Pam Transport Trucking School: Company-Sponsored CDL Training

PAM Transport paid CDL training truck

Introduction To PAM Transport Paid CDL Training Review

At TruckingTruth, we've done a ton of research for you! We've contacted the company recruiters at PAM Transport and put together a fantastic review of the PAM Transport 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 PAM Transport
  • Cost Structure Of CDL Training
  • CDL Training Itinerary
  • PAM Transport Pay And Benefits
  • Vacation Pay And Home Time

Growing Larger All The Time

In April, Paul Allen Maestri founds PAM. Operations start small with 5 used Freightliner tractors and 15 trailers. Today they operate with over 2,000 tractors and 6,000 trailers.

PAM Transport Review

After hours of research and speaking with recruiters, I feel PAM is a very good option to obtain your CDL and begin your truck driving career. They utilize the Driver Solutions network of CDL schools which is a well established truck driving education network. It's important to note their hiring area is mainly limited to the Eastern half of Texas and east of the Mississippi.

Once you complete your training at a Driver Solutions truck driving school, you'll be eligible for immediate hire from PAM Transport. While PAM operates throughout most of the country, they offer a bit more home time than other carriers and seem to be a bit more regionalized than other carriers. This makes PAM a good choice for those who only want to be away from home about 2 weeks at a time, but probably isn't a great choice for those seeking to travel across wide areas of the country.

Of course, you should always do your own research to find the company which best suits your needs and lifestyle, but if I were just beginning my trucking career PAM would be a serious consideration.

About PAM Transport CDL Training

PAM Transport (the letters stand for the company founder's initials) is an irregular route, common and contract trucking company based out of Tontitown, AR. The company began in 1980 and has grown to more than 1,800 trucks becoming one of the largest dry-van carriers in the country. PAM specializes in hauling "just in time" freight for the automotive industry and also frequently hauls air conditioner units, cosmetics, and paper.

In addition to their freight operations, PAM offers a tuition assistance program for inexperienced drivers who need to obtain their CDL drivers license. Teaming up with Driver Solutions, they will finance 100% of the schooling and pay for the majority of the tuition cost over the course of 1 year.

Getting Hired With PAM Transport

PAM Transport Minimum Hiring Requirements

  • At least 21 years of age.
  • Must have a valid US driver's license
  • No convictions for a DUI (drug or alcohol-related) offense in the last 5 years.
  • Able to pass DOT physical and drug screen

PAM Transport Hiring Areas

Where do you hire from and what are your no-hire zones?
PAM transport hiring map

While PAM operates in all of the lower 48 states, the majority of their freight is in the Midwest, Mid-Atlantic, and the Eastern half of the United States. Therefore, they generally only hire from those areas. PAM does hire from the state of Illinois, but can not train Illinois residents through Driver Solutions program due to licensing issues.

PAM Transport Facility Locations

PAM Transport CDL Training Facilities

Where are your schools located?

PAM Transport works with select truck driving schools across the country through the Driver Solutions in and around the following states:

  • Alabama
  • Arkansas
  • Delaware
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Indiana
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Michigan
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • North Carolina
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Pennsylvania
  • South Carolina
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Virginia
  • Washington D.C.
  • Wisconsin
  • West Virginia

PAM Transport Drop Lots And Terminals

PAM Transport terminal locations
  • Little Rock, AR
  • North Jackson, OH
  • Willard, OH
  • Irving, TX
  • Laredo, TX
  • El Paso, TX
  • Tontitown, AR (Company Headquarters)

PAM Transport Cost

Cost Structure Of PAM Transport

If you wish the pay for the entire tuition cost upfront, the total amount due is $5995.00. You will not be required to sign an employment contract.

If you are employed with the carrier and haven't paid tuition up-front, will make weekly payments of $45 during your first year of employment. After the end of the 1-year commitment, you will receive a rebate of $4,000, reducing the tuition for which you are responsible for to $1,995.

In the event that you don’t go to work for the carrier or otherwise fail to complete twelve (12) consecutive months of employment with the carrier for any reason; you will owe the remaining balance of your tuition. The unpaid balance at this time is due within 30 days and then interest will begin to accrue. If you cannot pay the remaining balance immediately, then Driver Solutions will work out an acceptable monthly payment arrangement with you to repay your tuition.

You can read a lot more details about your options for PAM Transport training

What are all of the up-front costs?

The only thing students need to pay for is licensing fees, food, and transportation to the training facility.

Will my meals be paid for?

No, you will need to have funds for basic living expenses including food.

Will my room be paid for?

Lodging is provided while you attend truck driving school, but you may need to share a room with at least 1 other student.

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

Yes, there are options to pay up front and then have no contractual obligations and a higher starting mileage pay. The up front cost of training varies based upon your location and the specific CDL school you will be attending within the Driver Solutions network, so you will need to speak with a recruiter to obtain these details.

There are other options if you choose to provide a down payment, but no down payment is necessary for enrollment. If you would like to inquire on options for a down payment, contact a recruiter as the details of the down payment plans change on a constant basis.

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

As long as you drive with PAM Transport for 1 year or longer, you are not obligated to pay back any of the tuition costs. If you haven't paid up front, and leave before the year is up, you will be responsible for repaying the tuition of $5,995.

TruckingTruth's Take On The Cost Of Training At PAM Transport

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There is a very high penalty for not completing your contractual obligations. We always recommend you stay with your first trucking job for a minimum of 1 year, but in this case it's especially important.

PAM Transport Preparation For CDL Training

Items To Bring To PAM Transport

  • CDL, original Social Security card, birth certificate, and if applicable, Resident Alien card, Permanent Resident card, or I-94 with a VALID foreign passport.
  • Loan agreement, contract, or your receipt if you paid for your tuition in full.
  • List of names, Social Security numbers, and birth dates of dependents for enrollment of insurance benefits.
  • List of names, phone numbers and addresses of 3 personal references (family/friends acceptable).
  • if you are regularly taking medication, you will need 2 MONTHS worth to ensure that you have enough for the time that you are out with your trainer.
  • If you are planning to elect DIRECT DEPOSIT of your check, you will need to bring:
    • a voided check or deposit slip which includes the bank routing number and your account number on it.
    • A TYPED document from your bank with this information on it is also acceptable.
  • At least 7 day's worth of clothes, a pair of hard-sole shoes, work gloves, jacket.
  • Bedding (pillow and blanket, twin sized sheets if you would like)
  • Towels, washcloths, all other necessary grooming items you may need. A laundry bag is recommended, to store soiled items.
  • Clipboard, pens, calculator, trucker's atlas, battery operated alarm clock.
  • Bring your personal belongings in a soft sided duffel bag, rather than a suitcase if possible.

Preparation For PAM Transport

Do I need a US Passport?

No, you do not need a U.S. Passport. However, you will be required to provide identification at training and a U.S. Passport may be an acceptable form.

Which CDL endorsements are required or encouraged?

No advanced endorsements are required, but the HazMat and Tanker endorsements are highly encouraged.

TruckingTruth's View On Preparing For PAM Transport CDL Training

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Even though a passport is not required, we highly recommend obtaining one. The ability to haul freight into Canada will give you more options to make more money and run more miles. Crossing into Canada has become very streamlined and is not a complicated process like it used to be.

It's also important to obtain as many CDL endorsements as possible, especially a HazMat endorsement as PAM operates some HazMat freight. You should always keep yourself as marketable as possible for future opportunities as well. Having endorsements will only help you with those future opportunities.

As always, bring as much paperwork with you as possible including any medical records or forms which could prove past employment and help with the background investigations. Finally, be certain that your birth certificate and social security card are originals (no copy's) and are not laminated.

PAM Transport Itinerary

PAM Transport CDL Training Itinerary

Describe the schooling itinerary a bit:

CDL training begins in the classroom during the first week as drivers receive instructions on topics such as: cdl knowledge and permit testing, keeping accurate log books, map reading and trucker atlas trip planning and routing.

Weeks 2 and 3 are spent perfecting driving range exercises and getting some on the road experience behind the wheel. Skills covered during this portion include: right & left turns, shifting techniques, straight line backing, offset backing, parallel parking, other backing exercises

The rest of the time is spent preparing on the street for the final CDL skills test.

How long is the training overall?

Typically, CDL training lasts 3-4 weeks.

How much time on the range backing up?

This varies from student to student. Average time during each session is 45 minutes to an hour until the student is comfortable.

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

It depends on where the student goes for training, and how many students are in the class. Usually the maximum number of students per truck is 4.

How much time in classroom?

The majority of the first week is spent in the classroom. Typically classroom time is at least 40hrs long.

TruckingTruth’s View On PAM Transport Training Itinerary

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PAM has partnered with a company called Driver Solutions which handles the CDL training and schooling. Driver Solutions is a well known company that works with various trucking schools across the country. So the truck driving school you attend will not actually be owned by PAM, rather, it will be with a private trucking school that Driver Solutions matches you up with.

Therefore, it's hard to give an exact itinerary for the school you'll be attending as you may attend one of a number of places. But in general, all state minimum requirements will be met or exceeded and as long as you successfully complete the course, you'll be hired by PAM immediately after you obtain your CDL.

On The Road Training Itinerary With PAM Transport

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

It is a combination of days and performance. Typically, this averages around 17 days.

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

Training pay is a set salary of $350 per week.

On The Road Training Policies at PAM Transport

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

Usually the first few days are spent being dispatched as a solo truck, but the remainder of the time will be spent as a team truck.

Is there more than one student per trainer and truck?

No, only one student is on a training truck.

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

Yes, nobody is allowed to sleep in the top bunk while the truck is in motion.

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

During training, both the trainee and the trainer will have assigned driver managers that can be contacted in case of any conflicts.

Can you get a non-smoking trainer?

Yes, a non-smoking trainer may be requested.

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

Trainers must have a minimum of 1yr of safe driving experience.

TruckingTruth’s View Of PAM Transport On The Road Training

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While the initial training pay is slightly lower than the industry average for training pay, this should not be a deciding factor. The difference in pay over the entire duration of your training is insignificant when you consider you'll be averaging a minimum of $30k to $40k within your first 1 to 2 years as a truck driver.

Think of this portion of your your career as "Truck Driving University" and don't worry about the initial salary. What's important now is getting you trained and employed so you can make the real money as a solo driver.

Working For PAM Transport

Advantages Of Working For PAM Transport

  • Top industry pay
  • Incentives, rewards, and bonuses offered
  • Guaranteed job upon CDL school completion
  • 401-k retirement Plan
  • Passenger policy
  • Stable freight
  • New and well maintained equipment
  • Major medical, dental, vision, and life insurance

TruckingTruth's View On Working For PAM Transport

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While PAM has about the same hiring requirements in terms of a drivers background and qualifications as most companies, they have a hiring area which mainly consists of places east of the Mississippi River along with some portions of Texas and the southern United States. Due to licensing issues, they can hire drivers from the state of Illinois but can not train them through Driver Solutions.

PAM Transport Company Driver Pay And Benefits

PAM Transport Company Driver Pay

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

Drivers will be able to choose if they would like to drive Team or Solo during the 1st 12 months. Pay will depend upon performance and mileage.

Team OTR

Starting CPM is $.44 split, 3-12 months is $.46 CPM split

Solo OTR

Starting CPM is $.30 and 3-12 months is $.35 CPM

When will I receive pay increases?

This depends upon performance. 1st year drivers can earn up to $60,000 by driving Team OTR.

Do you offer a Fuel Bonus?

Yes. A fuel bonus is offered as part of PAM’s Mission MPG program. Read more about it here: PAM’s Mission MPG program

PAM Transport Company Driver Benefits

What health insurance and benefits do you have?

PAM offers health insurance with all major standard benefits and options including life insurance and 401k retirement plans, vacation time, and optional per diem plan.

What is the average cost of benefits?

This depends and rates vary, but average cost of medical for an individual is around $25/weekly and family is around $65/weekly.

How long until you qualify for benefits?

Benefits kick in 60 days after employment.

What About Vacation Time?
  • 1 week after 1 year
  • 2 weeks after 3 years
  • 3 weeks after 10 years

TruckingTruth's View On PAM Transport Company Driver Pay

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Initially, the starting pay is a bit low. We always stress that you should under no circumstances leave your first company before at least 1 year and especially not before your contractual tuition payment obligations are completed.

PAM Transport Employee Policies

Pets & Travelers Policy

Do you allow pets?

Yes, with some restrictions.

What is the company's rider policy?

Drivers can have passengers who are 18 years old or older. Family members who are 13 years or older are also allowed. There is no insurance fee for a spouse but there is a small charge each month for other passengers.

PAM Transport Dispatching Policies

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

All PAM drivers start out as over-the-road. That being said, much of PAM’s business is running Dedicated freight and Dedicated lanes may be available after just 3 months.

Regional and dedicated positions are offered based on seniority and driver performance. A large portion of the fleet does obtain a regional or dedicated account.

Will there be any NYC?

PAM does occasionally run NYC freight. Driver experience will be taken into account.

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

Yes, PAM’s loads are primarily forced dispatch.

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

OTR PAM Transport drivers typically start out being on the road for 2-3 weeks at a time and back home again for 2-3 days.

What percentage of freight is drop and hook?

About 90% of the freight at PAM is drop and hook.

PAM Transport Company Driver Opportunities

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

Yes, a lease-purchase program is offered. Certain incentives may be available and new drivers may be able to take advantage of this program during the first year.

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

OTR, Local, Dedicated and Regional. PAM provides dry van truckload, expedited truckload, intermodal, and logistics services throughout the United States, most PAM truck driving jobs are dedicated runs.

TruckingTruth's View On PAM Transport's Opportunities

PAM operates short haul, medium haul, as well as long haul freight. Initially, most drivers will begin in the OTR division hauling long haul and medium haul freight. But even in the OTR division, drivers will get home on average ever 2 to 3 weeks, which is more often than most other OTR carriers. In as little as 3 months drivers will become eligible for more regionalized and dedicated freight. It's important to note, however, that a regional or dedicated position is not guaranteed.

PAM Transport Equipment

What kind of trucks do you have?

International, Freightliner and some Peterbilts are being introduced.

Do you run electronic logs?

Yes, all drivers are required to use electronic logging systems.

What are your trucks governed at?

62 MPH on cruise control and 64 by foot.

Do you have APU units?

Some PAM trucks do have APU units.

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