Preparing For CDL Tests On My Own, Please Advise.....

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Joe H.'s Comment
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Got my CDL license 10 years ago, but last year lost it when I renewed my driver's license. Had not used my CDL for about 7 years. Now since I had almost 2 years of driving experience in 2003-2005, I will prepare for the exams on my own again, get the learner's permit, rent a truck and trailer, and pay the examiner's fee for the pre-trip, driving, and backing exams. I don't want a pay for the school again, and trucking company schools are balking to hire me and retrain in school, so I'm just gonna do it on my own, get the CDL and get a job. At least that's the plan..... The only problem I see is how to get experience driving over the road before I take the pre trip, driving and backing tests.... Thought to visit some truck stops nearby and ask around for someone who might take me on for a while... not permanent, just enough to gain confidence before the tests. You know, let me drive some and so on, at least let me practice doing the pre-trip with their rig. I will have the learner's permit by then so its legal with someone who has the CDL in the passenger seat, right? Please advise. Appreciate it. Thanks.

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.

Over The Road:

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

Joe, welcome aboard! I'm a little surprised that company schools are balking at hiring you. Are there some other issues going on that you didn't mention? It's okay if you don't want to divulge something, but usually the company schools are eager to take any and all on-comers if they can meet the basic criteria.

Let me just warn you, and maybe save you a little trouble down the road. Just having a CDL will not make you a likely candidate for a driving position. You absolutely will need to have recent verifiable experience or a certificate from an approved driving school in order for most companies to hire you. That's just the business climate of the day. The insurance companies are controlling what type of job candidates can get hired. So, I suggest you keep looking into company sponsored training until you can find one that fits for you. Check out this link: Company-Sponsored Training and see if there's anything helpful in it for you.

Hope we can help you get started in your chosen path. 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.

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.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

Welcome aboard Joe!

Old School nailed it - "Just having a CDL will not make you a likely candidate for a driving position". That's totally true.

Trucking is the only industry I've ever come across that treats you like you've never done the job in your life if you've been away from it for a while. I had a friend who got a degree in finance but never once had a job in her field. 17 years after getting her degree and never using it she walked into the corporate center of a major bank and landed a great job. In trucking, you stay out of the truck for a year and they approach you the same way they would someone off the street.

I think you're going to make things very, very difficult by trying to avoid going through some sort of schooling. As you are starting to see already, getting your CDL back on your own is going to be a huge pain - renting trucks, finding a licensed driver to work with you, and all sorts of other problems. And unfortunately, in the end most companies won't be interested in hiring you because they pretty much consider you a brand new driver because you have no recent experience nor any recent training. It sounds stupid - trust me, I know. You and I both know you could jump in that truck and within 15 minutes you'd be driving it like you never left in the first place. But somehow the people that make hiring decisions don't see it that way.

There are two basic paths I would suggest you look into. The first you already mentioned - Company-Sponsored Training Programs. Those companies all have their own training program and like Old School mentioned they're usually quite eager to work with just about anyone. I don't know how many of them you've contacted, and I don't know if you have any background issues or you're saying something that's throwing them off - but you should definitely be getting some interest from several of those companies.

The other thing you can do is apply at trucking companies you're interested in and and ask them what they would require from you as far as a refresher course. A lot of companies will take you on if you'll take maybe a 40 hour refresher course at a local Truck Driving School. Every company has their own policies and schools they'll accept students from so you'll have to speak with each of them individually to get the specifics.

But nowadays it's not as simple as getting your CDL and jumping in a truck - even with the experience you have. Companies have more specific guidelines for training and recent experience. I think trying to circumvent the systems they have in place is going to take 10 times longer and be 10 times more difficult than simply going along with what they say and getting some training.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Joe H.'s Comment
member avatar

Ok thanks for the advice. Swift let me go because I had too many little things like going acroos the corner of a customer's lawn or backing into a customer's yard fence, trailer broke a branch off a tree and I got cited for that too. But I never had any moving violations or accidents whatsoever. But after Swift, I bounced around between 4 companies. Then was out of it for about 6 years like I said. Central Refrigeration said no to their training school, Prime was hopeful, but is not contacting me after 2 or more weeks, and Swift said no to rehire for their school ever after their 5 year exemption passed. England school's terms are no good, so anyway I see what you're all saying about just having a CDL is not enough. Can you suggest any other schools?

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.

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.

Old School's Comment
member avatar

Sometimes these recruiters get busy and your stuff gets buried. If you haven't contacted Prime again I would definitely try it. There are times that the squeaky wheel gets the grease. Don't be afraid to call them and ask them about the status of your application. I dealt with some recruiters who never called me back - I always initiated the contacts and that's how I got things moving. If you don't hear back from them in about two days then I would give them a call and get their pile stirred a little. If they sounded hopeful at one time then you've got a shot at it, but your persistence may be your best friend in this job search.good-luck.gif

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar
Can you suggest any other schools?

As far as company-sponsored training , all of the companies we know of that have schools are listed here:

Company-Sponsored Training

The only exception is Celadon. They just started up a brand new school and I don't have their information up yet.

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.

Joe H.'s Comment
member avatar

Ok thank you for the tip on Celadon, and I'm back on track with Prime now too, looking at Roehl.

BuckeyeCowboy's Comment
member avatar

From what I understand from talking with Celadon their school is free. Never have to pay anything back as long as you drive foer them for a bit of time. Not sure of length. Had a bunch of friends try C1 in Indianapolis, but have schools in other areas. They mainly train you for PAM or USA Truck.

Joe H.'s Comment
member avatar

Old School, Bret and Buckeye Cowboy! Thank you for your encouragement and advice. You're right, "persistence is my best friend" huh. I was approved by Prime last week and passed my learner's permit last Saturday. Going to start in July after I move from where I'm living now. My question now is Prime offers refrigerated, flatbed and tanker options... I heard flatbed is slow in January-February but pays a little more per mile. I'm ok with refrigerated, but tanker and flatbed sound more interesting. My recruiter says I will get in a refrigerated training truck faster than the others. Can you advise me on the pluses and minuses of the 3 options and how to choose?

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.

Old School's Comment
member avatar

Joe, I drive a flat bed truck and I love it. My company keeps me running and I make a good living. There is a lot of extra work in flat bedding. You are responsible for making sure your load is secured and sometimes your putting heavy tarps on loads that need to be protected from the elements. You've got to enjoy the extra physical exertion or it will wear you down in a hurry - it's not for everyone - I know some really great drivers who can't stand flat bed work.

Remember that a truck driver gets paid for turning miles. All driving jobs have things about them that cause delays and times of waiting before you can get moving. In flat bedding you've got the time that you spend securing your load, in refrigerated you're waiting to get loaded and unloaded at large warehouses, or you may be waiting to have your trailer washed out, with tankers you've got the time that your pumping out your load or pumping in a new load, plus you'll have to get it washed out after each load if your pulling a food grade tank. They each have their advantages and disadvantages, but I think for a new driver the best opportunity for getting some good miles is in the refrigerated divisions. They tend to have longer runs available to them. That's just my opinion, I hope some others will put in their ideas also.

Do some research of your own and consider what kind of work your more likely to be happy with. Take a look at the articles available to you in How To Choose A Truck Driving Job and see if that doesn't give you some direction. There is always going to be the hurry up and wait experience in truck driving it's just inevitable. In fact the whole reason I had time to respond to your request today is because I've been sitting in New Orleans for two days waiting on a crane to get to a job site to unload some equipment I've got on my truck. I've tried to make the best of it though, after all there are a lot of people who spend good money to stay in New Orleans for a few days.

I'm really glad to hear things are working out for you as you try to get into the industry. Keep us posted on how things are going for you, and if there's anything we can do to help just ask.

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.

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