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FAQ: Attending Company-Sponsored CDL Training

Last Updated: Oct 7, 2016

Company-Sponsored CDL Training - Frequently Asked Questions

Should I choose a private truck driving school or a company-sponsored CDL program?

It really depends on your circumstances. If you can afford tuition at a private school, you may be able to choose among several companies. On the other hand, company-sponsored programs pay for your schooling, while guaranteeing a job, in return for a contractual commitment to drive for them, usually about 1 year.

How do I choose a company-sponsored truck driving school?

Really, you can't go wrong with any of them, it just depends on which program fits you best. Different companies will offer different things, like meals or cash advances, and some will pay you from day one.

How does company-sponsored CDL training work?

Think of it as an apprenticeship. Basically, the trucking company pays your way through their CDL school, usually with meals and housing included, trains you to drive, and guarantees you a job. In return, you agree to drive for said company for what is usually a set amount of time or miles, normally around a year.

Should I be concerned with being 'locked-in' to a contract after training?

Absolutely not. In fact, in what other field else are you going to find a company willing to pay for your training AND guarantee you a job afterwards? It will take at least a year for new drivers to really learn the ropes of the job, so it's actually to your advantage to be with a company that has a vested interest in your success, rather than one who is more likely to cut you loose for minor things.

How long is company-sponsored training , compared with private CDL school?

The schooling at company-sponsored programs is actually shorter than at private schools, normally, with an emphasis on getting you behind the wheel and learning how to drive sooner. Most company-sponsored schools are 3-4 weeks.

How do I get to company-sponsored training?

In most cases, even for drivers who aren't going through the CDL program, the company will provide at least a bus ticket to orientation/training. Some companies have been reported to fly their students in.

What should I bring to company-sponsored training?

Packing for trucking school is kind of like packing for a vacation. Many times CDL students may be given a checklist by the trucking company or school of what they should bring. You will function better and concentrate better on the schooling if you are comfortable and properly equipped.

Items To Bring To CDL School, Training, and OTR

Will I be paid during CDL training and company training?

Most companies will not start paying you until you have your CDL and start the company training phase, though every company has a different timetable for this. Some companies, like Roehl, will get you in the truck as soon as possible, and pay you as an employee from day 1.

What happens during the company training phase?

After you get your CDL, and in some cases while you still have your permit, companies will require you to do some sort of on-the-road training with one of their driver/trainers.

How long is on-the-road company training?

In most cases, you will be done with company training in 6-8 weeks, depending on the company and your rate of progress.

Can I get my CDL without going to school or a company-sponsored program?

You can, but you really shouldn't, if you have any plans for getting a driving job from any reputable carrier. Most companies will require a training certificate affirming that you have gone through a training program of at least 160 hours.

What if I leave a company before fulfilling my contract for company-sponsored CDL training?

You will, at the very least, be liable for the remaining dollar value of the contract. Some companies will require full repayment regardless of the remaining contract, while some will withhold your training certificate until the contract is satisfied, essentially making it impossible to get a job anywhere else.

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.

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.

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.

EPU:

Electric Auxiliary Power Units

Electric APUs have started gaining acceptance. These electric APUs use battery packs instead of the diesel engine on traditional APUs as a source of power. The APU's battery pack is charged when the truck is in motion. When the truck is idle, the stored energy in the battery pack is then used to power an air conditioner, heater, and other devices

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