How Many Hours Of OTR Training Do You Get From A School ?

Topic 706 | Page 1

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Jackie H.'s Comment
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I have my learners permit and really am curious how many hours of behind the wheel time students get before they are qualified enough to get their license? Also, I read about going out with a trainer. How long does that last and is that before or after you get your license? Thanks for your input.

Mousemaker's Comment
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Hi Jackie H. The school I just graduated from documented that I got 52 hours of driving practice time. It was actually less than that because of waiting for my turn with other students and rounding up to the hour. That is to give you the basic principles of handling a tractor trailer enough to pass the state license test. If you don't pass the first time, the school should let you come back the next week and practice more and retake the test. Our school did the State test themselves (have to have an instructor who is certified examiner). Then you take your paperwork to DMV and get your learners permit converted to a CDL-A, with endorsements if you have them.

After you have your CDL a company will send you out on the road making deliveries with a trainer. Different companies have different lengths of time with the trainer. Some vary between 4 to 8 weeks, some are until your trainer says you are ready, some are however long it takes to get a certain number of hours actually driving. Then you usually come back and take another test for the company before you are assigned your own truck.

That is what I have learned so far, I hope it helps you.

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.

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.

DMV:

Department of Motor Vehicles, Bureau of Motor Vehicles

The state agency that handles everything related to your driver's licences, including testing, issuance, transfers, and revocation.

Brett Aquila's Comment
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Welcome Jackie!

There is no minimum time behind the wheel that I'm aware of to qualify for your CDL. It's a matter of passing the CDL exams for driving, backing, and pre-trip inspection. If you pass the exams, you get your CDL. The time you'll get behind the wheel at truck driving school will vary quite a bit from school to school.

As far as going on the road with a trainer, that is done after getting your CDL under most circumstances but there are some trucking companies with their own truck driving schools, called Company-Sponsored Training Programs, that will send you on the road with a trainer when you have your permit. You'll spend time a couple of months on the road and then you'll return to your home state to test for your CDL License.

We have an outstanding Trucker's Career Guide that I highly recommend you read from beginning to end. It's packed full of information on every topic imaginable that pertains to getting your trucking career underway.

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.

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.

Wes B.'s Comment
member avatar

Different states have different requirement. Most truck companies will require a training certificate from a licenced truck shool. In South Carolina for example the state requires a program that provides:

"To successfully complete truck driver training, licensed persons eighteen (18) or older must complete a course consisting of a minimum of 50 hours of instruction, 50 hours of field instruction, 16 hours of behind-the-wheel driver training on the highway, and 32 hours of behind-the-wheel observation on the highway. This is calculated on a 3:1 ratio. Of the hours for BTW and observation, if the student has less observation and more BTW, this will be allowable provided the total stills adds to forty-eight (48) hours."

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