Right now, a lot of people are considering changes of career – and that means it might be the right time for you to take the plunge and attend an Ontario trucking school. You could have a new career in well less than a year, often just in a few months. It’s one of the most effective ways to jump into a new – and very lucrative – career.
So how long does it take to attend a trucking school in Ontario? Let’s take a look at that, and how to best manage your time there.
I. The Legal Training Requirements To Become A Truck Driver In Ontario
Truck driving and Commercial Driver’s Licenses (CDLs) are regulated by the government, and those regulations dictate most of the time it takes to get trained at a trucking school.
As of 2022, you are required to have a total of 103.5 hours of training before you’re allowed to receive a Class 1 license, which allows you to operate trucks of any legal size and weight. This breaks down to:
- 36.5 hours in the classroom
- 17 hours in the yard (practicing outside of roadways)
- 50 hours in-cab training behind the wheel, with an instructor
In addition, you’ll also need to pick up an endorsement for air brakes, which gives you the Class 1/A license. This is necessary because most trucks utilize air brakes, so merely having a Class 1 license isn’t enough to become a professional truck driver.
Fortunately, this endorsement is easy: 6.5 hours in the classroom and 2 in the yard. You could theoretically get the training done in a single day, although it’s usually broken up into 2 or 3 days.
These numbers vary slightly between the different Canadian provinces, but not by much. Wherever you go, you’ll be looking at more than 100 hours of training in any case.
II. How Much Time Is Required For An Ontario Trucking School
So, those are the government-mandated minimums. What does this look like in terms of real-world timeframes?
Well, if you have the time and the financial stability to devote yourself to training full-time, you could have your Class 1/A CDL in only 6-7 weeks – less than two months. This, of course, requires you to be able to fully pay your own way while you aren’t working, and dedicate yourself to training 6-8 hours a day, likely 5 days a week.
This is a somewhat exhausting way to get your CDL, but if you need a new job in a hurry, it could be an option.
In many cases, you’ll also be living at a dormitory at your truck-driving school – but this is a good thing, in a way. The very best Ontario trucking schools have their dedicated facilities, such as simulated work sites, allowing you to get hands-on training in a safe and controlled environment.
This isn’t true for most CDL classes within the city itself, which have no room for such facilities.
On the other hand, if you need to work and can only attend classes part-time, you’ll be looking at a longer timeframe to graduate. 3-6 months is typical in this case, although it will vary simply depending on your own ability to get the training done.
In any case, you should be able to complete your training in well under a year – and that’s fantastic considering how most other high-paying fields require years of training and huge school debt to complete.
III. Making Best Use Of Your Training Time
Whenever attending training for any field, you will ultimately determine how effectively the time is used. Here are a few tips.
1 – Get your affairs in order
If you’re thinking about doing the 2-month crash course, it will be your sole focus for those months. You’ll have very little time for anything besides eating, sleeping, and training. You’ll need to have all your other affairs wrapped up, such as arranging for your bills to be paid, so you aren’t distracted.
2 – Commit to learning
Driving a truck is no joke. You’ll be in charge of a massive, heavy machine that could be incredibly deadly if something goes wrong. Paying attention in class won’t just help you get your license more quickly; it will save lives – potentially including your own.
3 – Get all the hands-on experience you can
More behind-the-wheel time means better job offers. Period. The numbers listed above are the governmental minimums, but nothing stops you from getting in more training time while you have the opportunity. If you only do the minimum, you may be outclassed by the people who’ve gone above and beyond.
Learn from The Leading Trucking School
5th Wheel Training Institute is one of the premier trucking schools in Ontario, with a highly experienced faculty, and extensive training facilities. Shipping companies across the continent come to us for new drivers!