Truck Driving

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Truck Driving

Four Short Weeks, One Great Career

No other job offers the freedom, stability and rewards that you'll experience as a driver. And there's no better place to start your training than at Kirkwood Community College, where you can get your commercial drivers license (Class A CDL) in just four short weeks!

Plus, we'll help you find full-time employment with trucking companies that hire our graduates directly out of the course. You can soon be enjoying the many advantages and benefits of employment as a full-time truck driver.

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Kirkwood Community College is accredited by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and the course follows the Entry-Level Driver Training (ELDT) requirements. The course format is a combination of classroom and lab instruction for Class A CDL: lecture, demonstrations covering U.S. Department of Transportation rules and regulations, preventive maintenance, and current events in the industry.

Each student receives 200+ hours of classroom instruction and a minimum of 60 hours of in-truck, behind-the-wheel instruction, including driving range, highway, interstate, village, and city driving.

Major units include:

  • Basic Operations
  • Safe Operating Practices
  • Advanced Operating Practices
  • Vehicle Maintenance
  • Non-vehicle Activities (trip planning, documentation, cargo handling, etc.)

Class Times

This four-week program takes place Monday-Saturday and drivers must be available from 6 a.m.- 4:30 p.m.


Kirkwood instructors are qualified driving instructors with extensive field experience and training and are approved by the Iowa Department of Education.

State Licensing

Instructors are certified 3rd party Department of Transportation examiners who administer the test portion of the Class A CDL. Program equipment is used for testing.


Kirkwood uses conventional trucks, 53’ vans, flatbeds and reefers to train in our program. All trucks are manual transmission.


Students are assisted in finding full-time employment with interstate trucking companies that hire graduates directly out of the course. Federal regulations require each driver to be at least 21 years old, able to pass a Department of Transportation physical, drug test, and have a driving record free of violations which may hinder or prevent employment as a truck driver.

Representatives from the following companies will come in to the class to talk to students about driving opportunities:

Other Resources

  1. Develop driving skills in maneuvering semitrailer equipment as required by the trucking industry.
  2. Acquaint students with safety regulations and precautions throughout the training program.
  3. Identify Department of Transportation laws and regulations governing truck traffic.
  4. Develop the proper attitude of responsible employees who will perform their duties in a manner that will be a credit to the occupation.
  5. Provide a general overview of the trucking industry, how it functions and what to expect as drivers.
  6. Acquaint students with driving on public streets and highways through applied "touch driving" experience in traffic.

The four-week (204 clock hours) program at Kirkwood Community College is one of the longest running driver training programs in the state of Iowa.

Originally founded in the early 1970s, Kirkwood's Class A Truck Driver Training Program is one of the premier driver training programs in the United States. Participants enter with little or no professional driving experience, and in just four short weeks, are equipped to handle a commercial vehicle in a safe and professional manner.

Role, Need, and Importance

The United States relies heavily on the trucking industry and professional drivers to transport nearly everything consumers use. The American Trucking Association estimates 35,000 drivers are needed immediately, increasing to 200,000 by 2020.

And with an ever-increasing number of drivers on today's roadways, it is even more important for these drivers to participate in a high-caliber, state and nationally recognized training regimen like Kirkwood Community College's Truck Driver Training Program.

Applicants must be at least 18 years old. Applicants who are 18-21 years of age are only allowed to drive intrastate (within state lines). Jobs for those who meet this criteria are very limited and are not readily available to students.

A Class A CDL is not required to enroll in the course, but registered students must obtain a CDL permit. The temporary permit can be obtained at any Iowa drivers license station by passing the general knowledge test. The permit is required by law so students can drive with the instructors.

In addition, students must have passed the air brakes test and the combination vehicle test at the Department of Motor Vehicles. A Department of Transportation long-form physical is required to take the course and usually required by potential employers.

A pre-employment drug test will be required before the start of the program, as mandated by federal regulations. Random testing may be required as well.

Costs of this program are:

  • Tuition: $4,400 (books included in tuition)
  • Drug Test: $50-$100 (depending on where it is conducted)
  • Physical: $80-$150 (depending on where it is conducted). Click here to download the form.
  • CDL Permit: $12 (issued at the drivers license station)

Tuition assistance is available. Contact us today and get on the road to a better job.

The Skills Review program is a six-hour, one-on-one program for those who already have their Class A CDL, but has been out of a truck for a some time. It provides some truck driving range and road time to help prepare students for employment. Please contact Ashley Grimm at 319-398-7130 or for more information.

Additional Information

Sequence of education is as follows:

  • Introduction to Trucking, Controls & the Commercial License
  • Hours of Service
  • Communication & Visual Search
  • Space & Speed Management
  • CPR/AED & First Aid
  • Vehicle Inspection, Systems & Backing
  • Skid Control, Hazard Awareness & Emergency Maneuvers
  • Preventive Maintenance & Malfunctions
  • Railroad Crossings & Accident Procedures
  • Extreme Driving Conditions
  • Sliding Fifth Wheel & Trailer Tandems
  • Coupling & Uncoupling
  • Special Rigs & Job Search
  • Security, Driver Health & Safety
  • Mapping, Trip Planning & International Routes
  • Cargo & Cargo Documentation
  • Hazardous Material
  • Transportation Technology
  • Night Driving
  • Whistleblower Protection
  • Obtain Commercial Drivers License

Students are assisted in finding full-time employment with interstate trucking companies that hire graduates directly out of the course. Federal regulations require each driver to be at least 21 years old, able to pass a Department of Transportation physical and drug test, and have a driving record free of violations that may hinder or prevent employment as a truck driver.

Truck Driving Program Brochure.

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