CDL School Or Company Training?

Topic 20858 | Page 1

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Thomas C.'s Comment
member avatar

I have been looking at both options and just wanted the opinions of everyone what they believe is the best way into Trucking. I do have the GI Bill that would cover any CDL School so money for schooling is not a problem. Just looking at what is the best option and looking for advice from those who have already been there and done that. Thanks for any help.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Errol V.'s Comment
member avatar

Truck Driving Schools and Company-Sponsored Training Programs do the same thing: help get you your full-bore CDL-A license.

Here's the difference: with a company school, they have done all the pre-hire stuff, so on your first day of school you are all but hired. There may be no out-of-pocket expenses besides food. But that depends on the company's policy. A private school, regardless what their recruiter says, does not guarantee you a job. But even then the chances are good.

Also, a company school probably will provide bus transportation and living arrangements at the school.

Any company might pick up your tuition, but both companies with schools and those who cover tuition will put you on a contract (about a year) to pay it off.

Check these other links:

Truck Driver's Career Guide

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.

Pre-hire:

What Exactly Is A Pre-Hire Letter?

Pre-hire letters are acceptance letters from trucking companies to students, or even potential students, to verify placement. The trucking companies are saying in writing that the student, or potential student, appears to meet the company's minimum hiring requirements and is welcome to attend their orientation at the company’s expense once he or she graduates from truck driving school and has their CDL in hand.

We have an excellent article that will help you Understand The Pre-Hire Process.

A Pre-Hire Letter Is Not A Guarantee Of Employment

The people that receive a pre-hire letter are people who meet the company's minimum hiring requirements, but it is not an employment contract. It is an invitation to orientation, and the orientation itself is a prerequisite to employment.

During the orientation you will get a physical, drug screen, and background check done. These and other qualifications must be met before someone in orientation is officially hired.

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.

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.

Old School's Comment
member avatar
I have been looking at both options and just wanted the opinions of everyone what they believe is the best way into Trucking.

Hey Thomas, I honestly don't believe there is a definitive answer to your question. I realize you are just looking for opinions, but if you haven't discovered it already, asking a bunch of truckers for their opinions usually just leaves one more confused than they were from the start. We are famous for conflicting opinions!

We have some great information on how to go about the whole process of choosing a school...

Okay, since you asked, I am going to give you some information based on my own entry into trucking for a second career from about five years ago.

I had the money to go to a private school, and I thought, like so many do, that I would have more options that way. We recently had a discussion where people were referring to themselves as "free agents" after going to private school, but I think that whole idea is a joke. Check out this Thread Where The Topic of Being a Free Agent gets thrown around a little. I think it will give you some insights on how we see this subject. Okay, so I went through a private school, got my CDL , and even had my very top choice of companies picked out. It was going to be an awesome experience, so I thought. I was sure that TMC was going to be the perfect trucking company for me to get started at - I was set on it. Turns out that they weren't so sure about me - HaHa! It's a funny thing how we hear all about these driver shortages and we think, "Man if I can get my CDL, these trucking companies will just be falling all over themselves wanting me on their team." I got rejected multiple times, and that feeling of being a "free agent" was quickly becoming a distant dream, or actually more like a nightmare. I had just forked out four thousand dollars which I was sure was going to secure me just what I wanted in a new career, and it was quickly looking like it was a total waste of money!

As far as the quality of the training you are going to receive, and or the proficiency level you will be at after going through a truck driving school, I don't think any one form of schooling has an advantage over the other. We all just barely have enough training to pass the driving test and get our CDL - that is the reality of truck driving schools. After you get hired on at a company you will still go out with a trainer for usually a minimum of four weeks, and even then you are nothing more than a high risk rookie driver who is being given a chance to prove he can get out there and figure this out on his own. There is actually a lot more to this driving career than being able to maneuver a big rig safely that makes for success out here, and those things are usually learned, on your own, by falling on your face a few times and learning some hard lessons from the road. Experience in trucking is an exacting teacher, and that is why we always teach people to stick it out for that first year wherever they get started.

Herein lies the beauty of the Company-Sponsored Training Programs. Once you have committed to them, they are very much committed to you. Actually they are investing a fairly large sum of money in you, and I promise you that when companies invest money into a total stranger, they want to see a return on that investment. That puts you into a very safe position. They want you to succeed, and they are going to do what they can to help you get to that point. They are much more likely to put up with a few minor mistakes or dings and scrapes on their expensive equipment. They have an incentive to keep you on board. They are going to want a commitment of time and service from you, but who doesn't want a commitment from someone they just loaned money to? Try not making your car payment for a couple of months and you will find out what kind of commitment the bank was expecting from you for having the pleasure of driving the car they paid for!

Continued...

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.

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.

Old School's Comment
member avatar

We hear these foolish comments all the time about these Company-Sponsored Training Programs being like slavery or indentured servitude, and it is all so laughable! If someone pays to train you for a new career, it is totally reasonable for them to expect you to work for them for a little while, and trust me, one year is a drop in the bucket when you are looking at establishing a career for yourself. These days I am considered a top tier driver in a specialized fleet here at Knight transportation, but I will tell you that after my first year in this career I was just beginning to get comfortable in my own abilities at it. That one year commitment is a very valuable thing for the driver to go through. It gives you the chance to not only learn your craft, but begin to learn the subtleties of time management and customer service. As a truck driver you are actually the face of the company out here to the customers. You are not some lone ranger out here on his own. You may very well be the only representative from the trucking company that many of your customers ever interact with or even sees. You will learn so much during that first year on the job, and it should all help you to become the type of driver who can make a success out of this career.

Well, my intractable prose has gotten the better of me - I know you weren't looking for a dissertation, but sometimes I just can't stop myself when I get on what I consider an important subject. I think my main point is that the real decision to be made is not so much which type of schooling you want to go through, but what kind of Commitment you are willing to make to hanging in there for that most challenging, and very critical first year as a professional driver.

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.

Thomas C.'s Comment
member avatar

Thanks everyone for the response I appreciate the advice.

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