Getting Ready For Swift Academy

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Bill J.'s Comment
member avatar

Hello everyone! I've been lurking on the forums for a while now, soaking up as much info as I can digest. I've decided to take the plunge and getting everything in order so I can attend Swift Academy in Richmond VA. I do have my share of questions that I'm sure have been asked over and over. So, here they are; What do I need to have in order prior to applying to a recruiter? Do I need to have my DOT physical completed beforehand? I understand that there is a small initial cost for testing and administrative fees....is there anyway to get assistance with those? (money is tight and I don't want to take food off of my kid's table) Anything else I should be aware of? Thanks for taking the time to read and your input will be greatly appreciated. Stay safe out there and hope to join you on the open roads soon!

DOT:

Department Of Transportation

A department of the federal executive branch responsible for the national highways and for railroad and airline safety. It also manages Amtrak, the national railroad system, and the Coast Guard.

State and Federal DOT Officers are responsible for commercial vehicle enforcement. "The truck police" you could call them.

Dm:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
G-Town's Comment
member avatar

Welcome to the forum Bill.

I attended the Richmond Academy a few years back. It was a really good experience. Definitely fast paced, but effectively prepared me for the next steps of passing the CDL tests. I suggest you apply through Swift's website. It's very user friendly and won't take too much of your time. Have a record of your job history and driving record (tickets and any offences) handy because the application will require that information. Once you have applied, a recruiter will likely call you within 24 hours after posting your application. Here is a link to help you better prepare for that conversation: Things to ask a recruiter. From that point they will administer a series of computer based tests to further qualify you. No worries, they are relatively easy. The recruiter will continue to touch base with you to monitor progress. Swift will also request that you get your physical before school at one of their approved medical partners, likely a Concentra doctor. Your recruiter can provide you with the specifics and the timing of this and obtaining your CDL permit. I do not know of any assistance for paying for the physical (was $80 when I took it) and the permit cost. Keep all of your receipts, tax deductible.

In the meantime you might want to take the time to review the below links. The information will provide you with a good base of knowledge and establish realistic expectations. The High Road training program is a computer based educational program designed to help a student easily pass the required CDL permit exams.

Good luck and let us know if you have any additional questions.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

Dm:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.
Bill J.'s Comment
member avatar

Thanks for the information!! So I will have to have my CDL permit prior to?

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.
G-Town's Comment
member avatar

Thanks for the information!! So I will have to have my CDL permit prior to?

With Swift, yes. You cannot operate a CMV without it.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

CMV:

Commercial Motor Vehicle

A CMV is a vehicle that is used as part of a business, is involved in interstate commerce, and may fit any of these descriptions:

  • Weighs 10,001 pounds or more
  • Has a gross vehicle weight rating or gross combination weight rating of 10,001 pounds or more
  • Is designed or used to transport 16 or more passengers (including the driver) not for compensation
  • Is designed or used to transport 9 or more passengers (including the driver) for compensation
  • Is transporting hazardous materials in a quantity requiring placards
Bill J.'s Comment
member avatar

OK, I was under the impression that the permit testing was done during the first week in class, along with the DOT physical and drug screening.

double-quotes-start.png

Thanks for the information!! So I will have to have my CDL permit prior to?

double-quotes-end.png

With Swift, yes. You cannot operate a CMV without it.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

DOT:

Department Of Transportation

A department of the federal executive branch responsible for the national highways and for railroad and airline safety. It also manages Amtrak, the national railroad system, and the Coast Guard.

State and Federal DOT Officers are responsible for commercial vehicle enforcement. "The truck police" you could call them.

CMV:

Commercial Motor Vehicle

A CMV is a vehicle that is used as part of a business, is involved in interstate commerce, and may fit any of these descriptions:

  • Weighs 10,001 pounds or more
  • Has a gross vehicle weight rating or gross combination weight rating of 10,001 pounds or more
  • Is designed or used to transport 16 or more passengers (including the driver) not for compensation
  • Is designed or used to transport 9 or more passengers (including the driver) for compensation
  • Is transporting hazardous materials in a quantity requiring placards
Errol V.'s Comment
member avatar

Bill, Swift does have a way to get you your permit. But if you walk in with the permit & physical, you're a week ahead!

Get your permit and physical done ahead of time.

Bill J.'s Comment
member avatar

Bill, Swift does have a way to get you your permit. But if you walk in with the permit & physical, you're a week ahead!

Get your permit and physical done ahead of time.

Thanks for the input. I've been practicing the tests on this site and so far I've been getting 100%-90% on all of them without using the hints. Even did the endorsement practices. I want to say I feel confident I'm just hoping the actual permit exam is that easy.

Errol V.'s Comment
member avatar

Bill on cloud nine:

I'm just hoping the actual permit exam is that easy.

I was pretty good with the High Road. Then I took my real test in Mississippi. I knew about 90% of the questions, but there were a few I'd never seen before. Still passed, though.

You can still nail your state test, but there may be some new questions for you to answer. Think them out, you'll do fine.

Jenny Jenn's Comment
member avatar

Hi Errol, So just want to be clear because I’ll be starting at Swift and will be getting my DOT and permit before going to the Indiana school. Does this mean they won’t do a 2nd physical when I get to the school? I just want to be prepared. Thanks in advance.

Bill, Swift does have a way to get you your permit. But if you walk in with the permit & physical, you're a week ahead!

Get your permit and physical done ahead of time.

DOT:

Department Of Transportation

A department of the federal executive branch responsible for the national highways and for railroad and airline safety. It also manages Amtrak, the national railroad system, and the Coast Guard.

State and Federal DOT Officers are responsible for commercial vehicle enforcement. "The truck police" you could call them.

G-Town's Comment
member avatar

Jenny asked:

Hi Errol, So just want to be clear because I’ll be starting at Swift and will be getting my DOT and permit before going to the Indiana school. Does this mean they won’t do a 2nd physical when I get to the school? I just want to be prepared. Thanks in advance.

Hi Jenny. I’m a long-term Swiftie, trained with them and stayed with them.

In order to skip the second physical, confirm with your recruiter where the nearest “Swift Approved” examiner is to your area of residence. Concentra is the provider they will typically send you to, and it’s likely you will receive a discount.

Good luck!

DOT:

Department Of Transportation

A department of the federal executive branch responsible for the national highways and for railroad and airline safety. It also manages Amtrak, the national railroad system, and the Coast Guard.

State and Federal DOT Officers are responsible for commercial vehicle enforcement. "The truck police" you could call them.

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