Looking For Your Experienced Thoughts, CDL Training

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CHOWSIR's Comment
member avatar

I've been working for telephone company for the last 18 years. Looking a change, I went and got my CDL Permit with Tanker, HAZMAT , and Doubles/Triples.

I want to keep my telco job while getting my CDL training. I work and live just North of Salt Lake City now. I'm looking for CDL Training in the evenings and/or weekends.

I need to sell my Motorhome before I can go full time trucking.

My goal is to get my permit (done), get my Class A CDL, TWIC , Passport, all while getting experience driving safely, learning all I can about the operation of the tractor, how to care for the tractor, and how to do basic maintenance to avoid larger problems down the road.

I used the High Road CDL Training Program, here on truckingtruth.com to help me learn the information to prepare for the Utah CDL permit and the 3 endorsements!

Thanks, Brian

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.

HAZMAT:

Hazardous Materials

Explosive, flammable, poisonous or otherwise potentially dangerous cargo. Large amounts of especially hazardous cargo are required to be placarded under HAZMAT regulations

Doubles:

Refers to pulling two trailers at the same time, otherwise known as "pups" or "pup trailers" because they're only about 28 feet long. However there are some states that allow doubles that are each 48 feet in length.

TWIC:

Transportation Worker Identification Credential

Truck drivers who regularly pick up from or deliver to the shipping ports will often be required to carry a TWIC card.

Your TWIC is a tamper-resistant biometric card which acts as both your identification in secure areas, as well as an indicator of you having passed the necessary security clearance. TWIC cards are valid for five years. The issuance of TWIC cards is overseen by the Transportation Security Administration and the Department of Homeland Security.

G-Town's Comment
member avatar

Welcome to the forum Brian...

I will offer my opinion based on personal experience and that observed through others. Likely not what you want to hear, but none-the-less; honest.

It takes about 3-3.5 weeks of formal "certificate" based schooling to learn just enough necessary to pass the CDL tests; PTI, Yard Skills and Road Skills. 160 hours. Paid CDL Training Programs offer that in an accelerated curriculum, with minimal up-front out of pocket costs, and all but guarantee a job once graduated, with the CDL.

As follows: Why I Prefer Company Sponsored Training

Anything more than the "160 hours" is typically unnecessary and costly to the student. I am not a proponent of going to trucking school part-time (PT). I believe it's the sort of thing that requires a 100% dedicated focus, limited distractions and a well-rested mind and body. IMO it (trucking school) doesn't lend itself well to a protracted/extended process. Simply put, I believe a PT student spends a good percentage of their time re-priming their pump so to speak, reviewing or relearning material covered in the previous 2 hr. class a week or 3 days prior. Initially skills learned and practiced need to be quickly put into action, otherwise they are soon forgotten. You are paying for that extra time.

That said, I completely "get" the issues of putting your life and income stream "on-hold" while you become a full-time trucking academic. We've had folks on here that have gone the part-time route and succeeded brilliantly. So it is possible, but you need to be a special breed able to commit to the "go-stop, now go again" nature of PT schooling. Susan D specifically comes to mind and if I recall correctly she had a similar scenario. She is now a full-time driver trainer for West Side Transport. Great lady, a fine example of what can be accomplished when you keep your eye on the prize and never waiver from your goals.

My suggestion if you must go the PT schooling route? Take a good look at the companies found here: Trucking Company Reviews offering to hire and train entry level drivers. So to be clear; fresh out of school your skills are very basic; 99.9% of any company hiring you will want you to take finish training or AKA road training to hone those skills and begin to develop the trucker mindset.

Once you have compiled a short list of 3-4 companies; I suggest you send out pre-hire letter requests. Use these links to enable that process:

If at all possible try to line up a few pre-hires before committing to the school. Also check to see what type of job-placement services the school offers once you graduate. That too is valuable in assisting with getting the much coveted first driving job.

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.

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.

Pre-hires:

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.
CHOWSIR's Comment
member avatar

Many thanks for your comments and knowledge! If you are willing please respond to the following information I have found out.

Utah Trucking Academy, located near SLC International Airport, has a night program that is 175 hours long. 40 hours classroom and 135 hours driving. 6p-10p.

I am trying to find out their credentials, and going to visit their campus this afternoon. They seem to have a program setup with companies like KNIGHT, WERNER, GODFREY TRUCKING, COVENANT TRANSPORT, to name a few.

I do understand the PT effect you described. Just not sure I am prepared to go 3-4 weeks without a paycheck.

More about the pre-hire letters, is that something you have a draft in, or do the companies provide that is they are willing. I have some research to do on that.

Thanks again.

Welcome to the forum Brian...

I will offer my opinion based on personal experience and that observed through others. Likely not what you want to hear, but none-the-less; honest.

It takes about 3-3.5 weeks of formal "certificate" based schooling to learn just enough necessary to pass the CDL tests; PTI, Yard Skills and Road Skills. 160 hours. Paid CDL Training Programs offer that in an accelerated curriculum, with minimal up-front out of pocket costs, and all but guarantee a job once graduated, with the CDL.

As follows: Why I Prefer Company Sponsored Training

Anything more than the "160 hours" is typically unnecessary and costly to the student. I am not a proponent of going to trucking school part-time (PT). I believe it's the sort of thing that requires a 100% dedicated focus, limited distractions and a well-rested mind and body. IMO it (trucking school) doesn't lend itself well to a protracted/extended process. Simply put, I believe a PT student spends a good percentage of their time re-priming their pump so to speak, reviewing or relearning material covered in the previous 2 hr. class a week or 3 days prior. Initially skills learned and practiced need to be quickly put into action, otherwise they are soon forgotten. You are paying for that extra time.

That said, I completely "get" the issues of putting your life and income stream "on-hold" while you become a full-time trucking academic. We've had folks on here that have gone the part-time route and succeeded brilliantly. So it is possible, but you need to be a special breed able to commit to the "go-stop, now go again" nature of PT schooling. Susan D specifically comes to mind and if I recall correctly she had a similar scenario. She is now a full-time driver trainer for West Side Transport. Great lady, a fine example of what can be accomplished when you keep your eye on the prize and never waiver from your goals.

My suggestion if you must go the PT schooling route? Take a good look at the companies found here: Trucking Company Reviews offering to hire and train entry level drivers. So to be clear; fresh out of school your skills are very basic; 99.9% of any company hiring you will want you to take finish training or AKA road training to hone those skills and begin to develop the trucker mindset.

Once you have compiled a short list of 3-4 companies; I suggest you send out pre-hire letter requests. Use these links to enable that process:

If at all possible try to line up a few pre-hires before committing to the school. Also check to see what type of job-placement services the school offers once you graduate. That too is valuable in assisting with getting the much coveted first driving job.

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.

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.

Pre-hires:

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

G-Town's Comment
member avatar

The employer sends you the letter after you apply and likely speak to a recruiter. Use this link to assist with the application process.

Apply For Truck Driving Jobs

Old School's Comment
member avatar

Here's some information on Pre-hire letters and the process.

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.

CHOWSIR's Comment
member avatar

I took a few days to find out about the Pre-Hire letter process. Now I have several in the working . I start CDL training this evening in Salt Lake City. The folks at the school seemed genuinely nice and knowledgeable. Ed Godfrey, my cousin, has been very helpful with his experience, along with his wife Selena. Thanks to them as well as those who responded to my questions.

My goal is to drive flatbed or tanker for the first year, so I can have that experience for the future as an O/O team with my spouse.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

CHOWSIR has a plan...

My goal is to drive flatbed or tanker for the first year, so I can have that experience for the future as an O/O team with my spouse.

I'd steer clear of O/O...

Here are just a few links explaining why-

Confessions of an Owner Operator

Natural Progession of a Trick Driver's Career

Owner Operator:

An owner-operator is a driver who either owns or leases the truck they are driving. A self-employed driver.

G-Town's Comment
member avatar

Sorry, forgive the typo; "Truck Driver's Career", not Trick Driver

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