Military Veteran Options?

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Ken P.'s Comment
member avatar

I recently completed a 9 year stint in the Army as a Combat Medic. After looking through 100's of job listings over the past few months, I slowly began to realize the transition wouldn't be as seamless as I first suspected. All the job boards had one thing in common. Lots and lots of listings for CDLs. I'm trying to find out the best option for my family. I've looked at a few different companies that will pay for me to get my CDL; however, due to my current financial situation, I am trying to find one that doesn't require me to come out of pocket to start with. Does anyone know of any or if there are companies out there that have options for Veterans? Thank you in advance for your replies.

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.
mountain girl's Comment
member avatar
Best Answer!

Ken, welcome to Trucking Truth.

I'm a veteran and got a grant as a veteran through my state Workforce and WIA program. Hold on to that DD214 for the rest of your life, Baybay. I've been out of the military for quite some time but that little piece of paper goes a long way. I don't know what state you're from but depending on the funding, you might be able to find the same kind of thing. It tool a few months for the whole thing to go through. I started the process in January and started my 4-week CDL school in mid-May, to give you an example. My case-worker caused a few weeks' delay, so I might have started a month earlier, had she not. It's all good now though, but expect a delay when they estimate how much time it will take to get approved.

Your state should have a website for your Workforce. Colorado has special funding for vets because the communities that are booming from the oil fields here, have enough revenue to offer veterans full tuition assistance to support their growing industry. Here, the funding was available according to county and it cycled. In January, some counties had funding but then by April some were out of funds until July. I did not bother going to the veterans' links (although you can, if you want). I just went straight through their WIA program and they were able to help me just fine. My CDL school cost approximately $4,500 which included the cost of the DOT physical, the drug test, tuition, as well as the TSA background check required for a hazmat endorsement, and my CDL license. Because these extra expenses were included in tuition, the state paid for the whole thing in one check directly to the school and then when I needed to go to my physical or TSA, the school cut me checks written directly to those organizations.

Hopefully, this gives you some ideas and starting points...

In the meantime, study the High Road Training Program while you are preparing for school.

Don't be intimidated or thrown off at all by the requirements of the pre-trip inspection. It's easier than a Medical or Trauma Assessment Skills sheet. All you have to do is memorize the inspection, just like you did for your medic skills tests.

Also, as an NREMT myself, I've seen a few military medic vets working in both ambulances and emergency departments, so check those out, both private ambulance companies and fire departments. You should have plenty of experience to satisfy their curriculum vitae requirements and you'd have a lot to offer these organizations. However, I certainly understand what it's like to have to hunt for jobs in an industry that doesn't have many openings - which explains exactly why I'm now a trucker. Having said that, you should also keep all your medic licenses current, forever, as Paramedic would be hell for you to re-do, (nearly $10,000 for both EMT and then Paramedic, combined) if you let those lapse. So don't. You worked hard for them.

Also, check out a website and company called Amphibious Medic. You can pick up part-time work with them whenever there's a temporary need, like to be on call for a construction site or to be present and working at a local marathon or mudd run. You just fill out the app and then check off local events for which you'd like to make yourself available. I know for a fact that the company was started by veterans.

Good Luck, Man!

-mountain girl

Pre-trip Inspection:

A pre-trip inspection is a thorough inspection of the truck completed before driving for the first time each day.

Federal and state laws require that drivers inspect their vehicles. Federal and state inspectors also may inspect your vehicles. If they judge a vehicle to be unsafe, they will put it “out of service” until it is repaired.

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

DOT:

Department Of Transportation

A department of the federal executive branch responsible for the national highways and for railroad and airline safety. It also manages Amtrak, the national railroad system, and the Coast Guard.

State and Federal DOT Officers are responsible for commercial vehicle enforcement. "The truck police" you could call them.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Old School's Comment
member avatar
Great Answer!

Ken, don't ignore Company-Sponsored Training programs. You don't even need your GI benefits to get started if you go that route. Follow that link and you can find a lot of information on companies that will pay for your training and pay you while you are training.

Thanks so much for your service, we all appreciate it, and feel free to jump in here anytime you come up with a question. The only dumb questions are the ones that don't get asked.

See Also: Trucking Companies, GI Bill, And Military Veterans

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.

Ken P.'s Comment
member avatar
Great Answer!

Ken P.

How come you didn't do the full 20? You would have gotten a pension and medical benefits for life. To me, that is like winning the lottery in today's economy. I always look at the servicemen who do their full 20 and I sometimes feel envy. Can you imagine collecting $25,000 per year and not have to worry about healthcare ever again especially the young ones who retire at age 38. My gosh.

If I only knew then when I know now. Of course, the military is not an easy life with constant deployments, uprooting a family, taking **** from fellow officers, and the grind of the job. I've always been interested in soldiers who get out of the military before 20 years and those who stay the full 20 to get the pot of gold at the end. Are they a different breed?

I had origionally planned to stay the full 20 years, but things happened along the way that changed things. During my deployment, I had a few issues.... hell, I struggled with some of the events we went through and although everyone handles it differently, certain things changed me and not for the better. I almost ruined my marriage, I was angry all the time, which alienated my kids. Well...it took me to a bad place in my head. I got the help I needed and repaired my family life...repaired me. At the risk of sounding weak, the human mind is a fragile thing and each person has thier breaking point. I didn't reach mine but it was too close for comfort. All the money and benefits in the world aren't worth the paper thier printed on if your spirit is broken and you're all alone. I did what I thought was best for my family. I have no regrets although I do miss the comradery; however, I agree that those who can go the full distance and still be who they want to be, they certainly have earned my respect.

On a different note, I'm trying to find which company will be the best fit for me. My biggest selling points, I want a solid health care plan (have a son with type 1 diabetes), and I want to be able to see my family at least every couple weeks. I don't mind sucking it up for a year or two (can't spell success without suck) but want to find a company that is fdairly local so I can be a husband and a father on more that a part-time basis. I'm in central Missouri. Ideas?

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

Ken, Welcome to the site and thanks for your service. There are plenty of Vets on here, more everyday that can give you some help. Everyone on this ssite runs on different times but will chime in at some point, so please don't think we are avoiding you or your question.

MRC's Comment
member avatar

If you jump up to the header and click on truck schools you'll get quite a bit of info, this whole site is built to be user friendly.

Ken P.'s Comment
member avatar

I appreciate the support. No worries, I'm not discouraged that easily. I've driven everything from a HUMVEE to a 5-ton, but they were all automatic. Looking forward to learning a new trade, though I'm a little apprehensive about getting the hang of the shifting.

TxsGent's Comment
member avatar

Do you have VA benefits?

Ken P.'s Comment
member avatar

That's kind of a vague question. I recieved an honorable discharge and am therefore entitled to any VA benefits as any other vet who recieved an honorable. I just received a call from a friend who told me about 'Troops into Transportation'. Apparently they use my GI Bill towards the tuition of the school and then ensure I have a position with the company of my choosing upon getting licensed. I'm looking into that. I just want to do my homework before I jump into anything.

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.

mountain girl's Comment
member avatar
Best Answer!

Ken, welcome to Trucking Truth.

I'm a veteran and got a grant as a veteran through my state Workforce and WIA program. Hold on to that DD214 for the rest of your life, Baybay. I've been out of the military for quite some time but that little piece of paper goes a long way. I don't know what state you're from but depending on the funding, you might be able to find the same kind of thing. It tool a few months for the whole thing to go through. I started the process in January and started my 4-week CDL school in mid-May, to give you an example. My case-worker caused a few weeks' delay, so I might have started a month earlier, had she not. It's all good now though, but expect a delay when they estimate how much time it will take to get approved.

Your state should have a website for your Workforce. Colorado has special funding for vets because the communities that are booming from the oil fields here, have enough revenue to offer veterans full tuition assistance to support their growing industry. Here, the funding was available according to county and it cycled. In January, some counties had funding but then by April some were out of funds until July. I did not bother going to the veterans' links (although you can, if you want). I just went straight through their WIA program and they were able to help me just fine. My CDL school cost approximately $4,500 which included the cost of the DOT physical, the drug test, tuition, as well as the TSA background check required for a hazmat endorsement, and my CDL license. Because these extra expenses were included in tuition, the state paid for the whole thing in one check directly to the school and then when I needed to go to my physical or TSA, the school cut me checks written directly to those organizations.

Hopefully, this gives you some ideas and starting points...

In the meantime, study the High Road Training Program while you are preparing for school.

Don't be intimidated or thrown off at all by the requirements of the pre-trip inspection. It's easier than a Medical or Trauma Assessment Skills sheet. All you have to do is memorize the inspection, just like you did for your medic skills tests.

Also, as an NREMT myself, I've seen a few military medic vets working in both ambulances and emergency departments, so check those out, both private ambulance companies and fire departments. You should have plenty of experience to satisfy their curriculum vitae requirements and you'd have a lot to offer these organizations. However, I certainly understand what it's like to have to hunt for jobs in an industry that doesn't have many openings - which explains exactly why I'm now a trucker. Having said that, you should also keep all your medic licenses current, forever, as Paramedic would be hell for you to re-do, (nearly $10,000 for both EMT and then Paramedic, combined) if you let those lapse. So don't. You worked hard for them.

Also, check out a website and company called Amphibious Medic. You can pick up part-time work with them whenever there's a temporary need, like to be on call for a construction site or to be present and working at a local marathon or mudd run. You just fill out the app and then check off local events for which you'd like to make yourself available. I know for a fact that the company was started by veterans.

Good Luck, Man!

-mountain girl

Pre-trip Inspection:

A pre-trip inspection is a thorough inspection of the truck completed before driving for the first time each day.

Federal and state laws require that drivers inspect their vehicles. Federal and state inspectors also may inspect your vehicles. If they judge a vehicle to be unsafe, they will put it “out of service” until it is repaired.

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

DOT:

Department Of Transportation

A department of the federal executive branch responsible for the national highways and for railroad and airline safety. It also manages Amtrak, the national railroad system, and the Coast Guard.

State and Federal DOT Officers are responsible for commercial vehicle enforcement. "The truck police" you could call them.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Chris D.'s Comment
member avatar

Thanks for your service Ken! You will find something. As for shifting you will get the hang of it after a couple days.good-luck.gif

Ken P.'s Comment
member avatar

I'm actually working part-time at a hospital now as Patient Advocate, but I don't see a real stable future in it and the medical field is already too competitive for not much income. I had though about a career as a S.W.A.T. medic since I trained with them and recieved my EMT-Tactical certification, but to be honest, I kind of got burnt out in the medical field. As far as waiting on funding, I already got my GI benefits approved and was about to begin classes for my Bachelors in Environmental Science as there are a lot of positions in the mid-west for conservationalists, park rangers, geo-techs etc... So a grant won't be necessary as I've been approved for 100% tuition. As far as my DD214, I have several copies on both paper and different .pdf files in separate hard drives. I lost my DD214 from the Air Force and remember how hard it was to obtain that. I wasn't about to make that mistake again. I appreciate everyone's support and correspondance and I'll definitely be looking into some of your suggestions.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

Welcome!

Me and hubby got burnt out on medical field too.

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