If you live in the great state of Wisconsin, and you have seen the open road and have longed to join the legions of people around the country who are truckers, you’re in the right place.
Read on for everything you need to know about becoming a truck driver in Wisconsin.
Data on Trucking Schools in Wisconsin
- Total Schools: 17
- Number of Undergraduate Programs: 16
- Number of Graduate Programs: 7
- Average Acceptance Rate: 73%
- Average Tuition Cost: $10 855
- Average Loan Amount: $6069
- Average Scholarship Award: $4507
- Average Classroom Size: 16 Students
- Average Length of Program: 1 month
CDL Requirements in Wisconsin
There are a few qualifications you must meet to be a truck driver in Wisconsin. However, these are pretty easy to obtain, so it should not be an issue for the average person.
- Be at least 18 years old to drive a truck in the state of Wisconsin
- Be at least 21 years old to drive a truck between states in the US
- Have an active driver’s license
- Pass medical requirements of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations
- Pass the Wisconsin Commercial Learner’s Permit exam
- Read and speak the English language
And that’s it! Someone who has grown up in the United States or who has knowledge of the country should be able to pass all these simple requirements. If someone meets these qualifications, they are good to get their CDL License in the great state of Wisconsin.
CDL Variations Available in Wisconsin
There is a world of CDL Variations all around the United States. For now, though, we are going to concentrate our efforts on discovering all the variations in the great state of Wisconsin.
The first thing you need to know about the various CDLs in Wisconsin is there are two different types: CDL classes and CDL Endorsements. Classes are for standard CDL licenses, those that regulars in the trucking industry have probably heard about. Those, of course, being Class A, Class B, and Class C.
When we venture into the world of endorsements, you’ll see it’s a little different. In Wisconsin, you can obtain six different endorsements. An F endorsement, which is for Farm Service vehicles. Then there’s the H endorsement, which allows carriers to drive vehicles carrying hazardous materials.
The N endorsement is for anyone who wishes to pilot a “tank vehicle“. P and S endorsements are both involved with buses, the former being for Passenger buses and the latter being for school buses. Finally, you can obtain a T endorsement, which is for double or triple trailers.
Review of the Best CDL Trucking Schools in Wisconsin
And now, we move on to the review of the best trucking schools in Wisconsin.
- Locations: 7190 Elder Lane Sun Prairie, WI 53590
- Average Tuition Cost: 1,500 to $4,000
- Average Class Size: 18
- Licensing Credentials and Accreditations: Class A CDL
- Student:Teacher Ratio: 18 students to 1 teacher
Certifications and Endorsements Offered By Diesel Truck Driver Training School
These guys, as the name implies, are all about training. Not only do they have a general CDL training course, but they have one specifically for the Class A CDL that will end in students being able to go out and gain their certification.
There is some in-class work combined with some controlled driving, although we were unable to determine whether or not they had classes on the road driving. The class culminates in an on-campus CDL driving test, which means students who graduate leave the Diesel Truck Driver Training School as fully-fledged truck drivers.
There are about 18 students in each class (that varies) and about four trucks on the lot, so about one truck per four students. We looked through their equipment, and as far as we can tell, it’s top-notch state-of-the-art stuff. Here is the best part: its website has a page where a handful of Wisconsin truck driving companies has decided to put money into the school so they can have first dibs on their students. Pretty much anyone who joins the Diesel Truck Driver Training School is going to get hired in Wisconsin.
- Locations: 9545 S 20th St, Oak Creek, WI 53154
- Average Tuition Cost: $3,400 to $6,000
- Average Class Size: 5
- Licensing Credentials and Accreditations: Class A, some endorsements
- Student:Teacher Ratio: 5 students to 1 teacher
Certifications and Endorsements Offered By 160 Driving Academy
This school has both a CDL preparation and a CDL testing center on campus and is a place that allows students to get their Class A CDL. These programs will take about 160 hours to complete or four weeks.
As for other endorsements, the people at 160 Driving Academy offer a lot more than just the Class A CDL. You could also get their T or H endorsement at this school, should they so desire. Those two would probably take some more time to complete on top of the 160 hours.
From what we could understand from the promotional material on their website, there is a student-to-truck ratio of about one truck per five students. The job placement is also very highly praised, as a lot of the students who graduate from the 160 Driving Academy program get jobs fairly quickly.
There is a mix of in-class training and on-the-road training, and each prepares students for a career in the trucking industry. They also offer a refresher course for those who have lost touch with their initial truck driving training, as well as some CDL Test Prep courses.
- Locations: 1825 N. Bluemound Drive Appleton, WI 54912-2277
- Average Tuition Cost: $554.75
- Average Class Size: 5
- Licensing Credentials and Accreditations: Class A, Class B
- Student:Teacher Ratio: 5 students to 1 teacher
Certifications and Endorsements Offered By Fox Valley Technical College
This school offers courses in Class A CDL and Class B CDL. During the Class A CDL program, you learn many skills, including performing basic truck driving operations; demonstrating knowledge of securing a commercial vehicle; adhering to safe truck driving operating procedures; explaining advanced operating practices, vehicle systems, and reporting malfunctions; and complying with non-driving activity activities.
You also learn about communicating effectively with peers, customers, and supervisors. After students have completed the program, they take the test to become certified CDL drivers afterward, whether it be with the Class A certification or the Class B certification (or even both, for those who want to be fully covered).
The program, which is about three to four weeks long, teaches students how to pass the Class A or B test and does not provide certification at the end of the program. There wasn’t a lot of information about the student-to-truck ratio, the type of equipment used, or the job prospects you can obtain after the program, which always comes up as a red flag to us. However, we do know a lot of trucking companies are hiring in Wisconsin. Anyone who passes their CDL test should be able to find a job pretty easily.
- Locations: 30th Avenue Kenosha, WI 53144
- Website: https://www.gtc.edu/
- Average Tuition Cost: $2,567
- Average Class Size: 3
- Licensing Credentials and Accreditations: Class A CDL
- Student:Teacher Ratio: 3 students to 1 teacher
Certifications and Endorsements Offered By Gateway Technical College
This 10-week course prepares students for their CDL Class A test, which takes place on campus. Anyone who decides to join the Gateway Technical College trucking program will be fully equipped to become a driver once the program has finished.
Also, reports from ex-students have said that the hiring rate after this program is phenomenal and that once they complete the program, they are usually hired on the spot. The course itself is a mix of in-class work and some driving, including driving in safe, controlled environments and on the road. They also do a class on inspections, an integral part of the CDL test.
From the video on its YouTube channel, we gather there are about one to two trucks per three students. The equipment was top-of-the-line trucks, with the Gateway brand on them. The students who drove these trucks said they had a sense of pride driving around in these trucks as if they were representing their home team. As for the relationship with the local community, they didn’t say which companies specifically were hiring, but most students did get a job right out of the gate when they finished this course.
- Locations: 800 Main Street, Pewaukee, WI 53072
- Website: https://www.wctc.edu/
- Average Tuition Cost: $800-$1000
- Average Class Size: 19
- Licensing Credentials and Accreditations: CDL Class A
- Student:Teacher Ratio: 19 students to 1 teacher
Certifications and Endorsements Offered By Waukesha County Technical College
Those that graduate from the program will have the opportunity to go and get their CDL license whenever they desire. They have many different options for scheduling as well, so you can tailor this program to your life.
There is the 10-week daytime option, the 16-week evening option, and the 19-week weekend option. Everyone ends the program with the student getting the opportunity to obtain their Class A CDL at a CDL testing center. There is also an option to take endorsement courses, such as for an H or X.
Here’s the issue with this program. It only allows students to get the opportunity to obtain their Class A CDL license, but it doesn’t give it to them. It has no actual testing center on-site, and students will have to go out and seek one themselves. However, the program is unique in many ways, the most important being that they have a truck driving simulator that students can use.
While it may not be real life, it may be pretty cool. As for student-to-truck ratios, there isn’t a lot of information on that. That said, we assume it’s all right due to the overwhelming amount of positive testimonials on the Waukesha County Technical College website. As for relationships with local companies, they do not boast about any on their website, so we have to assume there aren’t many.
- Locations: 505 Pine Ridge Drive Shell Lake, WI 54871-8727
- Average Tuition Cost: $2,008
- Average Class Size: 10
- Licensing Credentials and Accreditations: Preparation for the CDL Test
- Student:Teacher Ratio: 10 students to 1 teacher
Certifications and Endorsements Offered By Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College
The Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College doesn’t hand out certifications or endorsements, it merely prepares potential truckers to take their test. It is a ten-week program that consists of three parts. The first will be in-class time preparing the student for the world of trucking, then comes the second part that goes in-depth on the preparation (trip planning, driver safety, etc).
The final part of the course has to do with physically driving a truck, including backing techniques, advanced operations, and more. There is a very brief mention of actually driving a truck so we could not confirm how much of the program that entails.
Here’s the big kicker about this program– they don’t give students a Class A CDL once they leave the college, they merely prepare students to take the CDL test. Which, to be honest, may not be what a lot of new truckers are looking to do.
However, the program is intense, and the student to truck ratio is adequate. As for connections with local truck companies, there doesn’t seem to be any. However, the equipment (from the videos they provided) looks state of the art and up to date with current trucking standards. It may not be the program for everyone, but it is certainly decent.
- Locations: 1439 Churchill St, Waupaca, WI 54981
- Average Tuition Cost: $4,295.00
- Average Class Size: 4
- Licensing Credentials and Accreditations: Class A CDL
- Student:Teacher Ratio: 1 teacher to 4 students
Certifications and Endorsements Offered By Sabertooth Commercial Driver Training Institute
The fine people at Sabertooth Commercial Driver Training Institute offer many programs. For starters, they have their Class A CDL training course, which will take about three weeks to complete, and they have financing options as well.
There is a refresher program for those who have fallen out of touch with their CDL training and a class for those who wish to get their CDL learner’s permit. Then there’s a couple of miscellaneous classes as well. For example, they have a defensive driving course and one for truckers against trafficking. There are so many options!
While we’d love to tell you all about the different programs at Sabertooth Commercial Driver Training Institute, it would take up far too much time. Instead, we will focus solely on the Class A CDL program they offer, as it is the one new drivers will most likely be taking. Luckily, the Sabertooth Commercial Driver Training Institute website has gone into great detail about everything people taking this course will learn.
It includes backing skills, pre-trip inspection, logbooks/e-logs/hours of service, federal motor carrier safety regulations, coupling & uncoupling, DDC – eye on defense, map reading/trip planning skills, operational lifesaver, truckers against trafficking, shifting/braking, job placement assistance, and behind-the-wheel training.
How to Choose a Trucking School in Wisconsin
There are a lot of things you have to consider before going to a trucking school in Wisconsin. Today, we’re going to discuss the three most important factors when choosing which trucking school to attend.
The reason you decide to go to trucking school is to become a trucker, right? So what kind of connections does the school have to the local industry? Are they going to be able to provide their students with jobs right out of the gate after they pass their exams? Do they have a history of doing so? What do local industries think of the students who eventually get hired out of their program?
Speaking of programs, that’s another important factor when choosing which trucking school to attend. What kind of program does this school offer? Does it only teach students how to drive trucks, or does it also demonstrate how to excel in the industry? What kind of experience do their teachers have?
Finally, another important factor when choosing a trucking school is the price. How much is tuition? Is it worth not only money but the time spent? Are there any financial aid options?
Why Start a Trucking Career in Wisconsin?
There is a litany of reasons to start a trucking career in Wisconsin. Here are just a few:
Be an Integral Part of the Community
For those out there who wish to help out their community while they work, then the trucking industry is for them. According to the American Trucking Association, “More than 80 percent of U.S. communities depend solely on trucking for delivery of their goods and commodities.” Without the truckers of America, communities aren’t able to thrive or, for that matter, even live.
There is a Huge Market for Drivers
For people who don’t like to get turned down for jobs, then this may the career for them. In Wisconsin, there is a huge shortage of driving companies that need people to drive their trucks. And it is a job that could last a person a lifetime if they are willing to work hard.
It is a Well-Paying Job
According to the fine folks at the Wisconsin Rapids Tribune, the truckers of Wisconsin make on average more than the median salary.
They take in about $50,278, and that is just for the mid-range drivers. For those who want to make a decent living wage, then trucking may be the job for them.
Truck Driving Salary and Job Outlook in Wisconsin
In this section, we explore the driving salary and the job outlook for truck driving in Wisconsin. We’ll look at the salaries for those who have just entered the industry compared to those fairly settled in their career and those who have mastered the art.
Entry-Level: Those who have just started their career in trucking can expect to make about $29,329 per year.
Mid-Level: Those who are halfway through their career or comfortable in their trucking job can expect to make on average $58,324 per year.
Master-Level: Those nearing the end of their career or who have mastered trucking can make upwards of $75,416 per year.
As for job outlook, things have never looked better for those who want to break into the trucking industry. There are jobs everywhere, and companies around the state are in serious need of employees. Said one owner: “The industry has a driver shortage right now, the opportunities are here.” That man works for Sparhawk Trucking in Wisconsin Rapids, and he goes on to mention that Sparhawk employs 133 drivers, and “I could probably use another 10.”
We hope you learned a lot about the trucking schools in Wisconsin, and we hope that our readers will go out and learn all they can about the industry. There is only one thing left to do: choose a school and begin a career of driving trucks, of traveling the long road, of being a Wisconsin trucker.
People Also Ask
We like to include this part of the article just in case we didn’t include some of the answers to your burning questions. We like to make sure we answer anything you could imagine about the trucking industry in Wisconsin!
Do Trucking Companies In Wisconsin Pay You To Get Your CDL?
This question depends on both the company and the potential trucker. Some companies, yes, will pay for someone to go through their CDL training, but that, of course, depends on the person. If the potential trucker seems like a good investment, then there’s a good chance they will pay for CDL training.
Can You Get Financial Aid For Trucking School In Wisconsin?
Once again, this is something that heavily depends on the school itself. Some will offer potential students financial aid (in fact, the majority of them do); however, some schools may not. Financial should be one of the things you ask yourself about before choosing a school.
How Much Does CDL School Cost In Wisconsin?
Like the two previous answers, the cost depends on the school. After some research, we have found that the median for truck driving schools in the state of Wisconsin is around $3,837. Keep in mind this could be lower or it could be higher, depending on the school.
Do You Need a CDL To Drive a School Bus In Wisconsin?
Yes. You are going to have to obtain a form of CDL to drive a school bus in Wisconsin. It’s a form of CDL known as an endorsement, the S endorsement to be exact. You can most likely obtain it through a specialty program offered by a trucking school in the area.