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Going for paid CDL training with no driving experience?

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Carolina-boy 's Comment
member avatar

I work for a small equipment and fleet repair company right now, I keep finding myself drawn to driving. Right now I cant afford to pay for school to learn how to drive. So I have been thinking about applying for some paid CDL training and see how that goes. Only thing I am worried about is not knowing how to really drive a truck... Any one can study paper and pass a test on a computer, but driving is a whole different story. I have drove a few automatic trucks around the parking lot here, but never on the open road, never with a trailer, and none have been standard. As far as learning about trucks and how they work and things of that matter, I can pick that up around the shop, I already take a blank copy of the DOT inspections sheets and do my own dry run inspection before the owner does his inspection. I am just worried that I might be over my head if I am the only one there who has to ask questions about how to drive... I think once I get my permit I might can drive an old L9000 dump truck for one of our customers a few times on the weekend but I know I can not use it for any test, one they done have a trailer that would qualify for class A and also the old thing would never pass pre trip inspection. The poor thing falls apart the more you fix on it. Any info, or advice would be great and very appreciated. Also if any of you have any recommendations for training programs. Thanks

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.

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Big Scott's Comment
member avatar

Guess what. Many people who go to CDL school never sat in an 18 wheeler. Some get it like they were born to do it others take more time. You can do it to.

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.
Rainy D.'s Comment
member avatar

Hi. I went through the company sponsored program at Prime I never even drove manual in a car let alone a truck. They don't expect you to have driven, that is the point of the training ;)

There are a ton of programs and each company does it differently.

At Prime you go to orientation for a week to get the medical, drug tests and background checks done, get your permit testing, and do work on SIMS. The hotel and food are paid for that week.

Then you go out with an instructor for a couple weeks before coming back to test out. You actually drive all over the country making deliveries. This gives you experience in all kinds of weather, day and night, in traffic through major cities and various downgrades.

During the permit phase, prime does not pay you, however they advance you $200 per week for food, which you pay back $25/per week once you pass the CDL and get hired.

Once you pass, you get paid $700 gross per week for 30,000 team miles. In this phase you learn about the paperwork, company procedures for deliveries and repairs, HOS , time management, and more. All while continuing to improve your driving and backing.

Then you upgrade and go solo. We have reefer tank and flatbed. Each start at different CPM , reefer starts at 41,5 CPM

I paid a total of $155 upfront for training. I signed a one year contract and that was it. Stayed my year and not planning on leaving.

Here's a link to more info. Others can answer questions about other companies.

Company-Sponsored Training Programs

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.

CPM:

Cents Per Mile

Drivers are often paid by the mile and it's given in cents per mile, or cpm.

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.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Carolina-boy 's Comment
member avatar

Hi. I went through the company sponsored program at Prime I never even drove manual in a car let alone a truck. They don't expect you to have driven, that is the point of the training ;)

There are a ton of programs and each company does it differently.

At Prime you go to orientation for a week to get the medical, drug tests and background checks done, get your permit testing, and do work on SIMS. The hotel and food are paid for that week.

Then you go out with an instructor for a couple weeks before coming back to test out. You actually drive all over the country making deliveries. This gives you experience in all kinds of weather, day and night, in traffic through major cities and various downgrades.

During the permit phase, prime does not pay you, however they advance you $200 per week for food, which you pay back $25/per week once you pass the CDL and get hired.

Once you pass, you get paid $700 gross per week for 30,000 team miles. In this phase you learn about the paperwork, company procedures for deliveries and repairs, HOS , time management, and more. All while continuing to improve your driving and backing.

Then you upgrade and go solo. We have reefer tank and flatbed. Each start at different CPM , reefer starts at 41,5 CPM

I paid a total of $155 upfront for training. I signed a one year contract and that was it. Stayed my year and not planning on leaving.

Here's a link to more info. Others can answer questions about other companies.

Company-Sponsored Training Programs

Where did the permit training take place? And was you allowed to take your cdl in your home state? If not did you have to do anything special to allowed to take it in a different state? Thanks for all the info. There is so many chooses and Im trying to do my research before hand so I can be sure to apply to only the ones that would best fit me. There is nothing like signing the dotted line just to find out that your unhappy with the company. Dose prime have a pet program?

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.

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.

CPM:

Cents Per Mile

Drivers are often paid by the mile and it's given in cents per mile, or cpm.

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.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OOS:

When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.

Ernie S. (AKA Old Salty D's Comment
member avatar
Where did the permit training take place? And was you allowed to take your cdl in your home state? If not did you have to do anything special to allowed to take it in a different state? Thanks for all the info. There is so many chooses and Im trying to do my research before hand so I can be sure to apply to only the ones that would best fit me. There is nothing like signing the dotted line just to find out that your unhappy with the company. Dose prime have a pet program?

With Prime, the testing for your CDL takes place at either Springfield MO or Salt Lake City terminals (not sure if they do testing at our Pittston PA terminal). You are able to transfer your CDL back to your home state as soon as your able to do so with Prime. The only state I recall that requires you to take the test over when you transfer is Illinois (not sure if that has changed or not). Prime does have a pet policy, I believe it is $1000 deposit which you get most if not all of it back if your pet didn't destroy the inside of the truck.

As far as being unhappy with whatever company you decide to go with, just remember most of them it's only a 1 year commitment and then you are free to go elsewhere. Now it seems that's a very long time, but in reality it goes by so fast you blink your eyes and it's done before you know it.

Ernie

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.

Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

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.

OOS:

When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.

Carolina-boy 's Comment
member avatar

I was thinking about just going to the tech cdl program in the next town over from but would i be able to get a job after or would i kind be out of luck with just a CDL with no drive experience?

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.
BQ 's Comment
member avatar

Prime does allow pets on their trucks once you are upgraded to your own. As far as permit/licensing, you simply bring your regular license with you and can take permit tests at prime on the Wed of orientation (I believe) or take provided shuttle to local DMV , which you will do either way if pass at prime so you can transfer license to MO and pickup permit. Prime provides you a temporary letter of residency for this purpose. After initial phase of training (PSD), you will take all testing at Prime, they have approved instructors and testing pads, driving test itself is about 30-45 minutes around Springfield. You will transfer MO license back to home state either during second part of training (TNT) or soon after upgrading to own truck. License transfers are done for a simple fee, no retesting needed. Best of luck.

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.

PSD:

Prime Student Driver

Prime Inc has a CDL training program and the first phase is referred to as PSD. You'll get your permit and then 10,000 miles of on the road instruction.

The following is from Prime's website:

Prime’s PSD begins with you obtaining your CDL permit. Then you’ll go on the road with a certified CDL instructor for no less than 75 hours of one-on-one behind the wheel training. After training, you’ll return to Prime’s corporate headquarters in Springfield, Missouri, for final CDL state testing and your CDL license.

Obtain CDL Permit / 4 Days

  • Enter program, study and test for Missouri CDL permit.
  • Start driving/training at Prime Training Center in Springfield, Missouri.
  • Work toward 40,000 training dispatched miles (minimum) with food allowance while without CDL (Food allowance is paid back with future earnings).

On-the-Road Instruction / 10,000 Miles

  • Train with experienced certified CDL instructor for 3-4 weeks in a real world environment.
  • Get 75 hours of behind-the-wheel time with one-on-one student/instructor ratio.
  • Earn 10,000 miles toward total 40,000 miles needed.

TNT:

Trainer-N-Trainee

Prime Inc has their own CDL training program and it's divided into two phases - PSD and TNT.

The PSD (Prime Student Driver) phase is where you'll get your permit and then go on the road for 10,000 miles with a trainer. When you come back you'll get your CDL license and enter the TNT phase.

The TNT phase is the second phase of training where you'll go on the road with an experienced driver for 30,000 miles of team driving. You'll receive 14¢ per mile ($700 per week guaranteed) during this phase. Once you're finished with TNT training you will be assigned a truck to run solo.

Rainy D.'s Comment
member avatar

I was thinking about just going to the tech cdl program in the next town over from but would i be able to get a job after or would i kind be out of luck with just a CDL with no drive experience?

Having a CDL doesn't make you a truck driver. You will have to go through extensive training at a company before going solo.

Some will provide tuition reimbursement if you go the traditional school route. However, and this is my own opinion, I believe I got lot more experience in the company sponsored. First off, I got one on one training. Second, I was thrust into the OTR lifestyle as soon as I got assigned my trainer. Third, I was able to drive downgrades including mountains, various weather (Iowa wind, Kentucky fog, etc), various traffic patterns (Atlanta, st Louis, Detroit etc), and drove both day and night.

Plus, unlike with many schools, I learned on the newest equipment similar to what I would be driving when going solo.

Another thought many don't realize....if you have any blemish in your background that a company would find questionable, you'd find out right away. Some schools push students through.."that felony won't matter....it was just one DUI..." Etc. So you could get a CDL, be in debt for thousands of dollars, and not get a job. Another thing I had not considered, my trainee who went to local CDL school said working all day and then trying to learn to back was really hard and tiring. In the company sponsored, all your concentration is on driving and learning.

If you go the CDL route, don't wait long after your graduation. Your certificate will not be worth much after several.months and no driving, meaning a company could expect you to do more extensive training and that time and money was wasted

However, if you have family needs or other reasons you cannot go OTR sooner, then the local CDL school might be good. If you cant survive a couple weeks without a pay while training, or at a reduced pay, then company sponsored may not be for you. Others go through unemployment or some sort of state program to pay for school.

Be sure to research our CDL training diaries to find out what to expect.

For example, I mentioned Prime program. If you go with their school, you get $700 per week once hired for 30,000 team miles. If you come with your CDL you get $600 the first five weeks then $700 until you complete 40,000 team miles. And they do offer tuition reimbursement if you come with the CDL.

Some choose the local CDL to stay with their families longer before going OTR.

Either way. If you have a clean record and criminal.background with a good work history you will find a job once you pass. ;)

Good luck

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.

DUI:

Driving Under the Influence

OOS:

When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.

Carolina-boy 's Comment
member avatar

double-quotes-start.png

I was thinking about just going to the tech cdl program in the next town over from but would i be able to get a job after or would i kind be out of luck with just a CDL with no drive experience?

double-quotes-end.png

Having a CDL doesn't make you a truck driver. You will have to go through extensive training at a company before going solo.

Some will provide tuition reimbursement if you go the traditional school route. However, and this is my own opinion, I believe I got lot more experience in the company sponsored. First off, I got one on one training. Second, I was thrust into the OTR lifestyle as soon as I got assigned my trainer. Third, I was able to drive downgrades including mountains, various weather (Iowa wind, Kentucky fog, etc), various traffic patterns (Atlanta, st Louis, Detroit etc), and drove both day and night.

Plus, unlike with many schools, I learned on the newest equipment similar to what I would be driving when going solo.

Another thought many don't realize....if you have any blemish in your background that a company would find questionable, you'd find out right away. Some schools push students through.."that felony won't matter....it was just one DUI..." Etc. So you could get a CDL, be in debt for thousands of dollars, and not get a job. Another thing I had not considered, my trainee who went to local CDL school said working all day and then trying to learn to back was really hard and tiring. In the company sponsored, all your concentration is on driving and learning.

If you go the CDL route, don't wait long after your graduation. Your certificate will not be worth much after several.months and no driving, meaning a company could expect you to do more extensive training and that time and money was wasted

However, if you have family needs or other reasons you cannot go OTR sooner, then the local CDL school might be good. If you cant survive a couple weeks without a pay while training, or at a reduced pay, then company sponsored may not be for you. Others go through unemployment or some sort of state program to pay for school.

Be sure to research our CDL training diaries to find out what to expect.

For example, I mentioned Prime program. If you go with their school, you get $700 per week once hired for 30,000 team miles. If you come with your CDL you get $600 the first five weeks then $700 until you complete 40,000 team miles. And they do offer tuition reimbursement if you come with the CDL.

Some choose the local CDL to stay with their families longer before going OTR.

Either way. If you have a clean record and criminal.background with a good work history you will find a job once you pass. ;)

Good luck

The only real reason i was thinking about local cdl is because i have been told by someone who received an out of state cdl, he said that when he went to transfer his cdl to sc, the dmv told him that since he was once a resident of sc that he could not just pay the fee and transfer, they told him that he would have to retake all test. I tried to call the local dmv to confirm that but they was busy and put me hold. Ill try to call back later to find out for sure. It would just suck a lot to have to retake the test. But also i read that MO requires you to transfer to car also when you transfer your licenses. Did you have to do that? I know that im asking a lot of question, I just want to make sure I plan everything out to the T before going forward with any plans. Thanks

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.

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.

DUI:

Driving Under the Influence

OOS:

When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.

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