Company-Sponsored Training With Swift: My First Hand Experience

by Dave

So you want to know what the Swift academy was like? Well let me share with you my experience. It all started when…… Oh wait wrong story :) ha-ha seriously though here's the scoop.

Transportation To Their Facility

First off, let me tell you, Swift pays for your transportation to their facility, or if you choose to drive, they will reimburse you the price of a ticket. So if your bus ticket is $50 bucks, and your gas receipt is $55, they will reimburse $50. Simple as that.

bigrig5.jpg

So, the journey down to Phoenix wasn't all too bad. The first 2 buses had Wi-Fi and power outlets which made it easy to surf the web and watch movies and the only out of pocket expense was food to get down there. Once you arrive at the terminal , you have to call Swift and request a shuttle to the hotel, provided you arrive before 5pm. Don't listen to the cab drivers sitting outside the bus station. They gave me every excuse in the book to get me to pay them to drive me to the hotel. Don't bother - the shuttle will pick you up. So unless you want to pay $25 for a cab, just chill and wait. They shuttle picked me up at 10 am. It comes every 2 hours from what I was told.

The Hotel Room

The hotel room was pretty awesome; you can cook on a stove or bake in the oven. It has two bedrooms (yes, bedrooms with bathrooms) and each room holds 4 people. The hotel also has a pool, a hot tub and gym. The worse part for the hotel I found was the pool was not temp controlled, meaning it was the temp of the outside air. Phoenix gets pretty hot during the summer so the water was real warm which was a bummer.

Starting Each Day Early

Every day you wake up at by 3-3:30 a.m. and have to be waiting for the bus at 4:00 a.m. outside. Class starts at 5:30. I recommend getting some good sleep. The First day isn't too bad. If you need a physical, you can have it done there at school. You will also be pee tested for drugs/alcohol. So no drinks the night before. If you fail the physical or drug test they will send you home.

If you live outside Arizona, you will be shuttled to the local DMV , and take your 3 tests for the permit. Now here's the great thing...its computerized testing with the option to skip questions you're unsure of. You need an 80% to pass and the system will end the exam if you answer 80% correct or more than 20% wrong. They also print your ID card right off the bat. No waiting for 2-3 weeks like in California.

Classroom & Driving Range

You will have 2 days of class room time, and then start out on the range on your third day. They start you off with straight line backing and you have two attempts to pass it or you're sent home. Don't worry though, you get a full day and a half for practice. After straight line comes pre-trip, offset parking, and parallel parking. Follow the instructions carefully and ask for help if need be. Now if you're at Swift Academy's other terminal , this won't help you much, but at the Arizona location you can ask Howard the supervisor for help with skills. He has some good tips and advice.

Road Training

And your last week will consist of Road training. 4 days of city/rural driving with an evaluation on the 4th day and the CDL test on the 5th day.

Overall Impression

Overall I found the training to be excellent. The instructors are awesome; they encourage you and help when asked. If you struggle, they will help. It's just a matter of listening. Now there are something things I would have done differently, including drinking lots of water! Also I would make sure to bring better food choices. They number one issue was lack of food, which in turn made it harder to think. That was also the most stressful situation for me and being away from my family. I won't say it was easy, because it wasn't. It took hard work and determination. But it was worth it, and I wouldn't change it for the world.

Thanks for reading. I hope this has given you some more info. If you have questions, feel free to find me in the forums and send me a private message.

–Dave

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.

Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

Dm:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.

DMV:

Department of Motor Vehicles, Bureau of Motor Vehicles

The state agency that handles everything related to your driver's licences, including testing, issuance, transfers, and revocation.

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.

by Brett Aquila

Related Articles:

Randy's Truck Driving School - Day 8

by rbradyjohnsen

We're into the second week of trucking school and things are still moving along very quickly! They are getting ready for their driving test very soon.

Trucking School Part III - Boot Camp

by Rick Huffman

Backing up a truck and learning to shift are two key elements at truck driving school, but some patient instructors are helping our class immensely.

Truck Driving School Part IV - Taking The CDL Exam

by Rick Huffman

It was time to take the CDL exam and all of us were very nervous. Most of us failed our first attempt and the pressure was on to pass and get our CDL.

The Boot Camp Known As Company-Sponsored Training

by SharBear

Company Sponsored CDL training can be a lot like boot camp. Prepare to have your self worth, dignity, brains, abilities, and patience tested.

More Boot Camp Stories From My Time In A Company-Sponsored CDL Training Program

by SharBear

Going through a company-sponsored CDL training program is no bed of roses. Here are some of my experiences and some challenges you can expect to face.

The Completion Of CDL Training (After A Lot Of Stress!)

by Philosopher Paul

I've completed my CDL training and I now have my CDL but there was plenty of stress and some rough teachers to deal with along the way - here's the story

What You Need To Know Before Choosing A Truck Driving School

by Tanya Bons

Choosing a truck driving school is not difficult when you know the right factors to consider. Here is a great article to help you choose your CDL training

A Trainer's Perspective On Teaching Students How To Shift

by TruckerMike

I recently became a certified CDL instructor and I was given my first students to train on shifting gears. Here's the story, and some advice for newbies

5 Advantages Of Company Sponsored CDL Programs Vs. Private Truck Driving Schools

by Driver Solutions

There are numerous advantages to company-sponsored CDL training over private truck driving schools and in this article we'll talk about them in detail.

Private Schooling Versus Company-Sponsored: The Basic Differences

by Brett Aquila

Company-sponsored CDL training versus private CDL training is one of the first big career decisions you'll make. Here's a quick rundown of the differences.

Join Us!

We have an awesome set of tools that will help you understand the trucking industry and prepare for a great start to your trucking career. Not only that, but everything we offer here at TruckingTruth is 100% free - no strings attached! Sign up now and get instant access to our member's section:
High Road Training Program Logo
  • The High Road Training Program
  • The High Road Article Series
  • The Friendliest Trucker's Forum Ever!
  • Email Updates When New Articles Are Posted

Apply For Paid CDL Training Through TruckingTruth

Did you know you can fill out one quick form here on TruckingTruth and apply to several companies at once for paid CDL training? Seriously! The application only takes one minute. You will speak with recruiters today. There is no obligation whatsoever. Learn more and apply here:

Apply For Paid CDL Training

About Us

TruckingTruth was founded by Brett Aquila (that's me!), a 15 year truck driving veteran, in January 2007. After 15 years on the road I wanted to help people understand the trucking industry and everything that came with the career and lifestyle of an over the road trucker. We'll help you make the right choices and prepare for a great start to your trucking career.

Read More

Becoming A Truck Driver

Becoming A Truck Driver is a dream we've all pondered at some point in our lives. We've all wondered if the adventure and challenges of life on the open road would suit us better than the ordinary day to day lives we've always known. At TruckingTruth we'll help you decide if trucking is right for you and help you get your career off to a great start.

Learn More