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No Driving school, but successfully tested & obtained Florida CDL Class A License - What are my options for jobs/companies?

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J. A.'s Comment
member avatar

Hope everyone reading this is doing well.

This is my first post, and I would appreciate your advice.

A few months ago, I obtained my 2 year DOT Medical Certificate, then my CDL Learner's permit.

I then learned to drive a Freightliner 10 speed with 53 foot reefer , via a relative. (Unofficial driving)

I then took and past my CDL Class A drivers test, and obtained my Florida CDL Class A license.

Today, I checked the U S XPRESS Website at http://www.usxjobs.com/us-xpress-jobs/.

When I searched for jobs, it states, "New truck driver job - no experience necessary & Great benefits!, Driver type: Student"

When I clicked on the job offer, a new window opened and near the bottom of the window it states,

"Qualifications: CDL A & 21 years or older" [this now appears to be incorrect]

I am 60 years old, and I have my Florida CDL A, therefore it seems I would meet the stated qualifications.

Therefore, I called the US XPRESS number provided, (866-576-2979).

I spoke with, what sounded like a gentleman (name withheld).

I informed him I recently acquired my CDL Class A license and a 2 year DOT Medical Certificate, I have a clean MVR and background.

He asked if I had attended an Accredited truck driving school. I informed him I had not, however I had learned from a relative and obtained my CDL Class A license.

He then informed me that US XPRESS only hires those who have attended an accredited truck driving school.

When I asked him where on the US XPRESS website that information was provided, he said it was not on the website, but that is what is required. He did not seem interested in explaining any further, or offering any other options.

Therefore, I requested to speak with his supervisor. He transferred me to a recording, and I left a message for (name withheld) and requested a callback regarding possible employment with US XPRESS.

I would appreciate any applicable/helpful advice regarding obtaining employment based upon the above provided information.

For those who care, I am also an Honorably Discharged Disabled U.S. Military Veteran. However, my disabilities are not likely to interfere with my ability to control and operate a commercial motor vehicle safely.

Thanks, in advance, for your responses!

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

Commercial Motor Vehicle:

A commercial motor vehicle is any vehicle used in commerce to transport passengers or property with either:

  • A gross vehicle weight rating of 26,001 pounds or more
  • A gross combination weight rating of 26,001 pounds or more which includes a towed unit with a gross vehicle weight rating of more than 10,000 pounds
  • DOT:

    Department Of Transportation

    A department of the federal executive branch responsible for the national highways and for railroad and airline safety. It also manages Amtrak, the national railroad system, and the Coast Guard.

    State and Federal DOT Officers are responsible for commercial vehicle enforcement. "The truck police" you could call them.

    MVR:

    Motor Vehicle Record

    An MVR is a report of your driving history, as reported from your state Department of Motor Vehicles. Information on this report may include Drivers License information, point history, violations, convictions, and license status on your driving record.

    Reefer:

    A refrigerated trailer.

    HOS:

    Hours Of Service

    HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Old School's Comment
member avatar
Best Answer!

J.A., Welcome aboard!

Any of the major carriers is going to require a training certificate indicating 160 hours of training. You will have to go through some formal training, and then when you get a job you will go out with a trainer living on their truck with them for usually a minimum of four weeks. That is just the way it works. You could try beating your head against the wall for a local job with a small company but you are going to find that all of them require one to two years of experience.

Your relative actually did you a disservice. They did nothing intentionally wrong, because they may have been driving for so long that they don't realize how different it is now days for a beginner to step into a driving job out here. The insurance companies hold the cards on who is going to get hired, and they want to minimize the risks they are exposing themselves to.

Training is a priority for all new drivers.

Here's some information you should look into to get a better grip on entering this job market:

You can go through Company-Sponsored Training Programs at little or no cost to you if you want to, but they will require a contractual agreement from you to work for them for usually a period of one year to cover their expense of training you.

I really shouldn't do this, but since I know you got blind-sided by this I'll give you the name of a company that will hire you. Western Express has a program for drivers like you. Here's the way it works: They will hire you, pay your way to their facility in Nashville, TN, and pair you up with someone else in a similar situation as yourself after you've gone through their orientation and training class. You will then drive as a team operation with the person they paired you up with for approximately four weeks. If the two of you can prove yourselves to them during that time period they will issue each of you your own trucks and then you will be a solo over the road driver with his own truck. I don't really recommend this approach, but if you are set on doing it the way you've already started then there is an avenue that will work for you.

Over The Road:

Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

Company-sponsored Training:

A Company-Sponsored Training Program is a school that is owned and operated by a trucking company.

The schooling often requires little or no money up front. Instead of paying up-front tuition you will sign an agreement to work for the company for a specified amount of time after graduation, usually around a year, at a slightly lower rate of pay in order to pay for the training.

If you choose to quit working for the company before your year is up, they will normally require you to pay back a prorated amount of money for the schooling. The amount you pay back will be comparable to what you would have paid if you went to an independently owned school.

Company-sponsored training can be an excellent way to get your career underway if you can't afford the tuition up front for private schooling.

JakeBreak's Comment
member avatar

Almost every major company is going to require a certificate that you have completed schooling. It has something to do with the insurance regulations. The only thing I know that you can do is to find a small company and try with them. Some of the more experienced guys might have some other ideas but I know all the big companies require a certificate with 160 hours of training.

Old School's Comment
member avatar
Best Answer!

J.A., Welcome aboard!

Any of the major carriers is going to require a training certificate indicating 160 hours of training. You will have to go through some formal training, and then when you get a job you will go out with a trainer living on their truck with them for usually a minimum of four weeks. That is just the way it works. You could try beating your head against the wall for a local job with a small company but you are going to find that all of them require one to two years of experience.

Your relative actually did you a disservice. They did nothing intentionally wrong, because they may have been driving for so long that they don't realize how different it is now days for a beginner to step into a driving job out here. The insurance companies hold the cards on who is going to get hired, and they want to minimize the risks they are exposing themselves to.

Training is a priority for all new drivers.

Here's some information you should look into to get a better grip on entering this job market:

You can go through Company-Sponsored Training Programs at little or no cost to you if you want to, but they will require a contractual agreement from you to work for them for usually a period of one year to cover their expense of training you.

I really shouldn't do this, but since I know you got blind-sided by this I'll give you the name of a company that will hire you. Western Express has a program for drivers like you. Here's the way it works: They will hire you, pay your way to their facility in Nashville, TN, and pair you up with someone else in a similar situation as yourself after you've gone through their orientation and training class. You will then drive as a team operation with the person they paired you up with for approximately four weeks. If the two of you can prove yourselves to them during that time period they will issue each of you your own trucks and then you will be a solo over the road driver with his own truck. I don't really recommend this approach, but if you are set on doing it the way you've already started then there is an avenue that will work for you.

Over The Road:

Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

Company-sponsored Training:

A Company-Sponsored Training Program is a school that is owned and operated by a trucking company.

The schooling often requires little or no money up front. Instead of paying up-front tuition you will sign an agreement to work for the company for a specified amount of time after graduation, usually around a year, at a slightly lower rate of pay in order to pay for the training.

If you choose to quit working for the company before your year is up, they will normally require you to pay back a prorated amount of money for the schooling. The amount you pay back will be comparable to what you would have paid if you went to an independently owned school.

Company-sponsored training can be an excellent way to get your career underway if you can't afford the tuition up front for private schooling.

∆_Danielsahn_∆'s Comment
member avatar

I would look into Western Express, they recently advertised locally, hiring people with CDL's sans school training.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.
Errol V.'s Comment
member avatar

J.A., about every other month someone joins up here in your situation. The studied and practice and got their own CDL-A , with no help (and no tuition) from a school. Yes, you are fully qualified by the State of Florida to drive a big rig. But before BigTruck Transportation will let you drive off in a $200,000 Freightliner, and possibly knocking over light poles, they need to know that you know how to legally and safely drive a 60 foot long instrument of destruction.

So, official school is required. 160 documented hours of instruction and driving practice. Learning to drive a truck is not the same as you taking your granddaughter out in your Honda CR-V.

The 21 year old requirement is for interstate - crossing state lines. 18 is OK within the state.

It looks like Old School has the deal for you. Any company will want to make sure you can handle their equipment.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

Interstate:

Commercial trade, business, movement of goods or money, or transportation from one state to another, regulated by the Federal Department Of Transportation (DOT).

Rick S.'s Comment
member avatar

Trucking companies that take on "newly licensed drivers", do so upon completion of an acceptable school - and they call them "Recent Grads" (and they do mean RECENT, as in 30-60 days).

Otherwise, companies are looking for 1+ years of VERIFIABLE OTR EXPERIENCE.

I went to school in 09 and got my Fl CDL-A (PTX Endorsed), have maintained all my endorsements, TWIC & DOT med card. But since I haven't done any VERIFIABLE DRIVING - I will either have to do a "refresher" (most schools that do these cost more than my 9 week VoTech course did), just go ahead and do my VoTech course AGAIN (because it's still less expensive than anywhere else), or just go ahead and sign onto a company like Prime, Swift, etc. and do the entire course (along with the 1 year commitment).

Thing is - I WOULDN'T MIND DOING JUST THAT. While driving is like "riding a bike", I'm sure my skills have gotten STALE.

In your case J.A. - you lack the EXPERIENCE that the companies INSURANCE CARRIER REQUIRES to insure you - and it's really as simple as that.

We advise most newbies here - to pick a company and stick it out for a year ANYWAY.

All things being equal - you will be able to bypass the DMV permit and road testing, since you ALREADY HAVE your CDL. That will put you ahead of the game, for any company that you sign on as a "student driver" with.

EVERYONE HAS TO START SOMEWHERE - and in this industry - at the beginning, is where we start.

Rick

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

OTR:

Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

DOT:

Department Of Transportation

A department of the federal executive branch responsible for the national highways and for railroad and airline safety. It also manages Amtrak, the national railroad system, and the Coast Guard.

State and Federal DOT Officers are responsible for commercial vehicle enforcement. "The truck police" you could call them.

Dm:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.

DMV:

Department of Motor Vehicles, Bureau of Motor Vehicles

The state agency that handles everything related to your driver's licences, including testing, issuance, transfers, and revocation.

TWIC:

Transportation Worker Identification Credential

Truck drivers who regularly pick up from or deliver to the shipping ports will often be required to carry a TWIC card.

Your TWIC is a tamper-resistant biometric card which acts as both your identification in secure areas, as well as an indicator of you having passed the necessary security clearance. TWIC cards are valid for five years. The issuance of TWIC cards is overseen by the Transportation Security Administration and the Department of Homeland Security.

J. A.'s Comment
member avatar

Hello Everyone!

I thank everyone for your replies! I will take all of them into consideration!

Also, if anyone has any more suggestions, I welcome them.

God Bless! Thanks again!

Matt S.'s Comment
member avatar

Hello Everyone!

I thank everyone for your replies! I will take all of them into consideration!

Also, if anyone has any more suggestions, I welcome them.

God Bless! Thanks again!

Western Express apparently does not require trucking school. They have a facebook post claiming that all that is necessary is a CDL A to get rolling.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.
G-Town's Comment
member avatar

double-quotes-start.png

Hello Everyone!

I thank everyone for your replies! I will take all of them into consideration!

Also, if anyone has any more suggestions, I welcome them.

God Bless! Thanks again!

double-quotes-end.png

Western Express apparently does not require trucking school. They have a facebook post claiming that all that is necessary is a CDL A to get rolling.

Although implied, Western Express will require an entry level driver to go through some sort of supervised road training before going solo.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.
Gunner's Comment
member avatar

Not sure where you live but try Windy Hill Transportation. They have a location in Wisconsin as well as one in Eustis FL. They are a smaller company but as long as you have a CDL and can pass their road test they will place you with a trainer and get you going. They transport foliage. I applied but haven't been in a truck in 14 years and didn't think I'd pass the road test so I opted for a refresher course through a larger company sponsored school. Can't hurt to call them and ask.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.
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