Wanting To Start My Trucking Career.. But Wanting To Talk To Someone Where And How To Get Started

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Steph M.'s Comment
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Thanks Jeremy C.! I will be utilizing this site a lot I can tell already! Ive had a lot of good input from people already!

Btw I liked your cheesy words you said in the previous post. smile.gif

Thanks again!

Old School's Comment
member avatar

Welcome aboard Steph! We're glad you're here, and I hope you'll ask us a ton of questions.

One of my first questions I have is will I get paid (like weekly income from a job) during my training for my new trucking career? Or do most people do their truck driving training at night?

Very few people work all day and then go to truck driving training at night. It's just not practical. You're going to be falling asleep at work, or while behind the wheel of an eighteen wheeler. Neither of those is a good option. smile.gif

Getting paid during training varies with different programs. Certainly if you were to go to a private school where you pay to attend, then you certainly won't be getting paid by them. There are some great Paid CDL Training Programs that will pay you during training, but most of them only start paying you after you've obtained your CDL.

For example, Prime will pay you a flat rate of 700 dollars per week during what they call the TNT portion of your training. That is basically driving 40,000 miles with your CDL while with a driver trainer. The total miles that both you and your trainer drive count toward that 40,000 miles. Prior to that you are in their PSD training period which is driving with a trainer while you have your learners permit. They don't pay for that, but will advance you 200 dollars a week if you need it.

I believe Roehl will pay you from the get go, but it may not be as much money as you would be getting at Prime - I'm sorry, I don't know the particulars. These are good questions to ask a recruiter. All of these co workers and training programs expect you to agree to a contractual agreement that says you will commit to working for them for a certain time period. Usually that is one year.

Make sure and read those resources that the others provided links for. You can learn a lot just by studying that information. Again, feel free to "pick our brains" all you like. If there's anything valuable in our heads we will share it with you.

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.

TNT:

Trainer-N-Trainee

Prime Inc has their own CDL training program and it's divided into two phases - PSD and TNT.

The PSD (Prime Student Driver) phase is where you'll get your permit and then go on the road for 10,000 miles with a trainer. When you come back you'll get your CDL license and enter the TNT phase.

The TNT phase is the second phase of training where you'll go on the road with an experienced driver for 30,000 miles of team driving. You'll receive 14¢ per mile ($700 per week guaranteed) during this phase. Once you're finished with TNT training you will be assigned a truck to run solo.

Old School's Comment
member avatar
All of these co workers and training programs expect you to agree to a contractual agreement that says you will commit to working for them for a certain time period.

Sorry Steph, auto correct caught me not previewing my work! You're co-workers will not be expecting any agreements from you. That should read "company sponsored training programs."

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.

Rainy D.'s Comment
member avatar

Slight correction on Prime...

Prime pays $700 gross per week during TnT team training of 30,000 truck miles (not 40,000) if you go through Prime to get the CDL.

If you go to Prime with your CDL from a local school, you must do 40,000 in TnT and get paid $600 for the first six to seven weeks. but they offer tuition reimbursement.

Prime is almost finished the conversion to automatics so the PSD permit training phase is decreasing. Most come to orientation for a week, go out with a trainer for a week with the permit then come back and test out.

Prime's contract is indeed one year but for veterans it is 9 months.

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.

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.

TNT:

Trainer-N-Trainee

Prime Inc has their own CDL training program and it's divided into two phases - PSD and TNT.

The PSD (Prime Student Driver) phase is where you'll get your permit and then go on the road for 10,000 miles with a trainer. When you come back you'll get your CDL license and enter the TNT phase.

The TNT phase is the second phase of training where you'll go on the road with an experienced driver for 30,000 miles of team driving. You'll receive 14¢ per mile ($700 per week guaranteed) during this phase. Once you're finished with TNT training you will be assigned a truck to run solo.

Old School's Comment
member avatar

Thanks Rainy!

Steph M.'s Comment
member avatar

Thanks Old School and Rainy for the great info. to my questions! It is all very helpful to me!

So I do not know how to drive a manual At All. When you do your CDL training with companies do they teach you how to drive the manual in the rig or do they expect you to have some experience with a manual? I have none what so ever unfortunately. 😞

If they do teach it to you, I hope that they would be lil patient with me grinding the gears. ☺Im sure I will grind it plenty. Lol

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.
Old School's Comment
member avatar

You're way better off not having driven one. A big truck is completely different than the cars and pickups we drive. So you're good there. Also, it's highly likely you'll train with an automatic. That will depend on where you go. Others will join in here with some more information, but quite a few of these companies are going to all automatic trucks. I know Prime is doing that.

Rainy D.'s Comment
member avatar

I was the only one in my class who didnt drive a manual. out of 76 ppl it seems i had an easier time because i did not have to unlearn driving a manual car. they put you on simulators first ...like 12 hours or something here at Prime.

Different companies do it differently though. We are not 100% automatic but are moving that way. eventually, Prime will not test or train on automatics. Many companies have already changed over.

Splitter's Comment
member avatar

Steph, I didn’t even know what the inside of the truck looked like, never mind trying to double clutching or switching from low gears to high gears, etc. Just a Old School said, it’s better if you come in with a blank slate. It’s essier to teach someone who who doesn’t know anything than one who thinks they know it all.

We had a rookie in our PSD class that had 2 trucks & couldn’t even pass the simulator portion of orientation. Also, just as Old School stated, Prime along with many other major carriers are switching from manual transmissions to automatics. They’re supposed to be more fuel efficient. Haven’t driven one so I don’t know.

I’ve been on the road for nearly 40K miles & still grind gears. Both my PSD & TNT trainer’s grinded gears. Maybe not as much as me but it’s just part of job I guess.

I’ll say this, the more mistakes you make, the more you’ll learn how to avoid them in the future. Now, by no means am I saying to be reckless or unsafe. What I mean is this, I failed my backing & road tests 2x each before passing on my last attempts for both. Why? Until that poInt, I hadn’t made many mistakes. I didn’t drive in local traffic anywhere & when I was practicing my backing, it was dry & I could follow the markings on the ground at the practice pad. From all the trucks following the same paths while backing, the asphalt was worn & discolored in those areas, so I would just follow those lines. Well on test week, it rained all week. No markings on the ground to follow. That along with lining up on the wrong reference points cost me huge.

Then on the road test, I failed twice cause I’d forget the range selector/splitter & stalled in my first two tests. Now stalking isn’t an auto fail but the first time I impeded traffic & the second time I crossed the white line before the intersection was clear to make the turn. On this part, I had very little driving practice. My training truck was in the shop for one week & when my trainer would take me out to practice, we’d go to an industrial park with little to no practice. When we were OTR I’d only drive on the highways. Drop her in 10th, throw on the cruise control & keep her between the lines.

The more challenges your facing in a daily basis, the better your chances of improving. Either that or you’ll find out quickly enough that this isn’t for you. Good luck & please don’t hesitate to ask anything. Stay safe!!

OTR:

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.

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.

Double Clutching:

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.

TWIC:

Transportation Worker Identification Credential

Truck drivers who regularly pick up from or deliver to the shipping ports will often be required to carry a TWIC card.

Your TWIC is a tamper-resistant biometric card which acts as both your identification in secure areas, as well as an indicator of you having passed the necessary security clearance. TWIC cards are valid for five years. The issuance of TWIC cards is overseen by the Transportation Security Administration and the Department of Homeland Security.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

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.

TNT:

Trainer-N-Trainee

Prime Inc has their own CDL training program and it's divided into two phases - PSD and TNT.

The PSD (Prime Student Driver) phase is where you'll get your permit and then go on the road for 10,000 miles with a trainer. When you come back you'll get your CDL license and enter the TNT phase.

The TNT phase is the second phase of training where you'll go on the road with an experienced driver for 30,000 miles of team driving. You'll receive 14¢ per mile ($700 per week guaranteed) during this phase. Once you're finished with TNT training you will be assigned a truck to run solo.

Splitter's Comment
member avatar

I was the only one in my class who didnt drive a manual. out of 76 ppl it seems i had an easier time because i did not have to unlearn driving a manual car. they put you on simulators first ...like 12 hours or something here at Prime.

Different companies do it differently though. We are not 100% automatic but are moving that way. eventually, Prime will not test or train on automatics. Many companies have already changed over.

Rainy meant to say that they will eventually not train in manuals. Just in automatics but this will mean that there will be an automatic restriction on the licenses of anyone who goes this route. They will only be able to drive automatics & not manuals.

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