A certificate is the most common credential offered to prospective truck drivers in Georgia. Most commercial truck driving programs have age and education minimums, as well as requirements for a clean driving record within a certain number of years. Many schools offer day and evening schedules. These programs typically last about 1 academic term, which is about 3-4 months. Other than a high school diploma, schools may ask students to take a placement exam and show a motor vehicle report for the last 7 years.
Information from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that most employers only require truck drivers to be at least 18 years of age and have the equivalent of a high school diploma; however, it's not uncommon for individuals to attend truck driving schools to learn about the trade. Each truck driver must also hold a commercial driver's license (CDL). In Georgia, there are 21 colleges offering truck driving programs; the 10 largest schools are profiled below.
Albany Technical College
This school in Albany offers a commercial truck driving certificate program. To be eligible for the program, students must be at least 18 years old. Individuals who plan on driving trucks for long-distance hauls have to be 21 years of age for insurance purposes. Applicants also must take the COMPASS exam to verify skill and knowledge levels. Minimum score requirements are 46 in reading, 15 in writing and 17 in pre-algebra. Course topics in this program cover basic operations and range work, commercial truck driving fundamentals and advanced vehicle operations.
Athens Technical College
There is a commercial truck driving certificate program available at this college in Athens. Besides general college tuition expenses, fees for this program cover such expenses as a fuel surcharge, Department of Transportation (DOT) physical, learner's driving permit, seven-year motor vehicle history report and drug screening. Students who do not obtain the learner's permit and those who do not pass the drug screening or physical are not accepted into the certificate program. Courses for this program include range work and basic operations, advanced operations and commercial driving fundamentals. Students are required to complete a commercial driving internship as well.
Atlanta Technical College
Located in the state capital of Atlanta, this college offers a commercial truck driving certificate program. Admission requirements are a little different compared to some other programs since applicants must be no younger than 21. Other admission requirements include passing a drug screening, holding a high school diploma or GED and passing college assessment entrance exams. Students can expect to spend 45 contact hours learning about fundamentals of commercial driving. They then spend 50 hours learning the basic operations of commercial trucks, followed by 125 hours on advanced operations training. The final part of the program includes 180 hours of driver training.
Augusta Technical College
This college in Augusta offers a commercial straight truck and passenger driving certificate program. Students who complete the program are eligible to earn a class B CDL in Georgia. Besides learning to drive commercial trucks, students gain experience with driving passenger vehicles, such as buses. There are three courses required for this certificate program, and students learn basic and advanced operating procedures as well as commercial driving fundamentals.
Chattahoochee Technical College
At the North Metro Campus in Acworth, students can enroll in a commercial truck driving certificate program. Special admission requirements for this program include having a clean driving record (i.e. no DUIs for the past seven years), passing a physical administered by the DOT, passing a drug screening and being at least 21 years old. Students are required to complete three separate courses as well as an internship with a local trucking company. Course topics cover range work, commercial driving fundamentals, and basic and advanced vehicle operations.
Georgia Northwestern Technical College
This school offers a commercial truck driving certificate program at its Walker County Campus in Rock Spring. Although it's preferred that applicants be at least 21 years old, those who are between the ages of 18 and 20 can still earn the certificate, but they cannot drive trucks across state lines. Applicants are also required to pass a drug test, show proof of a clean driving record, pass a DOT physical and obtain a truck driving learner's permit. The program takes 8-15 weeks to complete and covers topics like basic vehicle operations, commercial driving fundamentals and range work. To complete the program, students have the choice of participating in an internship or taking an advanced vehicle operations course.
Savannah Technical College
This school offers a truck driving certificate program at several campuses, including the Effingham Campus in Rincon, as well as the Crossroads and Savannah campuses in Savannah. Applicants to this program are not necessarily required to hold a GED or high school diploma, but they are required to be 18 years old. Students must take the ASSET or COMPASS college entrance exam; minimum score requirements for the COMPASS test are 16 in English, 46 in reading and 17 in mathematics, and ASSET scores must be at least 29 for each part. Students accepted into the program can complete coursework in about half the time of a regular semester. Night classes are also available, although it takes students a full semester to complete the program through this method. Students must complete courses in vehicle basic operations and range work and commercial driving fundamentals, and they can choose the final course from options in advanced vehicle operations or an internship experience.
Southern Crescent Technical College
This college offers two programs related to truck driving. Students can attend classes at several campus locations, including the Butts County Center in Jackson, the Flint River Campus in Thomaston or the Jasper County Center in Monticello. Available certificate programs include commercial truck driving and commercial straight truck and passenger driving (class B). The latter program is only available at the Flint River Campus and Butts County Center. Admission requirements for the programs are identical and include passing a DOT physical, being at least 18 years old, passing a drug/alcohol screening and having eight points or less on a seven-year driving record. Both certificate programs require students to take a course in commercial driving fundamentals. Students must also take courses that discuss basic and advanced vehicle operations. Additionally, the commercial straight truck and passenger driving certificate program also trains students to drive multiple types of vehicles.
West Georgia Technical College
Located in Douglasville, this school offers a commercial truck driving certificate program. Students are only required to be 18 to start the program, and they have to meet minimum score requirements on college entrance exams. Other admission requirements include passing a drug test and the DOT physical and having a mostly clean driving record. Note that students are financially responsible for the cost of these additional admissions requirements. Throughout the course of the certificate program, students may have to submit to random drug screenings at their own expense. Required courses in this program include range work, commercial driving fundamentals and basic vehicle operations training. Students have to complete one additional class, and they can choose between internship training and an advanced vehicle operations course.
Wiregrass Georgia Technical College
The commercial truck driving certificate program is offered at the Valdosta Campus in Valdosta and the Coffee County Campus in Douglas. All program applicants must submit their GED or high school transcripts, a motor vehicle report and proof of passing the DOT physical as well as the drug test. Students also need to submit scores from the CPEs, ACTs or SATs, although the school will accept scores from the ASSET or COMPASS exams. Throughout the duration of the program, students complete three courses that discuss basic vehicle operations, advanced vehicle operations, range work and commercial driving fundamentals. Students can only complete the program if they pass the test to earn a CDL, and each student is given two chances to pass before incurring additional testing fees.
School Comparison: At a Glance
|School Name||School Type & Setting||Truck Driving Programs Offered||Undergraduate Tuition & Fees 2018-2019|
|Albany Technical College||2-year; public; small city||Commercial Truck Driving Certificate||$2,712 in-state; $4,848 out-of-state*|
|Athens Technical College||2-year; public; midsize city||Commercial Truck Driving Technical Certificate||$2,798 in-state; $4,934 out-of-state*|
|Atlanta Technical College||2-year; public; large city||Commercial Truck Driving Certificate||$2,820 in-state; $4,956 out-of-state*|
|Augusta Technical College||2-year; public; midsize city||Commercial Straight Truck and Passenger Driving Technical Certificate of Credit||$2,794 in-state; $4,930 out-of-state*|
|Chattahoochee Technical College||2-year; public; large suburb||Commercial Truck Driving Certificate||$2,816 in-state; $4,952 out-of-state*|
|Georgia Northwestern Technical College||2-year; public; small city||Commercial Truck Driving Certificate||$2,798 in-state; $4,934 out-of-state*|
|Savannah Technical College||2-year; public; midsize city||Commercial Truck Driving Certificate||$2,744 in-state; $4,880 out-of-state*|
|Southern Crescent Technical College||2-year; public; large suburb|| Commercial Truck Driving Certificate,
Commercial Straight Truck and Passenger Driving (Class B) Certificate
|$2,842 in-state; $4,982 out-of-state*|
|West Georgia Technical College||2-year; public; fringe rural||Commercial Truck Driving Certificate||$2,838 in-state; $4,974 out-of-state*|
|Wiregrass Georgia Technical College||2-year; public; small suburb||Commercial Truck Driving Certificate||$2,794 in-state; $4,930 out-of-state*|
Source: *National Center for Education Statistics.