Swift Truck Driving Academy (Corsicana TX)

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Carloz 's Comment
member avatar

I just wanna give those who are doing research on driving schools an idea how Swift Training Academy works as today 11-07-13 i just finished my orientation with Swift at El Paso TX my home terminal and Im waiting to have a mentor assigned...

Week One

I got to school on October 14 I went to the Corsicana TX academy close to Dallas TX the first day you will be with Rita Morehead she will introduce you to the academy and explain how it works... then you will go to Drug Screen and DOT physical if you hadn't got one... after that you will be taken to the local DPS to check that you have your 5 test done... so make sure you have them done before going to school... depending on how many students are in your class you will be early released that day... Day 2 you will be with Mr. Collaway or Mr. Coffman they will teach you logging, mapping, and trip planing... Day 3-6 its when the fun starts they are gonna show you how to do the Pre-Trip Inspection , In-cab Inspection and Air Brake Test then you will be practicing backing maneuvers on the range, straight backing, off-sets, and parallel parking... On Sunday you will spend all they doing written exams so study all the notes you took the first two days and the material they gave you...

Week Two

Day 8 you will watching some videos and pics over life on the road and defensive driving... Day 9-13 you are gonna be out on the range continue practicing all the backing maneuvers including the 90 degree backing, I had Randy Fortney for range instructor he is very good in teaching backing maneuvers so between those days depending on how are you doing they will test you so you can advance to the third week, before saturday (day 13) you will be testing on pre-trip and air brake test also... Day 14 (sunday) you will be off.

Week Three

Your final week... Day 15-18 will consist on road training the first thing they are gonna teach you is how to upshift and downshift, I had Robert he is also a very good instructor Im glad that I had him he is a tough looking guy but he is really nice, you cannot choose your instructors but if get with Robert he will take you to drive on the Dallas Cowboys Stadium the Dallas airport and some other places around there so expect to be driving on heavy traffic, on day 18 you will do the Swift road test in Corsicana you must pass it so the can take to do the DPS road test... Day 19 the most important day, you will go do the DPS to do the road test, Im from Texas so I tested on Waxahachie TX it was pretty easy compared to the Swift road test all you have to do its pay attention to the road the cars and trucks around you and especially your trailer and the path its taking behind you, dont hit the curbs, dont hit the white line on your parallel parking and dont impede traffic those are auto fails, if you pass you may go home that friday.

This is how it works or how it went for me, it was really nice going to Swift Academy they have good instructors, after you get your CDL they will send you to your home terminal for orientation the following week and its three days and its pretty much about the benefits and policies of the company you will do another drug screen and you will get your driver code and commdata card.

Pre-trip Inspection:

A pre-trip inspection is a thorough inspection of the truck completed before driving for the first time each day.

Federal and state laws require that drivers inspect their vehicles. Federal and state inspectors also may inspect your vehicles. If they judge a vehicle to be unsafe, they will put it “out of service” until it is repaired.

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.

Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

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.

Fm:

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

OOS:

When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar

Hey thanks for the rundown Carloz! That was great! Sure sounds like things went pretty smoothly for ya with Swift...congrats!!

So are you running solo with them now?

Wes G.'s Comment
member avatar

I should be starting school with swift in Phoenix soon. This was great info. Let us know how working for them is going for you.

Lil Spud's Comment
member avatar

I'm going to Swift in Lewiston, Idaho which is where I live. I got lucky there. I am very dedicated. Going to our DMV to test for my permits this week. Also already have my medical card. I am excited. I really need to focus on backing and pre trip as this is my second go round. Didn't fail just never tested out. Per the Swift policy I need to train again. Wish me luck!!

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.

DMV:

Department of Motor Vehicles, Bureau of Motor Vehicles

The state agency that handles everything related to your driver's licences, including testing, issuance, transfers, and revocation.

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar

Good luck Lil Spud!!!

Beth's Comment
member avatar

Hi guys,

I just received and started the online training course required to get in the swift training academy in Millington TN.

I have concerns about the training there and the many students that get sent home before completing their training. The choice to go to swift wasn't my first choice. I prefer attending community college closer to home and go to werner. With my current financial strains I've decided to try swift.

I've read several experiences on the forums concerning swifts program. I don't understand the reasons so many don't survive their training there. I am planning to drive the 5 hr trip and don't want to fall on my face or have some uncontrollable reason to have to turn around and go back home.

Any advice that could better prepare me to succeed in this academy would be appreciated. As much as I've been preparing to get all my ducks in a row, there may be some things I may miss.

MsJamie's Comment
member avatar

I've read several experiences on the forums concerning swifts program. I don't understand the reasons so many don't survive their training there. I am planning to drive the 5 hr trip and don't want to fall on my face or have some uncontrollable reason to have to turn around and go back home.

Yes, I registered specifically to reply to a year old thread. Normally, I leave such things alone, but this thread came up early on a web search, and I felt that this should be answered for others wondering the same thing.

I attended Swift Academy in Richmond, VA in June 2013. We started with 20 students, and lost half of them along the way.

We lost two before class even started because they didn't bring the necessary paperwork. Swift isn't going to train you unless they know they can hire you afterward. (That *is* Swift's reason for having the Academies.)

Three failed the drug test. If you're taking Vicodin or any other legal prescription medication that shows up on a urine test, you MUST have some sort of doctor's note; your recruiter can give the details. If you're using something else... don't even bother applying. You will NOT get past the drug test. These people have seen everything.

Two more got tossed out the next day due to stupidity... After passing the drug test, they spent the evening "toking up" in their car in the hotel parking lot.

One left due to a death in the family. I was told that he would be allowed to return without penalty.

Two failed due to failed exams. We were tested in four areas (pretrip, backing, road, and classroom). Fail one, and you get a chance to re-take it. Fail a second, and you're out. These two weren't taking the school seriously.

Academy is "serious business", as are all the company sponsored schools. You have a LOT to learn in those three weeks, and you will have to spend some of your "off time" studying your notes. This is NOT a "gimme" class. Go in with the attitude that you want to "ace" the class and are willing to work for it, and you'll do well.

I've talked with many others who have gone through the various schools, and I've also attended Prime's "PSD" orientation (had to leave due to personal reasons). The drug test is responsible for most of the "early departures", and most of the rest fall under the heading "failure to follow directions".

Think of Academy as a three week job interview, because that's exactly what it is. You can pass your schooling and get your CDL , but not get a job offer from Swift. It's rare, but it has happened.

Be clean, pay attention, and follow instructions, and you'll get that coveted CDL with your name on 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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

PSD:

Prime Student Driver

Prime Inc has a CDL training program and the first phase is referred to as PSD. You'll get your permit and then 10,000 miles of on the road instruction.

The following is from Prime's website:

Prime’s PSD begins with you obtaining your CDL permit. Then you’ll go on the road with a certified CDL instructor for no less than 75 hours of one-on-one behind the wheel training. After training, you’ll return to Prime’s corporate headquarters in Springfield, Missouri, for final CDL state testing and your CDL license.

Obtain CDL Permit / 4 Days

  • Enter program, study and test for Missouri CDL permit.
  • Start driving/training at Prime Training Center in Springfield, Missouri.
  • Work toward 40,000 training dispatched miles (minimum) with food allowance while without CDL (Food allowance is paid back with future earnings).

On-the-Road Instruction / 10,000 Miles

  • Train with experienced certified CDL instructor for 3-4 weeks in a real world environment.
  • Get 75 hours of behind-the-wheel time with one-on-one student/instructor ratio.
  • Earn 10,000 miles toward total 40,000 miles needed.
Errol V.'s Comment
member avatar

I recently completed Swift's academy in Millington/Memphis. Carloz's experience is close to mine.

I also want to echo MsJamie: the company schools are not for the faint of heart or the lazy. Yes, the company wants to get you on the road as soon as possible, so it's basically "You back this way to get between the cones. Got it? OK, go to road training.

Road training is "up-shift, now down-shift - double clutch! Right turns, left turns, watch the curb!" Then pass the DMV , and then company orientation.

If you can survive the four-five weeks of Academy pressure, orientation on the road one on one with a trainer is #1: a breeze and #2: where you will get great practice in all the stuff you really need to know to drive a truck. Then you'll truly be ready to get your very own truck and hit the road.

Double Clutch:

To engage and then disengage the clutch twice for every gear change.

When double clutching you will push in the clutch, take the gearshift out of gear, release the clutch, press the clutch in again, shift the gearshift into the next gear, then release the clutch.

This is done on standard transmissions which do not have synchronizers in them, like those found in almost all Class A trucks.

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.

DMV:

Department of Motor Vehicles, Bureau of Motor Vehicles

The state agency that handles everything related to your driver's licences, including testing, issuance, transfers, and revocation.

Gabriel Q.'s Comment
member avatar

I'm planning on getting cdl training with swift. I wanted to ask you if it's required to have a valid drivers license for a year to qualify for training. If so, are there any cdl training companies that don't have that requirement.

I just wanna give those who are doing research on driving schools an idea how Swift Training Academy works as today 11-07-13 i just finished my orientation with Swift at El Paso TX my home terminal and Im waiting to have a mentor assigned...

Week One

I got to school on October 14 I went to the Corsicana TX academy close to Dallas TX the first day you will be with Rita Morehead she will introduce you to the academy and explain how it works... then you will go to Drug Screen and DOT physical if you hadn't got one... after that you will be taken to the local DPS to check that you have your 5 test done... so make sure you have them done before going to school... depending on how many students are in your class you will be early released that day... Day 2 you will be with Mr. Collaway or Mr. Coffman they will teach you logging, mapping, and trip planing... Day 3-6 its when the fun starts they are gonna show you how to do the Pre-Trip Inspection , In-cab Inspection and Air Brake Test then you will be practicing backing maneuvers on the range, straight backing, off-sets, and parallel parking... On Sunday you will spend all they doing written exams so study all the notes you took the first two days and the material they gave you...

Week Two

Day 8 you will watching some videos and pics over life on the road and defensive driving... Day 9-13 you are gonna be out on the range continue practicing all the backing maneuvers including the 90 degree backing, I had Randy Fortney for range instructor he is very good in teaching backing maneuvers so between those days depending on how are you doing they will test you so you can advance to the third week, before saturday (day 13) you will be testing on pre-trip and air brake test also... Day 14 (sunday) you will be off.

Week Three

Your final week... Day 15-18 will consist on road training the first thing they are gonna teach you is how to upshift and downshift, I had Robert he is also a very good instructor Im glad that I had him he is a tough looking guy but he is really nice, you cannot choose your instructors but if get with Robert he will take you to drive on the Dallas Cowboys Stadium the Dallas airport and some other places around there so expect to be driving on heavy traffic, on day 18 you will do the Swift road test in Corsicana you must pass it so the can take to do the DPS road test... Day 19 the most important day, you will go do the DPS to do the road test, Im from Texas so I tested on Waxahachie TX it was pretty easy compared to the Swift road test all you have to do its pay attention to the road the cars and trucks around you and especially your trailer and the path its taking behind you, dont hit the curbs, dont hit the white line on your parallel parking and dont impede traffic those are auto fails, if you pass you may go home that friday.

This is how it works or how it went for me, it was really nice going to Swift Academy they have good instructors, after you get your CDL they will send you to your home terminal for orientation the following week and its three days and its pretty much about the benefits and policies of the company you will do another drug screen and you will get your driver code and commdata card.

Pre-trip Inspection:

A pre-trip inspection is a thorough inspection of the truck completed before driving for the first time each day.

Federal and state laws require that drivers inspect their vehicles. Federal and state inspectors also may inspect your vehicles. If they judge a vehicle to be unsafe, they will put it “out of service” until it is repaired.

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.

Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

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.

Fm:

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

OOS:

When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.

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