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CDL Training in New York

Getting your commercial driver’s license (CDL) is one of the first steps in becoming a professional truck driver, and driving in New York can be the perfect starting point.

As the third-highest paying state for heavy and tractor-trailer drivers in the country, New York boasts an 8% projected job growth for this career, which is higher than the national average, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This makes the Empire State an ideal place to begin your CDL training.

In this guide, you’ll find information on CDL requirements, CDL training topics, and the cost of truck driving schools in New York.

CDL A Requirements in New York

Before starting your CDL training, you need to make sure you’re eligible to obtain a CDL. To get a CDL in New York, you must meet the following requirements:

  • Be at least 21 years of age
  • Provide proof of U.S. citizenship or residency
  • Provide proof of New York residency
  • Have a Social Security card
  • Hold a New York driver’s license that hasn’t been revoked, canceled, or suspended
  • Able to read, write, and speak English well enough to understand traffic signs, hold a conversation, answer officials, fill out reports, and take a road skills test
  • Self-certify to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) the kind of commercial vehicle you expect to operate
  • Pass the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) medical examination and provide the DMV with a copy of your Medical Examiner’s Certificate
  • Provide consent to alcohol and drug testing

Once you’ve completed your initial CDL application and passed the written knowledge tests, you’ll receive your New York commercial learner’s permit (CLP) and can begin your CDL training program to work on your road skills. Then, to get your New York CDL, you’ll need to:

What Disqualifies You From Getting a CDL in New York?

In New York, you’ll be disqualified from getting a CDL if you drive a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) without a commercial learner’s permit or commercial driver’s license. Current CDL holders in New York are disqualified if they commit the following offenses:

  • Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • Committing a felony while using a CMV
  • Causing a fatality through negligent operation of a CMV
  • Refusing to take a BAC test
  • Serious traffic violations
  • Railroad-highway grade crossing violations
  • Operating an out-of-service vehicle
  • Leaving the scene of an accident
  • Driving an uninsured vehicle
  • Failing to pay traffic tickets

Under federal law, individuals can be disqualified from obtaining a CDL if convicted of the following felonies:

  • Using a commercial vehicle in the commission of a felony
  • Manslaughter in the first or second degree with a motor vehicle
  • Misconduct with a motor vehicle
  • Causing a fatality through negligent/reckless vehicle operation
  • Operating a vehicle with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08% or higher

Some violations may suspend your CDL for a few months or even a few years. Second-time offenses can lead to lifetime CDL suspensions.

CDL Training Classes in New York

A comprehensive CDL training program should be run by certified and experienced driving instructors and include practical and theoretical education both in the classroom and on the road.

On Feb. 7, 2022, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) Entry-Level Driver Training (ELDT) regulations go into effect. This means all CDL A applicants must undergo training from a registered training provider before earning their CDL.

A school listed in the FMCSA Training Provider Registry would have a curriculum comprising knowledge and behind-the-wheel training. Topics covered in the theory training include:

  • Basic operation
  • Safe operating procedures
  • Advanced operation procedures
  • Vehicle systems and reporting malfunctions
  • Non-driving activities

The behind-the-wheel training takes place on a public road or range and involves operating a CMV and learning vehicle control skills and maneuvers.

The New York Department of Motor Vehicles recommends that CDL applicants pay special attention to sections 11-13 of the CDL manual during training, especially the information on Air Brake Checks and Pre-Trip Inspections.

How Much Does CDL Training Cost in New York?

CDL training in New York generally ranges from $1,100 to more than $6,000. The cost ultimately depends on the number of hours, what you’ll be covering, and if you attend a public or private institution. For instance, a community college in New York, such as Genesee Valley BOCES, costs $3,950 for 165 training hours of classroom and drive time. Shore Driving School, a private independent truck driving school, is priced at $4,540 for 20 two-hour driving lessons.

If this feels out of reach, you can also opt for company-paid training, where you learn at a school managed by a trucking carrier. Companies in New York that offer CDL training include national carriers such as Swift Transportation and Schneider. While your training is free at these employer-sponsored programs, you’re usually obligated to work for the company for a pre-determined amount of time after receiving your CDL, or else repay the company for the cost of the training.

How Long Does It Take to Get a Class A CDL in New York?

Earning your CDL A typically takes anywhere from four weeks to three months in New York. The amount of time needed to complete the process is based upon the length of your CDL training program and your availability.

How to Pay for Truck Driving School in New York

Truck driving school can be expensive if you’re paying for it all out of pocket, especially when many independent CDL schools don’t have programs that qualify for federal financial aid.

Fortunately, scholarships and grants can help you pay your way. For example, in New York, the ATHENA Adult Scholarship offers $1,000-$2,000 to returning, non-traditional female students enrolled in a New York college and pursuing degrees or vocational certificates. This scholarship is part of the Community Foundations of the Hudson Valley Scholarships, which offers numerous awards to Hudson Valley area residents for trade school education.

New York residents who qualify can also take advantage of the New York State Tuition Assistance Program (TAP). This grant supplies up to $5,665 to eligible students.

How to Choose the Best CDL Training Program

Finding the right CDL training program for you means spending considerable time researching CDL schools. Check out truck driving school reviews and talk to alumni about their experience. Inquire about students’ CDL test pass rates and see where graduates are employed.

Pay attention to the school’s curriculum and additional benefits offered. Does the school have a job placement option or a strong alumni network? Does it have third-party testing status to help expedite the CDL process? You may also want to calculate the program’s costs and see if they have an affordable payment plan or refund options available.

Consider your schedule and needs as well. If you’re working or have other responsibilities, perhaps a shorter program or training that offers flexible hours is more suitable. Location may also play a factor if proximity to home is important to you.

Resources for Truck Driving Students in New York

New York State Department of Motor Vehicles
The DMV is the state government authority on matters relating to driver licensing and education.

New York State Commercial Driver’s Manual
This comprehensive manual from the DMV provides details on the knowledge, endorsement, and road skills tests.

Trucking Association of New York
TANY advocates for the state’s trucking industry and offers training, events, and other resources.

New York Truck Stop
This online community provides resources and information for commercial drivers and businesses related to commercial vehicles in New York.

Truck Driver Jobs Placement New York Sector Class A CDL Owner/Operator only Facebook group
The social media group aims to help New York owner operators with a Class A CDL find jobs in New York.

Truck Driving Schools Near Me

New York Truck Driving Schools

Accurate CDL Driving School - Franklin Square

Accurate CDL Driving School - Baldwin

Al Sorano's Professional Driving School - Bronx

Atlantic Coast Driver Training - New Windsor

Atlas Driving School CDL Bus Training - Queens

Austin Community College - Menands

Ayaan Busing And Trucking Institute - Richmond Hill

Bestway Driving School - Bronx

Bronx Driving School - Bronx

Buffalo CDL Training - Amherst

Bus & Car Driver Training School - Bronx

Canandaigua Driving School - Farmington

CDL Pro Training - Brooklyn

CDL School - Menands

Champlain Valley Educational Services - Plattsburgh

Colwell's Driving School - Bronx

Commercial Driver Training - Kingston

Commercial Driver Training - West Babylon

Cross Way Driving School - Bronx

Cross Way Driving School - Bronx

Cross Way Driving School - Bronx

Dutchess School of Driving - Hopewell Junction

Dutchess School of Driving - Poughkeepsie

Dutchess School of Driving - Wappingers Falls

Elegant Driving School - Bronx

Enas Driving School - Hollis

Enas Driving School - Jamaica

Executive Driving School - Richmond Hill

Ferrari Driving School - Astoria

Ferrari Driving School - Bronx

Ferrari Driving School - Brooklyn

Ferrari Driving School - Long Island City

Genesee Valley BOCES - Batavia

Genesee Valley BOCES - Le Roy

Genesee Valley BOCES - Mt Morris

Golden Crown Driving School - Valhalla

Golden Crown Driving School - White Plains

Heritage Auto School - New Rochelle

J&S Reliance Driving School - East Elmhurst

Kerry Professional Driving - Middletown

National Tractor Trailer School - Buffalo

National Tractor Trailer School - Liverpool

New York Commercial Driving School - New York

Niagara Driving School - Niagara Falls

Northside Driving School - Ridgewood

On Time Driving School - Bronx

Precision Driving School - Brentwood

Prime Time Driving School - Brooklyn

Prime Time Driving School - Brooklyn

Professional Driver Institute - Rocheste

Putnam Professional School of Driving - Brewster

Queen's Trucking School - New York

Sage Truck Driving School - Rome

Sage Truck Driving School - Vestal

Sage Truck Driving School - Endicott

Shore Driving School - Hollis

Sky Auto Driving School - Bronx

Stevens Driving School - Buffalo

Stevens Driving School - Buffalo

Stevens Truck School - West Seneca

Sunny Truck Driving School - Queens

Swift Transportation - Syracuse

Teamsters Local 317 Truck Driving School - Syracuse

The CDL School - Menands

Totally Cool Driving School - Jamaica

Training For Safety Driving School - Woodside

Troops Into Transportation - Menards

Truckar Driving School - Bronx

US Mule CDL Driving School - Brooklyn

Victors CDL Training - Medford

Vp's Driving School - Richmond Hill