CDL Trucking Schools Pennsylvania – 2021 Guide

| Last Updated: July 8, 2021

Professional truck drivers enjoy careers that offer independence, respectable pay, and a high level of job security. If you currently live in Pennsylvania or are considering moving there, why not pursue a rewarding career in the trucking industry?

If you are unsure where to start, this guide will tell you everything you need to know about CDL trucking schools in the state of Pennsylvania.

We will look at some of the state’s best schools and answer some common questions people have about the industry and commercial driving licenses.

How to Get a CDL in Pennsylvania

Earning a commercial driver’s license or CDL is the most important step if you are looking to start a career as a truck driver. To earn one in Pennsylvania, follow these four steps:

1. Meet Pennsylvania’s CDL Requirements 

Each state has its own CDL requirements. For Pennsylvania, you must already have a non-CDL Pennsylvania Driver’s License. You will also need proof of identity, proof of Pennsylvania residency, proof of citizenship or lawful immigration documents, a social security number, and a valid Medical Examiner’s Certificate.  

2. Earn a Pennsylvania CDL Permit

You must pass a series of written exams and a vision test to earn a CDL permit, which will allow you to move onto the next phase of the CDL process.

3. Pass CDL Endorsement Tests

In Pennsylvania, you must pass written CDL endorsement tests, such as a Hazardous Material test. The endorsements you need will depend on the type of driving you to intend to do.

4. Pass the Pennsylvania CDL Skills Test

To earn the full CDL, the driver must have completed the knowledge test, endorsement tests, and skills test.

Why Enroll at a Pennsylvania CDL Training School?

A CDL school will prepare you to earn your CDL. It will teach you all of the skills and knowledge required to earn your license and be successful in your new career.

Pennsylvania CDL Variations

There are four CDL variations for commercial drivers in Pennsylvania. The type of license you need will depend on the type of vehicle you intend on driving. In Pennsylvania, CDL licenses are available in the following classifications:

  • Class A – Needed to drive any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight of over 26,000 pounds and is hauling one or more trailers with a weight of over 10,000 pounds.
  • Class B – Needed to drive any vehicle with a gross weight of 26,000 pounds or more, or any vehicle that is towing another weighing 10,000 or less.

  • Class C – Needed for any vehicle or combination of vehicles below the requirements for a Class A or B CDL.

  • Class D – Required for some passenger vehicles that carry over 16 individuals. Some states refer to this as a bus driver’s license.

For most trucking positions, applicants must have a Class A CDL, which is why most Pennsylvania trucking schools gear towards helping students attain a Class A level license.

Review of the Best CDL Trucking Schools in Pennsylvania

As mentioned above, a CDL trucking school will prepare you both for your CDL test and for the career that follows. To help you get your trucking career off the ground, we have reviewed some of Pennsylvania’s best trucking schools below:

  • Locations: 9430 State Road, Philadelphia, PA, 19114
  • Website: www.globalcdlschool.com
  • Average Tuition Cost: $5,475
  • Average Class Size: 10
  • Licensing Credentials and Accreditations: Approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Education
  • Student/Teacher Ratio: 5:1

Certifications and Endorsements Offered by Global CDL Driver Training School

Global CDL Driver Training School offers a single program designed to give students all of the training they need to earn their Class A CDL.

The program has several entrance requirements, but once the applicant can reach them, they will be on their way towards earning a Class A CDL. 

The school trains students, both in the classroom and on the road. The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation certified the school to administer the skills section of the CDL test. You can learn everything you need to know about taking the CDL and eventually take your test through the same facility.

Since it is in the school’s best interest to have a high pass rate, they make sure that all of their students are equipped with the right mixture of skills and knowledge to earn their license. 

Program Details

Global CDL Driver Training School’s Class A program is an eight-week course. During this time, students will learn from qualified instructors in the classroom and have the opportunity to experience in-truck learning at their separate training yard facility.

In addition to driving and safety instructions, students will learn the full ins and outs of cabin and engine inspection.

Graduates receive a Global CDL course diploma, a valuable asset when applying for jobs.

  • Locations: 442 E. Girard Ave., Philadelphia, PA, 19125 and 6003 Jonestown Rd., Harrisburg, PA 17112
  • Website: www.aaaschooloftrucking.com
  • Average Tuition Cost: $5,500
  • Average Class Size: 2
  • Licensing Credentials and Accreditations: Licensed by the Pennsylvania State Board of Private Licensed Schools
  • Student/Teacher Ratio: 1:1

Certifications and Endorsements Offered by AAA School of Trucking

AAA School of Trucking is a family-owned trained school that prepares students to earn their CDL and begin their careers in the trucking industry.

The school offers two main diploma programs, as well as a refresher course:

  • The CDL Class A Tractor Trailer Program involves 160 hours of learning during four weeks.  After completing 105 hours of hands-on driving practice and classroom studies, students will complete 55 hours of on-road driving.

  • The CDL Class B Vehicle Driving Program runs 118 hours and equips students with all of the knowledge and skills required to earn a Class B CDL.

  • Their CDL Refresher Course is 50 hours and meets the basic needs of those with previous tractor-trailer driving experience, who only need a refresher from trained professionals.

Program Details

In addition to offering detailed courses with individualized learning opportunities, AAA School of Trucking is a certified testing center. After completing the program, students will take the Skills portion of the Class A CDL test on-site at no additional cost.

All of the equipment the school trains students with is modern and well maintained. They also offer job placement assistance and lifetime support for program graduates looking for employment opportunities.

  • Locations: 4219 Richmond St., Philadelphia, PA, 19137. As well as two additional campuses in Norristown and Dupont
  • Website: www.smithsolomon.com
  • Average Tuition Cost: $3,750
  • Average Class Size: 10
  • Licensing Credentials and Accreditations: Approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Education
  • Student/Teacher Ratio: 5:1

Certifications and Endorsements Offered by Smith and Solomon Commercial Driver Training

Smith and Solomon offer three separate driver programs:

  • CDL A: Tractor Trailer Training – 160 hours. Their most popular program prepares students to take a CDL Class A test and gain entry-level employment as a truck driver.

  • CDL B: Straight Truck Driving – 120 hours. The program teaches students how to safely operate straight trucks, dump trucks, and box trucks. After completing the program, students will be prepared to pass the skills test segment of a Class B CDL test.

  • CDL B: With Passenger Endorsement – 120 hours. Designed to give students the skills and knowledge required to drive a bus or similar commercial passenger vehicle.

The school also offers refresher courses for both Class A and Class B CDLs, as well as a forklift operator certification course.

Program Details

Smith and Solomon Commercial Driver Training always give their students the best possible chance of earning their CDL by ensuring that they learn with the most current training materials possible. 

They also will continue training the student until the day they pass their CDL road test, which means the school has a vested interest in helping their students pass. They make sure that each student learns by driving the same type of vehicle they will on the test.

They offer continued job placement services and ensure all current and former students have access to regularly updated job listings.

Best CDL School in Philadelphia, PA:
Start CDL Training

  • Locations: 9300 Ashton Rd., Philadelphia, PA
  • Website: www.cdlstart.com
  • Average Tuition Cost: $5,000
  • Average Class Size: 12
  • Licensing Credentials and Accreditations: Approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Education
  • Student/Teacher Ratio: 6:1

Certifications and Endorsements Offered by Start CDL Training

Start CDL Training offers two full-length courses and hourly training options for professional drivers looking to renew or upgrade their CDL.

  • Class A CDL Automatic Gearbox Program: Depending on the student’s particular schedule and availability, the course lasts between two and three weeks. Each student learns in the classroom before training one on one with a driving instructor in an automatic transmission truck.

  • Class A CDL Manual Gearbox Program: This course also stretches between two and three weeks and gives students all of the knowledge and skills required to drive a truck with a manual transmission. It is the most popular option, as it teaches students to drive any vehicle.

Program Details

Students in both the automatic and manual programs will learn everything they need to know to earn a Class A CDL.  

After the classroom component of the course, which you can also take online, students will complete the following in-truck learning stages:

  • Pre-trip inspection 

  • Forward and backward driving

  • Offset/parallel parking

  • Alley dock parking

  • City driving 

After completing their in-class and on-road training, students will be prepared to pass the skills portion of their CDL licensing exam and start their career as a truck driver.

Best CDL School in Allentown, PA:
McCann School of Business & Technology

  • Locations: 2200 N. Irving St., Allentown, PA, 18109
  • Website: www.mccann.edu
  • Average Tuition Cost: $5,500
  • Average Class Size: 20
  • Licensing Credentials and Accreditations: Accredited by the Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC)
  • Student/Teacher Ratio: 10:1

Certifications and Endorsements Offered by McCann School of Business & Technology

The McCann School of Business and Technology offers a wide variety of vocational training programs. The CDL Class A Tractor Trailer Training Program helps students earn their CDL in five weeks.

Some programs simply help students pass their CDL tests, but the McCann program takes a more thorough approach and also prepares students for careers in the trucking industry. Those in the program get comprehensive training on everything needed to earn their CDL and learn driving techniques and planning tactics that help them once they start their career.

Program Details

McCann hires qualified instructors that have years of experience in the trucking industry. Each student will have an opportunity to get behind the wheel with an instructor and apply what they learned in the classroom to real-world situations. 

Since the program is through a vocational school, students have the opportunity to apply for financial assistance.

  • Locations: 4219 Fritch Dr., Bethlehem, PA, 18020
  • Website: www.roadmaster.com
  • Average Tuition Cost: $5,000
  • Average Class Size: 10
  • Licensing Credentials and Accreditations: Approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Education
  • Student/Teacher Ratio: 10:1

Certifications and Endorsements Offered by Roadmaster Drivers School

Roadmaster Drivers School is a national training school with locations in states across the country. Over the last 25 years, they have trained over 100,000 truck drivers.

Since they are focused on getting people started in the trucking industry, they only teach a single program – The Class A CDL Program. 

Depending on the student’s availability, the course lasts between three and four weeks and includes 160 hours of learning. During this period, they will have a hands-on practice driving a truck at the school’s practice pad. 

Qualified and passionate instructors lead the classroom segment of the program. Each instructor ensures their students have a thorough understanding of road safety and vehicle operation before completing the program.

Program Details

Students will learn in spacious classrooms and have access to modern computer labs. Each learning facility also features its own specially designed field-driving course, where students will have the opportunity to learn with modern vehicles and trailers.

After completing the course, students will have access to job placement assistance. Roadmaster Drivers School also works with local trucking company representatives to help their graduates find their first jobs.

Why Start a Trucking Career in Pennsylvania?

Pennsylvania is an ideal state to start a trucking career. If you live in Pennsylvania and you are unsure about starting a trucking career, consider the following:

  • Pennsylvania has a thriving trucking industry and is home to plenty of truck driving schools.

  • Due to the state’s mountains and large plateaus, it relies on skilled, well-trained truck drivers, which means there is a high level of job security for qualified truck drivers in Pennsylvania.

  • Pennsylvania has plenty of major freight lanes that run in all directions, which means there are plenty of opportunities for out-of-state driving, which tends to pay more than in-state driving.

  • Pennsylvania is a relatively affordable state to start a family, which means your trucking salary will stretch further than it would if you lived in a region that had a higher cost of living.

Pennsylvania is a great place to live and start a family. For those looking to get into the state’s trucking industry, there are plenty of employment opportunities, training schools, and job security is impressively high.

Truck Driving Salary and Job Outlook in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania offers relatively high salaries for both entry-level and experienced truck drivers. The state is home to a thriving transportation industry, which means many companies are competing for new drivers, and the job outlook is very positive.

  • According to salary reports from 2020, entry-level truck drivers with less than one year of driving experience made an average annual salary of $68,156 in Pennsylvania.

  • Mid-level salaries average out at around $72,200 per year, which means those that have between five and nine years of driving experience earn about $4,000 more per year than those that are just starting.

  • Master-level drivers, meaning those with more than ten years of driving experience, will earn an average salary of over $77,000 per year.

Compared to the national averages, these salaries are fairly impressive. In terms of job security, the state’s geographic location ensures that Pennsylvania will always need skilled truck drivers.

Conclusion

Pennsylvania is home to some great trucking schools, so if you are interested in getting started in the trucking industry, you should not hesitate to look into your options. Any of the schools reviewed above will give you all of the necessary tools to earn your CDL and get an exciting new career off the ground.

People Also Ask

If you still have some questions about getting a CDL license in Pennsylvania, here are some of the most common things that people wonder about when deciding to pursue this career.

Do Trucking Companies In Pennsylvania Pay You to Get Your CDL?

Most trucking companies in Pennsylvania will not directly pay you to get a CDL; however, some companies will offer to reimburse their employees for test fees after they are hired.

Can You Get Financial Aid For Trucking School in Pennsylvania?

Yes, some trucking schools offer their students financial aid; however, this is determined on a case by case basis. There is also state funding available to military veterans.

How Much Does CDL Training Cost in PA?

CDL training schools usually charge tuition rates between $4,000 and $6,000. While this may seem fairly expensive, it is worth remembering that these fees ensure you will learn proper driving and safety techniques from qualified instructors. You will also have the opportunity to learn in the same type of vehicle you will be tested in.

When Do You Need a CDL in PA?

If you are looking to drive a commercial vehicle in Pennsylvania, you will have to earn a CDL. The particular classification you will need depends on the particular type of vehicle you plan on driving.

How Many Questions Are on the PA CDL Permit Test?

The test consists of 50 questions, and the student must earn a grade of at least 80% to pass. While the questions can be somewhat difficult, there are practice tests and workbooks that can help you earn a passing grade and get started on your trucking journey.

How Much is a CDL Permit in PA?

The cost of a CDL permit in Pennsylvania is $74.50; however, the student may also have to pay a one-time $60 federal fee.

Which States Offer Reciprocal CDL Licensing With Pennsylvania?

Pennsylvania does not have any CDL reciprocal licensing agreements with any other state. If you have a CDL from another state, you will need to obtain a PA CDL within 30 days of starting a job in PA.



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.