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Are you ready to Drive Your Career Forward? Consider becoming a professional truck driver! Our Truck Driver Training Program will open the door to a lifetime of opportunities. Whatever your destination, we’re excited to join you on the journey!

You will receive classroom training for the CDL Learner’s Permit, Essential Workplace Skills training in communications and customer service, and behind-the-wheel training in a manual or automated manual transmission semitrailer-truck.

At the end of the course, you will take a Class “A” License Road and Skill Test, administered by the Illinois Secretary of State’s Office.

The course covers the following topics to prepare you for an entry-level position as a driver:

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State + Federal Regulations

Logbook Entry Details + Compliance

Map Reading + Trip Planning

Complete Vehicle Training


1. Download and complete Heartland's "Get Rolling" Guide, which includes a DOT Physical Exam & Drug Screening (this can take several weeks).
2. Call Heartland's enrollment office at (309) 268-8448 to schedule your registration session and orientation.


The total cost to attend the academy is $5,065. This includes:

  • Tuition: $4,900
  • DOT Physical Fee: $115
  • DMV Permit Fee: 50


You have a variety of options for financing your tuition. This includes:

  • Payment plan options
  • County Workforce Grant
  • Trucking Company Sponsorship
  • Heartland Truck Scholarship
  • Student loans
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Transition to a rewarding career! Available resources include:

  • GI Bill: helps cover tuition.
  • Illinois Veterans Grant: helps cover tuition; for Illinois residents only.
  • GI Bill Pay: for drivers who enter Nussbaum’s finishing program post-graduation – receive GI bill pay in addition to your Nussbaum paycheck.


How do I get a CDL in Illinois?

You must complete three main steps:

  • Pass a multi-part test to obtain your Commercial Learner’s Permit (CLP).
  • Complete Entry-Level Driver Training (ELDT) from a registered provider (exceptions exist for veterans and farmers).
  • Pass the Illinois CDL skills & driving test.

If pursuing your CDL full-time, this process takes approximately 4-6 weeks (not including the time needed to enroll in a CDL school, which has its own set of requirements). If pursuing your CDL part-time, this process can take 9-12 weeks.

What are the requirements for getting a CDL?

Requirements for new CDL applicants: 

  • Must be 21 years old to drive interstate (outside Illinois) or 18 years old to drive intrastate (within Illinois).
  • Have a valid Illinois driver’s license (must be valid during the full year in which you hold your Commercial Learner’s Permit (CLP).
  • Show proof of legal presence, such as a passport or birth certificate.
  • Self-certify your medical driving status.
  • Pay the appropriate CLP fee.
  • Pass all required testing to obtain your CLP (valid for one year).
  • Hold the CLP for a minimum of 14 days before taking your CDL test.
  • Complete Entry-Level Driver Training (exceptions exist for veterans and farmers).
  • Pass all required testing to obtain your Illinois CDL.
  • For more information, visit the Illinois Secretary of State website.


If I currently hold a CDL in another state, do I have to re-do CDL school in Illinois?

Nope! You may transfer your CDL to Illinois (if applying for a CDL of equal or lesser class. E.g., you can’t transfer a Class B into Illinois as a Class A). For more information, please visit the Illinois Secretary of State’s website. 

Do I have to take a class or attend CDL school to get my CDL?

Essentially, yes. The FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) requires that new drivers complete Entry-Level Driver Training (ELDT) from a registered provider IF:

  • They are first-time applicants for a Class A or Class B CDL.
  • They want to upgrade their Class B license to Class A.
  • They want to add a Passenger (P), School Bus (S), or Hazmat (H) endorsement to their license.

There are exceptions, such as farmers or veterans. For more information, please visit the Illinois Secretary of State website. 


How long does it take to get your CDL?

The timeline may vary depending on which CDL school you attend. At the Nussbaum Trucking Academy, full-time students can earn their CDL in as little as 5 weeks. Part-time students should allow 9 weeks. (Note: this does not include the time needed to apply and register for CDL school).

Can you give me an overview of the course?

  • Week 1: classroom time – study for and take the Commercial Learner’s Permit (CLP) exam. Topics include commercial driving regulations, performing inspections, hours-of-service (HOS), etc.
  • Week 2-4: behind-the-wheel training: inspecting the rig, practice driving (road and skills course), backing techniques, etc.
  • Week 5: study for and take the CDL exam at the Illinois Secretary of State’s facility.
  • Week 6: and you’re off!

Note: this is the full-time schedule. Part-time students will complete the same sequence, just double the time (2 weeks for the CLP, 6 weeks for behind the wheel, etc.). 

What are the Costs and Enrollment Process?

The total cost of the program is approximately $5,065. This includes tuition ($4,900), a drug screen/physical exam (around $115), and a CDL permit fee ($50). During your enrollment, Heartland will inform you of financial assistance opportunities, as well as the program requirements and expectations. 

You may choose to finance your education through a payment plan or student loan assistance. Ask your Heartland enrollment advisor for more information. 

To get started, download Heartland’s “Get Rolling” document and complete all the instructions. Then, you may contact Heartland (309) 268-8448) to schedule your registration appointment. 

I live outside of Illinois. Can I still attend the academy?

Unfortunately, no. Our school can only accept students who are seeking an Illinois CDL. You must attend CDL school in the state in which your CDL will be issued.

What sets Nussbaum Trucking Academy apart from others?

You get the best of both worlds – Heartland’s award-winning learning environment and scholarship opportunities + Nussbaum’s industry and driving expertise. Your instructors are highly skilled professional drivers with years of experience in trucking.

Where is the Trucking Academy Located?

The Trucking Academy is located at Heartland Community College in Normal, Illinois – just a few miles up the road from Nussbaum. Classroom sessions take place at Heartland; behind-the-wheel training takes place on Nussbaum property and on the road in central Illinois.


FEB 12 – MAR 8

M-F; 8:00 AM – 4:30 PM

FEB 19 – APR 12

M-F; 5:00 PM – 9:00 PM

MAR 18 – APR 12

M-F; 8:00 AM – 4:30 PM

APR 22 – MAY 17

M-F; 8:00 AM – 4:30 PM

MAY 6 – JULY 1

M-F; 5:00 PM – 9:00 PM

** Note: course registration closes 6 days prior to the first day of class. 


Follow the Nussbaum Trucking Academy on Facebook and Twitter! Catch the latest news, meet our staff, and get a glimpse of behind-the-wheel CDL training! Click the icons below to get started:

Got Questions? 

Contact Heartland with questions on:
  • Enrollment/registration
  • Financial aid
  • DOT Physical

p: 309-268-8448


Heartland Website
Contact Nussbaum with questions on:
  • Course content/equipment
  • Instructors
  • Job opportunities / sponsorship program

p: 800-322-7305


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