CDL School: Private Or Company Sponsored?

Topic 21370 | Page 1

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Patrick's Comment
member avatar

Hello!

This is a fantastic site with a fortune of information on truck driving, thanks to Brett and other current and retired truck drivers!

I have been struggling with with which way to go, private or company sponsored. As a guy that has only driven a 26' rental truck for moving, I have recently come to realize that if others have learned to drive a semi-truck, then I can too! This will be my second career after years in IT doing desktop support.

While I can see the pros, I have decided the "cons" for me are too overwhelming to ignore. I currently have a full-time job in the Chicago area, and while I can't wait to leave my desk behind, I think I need to take this one step at a time, as I don't want to make too big of a commitment. I am very fortunate for the following reasons: I have full-time job with health insurance, I work 7am to 3pm, I live near where I work and am 20 minutes from a high quality 240 hour CDL training school, classes are available nights/saturdays, I can pay the tuition upfront. I have made good choices in my life, and therefore, I have no traffic tickets, no criminal record and I have never touched drugs (nor am I hooked on an prescriptions).

I am planning to begin training at College of Dupage Truck Driving School February or March, 2018. By going with a private school, I will eliminate much of my uncertainty as to whether I can and want to drive a truck for a living. I will not be beholden to a company for training costs.

A few days ago, I got myself all hyped up and applied for the Prime Student Driver Program. While I figure I am a great candidate for that program, considering among other things, I will have to continue my current employer's health insurance on a COBRA policy, at a cost of $540 per month. I cannot afford to pay that for months from day one of Prime Training to 90 days of employment which is when Prime's insurance kicks in. The costs of their health plan seem reasonable and are availabe on their Benefits page. (I will find a way to afford the cobra costs for the 2-3 months before most companies health plans begin.

In the process of applying, I found out that they I was only required to provide 3 years of employment history. The previous 7 years was only required if I was employed as a truck driver.

A couple things that I like about Prime, is that for CDL-A holders, you drive with a trainer for 30K to 40k miles. That seems like a good amount of time in the real world, with a "teacher" along for the ride. Another thing, I also discovered that Prime has podcasts of their safety meetings on the news archive. The meetings go back a few years, although, they are not easy to find.

I have looked at paying for my own insurance, but, here in Illinois, it is very expensive so I think I am better off with a company that has a good health plan.

Many trucking companies recruit students at COD. There are many things that I have found one should consider, before signing up. My plan is to stay at my first company for at least a year. I will will put up another post with the points to consider, not saying I have the answers though! Lol.

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Old School's Comment
member avatar

Welcome aboard Patrick!

Here's a great article you should take a look at. Brett lays out the things that you are considering in this Article About Company Sponsored 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.

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.

Todd C.'s Comment
member avatar

Hi Patrick,

Might want to check out TMC, they extend benefits after 30 days. It's nice to see another IT person in here. I'm noticing more and more as I read through older threads.

Errol V.'s Comment
member avatar

Welcome aboard Patrick. I was in a similar situation (no income while training). I bit the bullet and was without income from the beginning of December till mid February. I went to Swift's Academy after I got my CDL permit with the help of the High Road CDL Training Program.

Here's an advantage of jumping in now: most people stay home for the holidays so class size is smaller than usual.

There are a few companies that will pay and train you at the same time (Roehl, at least, I think). Also, there's no up front out of pocket for tuition. Another "also": with a company school you are all but hired when you walk in the door, providing all the other vitals are hunky dory. (Another thought: a private school takes your money and trains you. Once a company school takes you on (since you're almost hired), and you stay committed to the program, they will work with you to get through that ordeal.)

Once you get into on-the-road training you will be getting a paycheck. Swift pays you, and counts training, by the hour.

Yes, my experience is with a Company-Sponsored Training 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.

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.

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