Training Association, certified by Washington State 
  • Student to Teacher Ratio: Unavailable

Certifications and Endorsements Offered By Pacific NW 

Standard CDL program is offered by this school and consists of 160 hours across four weeks. The first week is in-class learning, with the following time spent in the truck, learning on the road. 

In addition, the school offers courses for Hazmat licensing, as well as a course for school bus licenses. 

Program Details

The school boasts relationships with many trucking companies, locally and nationwide, and even runs a preapproval program with some of these companies, meaning guaranteed employment for some learners after the completion of the course. 

With modern facilities and equipment, and even the option to attend online classes for the written part of the test, Pacific NW covers the bases well.

6. Aisling Truck Academy

  • Location: 875 Ave G, While City, Oregon 
  • Website: https://www.aislingtruckacademy.com 
  • Average Tuition Cost: $4,390
  • Average Class Size: Capped at 9
  • Licensing Credentials and Accreditations: Unavailable
  • Student to Teacher Ratio: 1:9 (class), 1:6 (yard), 1:3 (road)

Certifications and Endorsements Offered By Aisling Truck Academy 

Aisling Truck Academy offers the standard CDL program, comprising 160 hours of training, across a four-week course. Course extensions can be given, if necessary. 

In addition, they offer the course as a night class of 8 weeks duration, as well as a weekend class of 8 weeks duration. They offer many flexible options. 

Program Details 

The yard consists of multiple training stations, which means lower ratios for the students and a closer teaching environment. Pretesting is given for the classroom aspects, prior to the DMV testing. 

A ratio of 1:6 is maintained in the yard, and 1:3 is the ratio out on the road. The school uses Kenworth tractors, and also Freightliners, throughout the yard and road training.

7. Northwest Trucking Academy

  • Location: 37949 Century Dr., NE Albany, Oregon
  • Website: http://nwtruckingacademy.com 
  • Average Tuition Cost: $4,675
  • Average Class Size: Unavailable
  • Licensing Credentials and Accreditations: Unavailable
  • Student to Teacher Ratio: Unavailable

Certifications and Endorsements Offered By Northwest Trucking Academy 

Northwest Trucking Academy offers the standard 160-hour CDL training, across a four-week course. They also train drivers for other specific licenses and offer practice tests for double/triple trailers, Hazmat, air brake, and more

Program Details

The school offers several classrooms, a specially dedicated yard for training students, and vehicles that are solely used for training. Training includes hands-on work with professional trainers and training in trucks both in the yard and on the road. They have modern facilities and great training throughout.

How to Choose a Trucking School in Oregon

When you’re looking to start a career in the trucking industry, there are some serious considerations to bear in mind. 

Cost and Financial Aid

For CDL training, you’re going to pay somewhere in the region of $5,000 once all the various costs are added up, and so that’s a good benchmark to look for. 

Any school which is much lower, or higher, should have some red flags popping up in your mind. Connected to that, some schools offer assistance with financial aid, and this makes things a whole lot easier for you. 

Program Length

The standard program length for this training is around the four-week mark and should stipulate that it covers the state’s minimum 160-hour clock time for this license. If it sounds too short, it probably is.

Training Features

Another major consideration is the training features of the program. 

The school you choose should have decent modern facilities and offer rigorous training in class, in the yard, and on the road. This is very important. Check that your course offers these three, as part of the training. 

Accreditation

Finally, it’s always a good idea to look up the accreditation of your chosen school. There are some out there who have no affiliation or accreditation at all, so beware of them. 

Why Start a Trucking Career in Oregon?

You may be caught in a decision of whether or not to start a trucking career in Oregon. We’ll quickly give you some aspects to consider.

Stability

In our trying times, a lot of people are looking for greater stability in their careers. Trucking is an industry that really offers stability for good, hard-working people. It’s an ever-growing sector because without the truckers the whole system just shuts down. 

Nothing gets to where it needs to go. Even during COVID, the trucking network has been deemed a crucial service in Oregon, as it has been countrywide, which tells you just how stable a career move it is.

Career Advancement

There’s a lot of room for advancement if you choose to go into trucking. A lot of drivers start out driving for a company in an entry-level position. But, if you decide to add to your permits, by doing the Hazmat license or the triple trailer license, or any of the others, then your career can grow incrementally over time. 

If you reach the position of owning your own truck, then you’re taking home some really good money. 

Benefits 

Obviously, the benefits package will differ from place to place, just as your salary does. However, as an industry, the benefits are very good, when compared to other types of work. 

Most trucking companies in Oregon will offer dental, medical, and even vision coverage as standard. Some others include paid vacation and other retirement benefits too. Trucking in Oregon is a real option if you’re looking at career alternatives. 

Truck Driving Salary and Job Outlook in Oregon

There’s no doubt about it, trucking in Oregon is a growth area and offers really attractive incentives for someone looking for career options. It’s a solid career, with decent earnings and benefits to match. It’s well worth considering.

Entry-Level

When you’re starting out in a trade or profession, things can be a little tight in the money department. It’s that way in many careers. With trucking, though, you start out at around $45,000 and, if you’re a hard-working person, it can only improve from there. Most companies will also offer a generous benefits package too.

Mid-Level

Mid-career drivers who have put in the work, and have perhaps added specialized licenses along the way, can look forward to annual salaries upwards of $60,000 in some companies. And of course, the benefits often also improve with time in many companies too. 

Master-Level

Once you’ve been trucking for several years, and maybe added specialized permits to your CV, you might begin to think about becoming an owner-driver. With your own vehicle, and working through the right companies, the sky's the limit for you. It’s not uncommon for highly experienced owner-drivers holding the right licenses to be earning over $100,000 annually, and that’s great earnings, no matter who you are. 

Conclusion 

Trucking is a very attractive career option, especially in trying times like these. If you’re wondering where you want to be in five years, take a look at the industry, and you can start with the trucking schools in this article. You’ll be surprised at how good it could be for you. 

People Also Ask

There are always going to be questions that people want to be answered, so we’ve listed a few of the more common ones here. Between the above article and some basic answers here, we hope to cover what you want to know. 

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

Some companies do, yes. In some cases, a company will send an employee to do the course and cover the costs. In other cases, a company may preapprove your employment, on the condition that you obtain the license, and then cover the cost as part of a welcome bonus. 

Can You Get Financial Aid for Trucking Schools in Oregon?

Yes, you can. At some trucking schools, they’ll assist you with all the details involved, or even apply on your behalf. At other schools, you’ll be required to do this yourself. It’s best to check on this before you make your choice. 

How Much Does it Cost to Get Your CDL in Oregon?

There’s some variation here, from school to school. This is based on many different factors specific to each company. However, once you’ve added up all the costs, you’ll be looking at around $5,000. 

How Long Does it Take to Get a CDL in Oregon?

Oregon law stipulates a minimum of 160 hours of training to qualify for the CDL. Most of the schools have a standard training schedule of four weeks, with one week of preparation for the written test and the remaining three for the practical side.

Do You Have to Go to Trucking School in OR?

In order to drive certain commercial vehicles in the state of Oregon, you require a CDL. In order to get one, you have to pass the written test as well as the practical assessment. It’d be very difficult to do this without a trucking school



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.