How To Pay For Truck Driving School
Here’s the dilemma…
Picking a good truck driving school sets you up for a great career and your pick of the best truck driving jobs.
But a good, accredited school isn’t cheap. Our AZ license course is over $8500. So you think, “I’ll just go to this cheap trucking school, pay $1500, get my license and learn on the job.”
In the trucking world, you really do get what you pay for. And in this case, it’s just barely enough to get a license. Many “graduates” of these schools can’t even pass the test given to them by a potential employer.
They can’t back up or perform the proper pre-trip inspections, and before you can say “Git-R-Done” … they’re heading home without a job.
On the flip side, we find many students getting jobs within a couple of weeks of graduation. Some even get hired while still in the course.
Once you realize how important the quality of a truck driving school is, the question becomes…
How do you pay for it?
If you feel like you just can’t afford to pay for an accredited, quality truck driving school, keep reading.
We hope to help you answer that question by giving you the top 10 ways our past students have funded their truck driver training.
Method #1: Second Career
Because Tri-County Training is approved as a vocational program under the Private Career Colleges Act, 2005, many students, like Dave Bryce and Matti Awia, have had their tuition paid in full or partially paid through Second Career.
Second Career is a Government of Ontario program designed to help people get off of the unemployment roller coaster and move into an industry with stable employment opportunities.
You may qualify for up to $28,000 in funding if you…
- Have been laid-off in the last year;
- Are currently unemployed due to a lay-off;
- Have been laid-off and are currently working a temporary job.
The money available can help pay for…
- Travel expenses
- Living expenses
- Child care
… And will depend upon your household income.
Method #2: Line of Credit
With interest rates that are often half as much as credit cards, many of our students opt to finance their education using a personal line of credit.
A line of credit can be helpful to make other job-related purchases that come up once you’ve started your new truck driving job.
Method #3: Personal Loan
If you just need the tuition paid for and don’t want to borrow to buy other work-related items, then a personal loan may be the way to go.
Method #4: 2nd Mortgage
Own a home with more than 20% equity? Then consider using that equity to fund your new career.
Method #5: Borrowing Back Accelerated Mortgage Payments
If you own a home and have ever taken advantage of the feature that allows you to make lump-sum payments to help pay down the mortgage faster, you may be able to borrow back some of that lump-sum money.
According to the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada…
If you have made prepayments, your lender may allow you to re-borrow the amount you have prepaid on your mortgage. These newly borrowed funds will be added to the balance of your mortgage principal. The interest rate may be different from the rest of your mortgage for the remaining term.
Method #6: Credit Cards
I almost didn’t include this option but for some it may be the only way. Let’s see how it would work…
Let’s assume that you pass the course and, like most students, secure a job within two weeks of graduation.
Assuming an interest rate of 20%, it would take you 39 months to pay off that $8500 balance. And in that time, you would have paid $3096 in interest for a total of $11,596.
Is it ideal? No. Is it possible? That depends entirely on you.
Method #7: Targeted Initiative For Older Workers
This government program gets a little specific. For you to qualify, you have to…
- Be unemployed;
- Be 55 – 64 years old;
- Live in a community with fewer than 250,000 people and has a high unemployment rate or relies on a single industries.
You can learn more about this program on the Employment Ontario site.
Method #8: Canada-Ontario Job Grant
If you work at a company that needs a driver with an AZ or DZ license, and you want to be that person, this might be the program for you.
The Canada-Ontario Job Grant provides financial support to employers to help them train new or existing employees.
The government will give up to $10,000 per person in training costs by an eligible third-party trainer – which we just happen to be :).
While this has been used by companies to pay for current employee training, one could approach a trucking company and negotiate an agreement to get hired on before getting your license. They would then apply to be reimbursed for your two-thirds of your training, and you would then need to pay the other one-third.
Method #9: Borrowing From Your RRSP Using The Lifelong Learning Plan
Borrowing from your RRSP contributions can result in a loss of your ability to re-contribute those funds ever again. That is, unless…
You borrow the money through the Lifelong Learning Plan. For more information, go here.
Method #10: Sign-On Bonuses From Trucking Companies
It’s hard for some people to accept, but in the trucking industry, a good driver is worth their weight in gold! If you graduate from one of our truck driving courses, you will have companies tripping over themselves to hire you. This puts you in the driver’s seat, if you will.
Some trucking companies try to persuade you to sign on with them by paying you cold hard cash in the form of a sign-on bonus. Just like a superstar athlete.
Sign-on bonuses vary in size, but can be as high as $6,000. This goes a long way to reimbursing you for the cost of your training, but should be looked at as … well … as a bonus. Not something to be counted on.
Let’s say you are considering two trucking companies.
Company A really fits your lifestyle, your personality and your beliefs of how a business should be but offers no sign-on bonus.
Company B has a questionable reputation in the industry but does offer a bonus.
In the long-run, you’ll feel better about the decision if you choose Company A and not make the bonus a serious factor in your decision.
100% Tax Deductable
Another advantage of choosing a school accredited by the government is that your tuition is 100% tax deductible. However you choose to finance your tuition, you can claim it on your taxes, and receive a good portion of the tuition amount back in the form of a tax return.
And if someone, say a family member, pays for your tuition, they will be able to claim the deduction on their taxes.