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CDL Training in South Carolina

Finding CDL training in South Carolina doesn’t have to be stressful. This article explains exactly how commercial driver licensing works in South Carolina and provides detailed breakdowns of South Carolina’s CDL training programs and schools. 

You’ll learn how to confirm that your training meets industry hiring and legal standards, so you can be confident of your qualifications when applying to trucking company jobs.

How Does CDL Training in South Carolina Work?

In South Carolina, as in the rest of the continental United States, commercial truck drivers are legally required to obtain and hold a current CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). A CDL certifies that the licensed individual has passed a certain standard of truck driving and written tests.

A CDL, similarly to a standard driver’s license, is issued once a driver passes these tests. However, passing requires the relevant training to safely operate large trucks like semis. 

In South Carolina, obtaining your CDL makes you eligible for a range of truck driving positions, whether as an independent driver or as a dedicated employee of a trucking company.

The average salary for truck driving positions in South Carolina is $68,000, though this varies depending on position, experience, and other qualifications. Before you can land a South Carolina trucking job, however, you’ll need to consider your options for truck driving training.

South Carolina Trucking School Facts & Figures

South Carolina is home to multiple trucking schools that lead to commercial licensing, each a little different. 

Number of Schools

Currently, South Carolina has 22 active trucking schools. Most are located around larger city and educational hubs, such as Columbia and Greenville in central and northern South Carolina. However, a few other schools are scattered around the rest of the state.

Number of Students Per Class

In South Carolina CDL schools, the average class size is 17 students, though this number varies year-to-year and from one school to the next. 

Tuition Rates

CDL schools in South Carolina are some of the least expensive in the country, with an average tuition cost of $9,600.

Average Loan Amount

The average loan amount that is available to students in South Carolina is just over $6,000. Most South Carolina trucking schools offer loan assistance. 

Scholarship

Average scholarships of around $600 are available to South Carolina students. Joining the South Carolina Trucking Association gives you access to even more specific scholarship opportunities as a trucking student. 

Depending on your situation, you may be eligible for other scholarship opportunities up to $4,000.

Job Placement

Job placement statistics vary depending on the school you attend. Before enrolling, confirm your chosen school’s job placement figures to get a sense of the effectiveness of their program. After all, your goal and reason for attending is employment in the trucking industry!

South Carolina Trucking Employment Facts & Figures

South Carolina state and other job sites and companies provide helpful employment statistics that track the truck drivers and trucking company employees each year.

Employment 

Nationally, heavy and tractor-trailer driving jobs are projected to rise by 6% in the next year, with an anticipated 321,000 job openings. More than 7,900 trucking companies operate in South Carolina. Of these, some of the biggest employers are ARD Trucking, G&P Trucking, and Bulldog Hiway Express.

In 2021, there is a statewide shortage of truck drivers in South Carolina impacting these trucking companies. Currently, over 26,500 truck drivers are employed in South Carolina.

Biggest EmployerAverage SalaryCompany Size
ARD Trucking$62,200100-200
G&P Trucking$40,824250-500
Bulldog Hiway Express$65,000250-500
Ray Walker Trucking$61,000100-200
Palmetto State Trans$54,600100-200

Salary

Though it varies based on the type of truck you drive, the average salary for an entry-level truck driver in South Carolina is as follows: 

  • Weekly: $1,115
  • Monthly: $4,459
  • Yearly: $44,594

5 Best CDL Training Programs in South Carolina

The best options for CDL training in South Carolina each come with benefits and drawbacks. Finding the best school for you will require balancing your financial and personal needs with the requirements of the training program.

Palmetto Training

Palmetto Training – CDL Truck Driver

Palmetto Training provides technical training in a range of industries. It is known for giving job placement assistance to all its graduates. As with most CDL programs, you must be 18 or older to enroll. 

Cost: $3,500 to $6,500, depending on qualifications 

Program Length: 6 weeks or 148 hours

Financial Assistance: 

  • Requires cash deposit of half of total fee to register
  • Assists in loan applications
  • Eligible for Palmetto Goodwill Scholarship

Tuition Reimbursement: Palmetto Training does not partner with employers directly, though it is on the approved list for tuition reimbursement for many South Carolina trucking companies that provide this service. 

Class Size: 20 students 

Job Placement: Yes

Course Location: Both online and in-person available

CDL Licenses: 

  • Class A

Truck Driver Institute

Truck Driver Institute

With several locations, including in Charleston, South Carolina, the Truck Driver Institute is known for short enrollment terms. Students have the option to pay a fee to stay on campus during the 3-week training. The school boasts an 80% job placement.

Cost: $3,000 up to $8,000 

Program Length: 3 weeks

Financial Assistance: 

  • $400 upfront 
  • Financial aid and payment plans available

Tuition Reimbursement: Many trucking companies partner with schools offering tuition reimbursement if the student agrees to contract with them. Inquire with the Truck Driver Institute to find out more.

Class Size: Varies

Job Placement: Yes

Course Location: In-person only

CDL Licenses: 

  •  Class A
  •  Class B

York Technical College – Truck Driver Training

York Technical College – Truck Driver Training

Located in Rock Hill, South Carolina, this CDL training program offers only Class A. However, it is also one of the less expensive schools and, as part of an accredited college, is eligible for more financial assistance opportunities. 

Cost: $2,500

Program Length: 5 weeks 

Financial Assistance: 

  • Financial aid and FAFSA assistance
  • Loans 
  • Tuition reimbursement arrangements
  • Payment plans
  • Student employment
  • Scholarships

Tuition Reimbursement: This program will work with certain companies that offer tuition reimbursement. Inquire with York Technical College to find out more.

Class Size: Varies

Job Placement: Yes

Course Location: In-person only 

CDL Licenses:  

  •  Class A
160 Driving Academy of Columbia

160 Driving Academy of Columbia

One of few driving programs in South Carolina with the option of guaranteed full tuition coverage. You must be 21 years old to enroll in this program. 

Cost: $0, due to high likelihood of full sponsorships 

Program Length: 

  • 160 hours

Financial Assistance: 

  • First month free
  • 100% tuition scholarships
  • Sponsored tuition

Tuition Reimbursement: This school works with trucking companies to sponsor students. Inquire to find out more about specific sponsorship options. 

Class Size: 5 students 

Job Placement: Yes

Course Location: In-person only

CDL Licenses:   

  •  Class A

SAGE Truck Driving School

SAGE Truck Driving School

SAGE provides the most options of South Carolina CDL programs, in terms of pursuing advanced versions of Class A and Class B licenses. The CDL program is fully accredited and a federal training partner. 

Cost: $3,400 to $6,000, depending on qualifications 

Program Length: 

  • 150 hours
  • 4-5 weeks

Financial Assistance: 

  • Loans
  • Financial aid including grants, veteran funding
  • Scholarships like HOWES and CIG
  • Company tuition reimbursement
  • Nonprofit foundation funding

Tuition Reimbursement: SAGE works with trucking companies offering tuition reimbursement if the student agrees to contract with them. Inquire with SAGE to find out more.

Class Size: 12 students 

Job Placement: Yes

Course Location: Both online and in-person available

CDL Licenses:  

  • Class A
  • Advanced Class A
  • Class B

When Going Back to School Pays Off

Getting your CDL opens up a huge number of jobs and career opportunities within the transportation industry. Once you find a training school that fits your needs, finding scholarships and student loans in South Carolina can help you finance your education. 

What are you waiting for? Keep up to date with the latest job openings and other supply-chain news with a Freightwaves e-newsletter subscription!

FAQs 

How Much Does It Cost To Get a CDL in South Carolina?

The application fee for a CDL in South Carolina is $15.

How Long Is Truck Driving School in South Carolina?

South Carolina truck driving school terms are anywhere from 3 weeks to 5 months.

How Many Questions Are on the South Carolina CDL Test?

There are 50 questions on the CDL test.

TruckDrivingJobs.com

Where the best truck drivers go to find jobs nationwide!

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Where the best truck drivers go to find jobs nationwide!