Knight Trucking School: Company-Sponsored CDL Training

Introduction To Knight Transportation Paid CDL Training Review

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:

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

Knight Has Surpassed 25 Years Of Operation!

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.

Read on!

Knight Transportation Review

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.

About Knight Transportation CDL Training

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.

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Getting Hired With Knight Transportation

Knight Transportation Minimum Hiring Requirements

  • Age: Student must be at least 21 years old.
  • DWI/DUI: None within the last 10 years, no multiple DUI/DWI and no DUI/DWI’s in a commercial vehicle.
  • Drug/Substance Test: No drug use, positive tests, or refused tests in the last 10 years. No drug use, positive tests, or refused tests in a commercial vehicle.
  • Moving Violations: No more than 2 within the last 2 years. Must be licensed in the current state of residence. No serious traffic violations in the last 6 months. Serious traffic violations include: Reckless Driving, Speeding (more than 15 mph over the limit), following too closely, failing to obey traffic control device, erratic driving or improper lane change, leaving the scene of an accident. No citations for driving while suspended, disqualified or expired in the past 6 months for either CDL or Medical Certificates. PSP will be obtained for every hire and patterns of violations will be reviewed individually by Regional Safety.
  • Accidents: No more than 1 minor preventable (a loss over $1750.00) in the last 3 years. No major accidents (loss over $25k) in the last 5 years.
  • Employment: No terminations from your last employer for a poor safety record, or from more than 1 employer in 5 years for a poor safety record or theft. No more than 4 commercial driving jobs in the last 12 months and no more than 4 jobs in the last 3 years.
  • Felonies: None in the past 7 years. No multiple felonies. All others will be reviewed by Director of Safety and Director of Driver Development.
  • Physical Condition: Must be able to perform essential functions of the job, including loading and unloading of freight. Driver must meet all DOT and Agility Requirements as certified by a company-selected exam facility.
  • Appearance: Beards and mustaches are to be neatly trimmed. Men’s hair must be cut above the collar and neatly groomed. No excessive jewelry. For men, no earrings.
  • Education (CDL-A): Graduate in good standing.

Knight Transportation Hiring Areas

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 Transportation Facility Locations

Knight Transportation CDL Training Facilities

Where do you hire from and what are your no-hire zones?

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:

  • Arizona
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Idaho
  • Kansas
  • New Mexico
  • Nevada
  • Oklahoma
  • Oregon
  • Utah

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.

Where are your schools located?

The Squire CDL School is located in Phoenix, Arizona.

Knight Transportation Drop Lots And Terminals

  • Phoenix, AZ
  • Kent, WA
  • Fairview, OR
  • Tulare, CA
  • Rancho, CA
  • Fontana, CA
  • Las Vegas, NV
  • Reno, NV
  • Boise, ID
  • SLC, UT
  • Eagan, MN
  • Green Bay, WI
  • Joliet, IL
  • Indianapolis, IN
  • Atlanta, GA
  • El Paso, TX
  • Aurora, CO
  • Eagan, MN
  • Kansas City, KS
  • Tulsa, OK
  • Hutchins, TX
  • Katy, TX
  • Gulfport, MS
  • Olive Branch,TN
  • Nashville, TN
  • Columbus, OH
  • Lakeland, FL
  • Charlotte, NC
  • Carlisle, PA
  • Syracuse, NY

TruckingTruth's View On Knight Transportation

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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 Transportation Cost

Cost Structure Of Knight Transportation

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.

What are the up front costs and training pay?

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.

Will my meals be paid for?

During the first week of training and orientation, Knight will pay for lunch.

Will my room be paid for?

Yes, but if you choose your own transportation and lodging, they will deduct $500 from the cost of CDL training.

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

Yes, drivers may elect to pay for schooling up front and receive a 10% discount on some of the costs.

How much does Knight's CDL School cost?
  • Range and Road training (including hotel and transportation): $3,000
  • Range and road training (without hotel and transportation): $2,500
  • Non-refundable application fee: $100
Total Expenses = $2,600 to $3,100
What are the obligations for paying back the schooling after graduation?

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.

Plan 1: Pay In Full Option

Trainees who pay fees in full prior to training will be provided a 10% discount of the Range and Road training fee.

Plan 2: 0% Interest Financing Option

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.

TruckingTruth's Take On The Cost Of Training At Knight Transportation

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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.

Knight Transportation Preparation For CDL Training

Items To Bring To Knight Transportation

  • Social Security Card. Must be an original, signed and non-laminated.
  • Cancelled or voided check (if interested in direct deposit)
  • Valid Drivers License
  • Personal hygiene products
  • At least 7 days worth of clothing
  • Bedding
  • Alarm clock and flashlight
  • Any required eye wear
  • Towels / wash clothes
  • Work gloves
  • Original birth Certificate (non-laminated)
  • Closed toe shoes or work boots
  • Valid CDL driving permit from your home state

Preparation For Knight Transportation

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

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.

Do I need a US Passport?

While a passport is not required, you are encouraged to get one.

Which CDL endorsements are required or encouraged?

A Hazmat endorsement is also encouraged, but not required.

TruckingTruth's View On Preparing For Knight Transportation CDL Training

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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.

Knight Transportation Itinerary

Knight Transportation CDL Training Itinerary

Week 1: Range Training & Orientation

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.

Weeks 2 And 3 - Road Training

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.

How Students Are Graded

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:

  • Straight line backing
  • Pre-trip inspection
  • Basic control skills
  • Road test

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.

How long is the training overall?

CDL training lasts approximately 4 to 6 weeks and is personalized to meet the needs of individual students.

How much time on the range backing up?

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 practice range phase, how many students share one truck?

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.

How much time in classroom?

A minimum 40hrs of classroom time is required.

TruckingTruth’s View On Knight Transportation Training Itinerary

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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.

On The Road Training Itinerary With Knight Transportation

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

Training is custom tailored to each individual driver. However, training generally lasts 4 to 6 weeks.

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

You will earn a base salary of $400 per week while with your trainer.

On The Road Training Policies at Knight Transportation

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

All training trucks are operated as solo trucks. No team driving.

Is there more than one student per trainer and truck?

No, training trucks are always one student one instructor only.

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

Yes, and most of the time, no driving will be done with anyone in the sleeper at all.

Can you get a non-smoking trainer?

Yes, you may choose either smoking or non-smoking trainers.

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

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.

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

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.

TruckingTruth’s View Of Knight Transportation On The Road Training

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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.

Working For Knight Transportation

Advantages Of Working For Knight Transportation

Knight Transportation has been recognized by Forbes Magazine in their listing of the 200 Best Small Companies in the country for 15 consecutive years.

  • Daily paycheck option (get paid 5 times per week)
  • In depth company paid training program after CDL training
  • Earn a salary during CDL training
  • 401-k Profit Sharing Plan
  • No team driving - students and trainees only drive when the trainer is awake
  • Transportation, lodging, and meals provided during schooling and orientation
  • Run all 48 states and Canada
  • Family friendly rider policy
  • 100% debt-free company
  • Newer and well maintained equipment
  • Major medical, dental, vision, and life insurance available

Knight Transportation Recruitment Video

Knight Transportation Company Driver Pay And Benefits

Knight Transportation Company Driver Pay

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.

Knight Transportation Pay Scale

**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.

What other pay and bonuses do you offer?

There are quarterly bonus opportunities to make an additional $.03/mile. Get paid for any portion of the quarterly bonus in which you qualify:

  • $.01 - Safety
  • $.01 - Production
  • $.01 - MPG
  • $.01 raise/mile after 6 months
Is vacation time offered?

After completing 1 year of service, you will receive 1 week of vacation. After 3 years, you may take 2 weeks of vacation.

Knight Transportation Company Driver Benefits

What health insurance and benefits do you have?

Group medical, dental, vision, and life insurance is available.

What is the average cost of benefits?

Insurance costs vary depending on the type of coverage.

How long until you qualify for benefits?

90 days after hire.

TruckingTruth's View On Knight Transportation Company Driver Pay

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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.

Knight Transportation Employee Policies

Pets & Travelers Policy

Do you allow pets?

No, pets are not allowed on company equipment.

What is the company's rider policy?

After 6 months of safe driving experience, drivers may have approved riders on the truck over the age of 10 years old.

Knight Transportation Dispatching Policies

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

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.

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

While Knight Transportation does occasionally run freight into NYC, you are not forced dispatched and may turn the load down.

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

Drivers are not forced dispatched. Sometimes drivers will have options for which load they'll be hauling.

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

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.

What percentage of freight is drop and hook?

Approximately 70% of freight is drop and hook.

TruckingTruth's View On Knight Transportation Dispatching Policies

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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.

Knight Transportation Company Driver Opportunities

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

Yes, a leasing program is available but drivers are not persuaded or pressured to lease.

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

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 Equipment

Knight Trucking
What kind of trucks do you have?

Knight Transportation’s fleet of tractors consists primarily of Volvo VN670s, International ProStars, and Peterbilt 387s. Average tractor age is 2 years old.

Do you run electronic logs?

Yes, electronic logs are used.

hat are your trucks governed at?

Company drivers are restricted to no more than 65mph.

Do you have APU units?

Some trucks are equipped with APU's. Trucks which aren't equipped with APU's are allowed to idle.

TruckingTruth's View On Knight's Equipment

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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.

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