CDL School Update.

Topic 21836 | Page 1

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Chuck 's Comment
member avatar

So I have been looking into a bunch of different companies that offer CDL training and then moving into one of their fleet. I like some of the things Knight Transportation has to offer and they have newer Kenworth trucks. I would go to Arizona for 2 1/2 weeks and then back here to Carlisle PA to complete the training and then out on the road with a trainer before I go on a solo run for 30,000 miles before I become an official Knight Transportation driver. One of the others that Impressed me was the National Tractor Trailer School in Buffalo Ny. It would be something that I would have to pay for on my own but it will help me to be able to complete training with everything needed to get a trucking job with any company I choose other than being stuck with one. I can also work my current job and go to class on weekends, it would take a little longer than 5 days a week but I won't have to quit working while going to school. I am going to Buffalo next weekend to take a tour and see what help I can through grants and such to help pay the tuition. Trying to make sure I make the right choice for what is going to work best for me. Sometimes it is not always what is the fastest or easiest way to do something that is the best way. Trying to think Long term.

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.

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.

Errol V.'s Comment
member avatar

Chuck faces choices:

... get a trucking job with any company I choose other than being stuck with one.

If you plan on spending your own savings on trucking school, go right ahead. But let me remind you of a phrase heard in business: "Other People's Money". You can go to a company school and be "stuck", or a private school and look for a company that could pay off your tuition. In this case, you'll still be beholden (read "stuck") to your new company till you do pay back that loan, just like company schools do.

Also, consider this: a private school takes your money and gets you a CDL. Now if there's "stuff" in your past (and I don't know yours), like recreational drugs, felonies and other goodies, you'll have a hard time getting a job, but the finance company will want their money back anyway. Talk about stuck!

If you choose a company school, the vetting happens before you sign the school contract. So you have a chance to deal with your closet skeletons before you commit your future earnings.

Finally, you're worries about being stuck with one company is misplaced. If any company stakes your schooling, you'll be stuck. You're choice of what company should happen before you sign any finance paper.

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.

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.

Bolt's Comment
member avatar

I rarely try to post any type of advise since im not in the industry, but to add to what Erroll said: I have the where with all to pay for a private school and have looked at it extensively, I also have have skeletons in my closet and those suckers keep falling out. Most of the companies I have been interested in that hire recent grads have told me to wait a little while longer. I have since decided on company paid CDL training. At the end of training I know I have a job.

Hope this helps.

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.
Susan D. 's Comment
member avatar

I too went the private school route, attending on weekends so I could continue to work. That's what worked best for me, but I will warn you that weekends only is harder because you won't have the daily repetition (muscle memory) that you'll get with a full time school. It was like taking 2 steps forward, then going 1 step back during the week. We'd lose valuable skills because of all the weekdays we weren't in a truck. The only plus is I got a special scholarship from the employer I was with at that time that paid for that school (with no obligation to them) so it didn't come out of my pocket.

If I'd had to fork over the cash out of my pocket for school, I'd have RAN to a company sponsored school with no hesitation. My school experience was crazy and it's posted in the forums. It's definitely a "buyer beware" situation.

Errol V.'s Comment
member avatar

Bolt sez:

I have since decided on company paid CDL training. At the end of training I know I have a job.

Bolt has the key. We push company training for a few reasons, and this is number one. Yes, choose your company first, without even looking at the company sponsored training. (That way you won't be "stuck" at the wrong company for a year.)

Why? Any training path you take will be only for a few months. You're career will last longer, so look at the long term before you think short term.

Then consider the added benefit of company-included training. These companies, like Bolt says, make sure you all but have a job at the end of your course.

Some companies can really make your training free, some manage to get you a lower net out-of-pocket if you stick with them for that all important first year.

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.

Company Sponsored Training:

A Company-Sponsored Training Program is a school that is owned and operated by a trucking company.

The schooling often requires little or no money up front. Instead of paying up-front tuition you will sign an agreement to work for the company for a specified amount of time after graduation, usually around a year, at a slightly lower rate of pay in order to pay for the training.

If you choose to quit working for the company before your year is up, they will normally require you to pay back a prorated amount of money for the schooling. The amount you pay back will be comparable to what you would have paid if you went to an independently owned school.

Company-sponsored training can be an excellent way to get your career underway if you can't afford the tuition up front for private schooling.

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.

Old School's Comment
member avatar

Chuck, here's an article that may help you understand some of the Benefits of Company Sponsored Training.

By the way, it was well over three years ago when I began driving for Knight as an experienced driver. I'm still here by choice, and have never once felt "stuck."

Company Sponsored Training:

A Company-Sponsored Training Program is a school that is owned and operated by a trucking company.

The schooling often requires little or no money up front. Instead of paying up-front tuition you will sign an agreement to work for the company for a specified amount of time after graduation, usually around a year, at a slightly lower rate of pay in order to pay for the training.

If you choose to quit working for the company before your year is up, they will normally require you to pay back a prorated amount of money for the schooling. The amount you pay back will be comparable to what you would have paid if you went to an independently owned school.

Company-sponsored training can be an excellent way to get your career underway if you can't afford the tuition up front for private schooling.

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar
it will help me to be able to complete training with everything needed to get a trucking job with any company I choose

If you do go the private truck driving school route make sure you get pre-hire letters before you even commit to the schooling. Here is a bunch of information about it:

Everyone assumes that they are going to get an offer from every company they qualify for. That is not always true. Trucking companies will not take every living, breathing human the way people think they will. Many companies make sure they get way, way more candidates than they need at any given time so they can be a little selective during the process. Each company has some questions they like to ask or certain characteristics they're looking for that will qualify or disqualify someone. So a driver may apply to 20 different companies but only get offers from 5 or 6 if they're lucky.

Also, don't waste your time doing research on a company until you know they've either given you a pre-hire letter for private school or they've accepted you into their Paid CDL Training Program. We've watched a lot of people waste weeks or months of their time researching companies that ultimately never offered them a position.

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.

Pre-hire:

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.

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.

Chuck 's Comment
member avatar

Thank you all for the very helpful advice and yes there are some things I need to consider when making my decision. This is why that I love this site so that what I am thinking I can get feedback on the ideas and maybe get some ideas that I haven't thought of which is what has happened here. I really appreciate it immensely. I will still travel to Buffalo to get some information on the School just so that I can use that information to help form a decision without asking myself later if I made the right choice. I too was worried about doing things just one the weekends and being sure that I am retaining all the information so that it is beneficial and also feel comfortable enough in the truck when driving and doing all that is necessary. I guess maybe I should not have used the word "Stuck" in my post but that is what I was thinking at the time. Thinking back I wouldn't be stuck considering that to make sure that I can hone my driving skills I would need to work for someone for at least a year anyways. I have not yet made a final decision so that I why I am doing all I can now before I do make one. And as far as any skeletons in my closet, I have none other than a speeding ticket about 4 years ago or so and I have NEVER and I mean NEVER tried any illegal drugs of any kind and I am very proud of that. I do not have any felonies or misdemeanors either so I am not very concerned since I am a Nurse currently and they go to great lengths of checking someone's record before even getting a license and a job for that matter. So if I had any of those issues I would not be currently working in the field that I am so unless the company finds another reason to not hire me it is not because of any of those things. So please keep the advice and suggestions coming.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Goner's Comment
member avatar

Chuck, if you do go with the private school route, make sure it's a certified 160 or more hour course. I almost made the mistake & signed on with a school that only offered 40 hours of actual seat time. Imagine my surprise when I found this site & learned how woefully inadequate that school would've been? All that money I would've been paying off without a proper job to pay it off with. I was lucky to ask what companies they worked with at their job placement service! The rep looked on his wall & said that UPS & FedEx were hiring! My reaction was WTF?! I somehow found this site & am deeply grateful for all the advice that got me to where I'm starting orientation with Prime on March 3rd!! Good luck to you. God bless & stay safe.

Chuck 's Comment
member avatar

Chuck, if you do go with the private school route, make sure it's a certified 160 or more hour course. I almost made the mistake & signed on with a school that only offered 40 hours of actual seat time. Imagine my surprise when I found this site & learned how woefully inadequate that school would've been? All that money I would've been paying off without a proper job to pay it off with. I was lucky to ask what companies they worked with at their job placement service! The rep looked on his wall & said that UPS & FedEx were hiring! My reaction was WTF?! I somehow found this site & am deeply grateful for all the advice that got me to where I'm starting orientation with Prime on March 3rd!! Good luck to you. God bless & stay safe.

Thanks Reyn and thankfully you found out before it was too late and spent all the money for nothing. The school I am looking at is NTTS.edu in Buffalo NY and Liverpool NY. I has all the credentialing for the appropriate amount of hours and many different levels of CDL certifications and class of CDL's held. Good luck to you when you start school. Please be sure to update the site on your progress at school.

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.
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