Carter Express: Company-Sponsored CDL Training

Carter Express Paid CDL Training Truck

Introduction To Carter Express Paid CDL Training Review

At TruckingTruth, we've done a ton of research for you! We've contacted the company recruiters at Carter Express and put together a fantastic review of the Carter Express paid CDL training program.

We'll start you off with our opinion of their paid CDL training program and then we'll take you through all of the key features and important information you'll need to know. Some of what we'll cover:

  • Student Hiring Requirements
  • Truck Driving School Locations
  • Driver Pay During Training
  • Advantages Of Working For Carter Express
  • Cost Structure Of CDL Training
  • CDL Training Itinerary
  • Carter Express Pay And Benefits
  • Vacation Pay And Home Time

Carter Express Offers Guaranteed Home Time!

Carter Express is one of the rare companies that offer guaranteed home time for two days each week!

Carter Express Review

Carter Express is one of the smaller operations running a company-sponsored CDL program, but could be an excellent fit for the right individual. Their CDL school offers small class sizes, especially at the Indiana schools, and they place heavy emphasis on classroom learning time.

Carter Express appears to be an excellent choice for those living in their hiring areas. Being a regional carrier, they guarantee at least 2 days of home time per week.

Their on-the-road company training period is also run as a solo operation, in which the trainer is always awake to assist while the truck is in motion.

About Carter Express CDL Training

Carter Express is a regional carrier founded in 1983, operating mainly throughout the Midwest. They have a newer fleet of trucks, numerous safety and excellence in service awards, and a great company culture with low driver turnover.

Because they run mainly regional freight, drivers can expect to get plenty of home time, but may need to live near one of Carter Expresses terminals.

Getting Hired With Carter Express

Carter Express Minimum Hiring Requirements

  • Be at least 21 years old.
  • Pass a DOT physical.
  • Have a satisfactory employment record.
  • Have an acceptable MVR.
  • Have an acceptable criminal record.
  • Be able to get a Hazmat endorsement.
  • No more than 2 moving violations in the past year.
  • No alcohol related offenses in the last 5 years.
  • Alcohol related driving offenses taken case-by-case.

Carter Express Hiring Areas

Running mostly regional and dedicated routes, Carter Express hires from the general areas of:

  • Indianapolis, IN
  • Detroit, MI
  • Dayton, OH
  • Cincinnati, OH
  • Knoxville, TN
  • Laredo, TX
  • NE Arkansas/SE Missouri/Memphis, TN

TruckingTruth's Take On Carter Express

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Carter Express is a smaller, stable company running regional routes mostly in the Midwest. Drivers will need to live within reasonable distance of their terminals, but most will get excellent home time opportunities.

CDL students attending their Indiana schools will need to live close enough to commute, while those attending the Arkansas school will have lodging provided. Their other requirements are average for most companies.

Carter Express requires that you get your CDL permit before attending school, and is also one of the few programs to require a Hazmat endorsement. Even though a US Passport is not required, we highly recommend you get one in case any future opportunities require it.

We also recommend you obtain all other CDL endorsements including Tanker, and Double/Triple certifications. Usually after studying the rest of the CDL manual, these exams can be passed easily and will only help you in the future.

Carter Express Facility Locations

Carter Express CDL Training Facilities

Carter Express has schools located in:

  • Anderson, IN
  • Paragould, AR

Carter Express Drop Lots And Terminals

Carter Express Terminals

Company terminals and drop yards are located in the following locations:

  • Anderson, IN
  • Paragould, AR
  • Laredo, TX
  • Romulus, MI
  • Knoxville, TN
  • Dayton, OH
  • Cincinnati, OH

Carter Express Cost

Cost Structure Of Carter Express

What is the cost structure of the CDL school?

Indiana schools cost $4,400, the Arkansas school costs $3,300.

What are all the upfront costs?

The student only needs to pay for their CDL permit and endorsements.

Will my meals be paid for?

No, students must provide for their own meals.

Is lodging included in tuition?

Indiana students typically live close enough to commute to school, so lodging isn't necessary. Arkansas students will have lodging provided as part of the tuition.

Can I pay for my CDL training up front and have no further obligations?

Yes. After graduation, the student will still have to commit to a 6-week finishing program if they want to drive for Carter Express.

What are the obligations for paying back the schooling after graduation?

In Indiana: CDL school is paid off after working 12 months for Carter Express, otherwise the amount the trainee owes is prorated.

In Arkansas: CDL school is paid off after 19 months of employment, otherwise prorated amount is invoiced at $150/month until paid off.

TruckingTruth's Take On The Cost Of Training At Carter Express

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The cost of Carter Express CDL school is average, but does not include any meals. The length of obligation after training is also a little on the high side, with the Arkansas school requiring 19 months of driving for Carter.

On the plus side, the amount owed is prorated over time, in case a driver does have to leave Carter Express before their contract is fulfilled.

Carter Express Preparation For CDL Training

Items To Bring To Carter Express

The Arkansas school is the only one of their two school locations that students will be lodging at, and this is a general list. Students will be commuting to the Indiana schools, so their list will be shorter.

  • Birth Certificate
  • Voided check if you want your paycheck direct deposited
  • Your current drivers license
  • Your CDL permit
  • Social Security Card (not laminated)
  • Toiletries
  • Pillow
  • Sun Glasses
  • Alarm Clock
  • Flashlight, pens/pencils, notepad
  • Bedding (twin sheet and blanket or sleeping bag)
  • Enough money for meals and necessities.
  • 2 government forms dated within last 60 days verifying current address
  • Enough Clothes for at least one week (remember: training is outdoors so dress accordingly)

Preparation For Carter Express

Do I need to get my CDL permit before attending school?


Do I need a US Passport?

While a passport is not required, we always encourage drivers to get one for future opportunities.

Which CDL endorsements are required or encouraged?

Hazmat endorsement is required; tanker endorsement is encouraged.

Carter Express Itinerary

Carter Express CDL Training Itinerary

How long is the training overall?

Indiana schools are four weeks in length (5 days per week); Arkansas school is three weeks in length (6 days per week).

How much time on the range backing up?

Approximately one week. More, if students need additional training.

During the practice range phase, how many students share one truck?

Indiana schools – 1 student per truck; Arkansas school – 3 students per truck.

How much time in classroom?

The first week, approximately 40hrs, are spent in the classroom. Additional classroom and home work time will also take place over the remainder of the course.

How much time in classroom?

Both schools, approximately 80 hours.

TruckingTruth’s View On Carter Express Training Itinerary

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The length of Carter Express's schooling is about average for most programs, at 3-4 weeks.

Students at Carter Express CDL school will have the benefit of small class sizes with only 1-3 students per truck. This should allow for plenty of practice time, to go with the above-average (80 hours) classroom learning time.

On The Road Training Itinerary With Carter Express

Is the training period based on number of days, number of driving hours, number of miles, or some combination?

On-the-road training is 6 weeks.

How much will I be making when I’m on the road with a trainer?

For Week 1 - $350; For Weeks 2 thru Week 6 - $400 per week.

On The Road Training Policies at Carter Express

Do they run your trainer and you as a "team" operation or like a solo truck?

Trainer/trainee runs as a solo truck. The driver trainee drives while the trainer observes from the passenger seat. The trainer never drives.

Is there more than one student per trainer and truck?


Do you have a "No sleeping in the top bunk while the truck is rolling" policy?

Yes, but it isn't applicable as nobody is sleeping while the truck is in motion.

What is your policy for handling disputes between trainer and student?

The corporate safety department intervenes and resolves any issues.

Can you get a non-smoking trainer?

Yes, non-smoking trainers may be requested.

What are the company’s minimum qualifications to be a trainer?

To become a certified trainer, a driver must have driven with Carter Express for 1 year; he/she must be accident free; must be moving violation free; no Hours of Service violations on electronic logs; recommended by Operations Department and approved by Safety Department.

TruckingTruth’s View Of Carter Express On The Road Training

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Carter Express on the road training is about average length at 6 weeks, and the training pay is a little on the low side.

That said, the training is run as a solo operation, which means that nobody sleeps while the truck is moving, and the trainer is always available to assist. Carter Express also appears to have relatively high standards for becoming a trainer, as well.

Working For Carter Express

Advantages Of Working For Carter Express

  • Regional routes
  • Great company culture
  • Good driver turnover record
  • Competitive wages for trainees
  • Affordable benefit programs
  • Great home time
  • No-touch freight
  • Safety-oriented company
  • Excellent equipment and maintenance programs
  • Stable company with over 800 trucks

TruckingTruth's View On Working For Carter Express

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Carter Express offers guranteed home time of two days each week, consistent miles, and regional runs. That's an excellent combination that you won't find many places.

Carter Express Company Driver Pay And Benefits

Carter Express Company Driver Pay

How much will I be making once I'm running solo in my own truck?

32.5 cents per mile base pay; two bonus programs average an additional 3 cents per mile.

When will I receive pay increases?

At the 12 month driving anniversary, the driver will receive a 4 cent per mile increase (a 12.3% increase) to 36.5 cents per mile, plus bonuses.

Do you offer a fuel bonus?

Yes, Carter Express does offer a fuel bonus, which fluctuates often.

Carter Express Company Driver Benefits

Carter Express has three medical health plans to choose from, life insurance, dental, vision, short term disability, long term disability, 401k retirement savings program (with company match), paid holidays and paid vacations.

How long until you qualify for benefits?

Drivers are eligible for benefits in 90 days.

What is the average cost of benefits?

Employee medical coverage runs from $30 to $59 per week.

What about vacation time?
  • After one year, you will receive one week paid vacation.
  • After 3 years, you will receive two weeks paid vacation.
  • After 10 years, you will receive three weeks paid vacation.
  • Vacation pay is 1/52 of the last 52 weeks of gross pay.

TruckingTruth's View On Carter Express Company Driver Pay

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The starting pay is a little bit on the lower end, but still not terrible, and drivers will get a hefty raise after 12 months. Carter Express also has several bonus programs which will help driver pay.

The benefits offered are average for most companies, nothing out of the ordinary.

Carter Express Employee Policies

Pets & Travelers Policy

Do you allow pets?

Pets are not allowed.

What is the company’s rider policy?

After 90 days, a driver is allowed to take a passenger in the truck. The passenger must be 12 years of age, or older. A passenger accident/medically policy must be purchased by the driver. Cost is $25 per week.

Carter Express Dispatching Policies

Can a new driver run regional or dedicated right after school?

It depends on the terminal. In some terminals, a new driver will typically start with regional route assignments. However, we have some terminals where all drivers in the terminal deliver dedicated routes.

Will there be any NYC? How soon would a new solo driver be expected to go there?

Carter Express does not go to NYC.

Are you forced dispatch? Is the driver given any options for different loads?

Carter Express drivers are force dispatched, there are no options.

How often can I expect to be home? For how long at a time?

Carter Express guarantees every driver will be home a minimum of 2 days per week; however, as their drivers deliver regionally, the average driver makes two round-trip loads per week. Drivers are usually home once or twice during their five day work week.

What percentage of freight is drop and hook?

About 80% of the freight is drop and hook.

Carter Express Company Driver Opportunities

Do you have a leasing program, and will I be persuaded or incentivized to lease?

Yes, a company driver must have 9 months, or more, of longevity with the company to be eligible for lease-purchase consideration. They do not offer a lease-purchase program to a brand new driver. A driver’s history helps determine the success rate for company drivers converting to independent contractors.

What divisions do you have? (local, dedicated, regional, tanker, flatbed, reefer)

Local, dedicated, regional and reefer.

TruckingTruth's View On Carter Express Company Driver Opportunities

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Being more of a regional carrier, Carter Express can offer excellent home time opportunities, though you will have to be living near enough to a terminal to be able to take advantage of employment with them. The other policies and opportunites are average, and Carter Express does not allow pets on their equipment.

Carter Express also does not push, and in fact does not allow, new drivers to enter into a lease agreement without first having the benefit of experience.

Carter Express Equipment

What kind of trucks do you have?

Freightliner and Volvo tractors. All have automatic transmissions.

Do you run electronic logs?

Yes, 100% of the fleet is on electronic logs.

What are your trucks governed at?

Trucks are restricted to 68 mph.

Do you have APU units?

Yes, Carter Express trucks are equipped with APU's.

TruckingTruth’s View On Carter Express Equipment

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Noteworthy of Carter Express equipment is that all of their tractors have automatic transmissions, and are governed at a NASCAR-like 68 mph. They are also all equipped with APU's.

Like most companies this size, expect newer, well-maintained equipment. Carter Express is very proud of their safety record and youth of their truck fleet.

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