Thinking Of Going To CDL Training At A Local VoTech On Weekends. Is This A Good Idea?

Topic 29330 | Page 1

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Ken D.'s Comment
member avatar

I would like to know if getting CDL training from a local VoTech school on the weekends (still a 160 hour course) while working full time is a good idea or not. Is paying out of pocket for training without the backing of a trucking company a good idea, or will I have a hard time finding a company willing to train a newbie fresh out of CDL training? Looking for opinions on this from those who are experienced. I could get my CDL in 8 weeks at this VoTech school, but then would I be able to find a company who would hire me and train me once I graduated, or is having a Trucking company pay for my training and spending at least a year with them the best way to go?

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Mark C.'s Comment
member avatar

I wish I had the time and money to take the vo-tech course. There is a company near me offering better pay and time off that would train after schooling, but they only accept from a 320 hr course which is from a technical college. Problem was the classes don't start until March. My situation is such that I need to be making an income before that and I'd have to borrow the $3700. That company will be on my radar after my year of experience dues are up, but if I had another choice...

160 hrs on weekends could be done in 8 weeks with 10 hr days. That's a long time without a day off. Most training companies will reimburse your tuition so it's a way to not lose your income for a whole month. My income got the virus so I just don't have that kinda time.

Steve L.'s Comment
member avatar

Ask the school which companies hire from them. Then I suggest you call those companies and ask their opinion of the graduates they get from that school. If only one company hires from that school, it should be a red flag.

If you go through the VoTech school, you should start applying everywhere as soon as companies will consider you. It seems lots of people graduate and then start applying. I had my job placement three weeks before graduation.

I did private school. My route isn’t for everyone, but it matched my needs.

I hope this helps.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

I think it's a bad idea to train on weekends. So much of learning is muscle memory and it takes longer to develop with so much time in between training.

Like Steve said, you want to have jobs lined up already so get some prehire letters if you can.

Apply For Paid CDL Training is recommended because you get trained the company way and you're guaranteed a job upon completion. A year isn't that long and with they year you get a lot of leniency because they expect you mess up. They're invested in you, so they won't just cut you loose on your first mess up. A company with no investment has no reason to do that.

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.

Prehire:

What Exactly Is A Pre-Hire Letter?

Pre-hire letters are acceptance letters from trucking companies to students, or even potential students, to verify placement. The trucking companies are saying in writing that the student, or potential student, appears to meet the company's minimum hiring requirements and is welcome to attend their orientation at the company’s expense once he or she graduates from truck driving school and has their CDL in hand.

We have an excellent article that will help you Understand The Pre-Hire Process.

A Pre-Hire Letter Is Not A Guarantee Of Employment

The people that receive a pre-hire letter are people who meet the company's minimum hiring requirements, but it is not an employment contract. It is an invitation to orientation, and the orientation itself is a prerequisite to employment.

During the orientation you will get a physical, drug screen, and background check done. These and other qualifications must be met before someone in orientation is officially hired.

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.

Big Scott (CFI's biggest 's Comment
member avatar

Everyone learns differently. We always recommend Paid CDL Training Programs because the company has a vested interest in your success. It costs companies thousands of dollars to train and retain new drivers. They are always looking for ways to keep them at their company.

We have had some people on here that did the weekend training. It can be done.

I was trained by and drive for CFI. I have zero desire to drive OTR for any other company. The list linked above is not all inclusive nor up to date, yet still filled with valuable info.

CFI will get you trained and rolling solo in about 8 weeks. We have a couple of very helpful Facebook groups as well as an app.

Get in where you can, get through that first year safely and doors will open up for you.

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.

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.

Old School's Comment
member avatar
I could get my CDL in 8 weeks at this VoTech school, but then would I be able to find a company who would hire me and train me once I graduated, or is having a Trucking company pay for my training and spending at least a year with them the best way to go?

Hey Ken, we've had a few people do that weekend option. Most of them said it was difficult keeping all the information fresh in their mind after taking the next week off for work. There is a ton of information to take in during CDL training. It's probably best done by being totally focused on the task at hand. That's not to say it wouldn't work for you. It's obviously an option for people who need to be working while they are trying to gain their CDL.

My personal choice would be to save up some money and then go for it at a Paid CDL Training Program. We highly recommend taking that route for a lot of reasons. Here's a couple of articles that might help you understand the advantages of going that way.

Why I Prefer Paid CDL Training

Busting The Free Agent Myth

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.
Mike H.'s Comment
member avatar

I did weekends It was the better option for me at the time as I was making very good money at my last job We were only 5 students in the class(started with 9),so we all got a lot of seat time and one-on-one attention The following class had 27 people,so I'm sure a lot of them struggled

The company I went to work for reimbursed me for the cost of school(xxx amount per paycheck)

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

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