Truck Driving School 2009: Will The Poor Economy Still Offer Truck Driving Jobs For Students?

by Brett Aquila

In today's slow economy there are tons of layoffs and more people than ever are considering going to truck driving school and becoming a truck driver - and rightly so. The trucking industry has always had a very high demand for drivers, the trucking schools are relatively short and inexpensive, and truck driving jobs generally pay very well. There are a lot of other perks for truck drivers, also - but none of that will matter if you can't find a job once you get your CDL. So what is the current job outlook for those that are new to the trucking industry?

I wish I could say it was better. But I think fairly soon it will be.

Right now in the trucking industry there is a double wammy - the economy is terrible and we're at the slowest time of the year in trucking. To hear about layoffs in the trucking industry is simply remarkable. But it actually isn't as bad for new students as it is for experienced drivers. New drivers will make less money right after coming out of school than experienced drivers will, and cutting costs is the number one priority in today's economy for everyone. Fuel, tires, and payroll are the three largest expense items for trucking companies and they'll do anything they can to cut costs.

As of this writing, our truck driving jobs board is packed full of jobs. But they may just be trying to get all of the applications they can get so that when things do turn around they have plenty of drivers available. Our authors Pappy and Tumbleweed are both experienced truck drivers who are struggling to find work right now. TruckerMike, who is currently in truck driving school and getting ready to take the driving and backing portions of his CDL test, has one pre-hire right now with an orientation date in early March, but has struggled to get more pre-hires at the moment. He also had one pre-hire cancel because of a hiring freeze. Rhonda is currently employed with a trucking company and is getting her share of work.

So things are far from what you would call "going well" for the trucking industry right now, as is the case for everyone in this economy, but there are still jobs available, especially for students. If you're considering getting into the trucking industry, I would say the best way to go right now would be to find companies that offers free CDL training, or at least require very little money up front. That way you are guaranteed a job once you complete your training and have your CDL license.

It doesn't look like President Obama's Stimulus Plan is going to do much to stimulate the economy, at least not from what I'm hearing. I'm an avid follower of the stock market and the economy, and I watch CNBC morning til night 5 days a week. Nobody seems optimistic about anything right now, not even the Stimulus Plan. But if you can get hired by a company that offers CDL training you should be in great shape. They wouldn't hire you and put you through the training if they weren't going to put you in a truck and get you rollin. The training they'll give you is their investment in you. They recoup that investment by putting you to work at a lower rate and possibly requiring you to pay them back for some of the training. So it wouldn't make sense to accept you into their program, train you, and then not put you to work.

So stay tuned as winter turns to spring, the normal seasonality in the trucking industry picks up, and hopefully the economy begins to show signs of life. If we can just begin to get the ball rolling a little bit, it will have a major impact on the trucking industry and the job prospects for both new and experienced drivers alike.

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.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
by Brett Aquila

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