TSTC’s Professional Driving Academy offers a one-month course for students to obtain their Class A commercial driver’s license (CDL) Pictured here is student Kentrail Luke. (Photo courtesy of TSTC.)

(MARSHALL, Texas) – In Texas State Technical College’s Professional Driving Academy, students can receive the training needed for a Class A commercial driver’s license (CDL) in just one month.

“Every aspect of every part of our society — commerce, construction, housing, food, everything — relies on the trucking industry,” Wayne Bradley, a CDL trainer at TSTC’s Marshall location, said. “The CDL community needs more drivers.”

Bettye Cole, TSTC’s Workforce Training project manager in Marshall, explained how the college’s CDL training works.

“The program consists of one week of online CDL permit training and three weeks of training in the truck,” she said. “After the first week, students take the permit test at the local Department of Public Safety office. Once the permit is obtained, the students then spend three weeks doing the driving portion of the training. After the 160 hours are completed, students take the driving test with TSTC certified training instructors. After passing the test, the students go to the local DPS office to pick up their Class A CDL license.”

According to Bradley, the program’s overall goal is safety. 

“I tell all of our students that my first and foremost goal is for them to make it home safe to their families, but also to put a safe driver on the road next to my family,” he said.

Bradley said that completing a CDL course with the Professional Driving Academy can take a Class A license holder beyond driving a semitruck. For example, TSTC’s Electrical Lineworker and Management Technology program requires its students to have CDLs so they can drive certain types of utility vehicles.

Bradley himself has an extensive background in CDL training and examining in North Dakota and Hawaii.

“I’ve seen students go on to be owner/operators of their own companies,” Bradley said. “I’ve seen students take on roles as examiners or other trainers and mentors. They could drive water trucks, they could drive fuel trucks, they could drive refrigerated vehicles, they could drive for furniture delivery — it’s huge.”

Professional Driving Academy student Scott McCarty already has his Class B license from his time hauling pipes and industrial equipment as a welder. He is working toward his Class A license to aid him in his job as a technician with the Texas Department of Transportation.

“It’s going to benefit me and my job because I’ll be able to drive larger vehicles,” McCarty said.

The Professional Driving Academy is offered at TSTC’s Abilene, Brownwood, Fort Bend County, Harlingen and Marshall locations. For more information and course requirements, visit tstc.edu/workforce/professional-driving-academy.

Registration for TSTC’s fall semester is underway. For more information, go to tstc.edu.

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TSTC’s CDL program consists of one week of online classes and three weeks of entry-level driver training. (Photo courtesy of TSTC.)
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