by Pride Transport | Jan 11, 2021
Driving a truck is not an easy job. Doing it well, and safely, means being well trained and highly skilled. Simply getting your Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) is not enough to ensure a successful professional driving career.
Any experienced truck driver knows that you’ll need lots of training and practical knowledge, things that can only come from a reputable driving school or paid driving program. A simple internet search for Utah CDL schools will result in thousands of results with varying information. It can be tough to know which schools are right for you or what to look for in a potential driving school.
The key is to do your research both on and offline. This means assessing things like cost and reputation, but also, doing on site visits to ask numerous questions and see the facilities for yourself. To help, we’ve broken down everything you need to know about finding the best CDL schools in Utah, from what to look for in a program to which specific school is right for you.
What is a CDL?
We’re going to assume you already know this, but let’s be sure. A Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) is a special class of license which allows you to operate large, heavy, or hazardous material vehicles in the United States in commerce. However, you might be required to get a special endorsement or class type in order to drive tankers, passenger vehicles, or trucks with multiple trailers.
Since driving these types of vehicles are often difficult, precarious, and extremely important for the US economy, it’s necessary to pass a skills test, written test, vision test, and pre-trip inspection.
How to Get Your CDL
Getting your CDL puts you in a noble club of truck drivers. Most people don’t realize how vital drivers are to the US economy. In fact, trucks move about 70% of the freight in the United States that accounts for over $670 billion. As such, there are some strict rules and regulations for ensuring our truck driver’s are healthy, skilled, and knowledgeable.
As of 2020 there were several steps required to get your CDL. Here are some of what you should be expecting in order to apply for, and obtain your Commercial Driver’s License:
Be at least 18 years of age
Have held a Class D Driver’s license for at least 1 year
Provide proof of identity
Provide proof of legal Utah residency
Provide your Social Security Number
Complete a Medical Examination Report Form and provide Department of Transportation Medical Certificate (DOT card)
Pass a vision test
Pass a knowledge exam
Pass a road skills exam
Complete training from an authorized school
What to Look For in a Driving School
In order to get your CDL you’ll need to complete an authorized course from a Utah driving school. Finding a good school is all about what’s the right fit for you. With so many different things to consider it can be overwhelming to know exactly where to start looking. From reputation to cost, let’s look at some key things to consider when picking a driving school.
A comprehensive curriculum isn’t just helpful for your future driving career but is vital in helping you pass your CDL skills test. Look for Utah driving schools that offer a range of training from classroom instruction to on-the-road lessons.
We understand that price is a huge factor when it comes to selecting your driving school. But just because one driving school is more expensive than another doesn’t mean it’s better. On the flipside, there are several uncredited “cheap” schools that promise fast and easy training. It’s important to find a balance between what you can afford and a credible, experienced driving school. Make sure to speak to potential instructors, ask tons of questions, and conduct an onsite visit in order to scope out whether or not a school is legitimate. Remember that there are always the options for scholarships, grants, loans, or tuition reimbursement.
It’s super important that you pick a school that’s credible and well-reviewed. Some key things to look for is how long a school has been in operation, how many graduates have actually passed their CDL test, and what former students say about their training. To determine this you can check online reviews, browse their website, speak to admissions, or reach out personally to former students.
Time behind the wheel is crucial to both passing your CDL test and being a safe, successful driver when it comes to your career. While in-classroom learning and simulator time is helpful, you can’t beat that real, hands on the wheel experience. Schools vary on the amount of drive time they offer, but to be safe, you shouldn't accept anything less than 32 hours. More is certainly better. Make sure the school you choose offers a good amount of drive time.
Top CDL School in Utah
In Utah there are numerous trucking schools. Some are established with verified student reviews and some have popped up online.
These schools differ from cost to class structure to location. While we recommend the below CDL schools, the right fit for you will depend upon the criteria listed above and what’s most important to you.
Keeping in mind cost, driving time, and overall reputation, here are some of the best schools in Utah for getting your Commercial Driver’s License.
Located in Salt Lake City, Utah, Apex Trucking offers a full CDL certification program
with a minimum of 160 hours combined driving and classroom time. With almost 10 years experience, Apex strives for safety, integrity, and quality teaching methods. With tons of positive reviews and testimonials, Apex is committed to providing the best CDL certification for its students.
This 250-hour program gives students professional driver training that focuses on both classroom and in-vehicle training time. Students will learn a range of driver competencies and become safe, comfortable, confident, law-abiding drivers ready to start their trucking careers.
Mountain West Commercial Driving School
With schools in both Utah and Wyoming, Mountain West Commercial Driving Schools have been providing students with confidence, CDL knowledge, and hands-on experience since 2001. In addition to fully accredited courses, they also offer continuing education courses to maintain your trucking knowledge throughout your career. With numerous corporate alliances and job placement assistance, you’ll be in good hands with Mountain West.
Located in Sandy, Utah, Sage Schools has been training truck drivers for over 20 years. With thousands of graduates, Sage offers a conveniently state-of-the-art trucking facility and a top rated CDL program that prepares students for high-paying trucking jobs in Utah. You’ll get hands-on behind the wheel time and real on-the-job truck driving experience needed to prepare to take the Utah CDL test and get hired in a position as an entry level truck driver.
At UB Tech, graduates are prepared with the skills and licensure to enter the high-demand field of professional truck driving. Job placement is available locally as well as nationwide.
Other Great Trucking Schools
There are numerous truck driving schools in Utah, and some colleges also offer reputable CDL training. While these tend to be slightly more lengthy duration there are a few great programs at places like Bridgerland Technical College, Utah State University, Salt Lake Community College, and Snow College.
Be A Better, Safer Driver With Pride Transport
At Pride Transport, we don’t just hire truck drivers, we help train them and work on developing lifelong skills. We give you the tools you need to be the safest driver possible but we’ll also give you a clear picture of what life on the road is like. Not only do we offer evaluations and full training programs, but we pay you to get the training you need to succeed. With our stellar reputation, high-level job placement, knowledgeable training programs, and dedicated support, get ready to make a real difference with Pride.