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How to get a CDL with no money?


How to get a CDL if you don't have the money: The path to becoming a professional driver without financial outlay

We have all heard those inspiring success stories of how someone came to the United States with a few dollars in their pocket and ended up becoming a millionaire, a Hollywood star or a truck driver. It even gives the misleading impression that this is the main criterion for success.

"What? You got a couple thousand in savings? Dude, at best, you're looking at a job at Starbucks. It's two blocks down."

"You only have 20 bucks and a gym bag? Welcome, Mr. Arnold, California at your service."

Millions of people from all over the world come to the United States every year to achieve the so-called "American dream". However, not all of them manage to realize it and become part of one of the most developed countries in the world. There are many reasons for this, and they lie in the language barrier, different mentality, fear of failure, lack of financial savings and many others. But do not hurry to unpack your suitcase or look for cheap economy class tickets. If you have a real desire to work and earn, then neither the lack of savings nor the language barrier will prevent you from finding a high-paying job in transportation. Surely you have seen these smiling men with all 32 teeth, sitting in a huge leather chair of a truck and talking about how they have passed this thorny path, and became commercial drivers. And looking at them, you were under the mistaken impression that you were the one who was never going to make it. "Look at him, I'm not like that: tall/low, bald/shaggy, chiseled, etc". This is a fundamentally wrong approach, and even if you lack something, it is not a reason to give up on your desires and aspirations. Consider the situation: there is no money, but you need to get a CDL license. What to do?

What is a CDL

Well let's start with the main thing, what is a CDL and why do you need one? A CDL commercial driver's license gives you the opportunity to work as a truck driver or trucker. To obtain a CDL, you must first obtain a standard U.S. driver's license. After that, you need to go to your local DMV office and state your desire to obtain a commercial driver's license.

Of course, no one will rush to you with shouts of "he is the chosen one" and will not take you to a solemn ceremony to hand over the cherished certificate, but only ask you to provide the following documents:

  • Confirmed legal status (passport with visa or Green Card)
  • Work Authorization;
  • Social Security Number;
  • American driver's license
Of course, money will be required. Usually in the neighborhood of 1500-2000 dollars.

Do not hurry to reach for the cross in the corner of the screen and close the article. Now we will look at how you can save money and not give all the money in the world for a plastic card.

Sign a contract with a company that will pay for your tuition: The deal of the century or a new gimmick?

There are companies that offer you a one-year contract and they will pay for your training. These companies usually have lower salaries than the market average, but you are guaranteed employment and free training. If you want to get your first experience and training at no cost and don't want to risk spending a lot of effort looking for a job and driving school, this is an option worth considering. If you have a question”how to get cdl license for free”, you should look for such offers on the sites that publish ads for staff. The best option, however, is to contact the employer directly. Make a list of the major carriers in your state and visit their websites. Under "training" or "job openings," there should be an offer that interests you

From campus to cubicle: get your CDL while you work in the field

So, what is the cheapest way to get a cdl? If you are a student or want to enroll in an American university, you can apply for a J1 visa and get a job at a company or farm where tractors are used. If you prove yourself well, you can get experience in driving and maintaining such vehicles, which will help you pass tests and practical driving in the future. Working in this sector, you kill two birds with one stone:
  • You earn a living and save up to take the DMV exam
  • You will get into the essence of work, get the necessary experience and skills to work on the track

Yes, it won't get you into the DMV by opening the door with your foot, but it will be a very big advantage. At the very least you will be much more experienced than someone who, in an unskilled course, saw a track from 1 yard away for the first time in their life and sat behind the wheel for 15 minutes as if it were a ride.

Sure, you can compete in an arm wrestling championship, and like Lincoln Hawk win a tidy sum and a brand new Volvo White WIM 64T truck by defeating the huge Bob Hurley. But first of all, there won't be that many championships for everyone who wants one. And secondly, this isn't the '80s. You don't need to have the piercing gaze and muscles of Sylvester Stallone to earn a truck. The economy has taken a big step forward, and anyone with the skills and desire can support themselves and their family. There are plenty of opportunities to study materials and prepare for the exam for free. Thankfully, there are resources where all the information is structured and posted in the public domain.

There is even an opportunity to take a test and determine your skill level for free. In a couple weeks, you can go through all the theoretical material and come to the DMV to take the exam. How the exam will be held and what you can expect, you can read here. In the US, obtaining a commercial driver's license (CDL) usually requires that you attend a driving school and successfully complete a course of study, including theory and practical exams. However, as you may have guessed, in some states it is possible to pass the CDL exam without completing a full course at a driving school.

All avenues are open before veterans - GI Bill

If you're tired of the smell of napalm in the morning, if your back is getting stiff in the seat of a good old Abrams, and if the images on the thermal imager screen are no longer pleasing to the eye, then there is a great offer for you - GI Bill.

In an era of great twists of fate and huge smoking cigars, post-World War II American veterans faced a dilemma: what to do next? Sure, they could simply become a blade repairman at a windmill or a guest expert at a pie-decorating contest, but great minds decided to offer them something more enticing.

The GI Bill is a government-sponsored program offered by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to provide educational and training resources to those who have served the United States.

This law gave veterans a chance at education, job training, and even housing assistance. Have you played soldier boy and now you want to be king of the road, cruising from state to state? How do you figure out what all those buttons, levers, and 18 speeds are for? Instead of wasting your time fumbling with manuals and twiddles, you can take specialized free courses for veterans and become a badass driver in a huge truck! The GI Bill is essentially a golden ticket into the world of civilian life for veterans, turning a combat hero into a student or entrepreneur.

Alternative roads

CDL loans and grants

And of course, we can't help but consider good old-fashioned loan programs. Instead of selling your grandmother's gold crowns or Uncle Bill's rare collectible baseball card, you can always turn to a financial institution for a student loan. These can be roughly categorized into several types:

FAFSA, or Free Application for Federal Student Aid.To answer the question “how to get a cdl cheap” consider the following option. This application allows students and their families to apply for federal student financial aid, including grants, loans, and work-study. The FAFSA analyzes your financial situation and determines how much money you can receive for tuition.

Private Lenders. Many private lending institutions offer specialized loans for CDL training. Such loans often have competitive interest rates and flexible repayment terms. But the choice of such an organization should be taken quite seriously and carefully proofread the contract you are entering into. No one is immune to the fine print, and you don't really want to find out about it after the contract has come into force. For example, after the contract is signed, you are supposed to get an adult cat as a gift, but you are allergic to animals. Be careful and do not expose yourself to unnecessary worries.

Most Cheapest Way To Obtain CDL are

Scholarships and Grants. Some organizations and foundations offer scholarships and grants for CDL training. There are organizations and foundations that offer scholarships and grants for CDL training. Research national and regional organizations that support truck driver education. There are offices of large trucking companies in different states, and they are interested in drivers who have been trained specifically for their requirements.

Each scholarship or grant has its own requirements and application procedures. It usually involves filling out an application form, submitting the required documents and possibly writing an essay or participating in an interview. Think about the answer to the question "what do you see yourself doing in 5 years" beforehand, it will definitely increase your chances several times over

In conclusion

If you dream of intertwining your life with the dividing lanes on the road and hydraulic brake hoses, feeling like the protagonist of a road movie, CDL training is your chance! We have looked at options for getting a CDL without much financial investment, and alternative training options. So some of them will definitely help you get what you want. You can take advantage of government programs, grants, or student discounts. You can also get a job with a company that will pay for your training or help you get practical skills to pass the exam. If you are a veteran, all roads are open before you and you should just choose your path. Loans these days are a great tool to get the funds you need to achieve your goal.

And remember, taking the right road can lead you to great adventures..... or to loading goods into a warehouse. But either way, it will be an adventure!

Written by Max Smith

An experienced driver with a wealth of knowledge in the field of truck driving. With years of expertise behind the wheel and a deep understanding of the intricacies of trucking, Max is uniquely qualified to provide valuable insights and guidance on the topic of truck driver training. As an avid advocate for safe and efficient trucking practices, Max is dedicated to sharing valuable information and helping aspiring truck drivers excel in their careers.


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