It's Time

Topic 20310 | Page 1

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John L.'s Comment
member avatar

First, I want to thank all the creators and regular contributors to Trucking Truth. This site has been a great resource for learning about starting a trucking career.

I've just started the High Road training series, and I will complete that program on my own before I take any further action, other than researching schools and hiring companies.

Today is particularly important, as it's the date I started my job back in 1998. Nothing fancy, it's retail. I've been trying to get out of it for years, including going back to college, but getting a degree hasn't helped. As of right now, I get my next cycle of vacation time, which, if I quit, I will basically receive a month's worth of salary. And I really need to quit--the job has just been getting worse and worse, as only those in my workplace know.

I have no family of my own, and I have no reason to stay in New Jersey. With my current work schedule, I don't have much of a social life anyway. I've been considering a trucking career for at least 5 years now, since I first started noticing so many trailers on the road with job advertisements. The decision has not been made in haste.

I have one question, that so far I have not been able to find in the forums (I looked, but if you have a link to something I missed, please post it. Thanks!) How long does truck driver training start? It's not so much that I'm in a hurry to get on the road, but more like how to plan my life. Currently I work overnights, so is it possible to attend training classes during the day while keeping my job? Or am I better off getting hired first by a company (and getting company sponsored training) and quitting my retail job?

I know that there are many factors that could determine that, but I figured the input of those in the career can give some perspective.

Thanks in advance!

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Patrick C.'s Comment
member avatar

Private school can range from 4 to 20+ weeks. It really all depends. Company sponsored length depends on the company. You honestly would have to call CDL schools in your area as well as companies that offer company sponsored training. Write down everything you can find out about each. Compare and contrast them all and pick which is best for your current situation. I know it is not very helpful, but there are so many differences it would be difficult to guess at each scenario.

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.

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.

Susan D. 's Comment
member avatar

I worked full time and attended CDL school part time. If I had to do it again, I'd have quit my job and either used WIOA funding or attended a company sponsored school.

The problem was I was EXHAUSTED! Attending CDL school part time on weekends did not give me the daily repetition that a student needs. By the time the next weekend came, we'd lost skills we were trying so hard to master.

If you go to a company sponsored school, you'll often get one on one road training as soon as you have your permit! Many companies have you get your permit then they send you out with a trainer and after a certain number of miles or weeks will bring you back to test for your CDL-A.

It really seems like an ideal situation to me.

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.

WIOA:

WIOA - Workforce Innovation & Opportunity Act (aka WIA)

Formerly known as the Workforce Investment Act (WIA), the WIOA was established in 1998 to prepare youth, adults and dislocated workers for entry and reentry into the workforce. WIOA training funds are designed to serve laid-off individuals, older youth and adults who are in need of training to enter or reenter the labor market. A lot of truck drivers get funding for their CDL training through WIOA.

Anchorman's Comment
member avatar

I attended my local community college. It was an 8 week class, Monday-Friday, from 8AM-1:15PM. I also continued to work my previous job from 3PM-11PM. My off days from work were Tuesday & Thursday. Maybe this gives you an idea of an option you could look at.

John L.'s Comment
member avatar

Would it be practical to apply for jobs out of state before getting the CDL? Or if I wait to get the CDL from NJ, how much of a hassle is it to change licenses over to the new state of residence?

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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