First Steps: I Want To Drive Big Rigs

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ArcherTrucker's Comment
member avatar

Hello After reading a good number of the trucker diaries on here I decided it may be helpful and or interesting to document my steps towards becoming a professional truck driver with a Class A - CDL.

The Start

About a month ago while I was attending the University of Oregon as a Junior majoring in Biology I decided that the debt I was accruing too much debt (student loans), recent divorce, and after severe COVID fatigue I started looking for a way to get into a profession that A.) provides enough money so I could save and pay off debts B.) minimal direct supervision C.) a job that involves changing scenery D.) success in work is based mainly on my efforts (solo). Trucking came across one of my nighttime searches and I began my journey down the rabbit hole.

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.
ArcherTrucker's Comment
member avatar

Research Phase

After doing research on the steps to become a professional driver; I initially looked for a truck driving school close to me. 160 driving academy has a training yard about 10 miles from me. I called the school and talked with a very nice woman named Rosie. Rosie was very helpful and broke down my options for the course. As I could not come up with the tuition upfront (about 4500) she listed my options: 1) High-interest loan (13%) 2) Workforce grant. Credit is a dumpster fire thanks to student loans and divorce so I applied and was turned down, not going to ask for a co-sign so that's out. Looked into the grant and found the money was used up for this year. SO I called her back and she said Swift works with them and could sponsor my training if I agree to drive for them after getting my CDL. I decided after some digging that Swift is not the company for me.

Plan B I started to compile a list of Paid CDL options

I filled the form out here on trucking truth and was almost immediately contacted by Wilson Logistics, Later by Roehl, Prime Inc., and CRST.

After researching each contact I made a list: in order of most interested in 1) Wilson Logistics 2) Prime INC 3) Roehl

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.
Anne A. (G13Momcat)'s Comment
member avatar

Hello After reading a good number of the trucker diaries on here I decided it may be helpful and or interesting to document my steps towards becoming a professional truck driver with a Class A - CDL.

The Start

About a month ago while I was attending the University of Oregon as a Junior majoring in Biology I decided that the debt I was accruing too much debt (student loans), recent divorce, and after severe COVID fatigue I started looking for a way to get into a profession that A.) provides enough money so I could save and pay off debts B.) minimal direct supervision C.) a job that involves changing scenery D.) success in work is based mainly on my efforts (solo). Trucking came across one of my nighttime searches and I began my journey down the rabbit hole.

Howdy, Archer!

I don't think you've been properly welcomed; I apologize! (I'm usually 'better' with this, sorry!)

So, are you in fact going with Wilson, in Matt and Tim's footsteps? (And Vicki M., and those before those?)

I'm excited you've finally made the decision. Your A., B., and C., and especially D. reasons are perfect!!

Have you read our 'welcome wagon' ? You should!

There are SO MANY great links in and up in here. I also believe you mentioned Roehl/flatbed somewhere, as well? Have you applied on our site?

Apply For Paid CDL Training

If you are still leaning to flatbed, TMC will receive your app, in the above link. Awesome flatbed company! Strict, but succinct. Knight (as you can see from many of our guys here ... Davy and Old School, namely)... is another awesome flatbed (or not!) company.

I sure wish you well on your endeavors, good sir! I'm following, as will many!

~ Anne ~

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Anne A. (G13Momcat)'s Comment
member avatar

I missed your post by 2 minutes...SORRY!!! Haha!

YAY for you, though!!!!

Glad to hear you'll probably go COMPANY, good sir. . . for many reasons:

Why I Prefer Paid CDL Training

Busting the Free Agent Myth

Nothing AGAINST Swift, however and whatsoever! The 3 on your 'go to' list.. are awesome; and IMHO, exactly in that order.

Best wishes on your journey!!

~ Anne ~

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.
ArcherTrucker's Comment
member avatar

Howdy Anne! Thanks for your response it feels official now being welcomed by you.

Update: I have my CLP

I passed Combination on Monday, I had taken AB and general the proceeding week and passed with only 2 mistakes on General, I was worried about AB and spent the lions; share on that section and passed with a perfect score. I did not respect the combination portion during my preparation and failed on the first attempt. I spent the weekend studying like a possessed medieval Irish monk, using the paid Exam prep and the TT program on here, and passed with 0 errors.

Lesson learned: Don't sleep on any section.

So, are you in fact going with Wilson, in Matt and Tim's footsteps? (And Vicki M., and those before those?)

I'm so happy to say that is a big yes!

Wilson has approved me for onboarding for 3/21/22. I am really stoked because they were my first choice.

I will go into more detail later as I have some interesting possibly helpful tidbits about my application process.

I want this diary to contain as many details as possible as the diaries I read on here really helped me more than any other source as far as choosing a company for CDL training. Shout out to Matt, Tim, and Vicki M for sharing your stories about Wilson Logistics.

Until next time, -Archer out

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.

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.

CLP:

Commercial Learner's Permit

Before getting their CDL, commercial drivers will receive their commercial learner's permit (CLP) upon passing the written portion of the CDL exam. They will not have to retake the written exam to get their CDL.

Jerry B.'s Comment
member avatar

Hello, Archer. I will be starting my training with Wilson on 3/14.

ArcherTrucker's Comment
member avatar

Hello, Archer. I will be starting my training with Wilson on 3/14.

Hi Jerry B. Congrats!

Are you attending Missoula or Springfield?

I'm onboarding at Springfield.

Jerry B.'s Comment
member avatar

I will be in Springfield. It is my understanding that with the sale of Wilson's Western Division to Ashley, they no longer have the facility in Missoula. Or at least that is what I have been told by my recruiter

Anne A. (G13Momcat)'s Comment
member avatar

Howdy Anne! Thanks for your response it feels official now being welcomed by you.

Update: I have my CLP

I passed Combination on Monday, I had taken AB and general the proceeding week and passed with only 2 mistakes on General, I was worried about AB and spent the lions; share on that section and passed with a perfect score. I did not respect the combination portion during my preparation and failed on the first attempt. I spent the weekend studying like a possessed medieval Irish monk, using the paid Exam prep and the TT program on here, and passed with 0 errors.

Lesson learned: Don't sleep on any section.

double-quotes-start.png

So, are you in fact going with Wilson, in Matt and Tim's footsteps? (And Vicki M., and those before those?)

double-quotes-end.png

I'm so happy to say that is a big yes!

Wilson has approved me for onboarding for 3/21/22. I am really stoked because they were my first choice.

I will go into more detail later as I have some interesting possibly helpful tidbits about my application process.

I want this diary to contain as many details as possible as the diaries I read on here really helped me more than any other source as far as choosing a company for CDL training. Shout out to Matt, Tim, and Vicki M for sharing your stories about Wilson Logistics.

Until next time, -Archer out

You're most welcome, Archer! You bounced into 3 threads and I couldn't pin you down to 'any set one' until you started your own, haha! Sorry I ran late on the greeting; mea culpa!! :(

CONGRATS!!!! CDLP, yay, man!

That's awesome about Wilson. Wonderful news; solid company. I believe you'll be greatly blessed! As you get rolling with them, I'll introduce you to some of those guys & gals' 'Fb' hidey holes, if you'd like, haha! Had a nice chat w/Mt. Matt on there, last night. (I'm the PR liaison of TT without an official title, haha!!! That, and a 'driver's wife/driver wannabe, lol....)

You did REAL well on your test scores, wow! I've had my CDLP twice, and failed the AB the first time, both times....auuugh.

Well, carry on with your 'possessed, evil, Irish Monk self,' then !!!!

I'm following, for sure. Patiently awaiting the 'tidbits,' too! ;)

~ Anne ~

good-luck.gif good-luck-2.gif good-luck.gif

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.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

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.

CLP:

Commercial Learner's Permit

Before getting their CDL, commercial drivers will receive their commercial learner's permit (CLP) upon passing the written portion of the CDL exam. They will not have to retake the written exam to get their CDL.

Dennis L's Comment
member avatar

Archer Trucker and Jerry B.

Good luck with your CDL training with Wilson in Springfield.

I just finished my CDL training with Prime in Springfield yesterday. Wilson’s training program is very similar to Prime’s. I’m gearing up to start my 30k miles of team 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.
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