CDL Training

Manual or Automatic Truck? Which is better for CDL Training?


Wondering which is better for CDL Training and your career, a manual or automatic transmission truck? Our network of 13 CDL schools train on both types of trucks. However, most students learn how to drive an automatic transmission semi-truck.

Why are trucking companies moving to automatic trucks?

Trucking companies are moving to automatic transmissions for a variety of reasons. These include improved fuel economy, ease of use, decreased driver fatigue and the ability to add additional safety features like collision mitigation. Automatic semi-trucks are also easier to learn to drive.

Jason Skoog, general manager of Peterbilt Motors,  recently told Fleet Owner it is unlikely there will be many manuals a decade from now, through the manufacturer.

The goal of our network schools is to prepare students to pass their CDL exam and become successful drivers. Most carriers we work with operate automatic semi-trucks in their fleet. In fact, 94% of new Freightliner Cascadias have automated transmissions.

As you can see CDL Training on an automatic truck vs. a manual truck is the future and sets you up for success.

Will training on an automatic truck limit my job search?

The short answer is no. When you take your skills test in an automatic, your license is limited to driving automatic trucks. However, you won’t have a no problem finding a company to work. Our core partner carriers are 100% automatic.

Also, understanding how to drive an automatic can help you as you enter this new industry. Imagine training on a manual truck and then road testing in an automatic. Think of it like Mac vs Microsoft. Both essentially have the same abilities, however when starting a new job with a company that uses Microsoft, a student who learned on Microsoft is going to have a head start over someone who learned on a Mac.

Can I train on a manual?

While most students train and take their CDL exam in an automatic transmission semi-truck, we do offer manual transmission trucks. Those trucks are limited to students who plan to work for a carrier that requires a CDL without an automatic restriction. 

Ready to get started?

You can get your commercial driver’s license in 3-4 weeks through one of our network schools. There are numerous tuition assistance programs, including grants to help fund your education. To learn more about getting your commercial driver’s license through our program fill out the information below or call a career specialist.


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