I Don't Know Nuthin' About Trucking - Now What?

by Farmer Bob

Well, I have decided to take the big step and become a trucker. Although I have wanted to drive for a long time my current job was just too good to quit. After I retired I decided to make the choice. My wife is very supportive. I can't begin to tell you how important a supportive wife or significant other is to your careerchoice.

The first thing you must do before you choose a truck driving school or a company that offers CDL training is to do your research. A good place to start is where you are right now! TruckingTruth. I looked at more blogs and web sites than I can remember. I read the horror stories about companies and schools. It seemed that the bad stories outnumbered the good ones. I thought maybe this isn't something I want to do after all. But wait! -- you figure that there are millions of truck drivers - and that there are really very, very few bad stories. I decided that trucking wasn't at all what the horror stories made it out to be. Sure there are drivers, trucking schools, and trucking companies that are not as good as they should be. But that's life - full of choices and opportunities for everyone.

Some Things To Consider When Choosing A School

When you look for a school there are a fewthings you should consider, like does the school meet the requirements of a company that you would choose to work for, and does the school have accreditation? A third consideration is this - if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is! There are schools that promise you a CDL in as little as a week. Wow! Only a week? To think that the school I was considering wanted you to spend four weeks and thousands of dollars! When you compare that to a school that claims you can get your CDL in a week you start to think, "Glad I didn't choose them!"

Of course you can get your CDL in less than four weeks; but most, if not all, of the big companies will want you to have a certificate showing 160 hours of study. That's four weeks! Now the longer schooling makes more sense, doesn't it? I have read that if the school you want to go to doesn't offer one on one driving time you are just wasting your money. That's wishful thinking, and it's really not true. It would be great if your school had one truck and trainer for each student, but that would make it cost prohibitive. You do learn by watching others. Every school that met my first two criteria had at least three students in each truck. So go for the best you can find and afford. Of course you want to find a school that has a placement program that will help you find a job.

To sum it up: do your research, make a list of the pros and cons of each school you are considering and make the most informed choice you can. Welcome to the world of the student truck driver!

A note from TruckingTruth: We also have another great article called Choosing A CDL Truck Driving School: The First Challenge" that also has a ton of great information on choosing a truck driving school.

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

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

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