Training at the academy is about 18 days
There is no set number of hours, but a minimum of 9 to 10 days are spent practicing for the driving exams including local road driving, backing, and maneuvers on the practice pad. The amount time spent in each area depends on the individual trainee's strengths and weaknesses.
Classroom training lasts for one week and is a minimum of 40hrs of instruction.
All training trucks are specially equipped for training purposes. The trucks are outfitted with a drivers seat, front passenger seat (for the instructor), and three air ride passenger seats in the bunk area allowing 4 students to share a single truck with 1 instructor. The ratio will never be more than 4 students to 1 truck and is often less, but FFE feels observing other students is an important aspect of the learning process.
Overall, this appears to be a fantastic CDL training program. The 18 day course is a bit more accelerated than most truck driving schools, but shouldn't be too overbearing. Having 4 students to 1 truck is common and acceptable in the industry. Observation time can be just as beneficial as performing the maneuvers yourself. This seems like a very good option for those needing to acquire a CDL-A drivers license.
Company training lasts approximately 6 weeks. Students then take a series of tests including a road test, basic knowledge test, DOT drug screen, and physical. Students will then receive 5 to 6 days of home time and are issued a truck upon their return (transportation for home time is provided by FFE - Mode of transportation is handled on a case-by-case basis).
The truck is run as a solo operation until the trainer feels confident in the trainees driving abilities, at which point the truck is dispatched as a team truck.
The guaranteed weekly pay is $455 per week. They also offer an optional $75 per week advance if a driver needs extra cash during the training phase, but this $75 will need to be repaid. The cash advance is 100% optional. If you don't use it, you owe nothing.
During company training (after CDL instruction), the truck is one trainer to one student.
FFE has a strict policy against students sleeping on the top bunk while the truck is in operation.
FFE understands that not all trainers and students personalities will be a good match. Students will check in a minimum of once per week via phone call. Any issues can be discussed during these calls and if a new trainer is needed one will be provided. Students are issued a number to reach someone 24hrs per day, 7 days per week.
Yes, a smoking or non-smoking trainer can be requested.What are the company's minimum qualifications to be a trainer?
Minimum time employed with FFE 6 months and a good safety record. Most trainers have at least 1yr+ driving experience.
Company paid training at FFE seems to be an excellent program. A 6-week training period is just long enough to get the full use of your time in training. Anything more than that is probably unnecessary, so the 6 week program is a great duration.
The $455 weekly pay during training is slightly above average for most training companies, but remember that your career will last for many years (hopefully), so it shouldn't be a deciding factor into your decision to join or not join FFE. This program certainly seems to be a good one.
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