Schneider CDL Apprenticeship Program

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Eric N.'s Comment
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Thanks for this Steve. I'm going to be starting orientation in Phoenix next week and I find this very informative.

I already have my CDL (but no experience), so I believe my schedule would be different to yours. Apparently my schedule is two weeks at the OC, and then a week on the road with my TE.

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.
Truckin’Steve's Comment
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Day 9 & Day 10 (Week 2)

Been a busy past couple of days. Still pretty much the same routine. Did more practice on the yard followed by more classroom instruction. On Thursday day 9 we went over the workflow system where we accept assignments and such. We did all the training for this on the Qualcomm training devices they have but you will actually do workflow on the tablets.

Friday was graduation day! We started out doing more backing in the yard. We then had dinner and then went to class for our graduation party. We then went over how workflow works on the tablet. The tablets are pretty nice. We then went to the on site truck service center to pick up our own tablets! Hours of service is coming to the tablets for everyone by June or July so no more Qualcomm.

Got all of my training engineers information and he actually called me on Friday to introduce himself etc. Will be meeting up with him on Sunday afternoon. He advised we will be running hard. He works the Target account. Schneider requires students to do at least 80% of the driving during this time. Some people have yet to hear from theirs. He is home nightly and I will get to sleep in the truck by myself during the night. He has a day off on Friday so they are putting me up on a hotel.

It appears most people’s training engineers were within 100 miles but two classmates engineers were 400 miles away and they have to take rental cars to meet their training engineer. Schneider is putting them in a hotel for a night though. I lucked out and mine is about 35 miles away from the OC. He has a day off this week on Friday so I am staying in a hotel for the weekend.

All in all it’s been a good first two weeks. Now I have two weeks on the road with my training engineer and then one week preparing and taking my CDL road test.

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.

Qualcomm:

Omnitracs (a.k.a. Qualcomm) is a satellite-based messaging system with built-in GPS capabilities built by Qualcomm. It has a small computer screen and keyboard and is tied into the truck’s computer. It allows trucking companies to track where the driver is at, monitor the truck, and send and receive messages with the driver – similar to email.
Truckin’Steve's Comment
member avatar

Thanks for this Steve. I'm going to be starting orientation in Phoenix next week and I find this very informative.

I already have my CDL (but no experience), so I believe my schedule would be different to yours. Apparently my schedule is two weeks at the OC, and then a week on the road with my TE.

Hey! Best of luck! The guy who runs the training program in Charlotte just came from Phoenix. Apparently they are starting up a new flatbed division!

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.
Truckin’Steve's Comment
member avatar

(Week 3)

This is my first week out of two with my training engineer. Keep in mind if you already have your CDL you will spend one week with a training engineer when coming to Schneider. I met my training engineer on Sunday and we started driving immediately Sunday afternoon. Other students in my class traveled to other places around the Southeast to get to their training engineers. Mine was about 50 miles away. My training engineer was home nightly which meant I got the truck to myself at night which was nice.

First couple days I still had trouble connecting glad hands and getting the landing gear to go up or down. Backing into actual docks rather than the training yard is a vastly different experience as well but getting better at it. I think my landing gear learning issue is just caused by crappy trailers the big red circle has. Sleeping in the truck has been no trouble at all and has been rather comfortable. A lot of the Schneider trucks still do NOT have APUs or an inverter/fridge. Schneider says this is changing though with the rollout of the 2019 and 2020 Cascadia’s.

Ended up driving over 2800 miles myself this week. Got a lot of time in running Black Mountain, Mars Hill, Sams Gap and Fancy Gap. Time flew by. I’m in a hotel until Monday since my training engineer took an extra day off for the holiday weekend. Happy about that.

I have another week of training with my TE and then my final week will be preparing for my CDL road skills test on Thursday and Friday!

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.

APU:

Auxiliary Power Unit

On tractor trailers, and APU is a small diesel engine that powers a heat and air conditioning unit while charging the truck's main batteries at the same time. This allows the driver to remain comfortable in the cab and have access to electric power without running the main truck engine.

Having an APU helps save money in fuel costs and saves wear and tear on the main engine, though they tend to be expensive to install and maintain. Therefore only a very small percentage of the trucks on the road today come equipped with an APU.

APUs:

Auxiliary Power Unit

On tractor trailers, and APU is a small diesel engine that powers a heat and air conditioning unit while charging the truck's main batteries at the same time. This allows the driver to remain comfortable in the cab and have access to electric power without running the main truck engine.

Having an APU helps save money in fuel costs and saves wear and tear on the main engine, though they tend to be expensive to install and maintain. Therefore only a very small percentage of the trucks on the road today come equipped with an APU.

Truckin’Steve's Comment
member avatar

Final Week

Welp got back to NC from being out training with the training engineer. Training went very well. We then traveled to Schneider’s Indiana OC since the NC OC CDL lot was still in the process of being completed and inspected by the state. Pretty much every day of this week is spent practicing mastering the maneuvers/pretrip required on the CDL road skills test. We had to do the straight line back, offset back and parallel park. The first two days we really only got to back twice because there were almost 30 of us practicing with two trucks. But on Tuesday most of them left after they passed their exam. Then we had more one on one time. Then Thursday came along and this was our first go at the test. I wasn’t prepared and blanked out on the pretrip and failed. Nervousness I guess. That sucked but I studied all that night and took it again the next day and passed!

Now in the process of getting home. Will be picking up my CDL license at the DMV hopefully on Tuesday or Wednesday and I will most likely get my first load the following week.

This website helped a lot. I enjoyed reading the many diaries from the many different options in schools/company sponsored programs. Glad I made the choice to go with Schneider. If you have any questions just PM me.

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.

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.

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

PackRat's Comment
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No PM on here, Steve. Congratulations to you!dancing.gifdancing.gifdancing.gif

Truckin’Steve's Comment
member avatar

Got issued a 2016 Cascadia. The truck was supposed to be ready for pickup yesterday and they sent me 500 miles away to get it today and it’s still out of service due to the a/c compressor AND hasn’t even been detailed yet although I was told it was in cleaning yesterday.

They are sending me and others from my class all around the eastern seaboard to get our tractors. We feel like they are probably giving us ones from people who have quit and turned their tractor in.

Now I’m stranded with no extra clothes and hoping it is resolved tomorrow so I can go home for the weekend. Schneider is putting me up in a hotel tonight so I guess that’s nice of them.

Not a great way to start my first few days out of training and being on my own.

PackRat's Comment
member avatar

A few days is nothing in the grand scheme of things, so you'll get there. I know you're raring to hit the road, do some sometime, and make some money. good-luck.gif

Truckin’Steve's Comment
member avatar

First week out by myself is down. Didn’t go very well though as I already had a preventable accident. Cut a turn too sharp setting for a straight line back and wasn’t watching the tandems and my trailer brushed up against another trailer that caused it to move into another trailer because the trailers were so close. A little bit of damage to the front frame of a Swift trailer that looks like it has already been patched multiple times already. Schneider was very understanding and of course didn’t fire me. I have to do a day of safety training though due to it.

Its been a very stressful week. Going to give it another week before deciding to pull the plug and go back to an office job.

The account I was trained on is totally opposite the account I have been assigned to. I went from a retail store account to a paper roll manufacturer account. Have had to move tandems multiple times this week and also worry about having too heavy a load whereas with the retail account that was never a problem.

The receivers aren’t at all friendly and seem like their annoyed you're bothering them. Parking safely and off the side of the road (Schneider’s strict policy) is a real pain. Sleeping hasn’t been a problem.

Tandems:

Tandem Axles

A set of axles spaced close together, legally defined as more than 40 and less than 96 inches apart by the USDOT. Drivers tend to refer to the tandem axles on their trailer as just "tandems". You might hear a driver say, "I'm 400 pounds overweight on my tandems", referring to his trailer tandems, not his tractor tandems. Tractor tandems are generally just referred to as "drives" which is short for "drive axles".

Tandem:

Tandem Axles

A set of axles spaced close together, legally defined as more than 40 and less than 96 inches apart by the USDOT. Drivers tend to refer to the tandem axles on their trailer as just "tandems". You might hear a driver say, "I'm 400 pounds overweight on my tandems", referring to his trailer tandems, not his tractor tandems. Tractor tandems are generally just referred to as "drives" which is short for "drive axles".

Old School's Comment
member avatar
Its been a very stressful week. Going to give it another week before deciding to pull the plug and go back to an office job.

Truckin'Steve, you cannot give up so quickly!

How long have you been reading our advice in here?

If you want this, you've got to commit to one year. If you don't want this, I'm not sure why you started in the first place. You are going to be more stressed than you are comfortable with when starting this career. We teach this stuff all the time. Where have you been? I can't believe what I'm reading! You're gonna let your first violent loop the loop on the Emotional Roller Coaster sidetrack you for good?

This career is not for the fainthearted. You strap in and hang on. It's like learning bull riding. You're going to be getting thrown around, but you should know that. You've got to resolve to master this beast. That's the way it's done. Truck drivers don't back down. They don't give up. They set a steely hard resolve and move forward with commitment to victory. Anything less is going to push you right back into your old relentlessly boring comfort zone.

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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