Is Classroom Time Mostly A Waste Of Time In Cdl Training Programs?

Topic 26202 | Page 1

Page 1 of 2 Next Page Go To Page:
Tim J.'s Comment
member avatar

I notice some schools minimize classroom time and spend most of the time teaching people how to drive while other programs spend over half the time in class.

I understand some class time might be important but It seems like class time is mostly an excuse for lack of trucks or trainers and too many students.

I talked to alot of drivers and they say you really don't learn anything to you get out with the company trainer.

What's your opinion?

Derrick B.'s Comment
member avatar

Hey there Tim! I had a choice between 2 schools when I started. One had a mandatory so many hours of classroom time before they would let you in a truck, and another that only had classes on Saturday in order to pass the permit. The rest of the week you could come and go as you pleased on your own schedule to work on backing with instructors. Option 2 was half the price and I got exponentially more seat time than option 1.

The reason the first school emphasized classroom is because they had to have so many hours of class work in order to be accredited and allow people to get loans to attend. Not a horrible thing if you need a loan to pay for it and don’t want to go to a company and do free training, but I would say go to a school that emphasizes teaching you to back up and drive the truck. Anything you would learn in a class like trip planning or map reading you will learn from a trainer week 1 on the job. You’ll get help in driving too, but you’ll both be happier if you’re better trained to drive and back the truck up than read an read an atlas perfectly.

Old School's Comment
member avatar

Tim, welcome to our forum!

Classroom is vitally important. Let me ask you a few questions.

Do you have any idea how to calculate the weight you'll be losing off of your drive axles as you burn off fuel from your tanks?

Can you tell how many holes you need to slide your trailer tandems back if you're six hundred pounds over weight on them?

Are you well versed at calculating the driving/working hours you'll have available after completing the second portion of an 8/2 split sleeper berth?

Do you understand how to locate the scale houses on your Motor Carrier Atlas?

Can you calculate and plan out a 2,600 mile trip so that you can make the scheduled appointment time given you by dispatch?

The easiest part of being successful at trucking is the physical part - the driving of the truck. The hard part is the mental stuff. That's where it gets critical that you know your stuff.

I think you should get started on the classroom stuff immediately. It's that important. Click on the following link and you'll be entering the best classroom training available. Good luck with it!

High Road CDL Training Program

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.

Sleeper Berth:

The portion of the tractor behind the seats which acts as the "living space" for the driver. It generally contains a bed (or bunk beds), cabinets, lights, temperature control knobs, and 12 volt plugs for power.

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".

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Banks's Comment
member avatar

I didn't go to s school so I don't know what an accredited course looks like.

Things I learned in a classroom: 1) how to handle downgrades 2) how to cross railroad tracks with hazmat 3) how to do a proper pull up 4) how to shift 5) so much Smith system 6) what turning lane to use and what lane to turn into when there are multiple lanes 7) how to do an emergency pull over

Can these things be learned in practice? Yes, but this is what worked for me. I was able to visualize everything better and apply the things I learned when it was time to.

HAZMAT:

Hazardous Materials

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

PackRat's Comment
member avatar

Waste of time? Sure, until you run into a situation where you think to yourself, "We went over this in class. Wish I had paid attention".

Bruce K.'s Comment
member avatar

A company paid training program will give you lot's of classroom instruction. They need you to learn their system, workflow of receiving loads, delivering loads, how to work their Qualcomm or Tablet, especially HOS regulations, reporting and editing.

I went to a local private school to get my CDL. There we had almost NO classroom. Road training in the morning, backing course in the afternoon. A few videos and some reading material, but they only focused on the skills necessary to pass the road test. So when I went to company training, all I had was my CDL. Then we did classroom every morning and driving/backing every afternoon. Without that two weeks of classroom training, I would have been totally unequipped to go out one the road. And then the two weeks with the trainer brought all that classroom stuff head on with reality. After I went solo, I spent almost all my free time reviewing the classroom material and training manual until I could do procedures from memory. But it took several months to get reasonably competent.

Classroom is vital for any new entrant into truck driving.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

A company paid training program will give you lot's of classroom instruction. They need you to learn their system, workflow of receiving loads, delivering loads, how to work their Qualcomm or Tablet, especially HOS regulations, reporting and editing.

I went to a local private school to get my CDL. There we had almost NO classroom. Road training in the morning, backing course in the afternoon. A few videos and some reading material, but they only focused on the skills necessary to pass the road test. So when I went to company training, all I had was my CDL. Then we did classroom every morning and driving/backing every afternoon. Without that two weeks of classroom training, I would have been totally unequipped to go out one the road. And then the two weeks with the trainer brought all that classroom stuff head on with reality. After I went solo, I spent almost all my free time reviewing the classroom material and training manual until I could do procedures from memory. But it took several months to get reasonably competent.

Classroom is vital for any new entrant into truck driving.

You're talking about company specific training that's different and that's my point. They will teach you that stuff when you get to your company it's specific to the company. Classroom time at an external driving school is different. You would have had to learn all that stuff with the company anyway.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

The classroom time was just as important for me as the driving. I learned a whole lot from classroom time. My instructor taught way more than the book. I learned about chicken coops and all kinds of off the wall trucking stuff. Plus a lot of talk about Brake fade. Snub vs stab braking and all kinds of drilling things into my head. I also learned about life on the road. Controlling my road rage. Never to gesture to a 4 wheeler. It goes on and on. Shepard’s hooks and button hooks and diagrams. Of all kinds of maneuvers. His motto was slow methodical and something else I can’t remember. My instructor was passionate about his job. Like a Harvard professor of trucking. The last few days another guy took over and it was just teaching the book. It’s true though that class room will only get you so far but it’s critical to being a professional driver. If your going to pay for a private school and don’t get a good class room instructor then your being done a serious disservice for your money.

ChickenPlucker's Comment
member avatar

I think it depends more on the student and good luck. Your question is 'do I need classroom time, can't I learn this when I go 1-on-1 with my trainer', well yes and no. Yes, if you are a proactive guy and love to ask questions and you can absorb the knowledge thrown at you while multi-tasking then I think you can ditch the classroom portion. Not everybody is like this though and people of diverse intelligence(using tact here) learn at varied paces. At the end of the day, you can be Albert Einstein, but if your trainer insists on sleeping all day and using you as a low-paid team driver, then you are SOL as learning goes. Just like as in life, you never know what you are going to get, there are good ones, not-so-good ones, and horrible ones. Better to be safe than sorry.

Bruce K.'s Comment
member avatar

Tim replied: "You're talking about company specific training that's different and that's my point. They will teach you that stuff when you get to your company it's specific to the company. Classroom time at an external driving school is different. You would have had to learn all that stuff with the company anyway"

And yes, Tim, I made that distinction in my comment. Maybe you missed it. Please try to focus.

Page 1 of 2 Next Page Go To Page:

New Reply:

New! Check out our help videos for a better understanding of our forum features

Bold
Italic
Underline
Quote
Photo
Link
Smiley
Links On TruckingTruth


example: TruckingTruth Homepage



example: https://www.truckingtruth.com
Submit
Cancel
Upload New Photo
Please enter a caption of one sentence or less:

Click on any of the buttons below to insert a link to that section of TruckingTruth:

Getting Started In Trucking High Road Training Program Company-Sponsored Training Programs Apply For Company-Sponsored Training Truck Driver's Career Guide Choosing A School Choosing A Company Truck Driving Schools Truck Driving Jobs Apply For Truck Driving Jobs DOT Physical Drug Testing Items To Pack Pre-Hire Letters CDL Practice Tests Trucking Company Reviews Brett's Book Leasing A Truck Pre-Trip Inspection Learn The Logbook Rules Sleep Apnea
Done
Done

0 characters so far - 5,500 maximum allowed.
Submit Preview

Preview:

Submit
Cancel

Join Us!

We have an awesome set of tools that will help you understand the trucking industry and prepare for a great start to your trucking career. Not only that, but everything we offer here at TruckingTruth is 100% free - no strings attached! Sign up now and get instant access to our member's section:
High Road Training Program Logo
  • The High Road Training Program
  • The High Road Article Series
  • The Friendliest Trucker's Forum Ever!
  • Email Updates When New Articles Are Posted

Apply For Paid CDL Training Through TruckingTruth

Did you know you can fill out one quick form here on TruckingTruth and apply to several companies at once for paid CDL training? Seriously! The application only takes one minute. You will speak with recruiters today. There is no obligation whatsoever. Learn more and apply here:

Apply For Paid CDL Training

About Us

TruckingTruth was founded by Brett Aquila (that's me!), a 15 year truck driving veteran, in January 2007. After 15 years on the road I wanted to help people understand the trucking industry and everything that came with the career and lifestyle of an over the road trucker. We'll help you make the right choices and prepare for a great start to your trucking career.

Read More

Becoming A Truck Driver

Becoming A Truck Driver is a dream we've all pondered at some point in our lives. We've all wondered if the adventure and challenges of life on the open road would suit us better than the ordinary day to day lives we've always known. At TruckingTruth we'll help you decide if trucking is right for you and help you get your career off to a great start.

Learn More