Commercial Truck Driving: Entry Level

Get the training needed to get a CDL license

Want to be a truck driver? The industry is wide open! According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median pay for a truck driver is $42,480 per year. At Bates, you can earn your certificate of training and Class A CDL with all endorsements in just two quarters. Students train in three axle tractors (9-speed, 10-speed and 13-speed transmissions, 28-53 foot trailers). All students begin on a commercial truck simulator and then progress to behind-the-wheel driving. Students learn logbooks, receive Atlas training, and complete weight distribution and backing exercises. Earn your Class A, B, and C CDL and get a job driving local (intrastate) or cross-country (interstate).

General Information

Career Advisor: Lee Williams
253-680-7403 |

Location: South Campus
Hours: N/A

Program Length: Two Quarters

Applicants must:
1. possess a valid Washington state driver’s license;
2. have a driving record with no DUI,  negligent, reckless, or hit and run infractions within the past five years;
3. have no more than three moving violations in the past 36 months (a state vehicle operating requirement);
4. must be able to pass the Federal Department of Transportation (DOT) physical exam and drug screen*;

  • FMCSA is changing regulations about who can provide a DOT physical exam from “any willing provider” to a National Registry of Medical Examiners. A link to that registry is here:
  • MultiCare Centers of Occupational Medicine is one of these providers.  The fee for this examination is $100.  The locations are listed on their website An appointment can be scheduled by calling 1-888-280-5513, option 1, and ask for a private pay DOT physical at the clinic you prefer.

5. be a minimum of 18 years of age to enroll in local commercial driving; and
6. be a minimum of 21 years of age to enroll in long-haul commercial driving.
*DOT drug tests require laboratory testing (49 CFR Part 40 Subpart F) for the following five classes of drugs: 

  • Marijuana
  • Cocaine
  • Opiates – opium and codeine derivatives
  • Amphetamines and methamphetamines
  • Phencyclidine – PCP 

Information Packet

  • National Median Salary$45,530
  • National Potential Annual Job Openings213,500

This information is base on data from August 2018. For updated information, visit careeronestop, a database sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor.

Tuition and Fees

At Bates, our tuition is affordable and there are options to help make it even easier to gain an education. Federal aid is available for many of our students. Scholarships are also available through the Bates Foundation.

See if you qualify for other funding through our special funding programs with the Workforce Education office.

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Note: Information is accurate as of its original posting date. The college reserves the right to edit, change, or update information as needed throughout the year. Up-to-date information is available in Student Services.

COMMERCIAL TRUCK DRIVING - Certificate of Training: 40 Credits

For more information, please view program details on a larger device screen.

Required Coursework

Course ID Title Prerequisites Credits
TRUCK101 TRUCK101 - Safety/First Aid
This course is a basic principles of safe driving principles and local and state driving laws with emphasis on the requirements of the Dept of Transportation, CPR/First Aid and Blood Borne Pathogens instruction to be provided to achieve certification. Also, acceptable workplace behavior, safety practices and health habits training is given
TRUCK102 TRUCK102 - Introduction to the Trucking Industry
This course is an introduction to the trucking industry including occupation terminology and signage; trucking company structure and its operation; and driver responsibilities on the road at pickup/delivery points. The completion of inspection reports, daily/monthly logs, freight bills, waybills, manifests, and state accident reports is also included. Students will learn to use Commercial Carrier Road Atlas, plan destination and return trips
TRUCK103 TRUCK103 - Commercial Drivers License (CDL)
This preparation course, provides students the opportunity to practice in the simulator, and study the DOL CMV regulations. To prep for the CDL exams and endorsements
TRUCK104 TRUCK104 - Pre-Trip Requirements
This course is an introduction to the pre-trip inspection procedures used in the commercial truck driving industry. Students acquaint themselves with emergency equipment
TRUCK105 TRUCK105 - Close Quarters Operation
In this course students learn to drive in a close quarter warehouse type facility: hooking, unhooking of trailers, backing up to docks, and maneuvering in close quarters
TRUCK106 TRUCK106 - Materials/Cargo I
This course is an introduction to preventative maintenance techniques, forklift operation methods, loading and unloading of cargo, and selecting appropriate hazardous cargo placards
TRUCK107 TRUCK107 - City/Town Driving
In this course students learn to operate trucks in city situations: turns, lane changes, clutching and shifting, weather conditions, and parking
TRUCK108 TRUCK108 - Freeway/Open Road I
In this course students learn to operate trucks in open road situations: freeway driving entrance and exiting, passing vehicles safely, and open road techniques
TRUCK110 TRUCK110 - City/Town Driving
This course focuses on IN TOWN CMV driving, providing additional training and gain experience in short-haul operations: in-town driving techniques, environmental factors and parking techniques
TRUCK112 TRUCK112 - Freeway/Open Road II
This course provides additional training and gain experience in long-haul operations
TRUCK113 TRUCK113 - Advanced Commercial Driving
This course provides the student the opportunity to demonstrate their abilities in professional commercial administrative documentation, perform pre-trip and post-trip dutes, meet dispatch requirements and perform fleep operations area activities

Bates Technical College is the only school in Washington State certified by the Professional Truck Driver Institute. Students prepare for entry-level employment as commercial truck drivers with the goal of a Class A Commercial Drivers License (CDL) with all endorsements. Bates prepares future commericial motor vehicle operators by providing classroom instruction, on-campus driving range, street driving, using a high tech commercial truck simulator among the various types of equipment.

At the successful completion of the program curriculum, students will be able to:

  1. Follow established procedures for pre-trip inspections.
  2. Control and safely maneuver the vehicle in various traffic situations.
  3. Back an articulated combination into and through various obstacles.
  4. Couple and uncouple a tractor/trailer unit.
  5. Apply proper logbook procedures and rules.
  6. Calculate axle weight and adjust according to state and federal laws.
  7. Recognize, avoid, or solve potential hazardous situations related to truck driving.

In addition, the following college-wide learning outcomes reflect the guiding expectations of all programs at Bates Technical College:

  • Human Diversity
  • Effective Communication
  • Critical Thinking

Follow the link for gainful employment info concerning this program: Gainful Employment

Bates instructors are industry experts who enjoy working with and teaching students.


  • Dan French

    253.680.7483 | Email

  • Bob Gunther

    253.680.7486 | Email

  • Marc Jones

    253.680.7485 | Email

  • Pam Simpson

    253.680.7485 | Email