Is Community College Training A Bad Idea?

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Terri D.'s Comment
member avatar

As I read more and more on this site I am realizing that most everyone is going through a company sponsored training. Am I making the wrong decision to goto a community college? I already have medical card, and learners permit. Orientation is tomorrow with drug testing. Then class starts mid to late October.

I chose this route honestly because I am not sure the direction I want to go with trucking.

I would appreciate your thoughts.

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.
Sno-boy's Comment
member avatar

I went the CC route and could not be happier. I am a free agent from day 1. I was offered a job by the first firm I contacted. I am still there but I am not obligated to stay and that feels good. I like my existing company yet if I feel like something is a better fit for me, I am free to go.

As I read more and more on this site I am realizing that most everyone is going through a company sponsored training. Am I making the wrong decision to goto a community college? I already have medical card, and learners permit. Orientation is tomorrow with drug testing. Then class starts mid to late October.

I chose this route honestly because I am not sure the direction I want to go with trucking.

I would appreciate your thoughts.

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.
Terri D.'s Comment
member avatar

Sno-Boy that was one if the strongest reasons why I wanted to do it this way. I have worked in health care for a long time. My coworkers never understood why I would not accept sign on bonuses. To me it has never made sense to accept an offer for a company to "buy" me. I always stayed many years it just seemed fishy to me.

At the same timyI do understand many trucking companies may still require s contract.

Sno-boy's Comment
member avatar

I am barely ahead of you in time in this industry, but I have never heard of a contract requirement to accept a job that has no other incentives i.e. sign on bonus or free schooling. I will promise you there are plenty of longtime drivers on here that can shed some light on that being a fact or not. And perhaps I am mistaken that was your thought.

Sno-Boy that was one if the strongest reasons why I wanted to do it this way. I have worked in health care for a long time. My coworkers never understood why I would not accept sign on bonuses. To me it has never made sense to accept an offer for a company to "buy" me. I always stayed many years it just seemed fishy to me.

At the same timyI do understand many trucking companies may still require s contract.

Errol V.'s Comment
member avatar

Terri, I went the company school route with Swift.

The real big difference is the college class will last many weeks, often 2-3 days per week. This class is built in the College's semester system. It's probably the most affordable route of you're paying out of your pocket.

A commercial or company school is designed as a full time, 5 days a week course. It is made to get you through school and get your CDL license as quickly as possible.

If you do pay your own way, you could maybe hire on to your favorite trucking company with no commitment to stay there. Once they pay the tuition, or get you a hiring bonus, you will be working that off under the one year contract you will sign.

So to answer your specific question, the community college course will allow you to get into trucking and quit if you realize it's a mistake.

However, signing a one year contract for "free" training does mean you'll be driving for about a year.

College or school, you do need that much time to get a real good idea of what trucking is all about.

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.
Old School's Comment
member avatar
I would appreciate your thoughts.

Personally, I think the whole idea of being a "free agent" when you're an entry level, rookie driver is a joke. It's not like being a rookie athlete just entering the profession. They are already proficient at their game, they've just managed to get on at a place where they can get paid for it.

Being free to pick your own company sounds nice, but it doesn't give one much advantage. You're still a beginner and only a limited number of companies hire beginners. Trust me when I say you will be surprised how ill equipped you will be for the job once you finish your schooling.

The community college programs are good, usually very good, but nothing will prepare you like sticking it out for one year at your first company. The beauty of the Company-Sponsored Training Programs is that they have an investment in you from the get go. They not only want you to succeed, they are invested in helping make sure you do. You are not the only party making a commitment - they are committed to your success in a way that no "free agent" will ever experience from their employer.

I'm not knocking your decision. Some of our members went the same route and were quite happy with their decision. I just wanted to clarify that though we all hear about the great demand for drivers, that demand also weeds them out very quickly. No one gets a trucking job in a more precarious position than the rookie driver. "Free Agent" or not, that first year is no walk in the park, and a commitment can only help you get through it.

You'll need to provide that level of commitment on your own if the company you go to work for doesn't insist on you signing a contract. Don't count on your "free agent" status to be of any assistance in the actual arena, where only results matter.

Terri, I'm in no way saying you've made a wrong choice. I'm just hoping to help you focus on the big reality that's going to hit you at some point in this journey. The commitment will not only be necessary, but vital, whether you pay your own way or not.

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.

Rick Dees's Comment
member avatar

Most of the time community college is less expensive and you are not a slave to a certain company that requires you to stay with them for a certain amount of time..it's what I did and I would say it's the better way to go..good luck!

Terri D.'s Comment
member avatar

Thank you,

I didn't not use the word "free agent" slo-boy did. But I understand how you came to that idea based on my response. I was referring to sign on bonuses in healthcare they do it just to get you in the door, that's fishy to me because they are not offering "compensation for anything, ie TDT" sorry for the mis understanding. I have worked no less than 2-3 years at one place and did 23 years as a Paramedic.

I am going into this industry dumb as dirt. Literally!!! I am looking at this as I did with my degree in Emergency Medical Services. It will give you enough information to pass your test and basics but the real learning doesn't really start until you hit the rig (ambulance or trucking). That was why I was questioning the CC route. I want the best basics and foundation to start my new adventure. I am sure I will suck @&& at it for a while. 😂😂. My training will be 5 days a week for 8 weeks 11 hours a day.

I want a strong company that will bring me in the industry. I fully and expect no less than being to runt in the industry.

Trust me I am actually scared to death but excited taking this step into a totally unknown industry.

As I said I am an idiot to this industry but pumped to learn it.

double-quotes-start.png

I would appreciate your thoughts.

double-quotes-end.png

Personally, I think the whole idea of being a "free agent" when you're an entry level, rookie driver is a joke. It's not like being a rookie athlete just entering the profession. They are already proficient at their game, they've just managed to get on at a place where they can get paid for it.

Being free to pick your own company sounds nice, but it doesn't give one much advantage. You're still a beginner and only a limited number of companies hire beginners. Trust me when I say you will be surprised how ill equipped you will be for the job once you finish your schooling.

The community college programs are good, usually very good, but nothing will prepare you like sticking it out for one year at your first company. The beauty of the Company-Sponsored Training Programs is that they have an investment in you from the get go. They not only want you to succeed, they are invested in helping make sure you do. You are not the only party making a commitment - they are committed to your success in a way that no "free agent" will ever experience from their employer.

I'm not knocking your decision. Some of our members went the same route and were quite happy with their decision. I just wanted to clarify that though we all hear about the great demand for drivers, that demand also weeds them out very quickly. No one gets a trucking job in a more precarious position than the rookie driver. "Free Agent" or not, that first year is no walk in the park, and a commitment can only help you get through it.

You'll need to provide that level of commitment on your own if the company you go to work for doesn't insist on you signing a contract. Don't count on your "free agent" status to be of any assistance in the actual arena, where only results matter.

Terri, I'm in no way saying you've made a wrong choice. I'm just hoping to help you focus on the big reality that's going to hit you at some point in this journey. The commitment will not only be necessary, but vital, whether you pay your own way or not.

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.

Old School's Comment
member avatar

Terri, I recognize some of the characteristic evidences in you that usually make for successful truck drivers. I'm sure you'll do fine.

I meant no slight to you, and I am thinking you know that. It was just a little heads up about what it takes to do well at this.

Rick, there is a vast difference in agreeing to commit yourself to someone who is willing to pay for your schooling and being a "slave" to a company. C'mon man!

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar

Going through private school is perfectly fine, as long as you verify that it's a legitimate school that major companies will hire from. Community colleges are pretty much always going to be legitimate because they'll have more stringent requirements they have to meet. So no concerns there.

and you are not a slave to a certain company that requires you to stay with them for a certain amount of time

Wow, Rick. You've been around here 2 1/2 years and you still have that "caveman" view of how company-sponsored training works? Good grief, man.

With company-sponsored training the company is paying for your training. Therefore you're agreeing to work for them for a period of time while paying back any tuition they may require. They've made a commitment to you financially and you make a commitment in return to work for them while you pay them back.

Not to mention, for 100+ years workers all over the world have formed unions to make sure they have some sort of job security. People nowadays have somehow equated job security with slavery.

I am a free agent from day 1. I was offered a job by the first firm I contacted. I am still there but I am not obligated to stay and that feels good

Does it feel good to know they're also not obligated to keep you? I mean, they have no vested interest in your future. They could drop you tomorrow like a rotten potato, put the next driver in the seat, and would never give it another thought.

New drivers tend to get in one or two little dingers early on in their career. The company-sponsored programs are a lot more forgiving because they'll lose a ton of money if they can't keep you around for the contract. So financially they need to make sure you stick around and that you become a safe, productive driver. That's what I would want. Companies exist to make money. I like the idea that a company has put their money behind me and have a financial incentive for keeping me around.

Terri, you'll be perfectly fine going the community college route. Once you do choose a company to work for just get it set in your head that you're going to stick with that company for one full year. It's really important to establish your career on solid footing.

Check out my 4th podcast for a better understanding about sticking with that first company for a year:

Episode 4: Why Stick With Your First Company One Full Year?

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.

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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