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At TruckingTruth, we've done a ton of research for you! We've contacted the company recruiters at Prime Inc and put together a fantastic review of the Prime Student Driver 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:
Once you begin your training on the road with Prime Student Driver, as long as you are available for dispatch they will guarantee a weekly minimum salary of $700, and after you reach 40,000 miles the pay increases to $800! Now that's a lot better than having to pay for the schooling up front, isn't it?
After researching Prime's CDL training program, I am very happy with how their training is structured. Unlike most CDL training programs, students are sent into the real world with a CDL instructor for one-on-one training while actually performing job functions and transporting cargo. I believe this is one of the most effective ways to truly learn how to drive a truck in real world conditions. As long as you stay with Prime for one full year, your obligation is complete without paying any up front or payroll deducted tuition costs.
Based out of Springfield, MO., Prime, Inc began in 1970 with a single dump truck and grew into one of the largest trucking companies in North America with over 4,000 trucks and 6,000 trailers.
By far, the largest division at Prime is the temperature controlled fleet. But Prime has a flatbed division and a food grade tanker division as well. The company operates in all 48 continental states as well as Canada. In addition, Prime operates their own CDL training program to help keep up with company growth and recruitment.
Did you know you can fill out one quick form here on TruckingTruth and apply to several companies at once for paid CDL training? Seriously! The application only takes one minute. You will speak with recruiters today. There is no obligation whatsoever. Learn more and apply here:
Prime hires drivers from all 48 continental United States, but occasionally has a hiring freeze in Florida.
The hiring requirements at Prime, Inc seem to be on par with the industry average. As usual, a solid employment history is very important as well as having no recent felonies. Any older felony convictions will be taken on a case-by-case basis.
Applicants will also need to have a good driving record and pass a DOT mandated physical exam, so it's best to have any issues, especially high blood pressure, taken care of before heading to Prime's orientation.
The total value of the Prime Student Driver Program training fees is $4,375. As long as you drive for Prime for one year (from the date of obtaining your Class A CDL), the entire total of the training fees is forgiven. If you leave Prime before the year is up, you will owe the entire value of the program.
For the Prime Student Driver Program, all new drivers will pay a $100 administrative fee upon arrival at orientation and sign a contract during orientation to drive for Prime for one year. This fee will be refunded once you complete orientation.
During Prime’s orientation, you will be provided 3 hot meals per day.
Yes, Prime covers the cost of lodging, but you may be required to share a room with one other student. If you would like your own room, you may pay a fee of $52.16 per night.
Prime requires all PSD Program entrants to sign a one-year contract. There is no option to pay for the training upfront.
Drivers simply need to stay employed for 12 full months and 100% of tuition costs are paid by Prime. There are never payroll deductions for tuition costs.
You can read more details regarding Prime's career path.
The tuition for Prime's CDL training program is very straight forward. This is truly a free CDL program provided you stay employed with them for one full year. There are no down payments and no payroll deductions. The cost of the program is about on par with other CDL schools, especially since lodging and transportation is provided.
Yes, you will obtain your permit from your home state before you begin training.
All Prime Drivers must be qualified to get a U.S. Passport, and they will apply for a Passport after passing the CDL Exam, if they do not already have one.
A HazMat endorsement is required for all company drivers. Prime also runs a tanker division.
Note that a US Passport is required. If you do not have one and don't have the available funds to obtain one, Prime will assist you in getting your passport once you arrive.Use our High Road Training Program to prepare for your written CDL permit exams and you'll be all set.
Since students must experience the trucking lifestyle before they know it's right for them, Prime allows a "grace period" to all students. The trainee may cancel this agreement within seven calendar days of entering the program following orientation. This enables students to "test drive" the trucking lifestyle before they are financially committed.
During this first phase of training with the permit, students are given a cash advance of $200 per week. This cash advance can be used for any purpose - food expenses, paying bills at home, or anything else. The funds can be withdrawn from any ATM machine. The advance will be repaid (interest free) via payroll deduction once hired as a full time driver at $25 per week. If a student chooses not to use the cash advances, no repayment will be made.
Once the CDL Instructor feels that the student are ready to come back to take the CDL Exam, they will come back to the terminal and practice on the CDL testing pad until they are ready to pass the state CDL exams. As soon as students pass the tests and obtain their class A CDL license, they are immediately given an offer for employment and become paid employees. If the student passes the entire CDL Exam on the first attempt (known as a trifecta), the student earns a $250 bonus.
The training program takes approximately 3 to 4 months in total from orientation to completion of training.
This is entirely up to you and your personal CDL instructor. Each student and CDL instructor creates a custom fit program.
After completion of Prime’s orientation, Prime will pair you with a CDL Instructor as soon as possible, and they will get on the road to start training. There is a one-to- one student to trainer ratio for the Prime Student Driver Program.
The first week is spent in an actual classroom. After the first week, students and instructors perform classroom duties from the truck. All instruction is 1 to 1 student to instructor ratio.
This is a very unique program in that 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 other schools. Real world training can also be a bit more stressful with less opportunity to practice certain maneuvers.
Training period is based on a combination. The Prime Student Driver (PSD) Program consists of the following:
Once you obtain your CDL in the Prime training program, you will earn $700 per week guaranteed during the first 40,000 miles then $800 per week for the next 10,000 miles as long as you are available to drive during training.
During the first phase of training with your permit, the truck is run like a solo truck, and the CDL Instructor must be in the passenger seat awake and alert any time that the trainee is driving. Once you obtain the CDL, the second phase of training is team driving.
No, training trucks are always one student per one trainer on one truck.
Yes, Prime has a very strict policy against anyone sleeping the top bunk while the truck is in motion.
Yes, you may choose either smoking or non-smoking trainers.
Apprentice drivers speak 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.
Trainers for Prime must have at least 9 months professional driving experience including winter driving experience, at least 60 days at Prime as a Lead Seat Driver, no DOT reportable accidents in last 12 months, and meet additional safety and service qualifications.
The training program at Prime is longer than the industry average, but the pay is also above average. This does appear to be a high quality training program and is right on par with what we'd expect from a company of its size.
Solo drivers for Prime start at the following rates:
Vacation time is based upon the number of miles driven after training.
Prime offers health, life, dental, and vision insurance plans to all company drivers along with vacation pay and a 401k plan with company match.
Basic Life Insurance: $15,000 Natural Death / $30,000 Accidental Death Benefit
Workers' Compensation Coverage is provided by Prime. In addition, Prime pays a portion of the medical and life insurance premiums.
401-K Success Sharing Plan is available to company drivers beginning the first full quarter after being with Prime one year. Associates can place up to 75% of their pay into the plan pre-tax. Prime's 401-K profit sharing matching amount* is 100% of the first 3% deferred; 50% on the next 2%. Prime associates are able to select the investments and the percentage placed in each investment.
Insurance costs vary depending on the type of coverage.
90 days after hire.
Compared to other companies we've researched, the starting pay at Prime is above average. Generally, refrigerated carriers pay a bit more due to some of the hassles that go along with refrigerated freight, but the pay is even above that of other refrigerated carriers.
The benefits also appear to be about average and competitive when compared to the industry standard.
Prime Inc. is pleased to allow driving associates to have a single pet on their truck. The pet policy provides a weight limit of 30 pounds and requires a refundable pet deposit. The deposit can be paid in full up front or financed over a 6 week period.
Drivers may have 1 rider at least 12 years of age or older.
Generally no. Prime does not currently have many dedicated or regional positions. Prime does have a western regional (western 10 US states) as well as a Northeast regional fleet, but most drivers will remain OTR at Prime.
While Prime does have freight going to or from NYC, it is very rare and drivers going into NYC are paid extra.
Company drivers are forced dispatched. Lease drivers are not forced dispatched.
Drivers earn 1 day off for each week out. Minimum time out is 4 weeks and maximum home time is 4 days.
Approximately 50% of freight is drop and hook.
Prime offers very little in the way of regional or dedicated freight, to the point it's almost non-existent. If you decide to drive for Prime, plan on driving in the OTR division with only a small possibility of moving into a regional or dedicated position. Home time is average for OTR carriers and drop and hook freight is below average.
Prime does offer 3 separate divisions including refrigerated, flatbed, and tanker positions. Students may choose either the refrigerated or flatbed division while tanker positions require a minimum of 1yr experience.
Yes, a leasing program is available but drivers are not persuaded to lease.
The main division at Prime is OTR refrigerated. However, prime does offer a limited number of regional and dedicated freight as well as a flatbed and food grade tanker division. Students may join either the refrigerated or flatbed division while tanker is restricted to drivers with at least 1 year of experience.
Learn more about Prime Reefer Division
Learn more about Prime Flatbed Division
Prime has a mix of Freightliner, Peterbilt, International, and Kenworth trucks, with Freightliner Century and Cascadias being the most common for company drivers. The average age of the fleet is 18-months.
Yes, all drivers use electronic logging system.
Company drivers are restricted to 62mph while lease trucks are restricted to 65mph.
Yes, 100% of the OTR fleet at Prime is equipped with APU units and power inverters.
As with most companies of its size, equipment appears to be well taken care of and regularly replaced. Prime is one of the few carriers to equip 100% of their OTR fleet with Axillary Power Units and power inverters.
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