CDL Trucking Schools Washington – 2021 Guide

| Last Updated: May 4, 2021

If you are looking for a career that offers a significant degree of independence, a high earning potential, and lasting job security, look no further than the trucking industry. 

To help you get started, this useful guide will tell you everything you need to know about starting a trucking career in Washington.

We will explore some of the best trucking schools and answer some common questions about the industry and trucking licenses. 

How to Get a CDL in Washington State

A commercial driver’s license, or CDL, is required to drive most commercial vehicles in Washington state, which means you must earn a CDL before getting started in the state’s trucking industry. The steps to earn a CDL in Washington are as follows:

  • Possess a standard license, SSN, and proof of US citizenship or legal residency.

  • Complete a medical examination and bring a complete medical examiner’s report to the testing facility.

  • Complete the knowledge test, which you must pass with a score of at least 80% to obtain a commercial license permit (CLP). This permit is valid for 180 days and will allow you to begin training for the skills test.

  • Complete and pass the skills test, which will test your understanding of proper vehicle inspection, basic vehicle control, and your on-road driving skills.

While the process may seem fairly complicated and intimidating, this is where CDL trucking schools come in handy. They will give you the knowledge you need to pass both the knowledge and skills tests required to earn your Washington State CDL and get started in a trucking career.

Different CDL Options Available in Washington 

As mentioned above, the state of Washington has strict license requirements for those driving commercial vehicles. Within Washington, CDLs come in three classes – Class A, Class B, and Class C.

The Class A CDL allows the licensed individual to drive all types of commercial vehicles, while the Class B and C licenses are limited. For example, you could drive a school bus with a Class B or C license, but you would be required to earn a full Class A CDL if you planned on driving a vehicle that weighed over 26,000 pounds, such as a transport truck. A simple breakdown of the license classes is as follows:

  • Class A – Needed for vehicles weighing more than 26,000 pounds

  • Class B – Can drive single or combination vehicles that weigh no more than 26,000 pounds

  • Class C – Needed to drive any commercial vehicle that transports 16 or more passengers and does not exceed the weight restrictions of the above-mentioned licenses

Given that most people looking to enroll in a trucking school program are looking for a career in trucking, you are most likely aiming for a Class A CDL. It is also worth noting that you must be at least 21 years of age for your Class A CDL to be valid out of state, which is a requirement of most trucking positions.

Review of the Best CDL Trucking Schools in Washington

Enrolling in a CDL trucking school is one of the best things you can do to get your trucking career on the right path. To make things easy, we have highlighted and reviewed some of the state’s best trucking schools.

  • Location: 210 E Lewis Place, Pasco, Washington 99301
  • Website: www.tenterprisesinc.com
  • Average Tuition Cost: $4,390
  • Average Class Size: Four students per classroom
  • Licensing Credentials and Accreditations: Licensed by the Washington State Workforce Training and Education Board 
  • Student/Teacher Ratio: 4:1

Certifications and Endorsements Offered by T Enterprises Truck Driving School

T Enterprises offers the following programs:

  • Class A CDL – 160-hour program broken down into 40 hours of classroom learning, 32 hours of real-world driving, 18 hours of backing, 20 hours of a pre-trip inspection, and 50 hours of observation

  • Class B CDL – 110-hour program with 60 classroom hours, 26 driving, 14 backings, ten pre-trip, and 31 under observation

  • LCV Training – Program helps students learn how to drive longer commercial vehicles

  • Forklift Certification – trains and certifies students for safe forklift operation

Program Details

The Class A CDL program offered by T Enterprises consists of one week of in-class learning, where the student will gain a thorough understanding of the Washington State Commercial Driver’s License Manual.

The second week will prepare the student to pass pre-trip inspection requirements and learn how to perform basic backing maneuvers. From there, they will undergo two weeks of training with a semi-tractor and trailer. Each student will have the opportunity to learn how to drive a truck with a qualified training instructor, and no more than two students are assigned to a single driving instructor at any given time.

  • Location: 646 N Burlington Blvd., Burlington, Washington 98233
  • Website: www.taylordrivingschools.com
  • Average Tuition Cost: $3,600 plus additional fees
  • Average Class Size: 19
  • Licensing Credentials and Accreditations: Licensed by the Washington State Workforce Training and Education Board
  • Student/Teacher Ratio: 19:1

Certifications and Endorsements Offered by Taylor Driving Schools

Taylor Driving Schools specialize in Class A CDL programs. Their Class A CDL program lasts 160 hours, of which 26 hours are spent behind the wheel with a qualified instructor.

The program gives students all of the skills and knowledge required to get their trucking careers off the ground. They also offer Class A CDL upgrade courses, which are there to help those looking to drive a specialized commercial vehicle, such as a truck hauling an extended trailer.

They also offer Class A CDL refresher courses with reduced fees and HAZMAT training courses, which last at least 16 hours each.

Program Details

Their Class A CDL program gives students at least eight more hours of on-road training than is mandated by the state, ensuring students are equipped for their licensing skills test.

The school also takes pride in offering its students the opportunity to train with recent and well-maintained equipment, which means students are trained on trucks and trailers no older than 2003 models.

All of their equipment meets state regulations and is inspected regularly for safety and performance.

They also have a solid reputation with local employers, which means graduates from a Taylor Driving School program will stand a good chance of landing a nearby entry-level driving position.

  • Location: 405 Porter Way, Milton, Washington 98354
  • Website: www.cdlaclass.com
  • Average Tuition Cost: $4,000
  • Average Class Size: 15
  • Licensing Credentials and Accreditations: Licensed by the Washington State Workforce Training and Education Board
  • Student/Teacher Ratio: 15:1

Certifications and Endorsements Offered by A Class Training

A Class Training School focuses exclusively on preparing students to earn a Class A commercial driver’s license. Their Class A program consists of 40 hours of in-class learning, 16 hours of backing, 18 of on-road drive training, 70 hours of observation training, and a final 16 hours of driving proficiency training.

All of their in-class and on-road training meets state and federal regulations, so students will have the knowledge and skills required to earn their license, as well as the know-how to safely operate a commercial vehicle after entering the workforce.

Program Details

The program condenses lessons into the shortest period possible, so students can get on the road and into a job as quickly as possible. Most students can graduate in as little as four weeks; however, those with less flexible schedules can stretch the program out over six weeks.

All students will learn in relevant commercial vehicles that are routinely updated and inspected. Graduating from A Class Training will give you everything you need to get your trucking career started in Washington State.

Best CDL School in Auburn, WA:
CDS Commercial Driver School

  • Location: 4305 Auburn Way N., Auburn, Washington 98002
  • Website: www.cdstruckschool.com
  • Average Tuition Cost: $4,195
  • Average Class Size: 3 in class, 1 on 1 on-road
  • Licensing Credentials and Accreditations: Licensed by the Washington State Workforce Training and Education Board
  • Student/Teacher Ratio: 3:1

Certifications and Endorsements Offered by CDS Commercial Driver School

CDS Commercial Driver School offers four driving programs that correspond with one of Washington’s commercial driver’s licenses. They also offer HAZMAT training courses, which is beneficial for those who want the option to haul hazardous materials.

  • Class A Program: 160-hour program teaches students how to haul vehicles that weigh over 26,000 pounds and how to haul trailers that weigh over 10,000 pounds.

  • Class B (Bus) Program: 110-hour program teaches students how to drive commercial buses that weigh over 26,000 pounds.

  • Class B (Truck) Program: 80-hour program teaches students to drive combination vehicles that weigh over 26,000 with no trailer.

  • Class C Program: 94-hour program that teaches single/combo vehicles that do not require a Class A or B license.

Program Details

CDS Commercial Driver School programs are available to students at four convenient campus locations. In addition to the main campus in Auburn, they also have schools in Port Orchard, Lakewood, and Olympia. 

Fully qualified instructors teach all programs, and each student will experience personalized training. The schools also offer local and regional job placement assistance, which will take your CDL license, location preferences, and more into consideration to help you find the perfect driving position.

Best CDL School in Everett, WA:
CDL Dragons Truck School

  • Location: 4602 Seahurst Avenue, Everett, Washington 98203
  • Website: www.cdldragonstruckschool.com
  • Average Tuition Cost: $3,500
  • Average Class Size: 6
  • Licensing Credentials and Accreditations: Licensed by the Washington State Workforce Training and Education Board
  • Student/Teacher Ratio: 3:1

Certifications and Endorsements Offered by CDL Dragon’s Truck School

CDL Dragon’s Truck School teaches students how to get started in the transportation industry by preparing them for a Class A CDL.

The 160-hour program breaks down in the following way:

  • 70 hours of in-class learning and observation

  • 18 hours of on-street driving 

  • 16 hours of in-truck backing learning

  • 16 hours of driving proficiency

  • 40 additional hours of miscellaneous studies

The course will cover a wide variety of topics related to the trucking and transportation industry. Students will learn everything from driving in extreme conditions to preventative maintenance.

Program Details

The school places importance on teaching small classes and boasts an average class size of six students. Individualized learning and training is the key to the program’s success.

They also offer modern computer training programs to simulate real-life driving scenarios. Simulator training supplements traditional textbook learning, and it ensures that the student is fully prepared for the on-road component of the program.

Students learn by driving a variety of trucks, including a Volvo freightliner manual shift and a Volvo automatic shift.

Best CDL School in Tacoma, WA:
Pacific NW Driving School

  • Location: 1321 109th Street E., Tacoma, Washington 98445
  • Website: www.pacificnwpds.com
  • Average Tuition Cost: $4,500
  • Average Class Size: 10
  • Licensing Credentials and Accreditations: Member of the Commercial Vehicle Training Association (CVTA)
  • Student/Teacher Ratio: 5:1

Certifications and Endorsements Offered by Pacific NW Driving School

Pacific NW Driving School offers a standard Class A CDL program, as well as a HAZMAT course and a Bus Endorsement.

The program itself lasts four weeks, and each week consists of 40 hours of training. 

  • Week 1 - 40 hours of in-class learning

  • Week 2 – 40 hours of field and lab training on backing, turning, and docking

  • Week 3 – 40 hours of on-road training

  • Week 4 – 40 hours of pre-trip planning and in-cab inspection, as well as finalizing on-road learning

Program Details

A management team that ran a fleet of 35 trucks before they became educators started the program. Their previous experiences in the trucking industry ensure that students learn from instructors who have the industry knowledge and can prepare students for a trucking career.

They also have an outstanding placement rate and work with some of the top trucking companies to help get their students started in the trucking industry. They provide placement services for life, so graduates can get help finding employers long after they have graduated.

Best CDL School in Vancouver, WA:
Elite Truck School

  • Location: 560 SE 4th Avenue, Suite 230, Hillsboro, OR 97123
  • Website: www.elitetruckschool.com
  • Average Tuition Cost: $4,200
  • Average Class Size: 9
  • Licensing Credentials and Accreditations: Better Business Bureau accreditation
  • Student/Teacher Ratio: 9:1

Certifications and Endorsements Offered by Elite Truck School

Elite Truck School offers a Class A CDL truck driver training program. While the school is near Portland, Oregon, it has placement opportunities in Vancouver, Washington.

Their program consists of 160 hours of in-class and on-road training. Each student will benefit from small class sizes and a learning experience that combines professional instruction with the latest equipment. 

Program Details

Their campus is fitted with its loading dock, which gives students plenty of experience backing and unloading. Small in-class groups and an on-yard training ratio of 3 to 1 ensure that each student receives personalized instruction.

The school uses modern equipment, rather than the outdated trucks and trailers you get at some schools. They also provide CDL practice tests, so graduates are prepared for their certification tests.

Best CDL School in Mount Vernon, WA:
Skagit City Trucking School, LLC.

  • Location: 2418 Old Highway 99 S., Mount Vernon, Washington 98273
  • Website: www.skagitcitytruckschool.com
  • Average Tuition Cost: $3,900
  • Average Class Size: 10
  • Licensing Credentials and Accreditations: Licensed by the Washington State Workforce Training and Education Board
  • Student/Teacher Ratio: 5:1

Certifications and Endorsements Offered by Skagit City Trucking School

Skagit City Trucking School offers two programs – a Class A CDL Training Course and a Class B & C CDL Training Course.

The Class A program consists of 160 hours of instruction. The program involves 20 days of study, with each day lasting eight hours. The program follows federal and state curriculum guidelines and equips students with all of the knowledge and skills required to obtain a Class A CDL.

The Class B & C program involves 80 hours of learning. It also follows federal and state guidelines to ensure graduates are ready to take either the Class B or Class C CDL tests.

Program Details

The school is one of the highest-ranked in Washington and is known for providing students with the opportunity to learn from experienced and qualified instructors.

They offer flexible learning opportunities, including reduced fee night and weekend classes. The school also boasts an impressive graduation and employment rate of 98%, so there is a good chance you will land a job after enrolling in one of Skagit City Trucking School’s training programs.

Why Start a Trucking Career in Washington?

Washington State offers numerous advantages to those looking to get started in a trucking career. Just some of the reasons why you should start your career in Washington include:

  • Washington is one of the most beautiful states in the breathtaking Pacific Northwest region. If you are going to be spending your days driving, you might as well take in some stunning scenery as you do your job.

  • Washington is an extremely tax-friendly state. With no personal income tax, you will be able to keep more of the money you earn.

  • There are plenty of job opportunities for truck drivers in Washington State.

  • The state is a paradise for those that love the outdoors. With mountains, lakes, and the Pacific Ocean nearby, there is plenty to do, such as kayaking, fishing, hiking, camping, surfing, and more. Given how much time truck drivers spend on the road, it can be valuable to live somewhere that allows you to enjoy your downtime.

  • The state is home to numerous trucking schools and thriving trucking industry, so education and employment opportunities are plentiful.

Overall, Washington State offers truck drivers a high standard of living and a beautiful place to call home. Most enjoy driving through the state’s vast and visually appealing landscape. The earning potential is also relatively high, both for experienced drivers and those just starting in the industry.

Truck Driving Salary and Job Outlook in Washington

Washington State offers relatively high salaries for both inexperienced and experienced truck drivers. Due to the state’s favorable corporate tax rules, plenty of companies are willing to pay truck drivers. There are more job opportunities for truckers in the Pacific Northwest than just about any other region in the United States.

Many trucking companies in Washington State also compensate their drivers with impressive benefits programs. 

  • Entry-level truck drivers with less than one year of driving experience make an average salary of $74,000 per year in Washington State.

  • Mid-level salaries average around $84,200 per year, which means those that have between five and nine years of driving experience earn about $10,000 more per year than those just starting.

  • Master-level drivers, meaning those with more than ten years of driving experience, will earn an average salary of over $89,000 per year.

Most companies will pay owner-operator truck drivers a series of bonuses and compensate drivers for the number of miles they travel and the type of load they are transporting.

Average truck driver salaries in Washington State are somewhat higher than in most regions of the United States. If you want to earn a decent living as a truck driver, you should not overlook the state of Washington.

Conclusion 

Washington State is home to a variety of good trucking schools. All of the schools listed above provide students with a personalized learning experience. If you are looking to start a career as a truck driver and one of the schools we reviewed is nearby, you should consider looking into what they have to offer.

People Also Ask

There’s a lot to consider when choosing a trucking school. If you still have some questions about the process in Washington, take a look at these commonly asked questions.

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

Most trucking companies will not pay for you to get your CDL; however, certain employers will pay for additional training courses once hired. Some companies may also help cover some of the fees associated with keeping your CDL in good standing.

Can You Get Financial Aid For Trucking School In Washington?

Yes, financial aid is available for those who need help paying for a trucking program. Most of the financial assistance is for military veterans and those that qualify for second career grants.

Where Do I Find The Washington State CDL Practice Test?

Most schools will provide you with a copy of Washington State’s CDL practice test as part of your program. Each school wants its students to pass, so they will help you practice ahead of time.

When Do You Need a CDL in Washington State?

Anyone that is looking to drive a commercial vehicle needs a CDL in Washington State. That said, the particular class of CDL you need will depend on the type and size of vehicle you plan on driving.

How Much Does It Cost To Get a CDL in Washington State?

The cost of a CDL in Washington State will depend on several factors, such as the classification of the license you want. The skills test costs $225, and the knowledge test is another $102. However, these costs do not include the tuition you would have to pay to enroll in a truck driver training program. With schooling, a CDL tends to cost between $3,000 and $5,000.

How Long Does It Take To Get a CDL License in Washington State?

On average, it takes about seven weeks to earn a CDL when attending a full-time truck driving training program in Washington.

How Long is a Washington State CDL Good For?

A CDL is valid for five years before it needs to be renewed. However, you must maintain it, which means getting regular physicals to prove you can drive safely.

How to Change CDL Driver License From Another State to Washington State

You can visit a Washington State Registry or Department of Motor Vehicles to change your CDL. It is worth noting that this usually involves paying a transfer fee. 

What States Offer Reciprocal CDL Licensing With Washington State?

Washington State does not have any CDL reciprocal agreements with other states. If you plan on moving to another state, you will likely have to transfer your CDL to your new state.



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.