Newbie Questions....Yet Again

Topic 28224 | Page 1

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LMNJ's Comment
member avatar

Hello all. First, I apologize for asking yet another "getting started" question but with many threads, it's tough to sift through them all to get my answer.

Does any here have experience with the Smith and Solomon school? I understand there are companies that have their own schools which train/test you and employ you, but I'm curious on collective thoughts on independent schools such as S&S.

Appreciate whatever feedback you all can provide! Looking forward to reading the responses.

Old School's Comment
member avatar

Luann, Smith & Solomon is a fine school. I attended a private school myself, yet I still encourage people to go with the Paid CDL Training Programs. They've just got so many advantages. Smith & Solomon will help you get your CDL - that's what private schools do.

We've got a person seeking help in here right now who got their CDL at a private school yet can't seem to land a job. That's frustrating. I had the same experience. Today I can make a single phone call and get a job anywhere I like, but when I was fresh out of school, almost nobody would touch me. To this day, I don't know why.

Why don't you share with us your reasons for wanting to go the private school route? That might make it easier for us to give you some advice or help.

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.
Sid V.'s Comment
member avatar

I would NOT recommend that school. I had a student that came out of there and he didn't know any of the clocks and how they worked. He also miraculously had all his endorsements tanker, hazmat , doubles , triples...everything while not being able to read a word of English.

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

Doubles:

Refers to pulling two trailers at the same time, otherwise known as "pups" or "pup trailers" because they're only about 28 feet long. However there are some states that allow doubles that are each 48 feet in length.

Old School's Comment
member avatar
I would NOT recommend that school. I had a student that came out of there and he didn't know any of the clocks and how they worked.

Luann, Sid confirms what I'm saying when I said this...

Smith & Solomon will help you get your CDL - that's what private schools do.

There's just so much more to truck driver training than getting your CDL. That's part of the problem with the private schools. They are merely trying to run a business and somehow make a little money at it. If they can get you past the test they are done with you. The company sponsored training programs are in place so they can develop drivers for their operations. The end goals are different from each other.

That's why it might help us advise you if we understood your reasoning for choosing the private, money out of pocket, route.

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

Here's a couple of articles on this subject that you might find helpful...

Busting The Free Agent Myth

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.

LMNJ's Comment
member avatar

Thank you, Old School and Sid. By the way Old School, I appreciate you still have the same picture since I first came to the site in 2017.

I’m going to research the links you’ve posted. I suppose my reasoning was learning at my own pace and not being “tied into” working for a particular company for 12-15 months. However, I understand OTR experience is a first step to opening other career opportunities, whether they be for another company, local, regional and so on.

Regional:

Regional Route

Usually refers to a driver hauling freight within one particular region of the country. You might be in the "Southeast Regional Division" or "Midwest Regional". Regional route drivers often get home on the weekends which is one of the main appeals for this type of route.

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.

G-Town's Comment
member avatar

It’s highly recommended you commit to your first company for at least 1 year. If you study the links Old School replied with, you’ll hopefully realize the logic supporting the recommendation.

Please understand it’s the person driving the truck that matters most; not the company. Learn to be a top performer and leverage all of the support typically provided to rookies by companies offering Paid CDL Training Programs.

Good luck!

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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