Truck Driving Schools in Illinois
Ready to start your new career as a truck driver? There are 51 schools with truck driver training programs in Illinois, and most of them are dedicated truck driver training centers. No matter where you live in Illinois, you are probably very close to a truck driving school. The cost of tuition varies widely between schools, but the average cost of tuition in Illinois is $8305. Most programs qualify for federal student aid, so if you qualify for student loans or grants, you can use them in a truck driving program. There are also many scholarship opportunities available, and the average scholarship award in Illinois is $2654.
Completing CDL Training in Illinois
Truck driving programs are divided into two parts: a classroom portion and a behind-the-wheel portion. The first part of your program is designed to prepare you for the written exam that you have to take to earn a commercial driver's license. You can expect to learn about driving laws, how to safely handle a truck, and how to handle emergencies. The second part of your program involves getting behind the wheel of a large truck and learning how to drive it. This part of your education is done one-on-one with an instructor, who helps you become comfortable with the world of truck driving. In total, you can expect to spend about four to ten weeks in a truck driving program.
Earning Your Illinois CDL
Your truck driving training program should adequately prepare you to earn a commercial driver's license (CDL) in Illinois. The first part of earning your CDL is passing the written exam. When you apply to take both the written and skills exam, you have to pay a $50 fee to the DMV of Illinois. Before you can demonstrate your driving skills, you must successfully pass the written exam. After passing the written exam, you go on to complete the skills exam, which includes three parts: pre-trip inspection, basic skills test, and a driving test.
Working in the Illinois Trucking Industry
As the country comes to rely more on interstate transit, the need for truck drivers has continued to grow. Job openings for truck drivers are expected to increase 21% between 2010 and 2020, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This is expected to result in over 330,000 new truck driving jobs throughout the decade (BLS, 2010).
Many new truck drivers look forward to earning a great salary in Illinois. According to O*Net, the median salary for a truck driver in Illinois is $42,800 per year. Most truck drivers in Illinois earn between $27,500 per year and $69,200 per year (O*Net, 2012). Many truck driving companies also offer sign-on bonuses two new drivers.
Top Illinois Trucking Companies
Even though you may be based in Illinois, your truck driving career may take you all over the country. Whether you travel in Illinois, in the Midwest, or throughout the country depends mostly on your employer and their needs. If you only drive within Illinois, you may be able to return home nightly or several times per week. However, most truck drivers return home once per week or once every two weeks. Some of the largest truck driving employers in Illinois are C.R. England, Premier Transportation, and West Side Transport. You should be good at working independently, as truck drivers spend most of their time on the road alone.
For many people, Illinois is a wonderful state to call home. It offers a great combination of large cities, developed suburbs, and quiet rural areas. Even if you live in a suburban or rural area, it's likely that you are just a short drive away from the nearest city and all it has to offer. Some of the biggest cities in Illinois include Aurora, Chicago, and Rockford. According to Sperling's Best Places, the cost of living in Illinois is in line with the national average. Reasonable home prices in Illinois can give you the opportunity of becoming a homeowner.