Some Questions Before Starting CDL School

Topic 23465 | Page 2

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Old School's Comment
member avatar

Evelyn, let me tell you something that you're completely misunderstanding. You can start at Prime whenever you are ready. You tell the recruiter when you're ready. It can be after your hunt, or after New Years Eve, or even just after the apocalypse - you are the only one who decides that. Recruiters are always in a hurry to sign you up, that's how they get paid!

You can of course do as you want, but don't get confused about who's in charge of the date you commit to. You determine your start date.

I don't know why you'd borrow that money when a really great company will front it for you, and then give you a solid paying job and not require you to pay it back. It sounds pretty great to me.

Why I Prefer Company Sponsored Training

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.

Splitter's Comment
member avatar

Evey, let me start by saying sorry for your loss. I’m with Prime since 3/3 of this year. I believe all the advice you’ve received so far is totally solid. I’d like to offer you my process to help you make your decision.

I too looked into commercial school due to not knowing about company paid training options. I almost got my gov’t loan & would’ve been screwed if I did. They didn’t offer the 160-180 hours to be certified. They said that Fedex & UPS we’re hiring when I asked which companies hired their students . I had an disagreement with the govt loan officer & left without signing. I call that divine intervention.

I did a google search & like you found this treasure trove of a website. Did my research & haven’t looked back. I’m paying down my debt. Spending more time with my kids than I did driving upteen hours a day, grinding as a chauffeur/taxi driver/ Uber driver, all of this in NYC mind you.

Prime helped me pass my exams after failing my backing 2x & my driving 2x. They gave the resources I needed to pass & get my cdl. It’s definitely a uphill battle going from zero to cdl holder to an A-seat driver. But you have all our support & encouragement.

At Prime, you’ll receive a $200 advance while in your training to get your cdl. No need to take out a loan & have to dig yourself out of an unnecessary hole. Once you pass you cdl exams & go out for TNT training, it’s $700 a week, so long as you’re available to work. From that they take taxes & repayment of the loan @ $25/week.

You can go into this with a condition/agreement with your recruiter & subsequent fleet manager to take your home time when you need to go on the hunt with your dad. Just make sure your trainer & fleet manager both understand this priority. You can time it for when you have to go home & transfer your cdl from MO to MT. You can have up to 4 days but will work with you if you need more. I was able to go to NY, spend time with my parents & siblings then drive my 4 wheeler to FL & spend time with my kids while I did my paperwork.

I tell you all this to point out that you don’t need to get into debt to get a leg up on life with this career choice. If you put in the effort, whichever company paid training you go with, they will match your effort with resources. They need you just as much as you need them. If after a year you need to move on? You have a better chance of scaling up with this approach, so long as the company you choose is a reputable one.

Not twisting arms or coercing your decision making process. Just giving you another perspective with which to make a more informed decision. If you have any questions or need clarity with anything? We’ll do our best to give you the best information we can. I’m sure you’ve seen that in your “haunting” the forums.

As to why Jim Palmer didn’t hire you? If memory serves me, they are very selective. That doesn’t mean you have anything to worry about when applying to the others on your list. My initial recruiter at Prime said I didn’t qualify. After 3 other companies said yes to me, I tried again & never looked back.

You have all the resources in this website with the High Road Training Program, the pretrip inspection tutorial that Daniel B. put together, I also recommend the Ace Driving School pretrip vídeo on YouTube (it’s an hour long) to get used to hearing the speeches & another visual aid to recognize the different components, all the training diaries, etc. Like you said, you know you’ve got this. With the help of many on here, I felt the same.

Good luck going forward.

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.

Fleet Manager:

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

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.

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.

EPU:

Electric Auxiliary Power Units

Electric APUs have started gaining acceptance. These electric APUs use battery packs instead of the diesel engine on traditional APUs as a source of power. The APU's battery pack is charged when the truck is in motion. When the truck is idle, the stored energy in the battery pack is then used to power an air conditioner, heater, and other devices

Evelyn P.'s Comment
member avatar

Evelyn, let me tell you something that you're completely misunderstanding. You can start at Prime whenever you are ready. You tell the recruiter when you're ready. It can be after your hunt, or after New Years Eve, or even just after the apocalypse - you are the only one who decides that. Recruiters are always in a hurry to sign you up, that's how they get paid!

You can of course do as you want, but don't get confused about who's in charge of the date you commit to. You determine your start date.

I don't know why you'd borrow that money when a really great company will front it for you, and then give you a solid paying job and not require you to pay it back. It sounds pretty great to me.

Why I Prefer Company Sponsored Training

Old School, Sure, I do understand that. After initially reading all of the answers in this forum I was set on applying for company training, which is why I started with Prime. Then I started thinking about all of these other things. My parents are getting older. Dad has Leukemia. If I wait until next year to do this hunt it might be too late. (my season starts Nov 1st) I get the logic of doing company training for sure. And I still intend to apply with Prime, just not for their company training. I figure this way I'm expanding my options as far as possible employers and still training in a time line that works for me. (which CWW does). It actually works out better for me than hopping on a bus to Missouri or SLC. The fact that I'm staying local while training means I'll be able to get in a day or 2 of hunting on days off from training and work on some other personal/life things too. I can have it all!!! Hahaha! Ugh. .....And if a company has tuition reimbursement it all works out in the end.

I do appreciate your input and have certainly spent a lot of time weighing the options. Looking forward to maybe seeing you out on the road someday.

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.

Evelyn P.'s Comment
member avatar

Splitter, thank you for your kind words and encouragement. I wrote a reply to Old School pretty much laying out why I made the decision I did. It hasn't posted yet, but I'm re-reading his post and yours, and I know you guys know what you're talking about. So I'm going to revisit the company training option, going in a little wiser this time. ;)

Grumpy Old Man's Comment
member avatar

If you go to private school, you will still need to do the same training at Prime that you would have with them paying, other than getting your CDL. You will still have to go through orientation, ride with a trainer, etc.

I am looking at private school, but only because I am looking at a specific company and specific job, and they don't do company training. And I am still torn between going to a company paid school, even though it isn't a financial hardship for me to go private.

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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