CDL Trucking Schools in Philadelphia, PA – 2021 Guide

| Last Updated: May 20, 2021

Philadelphia. One of the greatest cities in the United States. For those living in this great city, a question leers above their heads – what should they do for work?

The obvious answer would be truck drivers, but how can they get the education they need to get a break into the world of driving a truck?

Well, do we have some good news.

CDL Requirements in Philadelphia

Before we go into which schools you can attend in Philadelphia, we should probably talk about what's required to get a CDL or a commercial driver's license, the license you need to drive a truck. They are very simple requirements, and they are also very similar to the requirements for CDLs around the country. 

  • Pennsylvania Driver’s License

  • Social Security number

  • Be least 18 years of age (to drive within the state) or 21 (to drive outside of the state)

  • Provide a Medical Examiner’s Certificate, which means they passed the medical exam (an exam that includes a vision test, a hearing test, a drug test, and a blood sugar test)

  • Provide both proof of identity and proof that they are a Philadelphia resident

And that's it! We told you it was simple, pretty much anything you would keep in their wallet. The only thing that may take extra time is the medical exam, but that's probably just a quick trip to the doctor. 

CDL Variations Available in Philadelphia 

For those who have researched this subject, these CDL variations are going to look very familiar. Many CDL variations around the country are identical, so if you can memorize these, you will know what the CDL variations are around the country.

There are two different types of CDL. The more common type of CDL is a certification, which breaks down into three classes. All three classes are very similar, with slight variations. For example, the Class A certification is for vehicles with a gross combination weight rating (GCWR) of more than 26,000 pounds, which could include a towed vehicle of 10,000 lbs or more.

Class B is identical, except the vehicle being towed has to be less than 10,000 lbs. And Class C is for anything that doesn't fit into the first two categories. Then, Philly also has a Class D type license for driving regular cars (a class D license is pretty much another word for the regular license).

Then comes the second type of CDL– endorsements. These are where the CDL gets pretty interesting, as they are specialty vehicles that are quite surprising. They consist of vehicles transporting hazardous materials and the like.

Review of the Best CDL Trucking Schools in Philadelphia, PA

And now, we move to the review of the best CDL Trucking schools in Philadelphia, PA.

  • Locations: 442 E. Girard Ave Philadelphia, PA
  • Website: http://aaaschooloftrucking.com/
  • Average Tuition Cost: $5,500
  • Average Class Size: 5
  • Licensing Credentials and Accreditations: Class A, Class B, Refresher Course
  • Student:Teacher Ratio: 1 teacher per 5 students

Certifications and Endorsements Offered By AAA School of Trucking

These guys seem to know a lot about the trucking business, so much so that it even impressed us (and we are not so easily impressed). 

Not only do they offer the standard Class A CDL course, a course that will take someone four weeks to complete, but they also have the same length course for the Class B vehicles as well as a refresher course for those who may have lost touch with their initial CDL training. But get this– at AAA School of Trucking, when you take a Class A CDL training course they get to drive both Class A and Class B vehicles, so they get training on both!

Program Details

The AAA School of Trucking has at least four trucks on the lot according to the website. Considering the average class size is about five students, then each student is pretty much going to get their truck. That's something we rarely see, and it is so impressive. And the trucks that students do get are some state-of-the-art equipment, really great stuff.

As for job placement, the school has a whole section of its website dedicated to showing potential students the companies they could work for. There are also many testimonials from ex-students who are now gainfully employed. They even have a dog who hangs around with the students!

  • Locations: 501 Seminole St, Lester, PA 19029
  • Website: http://www.allstatecareer.edu/
  • Average Tuition Cost: $5000
  • Average Class Size: 10
  • Licensing Credentials and Accreditations: Class A CDL, Class B CDL, Tractor-trailer training
  • Student:Teacher Ratio: 1 teacher per 10 students

Certifications and Endorsements Offered By All-State Career

All-State Career offers four programs. The first being the now standard Class A CDL training, which will prepare students for the test without actually having them take it on campus. Then, they have the Class B CDL training, which will not end with students getting the license. It's merely to train them for the upcoming exam.

There are two more courses, one for advanced tractor-trailer driving and the other for commercial truck driving. Both of those courses are probably not for the prospective truck driver, though. They could probably get the same information in the Class A CDL training.

Program Details

The program's website claims to have a job placement portion of the course; however, they fail to mention which companies will be participating or in what part of the program you do the whole job placemen part.

After scouring the internet for any information we could about the All-State Career equipment, we were able to find one picture of a truck that, in our opinion, looked pretty decent. They offer financial aid for those who need it, and as for the student to truck ratio... forget about it. We weren't able to find a single piece of information on that.

  • Locations: 4201 Tacony St, Philadelphia, PA
  • Website: https://smithsolomon.com/
  • Average Tuition Cost: $4,300
  • Average Class Size: 9
  • Licensing Credentials and Accreditations: CDL Class A, CDL Class B, some endorsements
  • Student:Teacher Ratio: 1 teacher per 9 students

Certifications and Endorsements Offered By Smith & Solomon Commercial Driver Training

These guys have many locations around the country, and we know why. They are thorough, know what they're doing, and will help students get their CDL. Not only their Class A CDL, but these guys also have two separate courses for the Class B license. One is for Straight Truck Training, and the other is for the CDL B With Passenger Endorsement (i.e. for those who want to drive a bus).

They also have some classes for endorsements. Depending on the course you decide to take, they could be with the people of Smith & Solomon Commercial Driver Training for 120-160 hours. But they will be good hours where you learn all they can about the trucking industry.

Program Details

Smith & Solomon make a promise on its website that students train on the same vehicles that they test on and will be driving after graduation. So we can only assume that the equipment you use is at least up to date with the vehicles you will be driving after school. And students of the Smith & Solomon Commercial Driver Training will get a job after graduation.

There is a whole section of their website devoted to the people who are willing to hire Smith & Solomon Commercial Driver Training graduates. The student-to-truck ratio was hard to find.

  • Locations: 9300 Ashton Rd, Philadelphia, PA 19114
  • Website: https://cdlstart.com/
  • Average Tuition Cost: $5,475
  • Average Class Size:
  • Licensing Credentials and Accreditations: CDL training
  • Student:Teacher Ratio: 1 teacher per 8 students

Certifications and Endorsements Offered By Start CDL Training

The certifications offered by this school are in the name: CDL Training. While the school itself doesn't give drivers their CDL, the course does culminate in drivers going to the DMV and getting their CDL. There are two separate but similar courses you could take at Start CDL Training. They are automatic gearbox and manual gearbox.

While some eager beavers may want to learn both at the same time, unfortunately, the people at Start CDL Training can only offer one of those courses at a time. This two to the three-week program will also cover everything a trucker needs to know– from driving to logging hours to passing their written CDL test, it's all there. 

Program Details

Right on their website, front and center are the words ``100% guaranteed employment upon successful completion of training". We assume they could not put something like that on their front page if it wasn't true, and the testimonials from ex-students seem to confirm this sentiment.

So, for those who want a job after schooling, Start CDL Training is probably a good bet. They also have some state-of-the-art equipment, and while we weren't able to gather much, the student-to-truck ratio must be decent if they are bringing their students to the DMV to complete their CDL training.

  • Locations: 8501 Hagerman Street Philadelphia, PA 19136
  • Website: https://www.globalcdlschool.com/
  • Average Tuition Cost: $5,475
  • Average Class Size: 7
  • Licensing Credentials and Accreditations: Class A Training
  • Student:Teacher Ratio: 1 teacher per 7 students

Certifications and Endorsements Offered By Global CDL School

This is a school where you get their training for the CDL test without actually getting a CDL license. The good thing about that, though, is they do have an on-site testing facility, so once a student is done with obtaining their diploma, they can go right to the test center and get their CDL. The eight-week program does look very thorough and does cover most of what will eventually be on the CDL test.

Things like inspections, regulations, and driving the truck (not to mention everything in between) are covered in this course. Also, those that pass the program are going to leave Global CDL School with a fancy diploma! 

Program Details

We know through promotional material they have on their website that Global CDL School has at least two of their trucks. Through those pictures, we can assume that the student-to-truck ratio (considering the average class size is about seven people) is one truck per 3.5 people. And the trucks we have seen seem to be pretty up to date, some decent stuff.

Those who go to this school will not be disappointed about the equipment, and certainly won't be disappointed with the job prospects either. Graduates have reported getting work as soon as they leave school.

How to Choose a Trucking School in Philly

Just like any other university, there are many things that you should consider while looking for a trucking school. You should ask many questions before making a decision. We're going to go through some of the most important questions you have to ask before they choose a trucking school in Philly.

Questions About Cost

Cost is probably the most important factor when choosing a trucking school. While perusing the schools you can attend, you should ask yourself:

  • Will the cost of this school leave you destitute? 

  • Are there financial aid options?

  • Will you be able to find a company that could pay for you to go through school? If so, should you approach one of those companies before going to school?

Questions About Job Prospects

This question is a close second in importance. Ask oneself when choosing a school:

  • What kind of relationship does the school have with local trucking companies?

  • How many of the school's graduates go on to have jobs?

  • What kind of jobs could [one] get with graduation from this school?

  • What kind of relationship do the instructors have with the local trucking companies?

Questions About the Program

Finally, ask yourself questions about the program and whether it is right for you. Questions like:

  • What is the class/practical time split?

  • How much time will be spent in a book vs on the road?

  • What is the equipment like?

  • What is the student to the truck ratio?

  • How experienced are the instructors? How long have they been in the business?

Why is Philadelphia a Great Place to Start a Trucking Career?

We already know that Philadelphia is a great city, one of the best in the world. But why is it a great place to start a trucking career? Well, let us tell you:

Job Stability

Here is the best part about being a truck driver in Philadelphia– they are in demand. All over the country, companies need truck drivers, and once they have them, they never want to let them go. A truck driving career can take a person to retirement. Also, it's not a job that gets affected by outside factors like, say, a global pandemic. Truckers will keep on trucking!

Decent Pay

While truck drivers may not live like Jeff Bezos, they make a decent wage, especially in Philadelphia. The master truck driver in Philly is going to be raking in about $70,673 per year, which is 14% higher than the national average. While you may not live like a king, you can certainly live a comfortable life with that salary. 

The Travelling

This reason may be true for any other state besides Philly, but it is a pretty decent reason to become a truck driver in general. You get to see the open road, travel all around the country (and possibly to other countries as well). You get to feed your local communities, to feel like you are a part of something bigger than yourself.

Truck Driving Salary and Job Outlook in Philadelphia

In this section of the article, we discuss the average truck driving salary for those who are just entering the world of trucking in Philadelphia, those who are about halfway done their trucking career in Philly, and finally, the masters of the truck driving trade. Also, we will take a look at the job outlook for trucking in Philadelphia– are there going to be jobs for those who want to get into the trucking industry? However, first, let's look at annual salaries:

Annual Salaries

Entry-Level: For those just starting their careers as truck drivers in Philly, they should expect to make around $25,438 per year. 

Mid-Level: For those in the middle of their career, they should expect to make $48,634 per year

Master-Level: The masters of trucking should expect to make $70,673 per year

Here is the best part about being a truck driver in Philadelphia, the industry is growing. "In Pennsylvania, the job outlook for truck drivers is relatively positive. O*Net expects the demand for heavy truck drivers to increase by 16% between 2012 and 2022. They anticipate a 3% increase in job openings for light truck drivers." The world of trucking is expanding, and there should be lots of jobs in the coming years for those who wish to join up. 

Conclusion

Hopefully, those who wish to go into the trucking industry in the great city of Philadelphia will be more educated about which school they can go to to learn how to be a truck driver. There is only one step left in this process... To choose the school in which to attend!

People Also Ask

For those with more questions, don't worry, we're not done yet. We've included this section for those who read through this article and still have questions. Read on for more answers to your questions. If you don't find the answer need, then feel free to ask in the comments.

Can You Get Financial Aid For Trucking School In Philadelphia?

Financial aid is something that is going to be up to the specific school. Yes, there are schools in Philadelphia that offer financial aid, and there are schools that do not. Whether your school of choice does is something you have to research before committing to a school, something you may even have to inquire about over the phone. 

How Much Does CDL Training Cost in Philadelphia?

The cost honestly is going to depend on the school. A lot of them have different tuitions, which is what we should have come to expect. Honestly, there is no right answer to this question, and it could be anything between $3,000 and $14,000. We're sorry we couldn't say something a little more concrete.



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.