Becoming A Trainer How Much Experience Do You Need

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John J.'s Comment
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I got my Cdl 2 years ago and decided that U S Express was going to be my first company. What I got was probably not the best trainer but I did learn to handle the pressure and stress of life on the road. I was not shown the proper way of doing things for the company so in turn my first few months on the road was full of disappointment and disaster not to mention very tiny pay checks. I was getting ready to quit and go back to fishing when I met a husband and wife team that had been with the company for several years and asked how they managed to make it. They had the knowledge that I didn't get from my trainer and were willing to talk me through my problems over the phone and it took about 15 or 20 phone calls. Then my pay went up and I began to enjoy this. I decided that when I get the experience to become a trainer I will just because success is all in the way you are taught. Yes experience is the best teacher but you do need guidance when you are green or a new to something. Anyway I have been driving for 18 months and was wondering what's some ideas on how long you should drive before becoming a trainer my do has asked me if I would consider it


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.


Substance Abuse Professional

The Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) is a person who evaluates employees who have violated a DOT drug and alcohol program regulation and makes recommendations concerning education, treatment, follow-up testing, and aftercare.

Tractor Man's Comment
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Swift Mentors need 6 months of experience. I think that is stupid. I work for Swift btw. I would say 18 months would be perfect. I think 12 months minimum. Good luck to you. I would not have the patience to be a trainer. Trucking needs all of the Experienced Trainers they can get. Go for it!smile.gifgood-luck.gif

Gladhand's Comment
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I honestly think it depends on the person for me I won't consider training until a I have at least 3 or 4 years experience. Just remember you are responsible for the drivers you pass and put on the road. It is a big responsibility, but if you think you are ready go for it!

Truckin Along With Kearse's Comment
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Prime requires 9 mos least 90 days at prime.. and one full winter season.

They are so desperate for female non smoking trainers I was asked in school if I would eventually like to become a trainer.

I did what you did john... I met experience drivers and talk my whole drive shift with them so when something pops up I had help. Funny thing is... I help them too. One just asked me today about 8/2 splits I love so much.... cause teamed so long she forgot. Sometimes they ask me about roads I drive often..whether they have hills or curves etc.

I know I'd be a good trainer...I'd be organized and have patience with someone willing to learn. With the wrong person .... well... my Jerzee girl sarcastic side would come out. Haha

I can't train with my cat anyway. But he's old. The only thing is that being solo is sweet and I think I'd feel invaded if I had someone on the truck.... unless ot was girard butler. He's welcome anytime

Tractor Man's Comment
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my Jerzee girl sarcastic side would come out. Haha

Rainy, You have a SARCASTIC SIDE??????? We've never seen it on this forum!!!


Driver's Comment
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Honestly, I don't think it depends on how much time a person has behind the wheel.

Yes, experience is necessary, but just because a person has 20 years experience doesn't mean he can train better than someone with 18 months.

You have to want to train for the right reasons. Are you personable, would be patient with students? Want to teach safety?

I would rather have a trainer with 18 months experience that communicates well, then some guy/gal that has 30yrs, but is only interested in the extra paycheck.

If you feel you can teach safety and make the learning experience enjoyable and feel qualified with your driving, check with your mentor program to join. I think it would be rewarding.

B Y 's Comment
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18 months should be a sufficient amount of time to learn before becoming a trainer. My trainer did tell me though that if you're doing it for the money it may not be a good idea. He makes an extra $30/day or $210/week when with a student. However, his miles tend to go down while training a student too resulting in breaking even with what he made driving solo. Breaking even on top of not having the privacy or space in the truck he has when solo has made him reconsider his decision and after he is done training his current student he is giving up being a trainer. Unless your company is paying you a considerable amount to train, it should be something you have a passion for before you decide to get into it. You should be passionate about it regardless but you get what I'm saying.

Brett Aquila's Comment
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You have plenty of experience at this point and your reasons for wanting to become a trainer are the right reasons. It is an incredibly stressful job though. You're sitting there in the passenger seat hoping and praying that these brand new drivers out of school don't hit anything. It's really tough.

I highly recommend you read a series of articles we have written by a former trainer called The Trainer's Viewpoint. Actually, new drivers should read these before heading out with a trainer so you have a better understanding of where the trainer is coming from. But these articles will give you some insights into the stresses and challenges a trainer faces.

And I'll tell you that the guy who wrote these was a trainer for one student only and it was a good friend of his. After experiencing life as a trainer one time he said, "Oh no. Never again." And that was it for him. It's super stressful. But if you're cut out for it you may just love it.

The Trainer's Viewpoint

Tman's Comment
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Thanks Brett, I didn't know that information was available here.

My company has been trying to get me to train for a while now. I love teaching/training people, I did it in the restaurant business for years. I am just not sure if I want to do it with drivers, the information should help me make my decision.

miracleofmagick's Comment
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There are certain traits you need to be a good trainer. Your reasons for being a trainer is an important one. As had been said, if it's just for the extra money, you probably shouldn't be one. If you want to help others succeed, make sure your fellow drivers are taught the things they need to know to do their jobs, and increase the quality of the drivers on the road, by all means become a trainer.

You also need a lot of patience. Some students will be pretty good already and learn what you need to teach them easily. When you have a student like that, training it's easy and fun. Other times you will have a student who just send like they can't grasp what you are teaching them, or they have an attitude problem, or any myriad of other issues that will test your ability to remain out of prison. In those cases you will need patience in abundant quantities.

You also have to be willing to share that little closet you call a home with another. Now at my company, I'm able to take a breather between students and not train for a little while if I want to run solo for a bit, but I don't know if all companies slow that or not. It can get trying at times having another in your truck. Some students will be slobs, some won't respect your rules, some won't respect your privacy.

You also have to have a good working knowledge of your company's rules regulations and procedures as well as laws and regulations.

Being a trainer can be very difficult and stressful, but it can also be very rewarding. I have had students who seemed like natural born truck drivers and I have had students that probably should have never even considered trucking. The good ones make for an easy couple of weeks. The not so good ones make for s much harder time but in some ways are more rewarding if/when they succeed. Training others also helps you learn and become a better driver yourself.


Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
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