Advice On How To Get The Best Training Possible

Topic 28775 | Page 1

Page 1 of 2 Next Page Go To Page:
Jeremy B.'s Comment
member avatar

Hi guys,

I've been using Trucking Truth for about a year now. I used the Highroad program to get a class B permit last October with interest in gaining entry into the Lineman/outdoor electrical industry. I met with some contractors and they put me on a wait list and recommended I get a class A CDL. So in February I upgraded my permit to a class A and started working with a local trucking school (here in Massachusetts) taking private lessons to get a class A CDL. While in training at the school I realized that getting a class A CDL would open more opportunities than just potential entry into the lineman field. I started researching trucking jobs and realized that the pay is pretty good and the idea of living out on the road has a sort of adventure appeal to me.

I've been reading a lot of diaries of people who went through various trucking schools. And enjoyed these play by play perspectives. So the point I'm at now is I'm interesting in putting myself through that "first year" that everyone talks about to get experience and just plunge into the field.

As of August 15th 2020 I have gained my class A CDL but I did it in a 32 foot trailer. So I have the license but the truth is I have zero experience pulling a 53 foot trailer. My question what company do you think I could join up with and get a maximum level of high quality training. I've looked into Prime but I'm concerned that if I go right into TNT that I wouldn't get the quality backing training that I believe I need to succeed. I'm single with no kids I can go OTR for 2 or 3 years to gain experience without it affecting really anyone but me.

Anyways I've been reading the forum for awhile and you guys seem like you enjoy helping prospective truckers so any advice you can give is appreciated.

In summary - what do you think is the best route for me to take with zero experience driving a 53 foot trailer?

Thanks

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.

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.

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.

Peter M.'s Comment
member avatar

Best of luck to you. Looking forward to your updates.

Leeva804's Comment
member avatar

Hi guys,

I've been using Trucking Truth for about a year now. I used the Highroad program to get a class B permit last October with interest in gaining entry into the Lineman/outdoor electrical industry. I met with some contractors and they put me on a wait list and recommended I get a class A CDL. So in February I upgraded my permit to a class A and started working with a local trucking school (here in Massachusetts) taking private lessons to get a class A CDL. While in training at the school I realized that getting a class A CDL would open more opportunities than just potential entry into the lineman field. I started researching trucking jobs and realized that the pay is pretty good and the idea of living out on the road has a sort of adventure appeal to me.

I've been reading a lot of diaries of people who went through various trucking schools. And enjoyed these play by play perspectives. So the point I'm at now is I'm interesting in putting myself through that "first year" that everyone talks about to get experience and just plunge into the field.

As of August 15th 2020 I have gained my class A CDL but I did it in a 32 foot trailer. So I have the license but the truth is I have zero experience pulling a 53 foot trailer. My question what company do you think I could join up with and get a maximum level of high quality training. I've looked into Prime but I'm concerned that if I go right into TNT that I wouldn't get the quality backing training that I believe I need to succeed. I'm single with no kids I can go OTR for 2 or 3 years to gain experience without it affecting really anyone but me.

Anyways I've been reading the forum for awhile and you guys seem like you enjoy helping prospective truckers so any advice you can give is appreciated.

In summary - what do you think is the best route for me to take with zero experience driving a 53 foot trailer?

Thanks

Only in a 32? Well, there are plenty of companies that will hire you and train you right. The backing can be a hit or miss. I struggled when I first began and it took a while before I could understand the advanced level of correcting.

When you choose a company ask them about their trainers and years of experience they have. I would not opt for anyone with less than 10 years experience if you can.

I learned to back more with my second trainer than my first. But honestly both didn’t teach me nearly as good as I taught myself once I got solo. So you’ll just need a good trainer and take all the knowledge you can get and once solo practice backing in the yard everyday. That’s truly how you become good at backing, practice.

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.

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.

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.

Jeremy B.'s Comment
member avatar

That's good advice about making sure to opt with an experienced trainer. From what I can gather from reading other threads there are great trainers and not so great trainers and landing a great trainer is crucial.

Anyways like I mentioned I'm just sort of exploring trucking as a potential career. I think for my personal situation I wouldn't be able to make it happen for another few months - using that time to minimize my monthly budget (cheaper housing maybe pay off car) and tie up any loose ends.

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.

Truckin Along With Kearse's Comment
member avatar

As a trainer of TNT at Prime.. I am confused by this statement

"I've looked into Prime but I'm concerned that if I go right into TNT that I wouldn't get the quality backing training that I believe I need to succeed. "

Prime has the longest training period (60,000 team miles for you coming in with a CDL), that I know of. So if you are concerned that going into training right away is an issue.... Then what and where do you propose? You have a CDL. The training is to refine your skills, give you practice and teach you the company methods. Some companies will put you with a trainer for 1 to 4 weeks and that is it. TNT at Prime will take at least 3 to 4 months in comparison.

As stated above, you will still learn more by going solo and will nowhere be near perfect. It will take a whole year to feel comfortable with backing and trip planning.

I also want to point out... I started training with 18 mos experience. Every student told Prime I am efficient and patient. One flat out told them "I had the best trainer in all of Prime. I knew almost everything when I went solo". I have helped mold several great and productive drivers, including having trained a few on this forum. If the student doesn't have the drive to succeed, the trainer is helpless. Now that I have 5 years, I am in fact better at training but I know drivers who have been training 10+ years who suck at it. A good trainer will find answers for you even if they don't know. Years of experience does not make someone want to teach or make them a good trainer. In addition..expecting a trainer with 10 years experience is ridiculous. You are eliminating drivers like me who are new enough to understand your fear and concerns yet experienced enough to teach.

Compassion, dedication, encouragement, understanding and patience does. I swear I need to make a "how to be a good trainer" video.

If you have Prime specific questions.. I am here.

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.

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.

Jeremy B.'s Comment
member avatar

Hi Kearsey,

That wasn't intended to be a comment against Prime's training or Prime trainers. I'm trying to express a concern in my own training to get a class A CDL which is that I never hauled a 53 foot trailer. I trained with a good trucking school and enjoyed the experience but I learned to pull 32 foot trailers. So it's the same license but there's a big difference.

So what do you think? How many people have you trained? Any of them have a similar background as what I'm describing? Do you spend time with your trainees working on backing and alley docking? From your perspective do you think someone who never drove a 53 foot trailer could gain the skills necessary to succeed in 60000 team miles?

Prime is currently the company I am leaning toward. I would just have to get a Hazmat endorsement, a TWIC card and a passport and then hypothetically I would be ready to go. As I stated in my last post - financially it may be better if I keep the job I have now for a few more months until my car is paid off and maybe change my housing situation so that my monthly costs can be as low as possible.

Any thoughts and advice are appreciated. Its an exciting career prospect.

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.

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

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.

Rob T.'s Comment
member avatar

Although I learned and obtained my CDL using a 53' I pulled a 28' out of school. I did that every day I worked except for once doing a 33'. After a year and a half I decided to move on and had no issue getting hired where I am now with a 53'. The backing took me about a month to get to where I was as confident as I was with the 28'. Its the same concept just reacts differently. As others said your biggest hurdle will be your stale class A. Use this link to Apply For Truck Driving Jobs and see if anybody is willing to take you. If they're unable to they may tell you what you need to do (schooling, refresher, etc) to be eligible for hire. Don't focus too much on what you expect of the trainer. It doesnt matter the company or how long they've been driving. Some are great, others may be just looking at it due to increased pay. Either way just hunker down and make it through 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.
Truckin Along With Kearse's Comment
member avatar

Jeremy... The point of training IS to get the practice. Most people come from a school with very little driving and backing experience. I have had 7 students. 3 had only local school experience. The others had gone over the road with the permit in prime training.

You are over thinking this. I had no trailer experience at all nor manual transmission driving. Yet here I am. Just apply yourself. I am uploading a video tonight about trainers. I have other videos about trainer expectations. Check them out.

Over The Road:

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.

PJ's Comment
member avatar

Believe it or not in many ways that 33’ trailer is harder to back than a 53’. The shorter the trailer the faster it reacts and steering input is touchier. Any company that hites you will work on all aspects with you.

Kearsey has hit many important points and I totally agree in her statements. Quit overthinking this.

I will add this about trainers. Alot of lease operaters I hear skim on backing practice because they are paying for the fuel. I would hate to see that happen to you or anyone else. Most companies will not have many 10+ year experienced trainers. There will be some, but with volume of trainees there are far more trainers with less experience than that.

I have 7 years experience and have been certified as a trainer. The idea of a 10+ year experience would exclude me also. I have trained cops for 25 years in all vehicle ops for law enforcement as well as a couple truck drivers. It can be done, just go in having faith in the company and trainer, unless presented with facts to the opposite.

We look forward to hearing more about your journey.

Jeremy B.'s Comment
member avatar

Okay, thanks guys - all good advice. I guess one last question which is - how long before a CDL A goes "stale"? If I sat on the license for 8 months to get my money in better order would that disqualify me from Prime?

Kearsey I'll be sure to look for your video about trainers.

Thanks

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.
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