Truck Driving

Truck Driving

Three 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 driver's license - with a Class A CDL in just three short weeks, or a Class B CDL in one week!

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.

Enroll for Class A CDL Enroll for Class B CDL

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 for the ELDT Class A CDL and the ELDT Class B CDL is a combination of online and in-person instruction that includes driving skills, lecture, demonstrations covering U.S. Department of Transportation rules and regulations, preventive maintenance, and current events in the industry.

Each student receives 8 hours of online theory instruction plus 100+ hours (or 30 hours for Class B CDL) of in-person instruction, which includes pre-trip, backing skills, and behind-the-wheel road driving.

Major units include:

  • Basic Operations
  • Safe Operating Practices
  • Advanced Operating Practices
  • Vehicle Maintenance
  • Non-vehicle Activities (documentation and logging)

Class Times

The Class A CDL program meets Mondays through Thursdays from 8am-4pm, and Fridays from 8am-2pm. Classes occur every three weeks.

The Class B CDL program meets Monday through Friday from 8am-2:30pm. Classes occur once per month. 

Online Learning

Class instruction will consist of 8 hours of online theory which will need to be completed prior to the hands-on training portion of the course. For CDL endorsements (hazmat, school bus, passenger), there is an additional 6 hours of online theory per endorsement.


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

State Licensing

Testing will occur on site with Kirkwood's own certified 3rd party Iowa Department of Transportation examiner who will administer the test portion of the Class A CDL/Class B CDL. Program equipment is used for testing.


Kirkwood uses conventional 10-speed manual trucks, 53’ vans, flatbeds, and reefers to train in our Class A CDL program. The Class B CDL uses a 10-speed manual truck (with no trailer attached) or a passenger bus.

  • Develop driving skills in maneuvering a 10-speed manual transmission semi attached to a 53 ft trailer (or without a trailer for Class B CDL) as required by the trucking industry, including shifting, double clutch, and backing techniques.
  • Acquaint students with safety regulations and precautions throughout the training program.
  • Identify Department of Transportation laws and regulations governing truck traffic.
  • Develop the proper attitude of responsible employees who will perform their duties in a manner that will be a credit to the occupation.
  • Provide a general overview of the trucking industry, how it functions, and what to expect as drivers.
  • Acquaint students with driving on public streets and highways through applied "touch driving" experience in traffic.

Sequence of education is as follows:

  • Introduction to Trucking, Controls, and the Commercial License
  • Hours of Service
  • Communication and Visual Search
  • Space and Speed Management
  • Advanced Backing
  • Vehicle Inspection, Systems, and Backing
  • Skid Control, Hazard Awareness, and Emergency Maneuvers
  • Preventive Maintenance and Malfunctions
  • Railroad Crossings and Accident Procedures
  • Extreme Driving Conditions
  • Sliding 5th Wheel and Trailer Tandems
  • Coupling and Uncoupling (Applies to Class A CDL only)
  • Special Rigs and Job Search
  • Security, Driver Health and Safety
  • Mapping, Trip Planning, and International Routes
  • Cargo and Cargo Documentation
  • Hazardous Material
  • Whistleblower Protection
  • Obtaining Commercial Driver's License

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 80,000 drivers are needed immediately, increasing to 160,000 by 2030.

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 for the Class A CDL and Class B CDL programs must be at least 18 years old. Applicants who are 18-21 years of age are only allowed to drive intrastate (within state lines).

Students must have the following documents obtained and/or completed before attending the course:

  • A Class A Commercial Driver's permit from any Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) location at least 14 days prior to the start date of the class. Students can obtain their Commercial Learner's Permit (CLP) at any DMV by passing the general knowledge test, air brakes test, and combination vehicle test. A Class B permit will only need the general knowledge test and air brakes test. A permit is required by law so students can drive with the instructors.
  • A Department of Transportation long-form physical, completed within 10 days of the start date of the class.
  • A pre-employment drug test, completed within 10 days of the start date of the class. Random testing may be required during the length of the program.
  • Registering themselves as a student/trainee on the FMCSA Drug and Alcohol Clearing House. Click the following link to register:

Costs of this program are:

  • Tuition: $4,600 for Class A CDL; $1,800 for Class B CDL
  • Drug Test: $50-$100 (depending on where it is conducted)
  • Long-form Physical: $80-$150 (depending on where it is conducted). Click here to download the form.
  • CDL Permit: $12+ (depending on license renewal fees; issued at the drivers license station)


Tuition assistance is available depending on eligibility to cover the cost of your program. Click the link below to contact us to see how we can support your career goals.

Request Information

Students are assisted in finding full-time employment with trucking companies that hire graduates directly out of the course. Federal regulations require each driver to be 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

Additional Information

Do you need extra time behind-the-wheel? Our CDL Skills Refresher Program provides in-person, one-on-one truck driving range and road time to better prepare you for your driving goals. Refresher programs are available in either six-hour or 40-hour options.

Consider signing up for this program if you:

  • Already have your Class A/Class B CDL or CLP, but have been out of a truck for some time and need a refresher before a job opportunity
  • Are in need of extra tutoring to help pass a portion of your licensing exam to earn your CDL


Please contact Ashley Grimm at 319-398-7130 or for more information.

The Truck Driving 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 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 three short weeks, are equipped to handle a commercial vehicle in a safe and professional manner.

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