If you love life on the road, then a career as a commercial truck driver is a good choice for you. Trucking provides you with the opportunity to travel across different places and enjoy varying sceneries, people, and cultures.
The one good thing about being a truck driver is that you will earn a living out of a good salary while enjoying the benefits mentioned earlier.
This article will explore some of the best truck driving schools in West Virginia where you can obtain your commercial driver's license (CDL) to enable you to start a fulfilling career in the trucking industry.
Let's jump in!
Data on Trucking Schools in West Virginia
- Total Schools: 13
- Number of Undergraduate Programs: 8
- Number of Graduate Programs: 1
- Average Acceptance Rate: 63%
- Average Tuition Cost: $4,098
- Average Loan Amount: $5,169
- Average Scholarship Award: $1,473
- Average Classroom Size: 14 students
- Average Length of Program: 6-8 weeks
CDL Requirements in West Virginia
To obtain your CDL in West Virginia, you will be required to fulfill the following:
You have to be at least 18 years of age, with two years of driving experience.
Commercial Driver's Instruction Permit
You have to obtain this permit, which is issued to applicants who hold a valid operator's or Class D license, have passed the required knowledge tests, and have passed the physical and vision standards
You are also eligible for the permit if you have held a Class E or D license or a level 3 Graduated Driver's License for at least one year.
You must hold the permit for 14 days minimum before taking the road skills test.
The permit is valid for 180 days and only renewable once.
You will be required to make all the necessary payments, such as the CDL testing fee, driver's license fees, and endorsement fees.
Department of Transportation (DOT) Medical Certification: The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requires that all commercial drivers should take a DOT physical checkup to ensure they are physically fit for commercial driving.
You may have to add some endorsements to your CDL, like the Hazardous Materials (HazMat) endorsement, for which a background check on you is mandatory.
CDL Skills Test
The instruction permit allows you to take the skills test through a Third Party Examiner. You will have to provide the test vehicle, which has to represent the class for which you are testing.
The test is in three parts comprising the knowledge test, endorsement knowledge test, and skills test.
CDL Variations Available in West Virginia
CDL variations are put in place to tell apart the type or class of vehicles each state allows a driver to handle. The following CDL classes apply in West Virginia.
Class A CDL
The Class A CDL is required to drive any combination of vehicles whose Gross Combination Weight Rating (GCWR) is over 26,000 pounds. These vehicles should tow units whose Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) is over 10,000 pounds.
With a Class A CDL, you can drive Class B and Class C vehicles, provided you have met the necessary endorsements.
Class A CDL drivers may operate tractor-trailers, double and triple trailers, flatbeds, tractor-trailer buses, livestock carriers, truck and trailer combinations, and tanker trailers.
Class B CDL
The Class B CDL is for any single vehicle with a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating of over 26,000 pounds or any such vehicle towing a unit whose Gross Vehicle Weight does not exceed 10,000 pounds.
With a Class B CDL, you can drive a Class C vehicle if you have the proper endorsements, but not a Class A vehicle.
Drivers with Class B CDL can drive dump trucks with small trailers, straight trucks, large buses (like tourist buses, school buses, and city buses), and box trucks such as delivery trucks.
Class C CDL
A Class C CDL applies for vehicles that do not require a CDL. These are vehicles that are not over 26,000 pounds. However, this class may require a CDL when one is needed to attach an endorsement under the following four conditions:
- When operating a vehicle with a passenger capacity of 16 or more, including the driver but whose GVWR is not beyond 26,000 pounds, you need the Passenger Vehicles Endorsement (P).
- When operating a Hazardous Materials vehicle that requires placarding and whose GVWR doesn't exceed 26,000 pounds, you have to have the Hazardous Materials Endorsement (H).
- When operating a school bus whose GVWR doesn't exceed 26,000 pounds, you need both the Passenger Vehicles Endorsement and the School Bus Endorsement (S).
- When operating a vehicle with a tank whose capacity is above 1,000 gallons but whose GVWR is not over 26,000 pounds, you will need the Tank Vehicle Endorsement (T).
If you have the Class C CDL, you can't drive a Class A or Class B vehicle.
Review of the Best CDL Trucking Schools in West Virginia
If you are all geared up now and can't wait to learn of the best CDL trucking schools in West Virginia, your moment is here. Be sure to read through our carefully considered list and find a school that will best fulfill your professional truck driver career needs.
- Locations: Wheeling and Kearneysville
- Website: https://www.allstatecareer.edu/programs/commercial-driving.html
- Average Tuition Cost: $9,500
- Average Class Size: 10
- Licensing Credentials and Accreditations: Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI) for some locations, Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC), Truck Driver Institute
- Student:Teacher Ratio: 4:1 in the truck
Certifications and Endorsements Offered By All-State Career School
The school offers several trucking courses as outlined below:
- Class A CDL Driving
- Class B CDL Driving
- Commercial Truck Driver Training
- Advanced Tractor Trailer Driving
The Advanced Tractor Trailer Driving course is offered at the school's Baltimore Campus, MD, and takes 24 weeks (six months), after which you receive an undergraduate certificate.
In West Virginia, the Class A CDL Driving course happens in both the Wheeling and Kearneysville Campus. Students receive a diploma certificate after completing this 194-hour course in five weeks.
The Class B CDL Driving course happens at the Wheeling Campus and leads to a certificate of completion after three weeks with a 72-hour course span.
The school also offers a diploma through its Commercial Truck Driver Training, but which happens at the Pittsburgh Campus, PA, and Essington Trades Campus, PA. Out of the 480 total contact hours, students enjoy 240 hours in the truck, with 60 hours spent on direct driving.
The school offers both in-class and on-the-road CDL training systems. Students in the Class A course learn about vehicles, pre-trip inspection, emergency protocol, basic truck driving controls, cargo handling, among others.
The driving range involves behind-the-wheel learning through which students learn how to operate and control the vehicle on a one-on-one basis by experienced instructors.
Class B CDL students advance to the yard, other than classroom classes, to learn how to dock, parallel park, and back up.
In addition to trucking skills, students learn and receive other services such as:
- Training on asking for interviews over the phone
- CDL driving career information
- Training on filling out employment applications
- Instructions on interpersonal relations and interview techniques.
Financial aid is available through federal loans and the Workforce Investment Act.
- Locations: Charleston, Clarksburg, Weirton
- Website: https://jumpstartcareertraining.com/
- Average Tuition Cost: $5,595
- Average Class Size: 12
- Licensing Credentials and Accreditations: Not specified
- Student:Teacher Ratio: 4:1
Certifications and Endorsements Offered By Jumpstart Training Center
Jumpstart Training Center offers a Class A CDL Drivers course. The course prepares students for the Class A CDL test and optional license endorsements such as Tanker, Double/Triple, and HazMat.
The Class A CDL program at Jumpstart Training Center covers areas such as:
- Trip planning
- Government regulations
- Hours of service acceptable for drivers
- Vehicle operating systems
The course utilizes both in-class and outdoor practical training sessions. The outdoor sessions enhance students' driving skills with emphasis on safe driving.
The practical training sessions happen on a practice yard, rural roads, local streets, and highways, depending on the student's level.
Unlike most other schools, Jumpstart Training Center provides a training truck for its graduates during the CDL skills test.
The center has two training schedules. The main one runs from Monday to Thursday and lasts for 160 hours, 40 hours per week for four weeks. The second option runs on Saturday and Sunday for 160 hours at 20 hours per week for eight weeks.
The center provides state-of-the-art equipment like Freightliner tractors, 48-foot trailers, and cabs with separate seats for each student for training.
Financial aid is available through WIOA, West Virginia Division of Rehab Services, Veteran Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (VR&E), and Military/Veteran Benefits through the G. I. Bill.
- Locations: Chapmanville
- Website: https://www.gobctc.com/truck-driving-academy
- Average Tuition Cost: $4,400
- Average Class Size: 10
- Licensing Credentials and Accreditations: Commission of the Council on Occupational Education
- Student:Teacher Ratio: 4:1
Certifications and Endorsements Offered By Boone Career and Technical Center
Boone County Truck Driving Academy offers students a Class A CDL trucking course that prepares them for the West Virginia three-part CDL exam. The course duration is six weeks.
The Boone Career and Technical Center (BCTC) trucking course runs from Monday to Friday and involves both in-class and hands-on training in varying commercial motor vehicle types.
The classroom variation accounts for 40 hours where students learn trip planning, map reading, load distribution, hours of service, and how to maintain logbooks.
Other aspects students train in include:
- Backing practices
- Safe driving
- Vehicle inspections
- Drop and hook procedures
The student drivers must be at least 18 years old with two years of licensed driving experience.
Some of the financial aid sources include Veteran Affairs, Division of Rehabilitation, and Workforce Investment Act.
- Locations: 2 - Williamstown and St. Clairsville, Ohio
- Website: https://ovtdts.com/
- Average Tuition Cost: $4,000
- Average Class Size: 8
- Licensing Credentials and Accreditations: Ohio Department of Public Safety, Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
- Student:Teacher Ratio: 4:1
Certifications and Endorsements Offered By Ohio Valley Truck Driver Training School
For over 25 years, the Ohio Valley Truck Driver Training School (OVTDTS) has offered both Class A and Class B CDL programs and has over 5,000 graduates. Students receive a certificate of completion after the course duration of five weeks.
From 1st September 2020, OVTDTS began a partnership with Belmont College to offer the two truck driving courses at the college's St. Clairsville Campus in Ohio.
A refresher course for current Class A/B licensees who need extra training is available at the Belmont College Truck Driving Academy.
As a plus, the school offers Class B training inside the Class A course at no additional cost to the students.
The school offers both classroom and outdoor training sessions. Classroom training entails some aspects such as:
- Vehicle safety
- Air brakes
- Logbook practices
- Preventative Maintenance
- Map reading
- Pre-trip Preparation
- Coupling and Uncoupling
- Weight Distribution and Proper Loading
- Handling Hazardous Materials
The outdoor (range and road) course trains on various skills, including:
- Safe operating procedures
- Speed management
- Night operations
- Basic control systems
- Extreme driving conditions
- Visual search
Daytime classes that run from Monday to Friday are available.
Workforce Funds financial aid is available for qualifying students.
New classes at the Williamstown campus start every two weeks.
- Locations: Beaver, Princeton, Lewisburg, Summerville
- Website: https://www.newriver.edu/cdl/
- Average Tuition Cost: $6,500
- Average Class Size: 30
- Licensing Credentials and Accreditations: Higher Learning Commission
- Student:Teacher Ratio: 15:1
Certifications and Endorsements Offered By New River Community and Technical College
New River CTC has a Class A CDL program that takes six weeks and leads to a Certificate of Completion. The certificate course comprises 180 hours, exceeding the standard requirement of 150 or 160 hours.
The school also offers a Class B CDL program that includes the school bus and passenger endorsement. Students should complete all the endorsements at the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV.)
The school offers students various certification and endorsement options, including:
- Commercial Learner's Permit (CLP)
- Class A License
- Doubles and Triples endorsement
- School bus and Passenger endorsement
- Tanker endorsement
- HazMat endorsement
Students enjoy both classroom and hands-on training with guaranteed small class sizes.
Unlike most other schools, the college offers testing on site.
New River CTC CDL graduates earn an average of $40,000 in their first working year and between $60,000 and $100,000 as experienced drivers with companies like Schneider, Pepsi, Coke, Budweiser, Sysco, US Foods, Paschall, Werner, Averitt, among others.
What Should I Look For in a Trucking School in WV?
To avoid hitting a dead end in your new trucking career, it is crucial to consider some of the aspects below when looking for the best trucking school in West Virginia.
The total cost of the CDL program varies from one school to another. For schools located closely in one region, the tuition cost usually differs by $500-$1,000 between schools. As such, there is a need to research further to see why some schools are charging more.
While it is true that cheap doesn't always mean poor quality, expensive also doesn't always translate into high quality. Due diligence is needed to examine the standard and unique aspects of each program.
A school with a favorable student to instructor ratio, modern equipment, accreditation, and better job placements is likely to charge more than the ordinary ones that do not go beyond the common offers.
It is best to evaluate the cost of the programs in close relation to the size of your total budget so that you don't have to incur too much debt in the form of trucking school student loans.
The best school to attend is the one closest to your home as long as it offers excellent value for your money. However, you might have to travel farther from home each day or look for accommodation throughout the length of the program.
Having to attend classes in a faraway place means you have to cover extra costs for daily commuting or accommodation.
If you choose a school outside of West Virginia, you need to ensure that the out-of-state CDL is transferable to your home state.
Ensure that the program meets the minimum requirement for the number of hours to obtain your CDL in West Virginia.
Length of the Program
You might come across schools promising to train you in two weeks or less, which is impractical. The average duration of CDL programs is 6-8 weeks, with some schools taking it as far as 12-24 weeks.
Full-time students complete CDL training in 6-8 weeks because they study every day, five days a week. Part-timers take between 12 weeks up to six months, depending on their availability for classes.
The standard requirement is at least 160 hours of CDL training, which most schools in West Virginia observe. Be sure to ask at the school how long their CDL program takes.
Some other key factors to consider when choosing a trucking school include:
- The ratio of instructors to students- the lower the number of students each instructor serves, the better
- Number and nature of instructors- look for a school with many job-loving instructors whose experience spans years in the industry
- Behind-the-wheel time- the more time you spend behind the steering wheel, the better for you as you will gain more experience
- Job placement opportunities that the school offers
- Accreditation- students and employers trust schools with some certification or accreditation
Why Start a Trucking Career in West Virginia?
If you are considering a career in the trucking industry, the following are some of the reasons you should consider starting it in West Virginia.
The average annual salary for truckers in West Virginia stands at $45,171 as of March 2021. The average derives from salary amounts between $24,315 and $76,760.
Salary levels differ depending on experience, place of work, education level, years on the job, bonuses, and seniority at the workplace.
Trucking companies in West Virginia usually allow their drivers to operate on a flexible work-life schedule through flexible work hours or contracts. In such companies, drivers can pick the type of driving hours or contracts they want.
Finding a favorable work schedule helps you maintain a proper work-life balance with time available for yourself and your family.
Other than the attractive annual salaries, truckers enjoy other employee benefits such as paid sick offs, paid vacations, life insurance, medical insurance, retirement plans, and dental and vision insurance.
The extra benefits vary depending on the trucking company, although most of these cut across the board.
West Virginia's Improved Road System
In 2019, the Annual Highway Report by Reason Foundation ranked West Virginia's highway system in position 16 in the country. The new rank improved from the 2018 report by the same foundation where the state had ranked 36th nationally.
Out of the various ranking criteria, West Virginia ranked in several top ten positions in things like the least amount of urban congestion, maintenance disbursements, and the fewest non-interstate principal arterial percent in poor condition.
The improvement means to truckers that road quality is high and congestion is low; hence a lot of time is saved when driving. It also means that the state attracts more people and business, which expands opportunities across different economic sectors.
Truck Driving Salary and Job Outlook in West Virginia
Although there aren't many companies hiring truckers in West Virginia as per ZipRecruiter, the state ranks 32 out of the 50 states for CDL truck drivers’ salaries.
Parkersburg and Morgantown are the two top-paying West Virginia cities for truck driver salaries at $47,840 and $45,428.
Some of the related CDL truck driver positions where you can earn more than the driver position include:
- Team Truck Driver - $74,374
- CDL Team Truck Driver - $69,335
- CDL Trucking - $66,174
- Vice President CDL Truck Driver - $65,100
- Locum Tenens CDL Truck Driver - $64,454
The disparities in salary levels suggest that there are many opportunities to advance in a trucking career in the state and earn more based on years of experience, skills level, location, position held, and the company that employs you.
Finding the best CDL trucking school in West Virginia becomes an easy task if you consider our comprehensive review of the top schools, the factors to consider when choosing one, and why you should start a trucking career in the state.
At Trucker Geek, we want the best for you, which is why we carefully consider our round-up to bring you only the best options. For future reference, feel free to bookmark this article by keying in Ctrl-D on your keyboard.
People Also Ask
Since you may still have some burning questions about CDL trucking, we dedicate this last section to answering them to help you make a more informed decision that you will be proud of in later years.
Let's see what some of these questions are.
Do Trucking Companies In West Virginia Pay You To Get Your CDL?
Some trucking companies in West Virginia will pay you to get your CDL through their paid or company-sponsored CDL programs. Some of these companies include:
- Central Oregon Truck Company
- Western Express
- Prime Trucking
- Averitt Express
- W. L. Logan Trucking
- Transport America
- Maybach International
- Schneider Trucking School and Company
Be sure to note that some of these companies have their bases in other states but usually have vacancies for West Virginia truck drivers.
Can You Get Financial Aid For Trucking School In West Virginia?
It is possible to get financial aid for a trucking school in West Virginia. Such assistance may be from the state and federal governments and scholarships from the school or supportive foundations.
The Women in Trucking Foundation, for example, awards scholarships twice a year to female students looking to advance their careers in the fields of driving, technical, leadership, or safety in the trucking industry.
Some other sources of financial aid include:
- Fast Forward Grant Funding (formally recognized as the Workforce Credentials Grant Program)
- Workforce Funding (Workforce Innovation & Opportunity Act- WIOA)
- Veteran Funding through Veteran Educational Benefits
- Pell Grants
How Much Does It Cost To Get Your CDL in WV?
It will cost you about $4,098 in tuition fees to obtain your CDL in West Virginia. The fee amount varies from one school to another by a $500-$1,000 margin depending on the school's uniqueness and the CDL class variation that you want.
Other costs to factor include DOT drug screening fee, DOT physical exam fee, endorsement fees, DMV CDL test fees, and accommodation and commuting expenses if the school is far away from your locality.
Through the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, veterans may enjoy the liberty of not taking the driving skills test if they served well as drivers for at least two years in their military career.
The Military Skills Test Waiver thus eliminates the DMV CDL test fees for veterans.
Do You Have To Go To School To Get Your CDL in WV?
You are required to go to a truck driving school to get your CDL in West Virginia. The school offers different modules like classroom learning and on-the-road training to prepare you for the CDL skills test.
How Long Is Trucking School in West Virginia?
The average trucking school study duration is 6-8 weeks in West Virginia. You might take a bit longer, up to 12 weeks as a full-time student depending on the school you attend.
As a part-time student, it may take you even up to six months, depending on your availability to attend classes.