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At TruckingTruth, we've done a ton of research for you! We've contacted the company recruiters at Knight Transportation and put together a fantastic review of the Knight Transportation 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:
Knight Transportation celebrated their 25th anniversary back in 2015 and surpassed 4,000 tractors in operation way back in 2012. Knight is one of the largest, most successful carriers in the country.
After researching Knight Transportation's CDL training program, I am very pleased with how their CDL school and company training programs are operated. Their CDL training generally uses one-on-one training in the real world. I believe this is one of the most effective ways to truly learn how to drive a truck. Furthermore, when you're on the road in training you will not be dispatched as a team truck. You will always be driving with a trainer or instructor right next to you.
Another thing we like is that all new students in their CDL training program are already considered employees and begin making money during their first week, before they've even acquired a CDL! We aren't aware of any other carrier who does this. Their tuition fees are very reasonable and can be financed intereste free through a payroll deduction loan.
Knight Transportation offers quite a few regional and dedicated positions for new drivers and also offers a very unique and abundant hometime schedule.
Based out of Phoenix, AZ, Knight Transportation began operations in 1988. Today, they operate more than 4,000 tractors and more than 10,000 trailers with more than 5,000 employees.
They had a revenue of $2.43 billion in 2017 and operate 100% debt free. Knight Transportation hauls a variety of freight from dry van to refrigerated and some container freight. They also offer a wide range of driving positions including regional, dedicated, and OTR positions.
Knight Transportation hires from all 48 contiguous states but only accepts CDL students from Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, New Mexico, Nevada, Oklahoma, Oregon, and Utah.
Knight hires drivers from all 48 continental United States, but only accepts a limited number of CDL students. Knight's paid CDL training program is located in Phoenix, AZ and is currently available to the residents of:
Unfortunately their school isn't available to every state. If you would like to inquire about the state that you live in then give Knight a call.
The Squire CDL School is located in Phoenix, Arizona.
The hiring requirements at Knight Transportation seem to be on par with the industry average. However, Knight tends to be a bit more selective on their hiring standards and operate a smaller CDL school than most other company sponsored programs. As usual, a solid employment history is very important as well as having no recent felonies or major traffic violations. Any older felony convictions will be taken on a case-by-case basis.
While you are technically employed during CDL training, you are only employed on a "probationary" level. You must still successfully pass all DOT exams and complete CDL school in good standing.
Knight operates their schooling a bit differently than most other company sponsored programs. While they do not pay for your schooling, they offer simple 0% interest financing options and you will receive a salary starting on your first week of CDL training. Very few, if any other companies, will actually hire you before completing CDL school.
Knight Transportation is willing to cover nearly all up front costs and payroll deduct the costs once a student becomes a full-time driver. You will also begin receiving a salary of $300 per week during CDL school.
During the first week of training and orientation, Knight will pay for lunch.
Yes, but if you choose your own transportation and lodging, they will deduct $500 from the cost of CDL training.
Yes, drivers may elect to pay for schooling up front and receive a 10% discount on some of the costs.
Knight will give you an interest free loan to cover the costs of CDL schooling. Once you are finished with CDL school and have become a full time driver, Knight will payroll deduct $50 from each paycheck until the entire cost of schooling is paid for. This takes about 18 months.
If you leave before CDL schooling has been paid in full, you may keep the interest free loan but will be required to continue payment until the loan has been repayed.
Trainees who pay fees in full prior to training will be provided a 10% discount of the Range and Road training fee.
Trainees who elect to finance the remained fees owed will agree to a weekly deduction of $50 from payroll until the balance due is paid in full. The deductions will not start until the Trainee has progressed to driving solo.
**Valid credit cards, money orders or bank checks will be accepted to pay for training. Cash or personal checks will not be accepted.
While employment is at-will, all deposits are non-refundable. Trainee Employees with un-satisfactory progress reports of knowledge and skills during the CDL training process may voluntarily withdraw from the course or may be involuntarily dismissed. Trainees must maintain an average of 80% on each skill until the completion of training.
Trainees must pass the state CDL skills test with an average score of 80% or better to obtain their CDL. If a trainee withdraws from the course or fails CDL testing attempts, the trainee may re-apply upon approval of Squire Training Management. Previous training costs or fees must be paid in full before re-admission to the CDL course is authorized. Trainees whose employment is involuntarily terminated will normally not be eligible to re-apply for the course.
The tuition plan for Knight's CDL training program is very straight forward. They offer a unique program because you're already considered a paid employee even during CDL schooling. This is a great option for those who need some financial help in order to cover bills and living expenses during schooling.
With Knight, you get a paycheck your very first week. The pricing for schooling is cheaper than most private CDL schools. Combined with 0% interest financing, we believe the pricing for this program is very fair and actually a pretty good deal.
Yes, all incoming students are to study for the CDL exams and complete all written exams in their home state before arriving at the Squire Training Center in Phoenix, AZ.
While a passport is not required, you are encouraged to get one.
A Hazmat endorsement is also encouraged, but not required.
Note that you are required to obtain your CDL permit before arriving. If you do not have your permit already, you can study for that using our free online CDL training program.
Even though Knight does not require a passport or any additional endorsements, we very highly recommend you obtain your passport and pass all your endorsement exams before arriving.
Range training consists of 40 hours of instruction during four week days. Classroom and secured range pad training at Squire's facility in Phoenix, AZ will allow trainees to learn basic knowledge and to practice off-road skills necessary to pass the CDL test. One qualified range instructor will be assigned to train and evaluate 3-4 trainees on the range. Trainees will learn and practice the following off-road skills during the first week of training:
Equipment pre-trip inspection, backing a tractor, visual search, backing a tractor–trailer, 45 degree dock/offset, parallel parking, and serpentine maneuvers.
Maneuvering skills with a tractor including starting engine, scanning instruments, proper shifting, steering positions, mirror checks, rpm / range control, progressive shifting, double clutch, braking, right and left hand turns and setting the parking brake.
Maneuvering skills while driving a combination vehicle including equipment control, proper coupling, backing, visual search, shifting, turning, space and speed management and hazard perception.
After successful completion of range training, trainees will be assigned to train and drive on-the-job with a mentor for approximately two weeks. Trainees run loads between customer locations and will experience life on the road as a commercial driver. The mentor will continue to provide the trainee with the knowledge and skills necessary to pass the road portion of the CDL test. Trainees will learn and practice the following basic skills and develop the following basic knowledge while training on the road:
Safe driving techniques: Training includes skip and shift recovery, visual and traffic checks, speed/space management, lane control, changing lanes, merging and exiting freeways, and the correct use of signals and horn.
Basic inspection skills: Training includes pre-trip inspection, completion of required documentation, backing, vehicle control, visual search, progressive shifting, and communication.
Advanced techniques: Training includes uphill start and roll back, up and down hill up-shift, up and down hill down-shift, curve and passing control, space management, extreme driving conditions, speed management and hazard perception.
Trainees are evaluated daily on their progress during classroom, range, simulator and road training. Trainees are required to pass daily CDL training requirements to complete the state skills tests with 80% accuracy or better. State skills examinations include:
Trainees will use the same tractor and 53' trailer length they have been pulling on the road for two weeks to pass the State CDL test. Trainees with state test scores below 80% during the first attempt may try again upon approval of Squire Management.
CDL training lasts approximately 4 to 6 weeks and is personalized to meet the needs of individual students.
During the first week, students will receive instruction on the backing range. But students will also spend time with backing practice while on the road with their personal trainer.
During the first week, students may share a truck with 1 to 3 other students. After the first week, students are assigned their own trainer.
A minimum 40hrs of classroom time is required.
This is a very unique program because your CDL training is done out on the road. There are advantages and disadvantages to this. The main advantage is students will learn in a real world environment instead of a controlled training environment. Students will also receive personalized one on one instruction.
The disadvantage is students will only hear advice from one instructor, instead of hearing advice from multiple instructors like you would at most other schools. Real world training can also be a bit more stressful with fewer opportunities to practice certain maneuvers in controlled environments.
Training is custom tailored to each individual driver. However, training generally lasts 4 to 6 weeks.
You will earn a base salary of $400 per week while with your trainer.
All training trucks are operated as solo trucks. No team driving.
No, training trucks are always one student one instructor only.
Yes, and most of the time, no driving will be done with anyone in the sleeper at all.
Yes, you may choose either smoking or non-smoking trainers.
Student drivers and trainees check in weekly with their assigned fleet manager and discuss their progress and any issues. They may also contact a dispatcher 24/7/365 for any emergency issues. If a new trainer is needed, one will be provided.
While the minimum is 6-months experience, most trainers have a minimum of 1 year of safe driving experience and a proven customer service track record.
The training program at Knight is about average in terms of pay and duration. One major advantage to Knight's training program is that they do not operate a training truck as a team truck. Most other training companies have the trainee drive while the trainer sleeps and vice versa. Knight appears to have a fantastic training program overall and we see don't see any major issues to be concerned with.
Knight Transportation has been recognized by Forbes Magazine in their listing of the 200 Best Small Companies in the country for 15 consecutive years.
Knight Transportation has a sliding pay scale based upon miles driven as seen below. Drivers will have an opportunity move up to level 2 after 30 days or 10,000 miles and level 3 pay scale after 30 days or 20,000 miles.
**Note: Knight offers various regional and dedicated accounts which may offer their own pay scales. Further, Knight Transportation has a refrigerated and container division as well, which at times, may have their own unique pay scales. Check with a recruiter for details.
There are quarterly bonus opportunities to make an additional $.03/mile. Get paid for any portion of the quarterly bonus in which you qualify:
After completing 1 year of service, you will receive 1 week of vacation. After 3 years, you may take 2 weeks of vacation.
Group medical, dental, vision, and life insurance is available.
Insurance costs vary depending on the type of coverage.
90 days after hire.
Compared to other companies we've researched, the starting pay at Knight Transportation is about average for the industry. However, Knight offers quite a few opportunities for regional and dedicated fright which may get drivers home more often than other OTR carriers.
No, pets are not allowed on company equipment.
After 6 months of safe driving experience, drivers may have approved riders on the truck over the age of 10 years old.
In many cases, yes. Knight offers many unique dedicated and regional opportunities. The opportunities available to you will depend on your home location, but Knight drivers generally receive offers for dedicated and regional accounts early in their career.
While Knight Transportation does occasionally run freight into NYC, you are not forced dispatched and may turn the load down.
Drivers are not forced dispatched. Sometimes drivers will have options for which load they'll be hauling.
Knight offers a very wide variety of hometime options. From 4 on 4 off, to 7 on 2 off and anything in between. Your hometime schedule will depend on your home location, but generally Knight offers more hometime than most OTR carriers.
Approximately 70% of freight is drop and hook.
Knight Transportation offers quite a few options in the way of regional or dedicated freight. They are also very accommodating for unique hometime options and will work with you to come up with a customer hometime plan. As compared to the industry, Knight is a pretty hometime friendly company.
Yes, a leasing program is available but drivers are not persuaded or pressured to lease.
The main divisions and Knight are the refrigerated and dry van fleets. However, a container/intermodal fleet is also available. Many regional, dedicated, an unique hometime positions also exist.
Knight Transportation’s fleet of tractors consists primarily of Volvo VN670s, International ProStars, and Peterbilt 387s. Average tractor age is 2 years old.
Yes, electronic logs are used.
Company drivers are restricted to no more than 65mph.
Some trucks are equipped with APU's. Trucks which aren't equipped with APU's are allowed to idle.
As with most companies of its size, equipment appears to be well taken care of and regularly replaced. The average age of equipment is on par with other major carriers and they seem to replace their trailer fleet fairly often as well. We don't see any concerns regarding Knight's equipment.