My TMC Chronicles

Topic 19170 | Page 1

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whosfate's Comment
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Okay gang, so I have decided to start a training diary here on TT like so many before me.

I hope to keep up on these entries as I progress through my CDL training and OTR instruction. I am hopeful that my posts here will serve to help others into what to expect going through this. After countless hours of research, self reflection, and talking with my wife and children, I am starting on a new journey in a new career. Not me only, but also my family.

04/03/2017: I received my official pre-hire from TMC. My recruiter there is Angelynna and she has been nothing short of fantastic in answering my questions and getting my application before the hiring committee. I will be going through TMC's in-house CDL training program for 19 days in Des Moines, IA and then on the road with a trainer for 5 weeks. There is no pay during the in house CDL training, but transportation, lodging, and all of my meals will covered. Afterwards, it will be a $500/week salary for the 5 weeks in OTR training.

04/06/2017: I took my DOT physical and passed resulting in a 2-year medical certificate.

04/13/2017: I took my CLP tests here in PA with HazMat and tanker endorsements. I passed all of my tests with an 80% score which is passing and apparently the highest you can When taking the tests, as soon as you reach an 80% (passing) grade, the computer stops the test and you move onto the next. It was explained to me that this is done to free up the computer terminal sooner and anything above an 80% grade is not very meaningful as you have already passed the test. All four tests took just under an hour to complete; I do not think there was any time limit.

04/17/2017: Today I will be going to a local center for my FBI fingerprinting to complete the background checks for my HazMat.

I am scheduled to begin my orientation/CDL training on Monday, May 1st. I am both very excited and a little bit nervous about this as I do not want to be sent home for anything. I have read just about everything I can regarding the 120lb. tarp test that you have to pass. I have been hitting my free weights lately and I able to overhead press (standing military press) 120 lbs. easy enough, but I have to think that there is a difference between 120 lbs. on a barbell and a tarp that weighs 120 lbs.; the weight on a barbell doesn't move around.

Well that is all for now, I will update the thread as things progress on my journey. 14 days till show time! So little to do! So much time! Wait...scratch that!



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.


Hazardous Materials

Explosive, flammable, poisonous or otherwise potentially dangerous cargo. Large amounts of especially hazardous cargo are required to be placarded under HAZMAT regulations


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.


Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.


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.


What Exactly Is A Pre-Hire Letter?

Pre-hire letters are acceptance letters from trucking companies to students, or even potential students, to verify placement. The trucking companies are saying in writing that the student, or potential student, appears to meet the company's minimum hiring requirements and is welcome to attend their orientation at the company’s expense once he or she graduates from truck driving school and has their CDL in hand.

We have an excellent article that will help you Understand The Pre-Hire Process.

A Pre-Hire Letter Is Not A Guarantee Of Employment

The people that receive a pre-hire letter are people who meet the company's minimum hiring requirements, but it is not an employment contract. It is an invitation to orientation, and the orientation itself is a prerequisite to employment.

During the orientation you will get a physical, drug screen, and background check done. These and other qualifications must be met before someone in orientation is officially hired.


Commercial Learner's Permit

Before getting their CDL, commercial drivers will receive their commercial learner's permit (CLP) upon passing the written portion of the CDL exam. They will not have to retake the written exam to get their CDL.

G-Town's Comment
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Good luck and stay off the grass! Take heed of the signs warning of that, it's a test, don't flunk it.

Han Solo Cup (aka, Pablo)'s Comment
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Please do keep us updated. TMC was one of the ones to contact me when I merely dipped my toe into the pond of "I wonder if I'm ready to start yet". Angelynna was my recruiter as well and was cool about me firing back a "I'm just browsing" reply. Let me know how it goes and what you think of your training time on the road.

Blake W.'s Comment
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Good luck and looking forward to your next updates. Have fun and stay safe!

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