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Starlighter's Comment
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Hello Everyone! I have been lurking here for several weeks and thought I would introduce myself and open myself up to guidance from you folks. Love this forum and I am learning so much just by lurking here. It is such a fantastic resource!

I am about to make a career transition. I have been in education for 20 years. Started our teaching, was a principal for a decade and then have been in educational leadership since then. Thigs have been nuts in my world since Covid. My contract ends July 1 and, after much soul searching, I have decided I am done with education. I've given 20 years of my life and I just don't have any more to give to the field.

I have dreamed of being a truck driver since I was a toddler. Used to make my grandaddy take me to truck stops so I could see the big trucks and talk to the drivers. I grew up middle class in the south in the 80's and that was just not something they encouraged girls to do. So I went to college as expected. Got a few degrees. But here I am 20 plus years later, still wanting to do the same thing.

I've been doing research and trying to decide on private vs. company training. I'm in Memphis so there are a few schools here I could attend in July if I wanted to go the private route. I can pull that off financially. I am a single mom in education so I don't have a ton of savings. But I can manage trucking school. Just not sure what my best path will be.

Part of me is nervous to sign a contract for company CDL school as I would be committed, Staying with an organization doesn't scare me. I was 17 years with one school system and have been at the same org here in Memphis since I returned in 2019. BUT, i do have a teenage daughter and my work schedule is a priority for me until she goes off to college in 2 years. I do have family support to get us through the training months and I know I will be gone a lot during that time. However, I would need to secure something after training that had me home frequently, if not most days. How likely is that? After two years, when she goes to college, I can go out for weeks at a time and would love to. But she needs me around often now.

I have filled out the TT interest form here and have already heard from Prime! So exciting, Their training sounds really extensive and I love that but not sure about what they have out of Memphis are.

All advice is welcome at this point. I'm really shooting for CDL school in July one way or another.

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.
George B.'s Comment
member avatar

Swift is out of Memphis. And is an excellent training company.Sysco trains and does local runs, but you will be unloading unless you run doubles. Check into USA truck also. Anne will soon chime in w all the bells and whistles here on TT. Last but not least Welcome to TT.

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.

Starlighter's Comment
member avatar

Thank you, George! I am definitely looking into Swift, and also Knight because I think they use the Swift School here in Memphis. Haven't heard of USA Truck but will look it up now!

Anne A. (Momma Anne) & To's Comment
member avatar

Howdy, Starlighter, and welcome to TT !!!

Here's all the 'fun stuff' George mentioned; take a look at all these links, and take time to read Brett's book:

Since you already did our on line app (awesome!) I'll spare you that link; but you may want to read some of our great blogs; so much information related to so many (and all) companies!

Trucking Truth's Blogspot !

Another GREAT resource is our own moderator, Kearsey! Check out her YouTube channel; and yes, she drives for (and trains for) Prime! Almost ANY & every question you may have about Prime, can be found within: Truckin' Along w/Kearsey!

We ALWAYS recommend company sponsored training , and the reasons are all within the above links.

Glad to have you; see ya here soon!

Best wishes;

~ 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.

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.

Klutch's Comment
member avatar

Schneider has a terminal in West Memphis, not sure if they do the CAT program there or if you would have to train elsewhere. I’m not seeing any current openings for dedicated runs that are home daily, but weekly for resets if you could swing that. They do have “part-time” regional gigs where you set your home time.

Good luck

Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

Dedicated Run:

A driver or carrier who transports cargo between regular, prescribed routes. Normally it means a driver will be dedicated to working for one particular customer like Walmart or Home Depot and they will only haul freight for that customer. You'll often hear drivers say something like, "I'm on the Walmart dedicated account."

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.

Starlighter's Comment
member avatar

Thanks, Anne for all of the great resources. I have already started looking at the High Road Training Program. It is really well done, by the way. Speaking as someone who had to develop online curriculum in a pinch during virtual learning the last couple of years. Looks like yall did a fantastic job. I'm sure it will really help me with the test.

@Klutch - thanks for the tip on Schnieder. I'm looking at their website now. I'm not sure I can train here, though. Looks like I would have to travel to go to one of their training schools.

I keep looking at this posting for ODFL. Its a linehaul , home multiple nights a week. They say they will accept new graduates of an approved private CDL school. I emailed the recruiter and she said their approved schools here are Roadmaster and Delta Tech (which is actually in MS but close). Roadmaster is 7K whattt? Why is it so much more expensive. Delta Tech is cheap but its a community college so it would take a while to get a start date and the program is 8 weeks instead of 4-5.

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.

Linehaul:

Linehaul drivers will normally run loads from terminal to terminal for LTL (Less than Truckload) companies.

LTL (Less Than Truckload) carriers will have Linehaul drivers and P&D drivers. The P&D drivers will deliver loads locally from the terminal and pick up loads returning them to the terminal. Linehaul drivers will then run truckloads from terminal to terminal.

Dm:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.
Anne A. (Momma Anne) & To's Comment
member avatar

Thanks, Anne for all of the great resources. I have already started looking at the High Road Training Program. It is really well done, by the way. Speaking as someone who had to develop online curriculum in a pinch during virtual learning the last couple of years. Looks like yall did a fantastic job. I'm sure it will really help me with the test.

@Klutch - thanks for the tip on Schnieder. I'm looking at their website now. I'm not sure I can train here, though. Looks like I would have to travel to go to one of their training schools.

I keep looking at this posting for ODFL. Its a linehaul , home multiple nights a week. They say they will accept new graduates of an approved private CDL school. I emailed the recruiter and she said their approved schools here are Roadmaster and Delta Tech (which is actually in MS but close). Roadmaster is 7K whattt? Why is it so much more expensive. Delta Tech is cheap but its a community college so it would take a while to get a start date and the program is 8 weeks instead of 4-5.

Haya, gal.

Brett sure DID an amazing job, putting the HRTP program together. Old School was a great help/hand in the updating of, as well. When you get to the point for, look at Daniel B.'s pretrip, within the links on here. It's the best. See, you can appreciate good workmanship in written form! Mountain Matt is our resident librarian, btw. :)

Regarding ODFL, look up Bobcat Bob's posts. I'm not sure if their 'Dock to Driver' program helps pay for your license or not. Reimbursement? I'm not sure. Also, Daniel B. now drives and trains for them, in Cali. He just got a huge commendation award from them; look for that as well. It's a fairly new thread.

Banks did the 'Dock to Driver' program with FXF/LH which could also be a great resource for you. LTL companies tend to have programs like that.

Roadmaster is an excellent school, or used to be, IMHO. My husband graduated from there in 2003, with the WIOA grant. Is that something you could look into, for financial assistance, if needed? Wondering; did any of Kearsey's videos (or blogs) help you out at all? She's the Prime 'speaker of 'this' house' more or less, LoL! She's also on their official 'Women's Advisory Board' or something like that, at Prime.Turtle and Chief Brody both have excellent and up to date Prime diaries on here, as well. If Prime IS interested in you, that's an honor, and you sure couldn't go wrong, there.

Best always!

~ Anne ~

ps: Wife of a trucker for 20 plus years, hopefully I'll become one myself, soon! (Had my permit 2x, was fun!)

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.

LTL:

Less Than Truckload

Refers to carriers that make a lot of smaller pickups and deliveries for multiple customers as opposed to hauling one big load of freight for one customer. This type of hauling is normally done by companies with terminals scattered throughout the country where freight is sorted before being moved on to its destination.

LTL carriers include:

  • FedEx Freight
  • Con-way
  • YRC Freight
  • UPS
  • Old Dominion
  • Estes
  • Yellow-Roadway
  • ABF Freight
  • R+L Carrier

WIOA:

WIOA - Workforce Innovation & Opportunity Act (aka WIA)

Formerly known as the Workforce Investment Act (WIA), the WIOA was established in 1998 to prepare youth, adults and dislocated workers for entry and reentry into the workforce. WIOA training funds are designed to serve laid-off individuals, older youth and adults who are in need of training to enter or reenter the labor market. A lot of truck drivers get funding for their CDL training through WIOA.

Linehaul:

Linehaul drivers will normally run loads from terminal to terminal for LTL (Less than Truckload) companies.

LTL (Less Than Truckload) carriers will have Linehaul drivers and P&D drivers. The P&D drivers will deliver loads locally from the terminal and pick up loads returning them to the terminal. Linehaul drivers will then run truckloads from terminal to terminal.

Dm:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.
Sid V.'s Comment
member avatar

Hi starlighter,

Just a few things, and these are just my opinions. You may want to consider truck driving after your daughter goes off to school and you can put your full attention on truck driving. There's a sharp learning curve and you wouldn't want to put more stress on yourself wondering when you're going to get home.

I would start by looking around your area for local jobs and seeing if there are any that hire with little experience. Memphis is big hub for freight so there maybe some intermodal companies, but generally local work is a lot harder than driving a truck across country. They usually have very early start times, and heavy physical requirements.

Good luck.

Intermodal:

Transporting freight using two or more transportation modes. An example would be freight that is moved by truck from the shipper's dock to the rail yard, then placed on a train to the next rail yard, and finally returned to a truck for delivery to the receiving customer.

In trucking when you hear someone refer to an intermodal job they're normally talking about hauling shipping containers to and from the shipyards and railyards.

Stevo Reno's Comment
member avatar

Yup Roadmasters ain't cheap lol they have a school here in So Cal, and own Werner's, their terminal , is also at their Cali school, in Fontana, Ca. I was going to start there, but the WIOA here wouldn't pay over $5k.....

Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

WIOA:

WIOA - Workforce Innovation & Opportunity Act (aka WIA)

Formerly known as the Workforce Investment Act (WIA), the WIOA was established in 1998 to prepare youth, adults and dislocated workers for entry and reentry into the workforce. WIOA training funds are designed to serve laid-off individuals, older youth and adults who are in need of training to enter or reenter the labor market. A lot of truck drivers get funding for their CDL training through WIOA.

Dm:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.
NaeNaeInNC's Comment
member avatar

Welcome! I don't want to be discouraging, but you might need to wait until your daughter is no longer a minor. The simple fact is, this job isn't "easy" by any means, and far too many people come into the industry with unreasonable expectations and ideas of how it's going to go. I'm not saying that your needs are unreasonable, but they will make an already rough path even more difficult. Driving isn't just "traveling" like so many people romanticize it. I wish you luck, whichever route you take.

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