Not Sure What To Do. I Want To Get Into Trucking, But Am Not Sure On The Best Way To Do So.

Topic 8249 | Page 1

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Jason M.'s Comment
member avatar

I may or may not go to a private CDL training school. The problem is, how hard is it to find work with a reputable company that keeps miles up (average of 2,500 or so) and has decent pay. I read some really bad things about company sponsored training programs (especially PRIME, which is currently interested in sending me to train with them) where people end up getting stranded at the location of training because suddenly they aren't able to be employed for some reason or another (a few were medication related, but were told it wasn't a problem and then it suddenly was...I'm on medications so I do not want this same problem). I just don't know if I should risk going to a company sponsored program (and at a minimum a few states away from my home in CA) or if I should get my CDL on my own then apply to places.

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.

EPU:

Electric Auxiliary Power Units

Electric APUs have started gaining acceptance. These electric APUs use battery packs instead of the diesel engine on traditional APUs as a source of power. The APU's battery pack is charged when the truck is in motion. When the truck is idle, the stored energy in the battery pack is then used to power an air conditioner, heater, and other devices

Robert B. (The Dragon) ye's Comment
member avatar

I may or may not go to a private CDL training school. The problem is, how hard is it to find work with a reputable company that keeps miles up (average of 2,500 or so) and has decent pay. I read some really bad things about company sponsored training programs (especially PRIME, which is currently interested in sending me to train with them) where people end up getting stranded at the location of training because suddenly they aren't able to be employed for some reason or another (a few were medication related, but were told it wasn't a problem and then it suddenly was...I'm on medications so I do not want this same problem). I just don't know if I should risk going to a company sponsored program (and at a minimum a few states away from my home in CA) or if I should get my CDL on my own then apply to places.

First off, take all that negative you're reading with a grain of salt. Prime is a great company as are many others but people find it so easy to complain online that it isn't funny.

Definitely go through a private school or company sponsored program vs doing it on your own and here's why. Companies know you're new and they need to see that you've at least completed a recognized course that gives you minimal experience. They will have their own training that you'll have to go through and all companies vary in their program but knowing that a Newby coming in has had exposure to backing, some time on the road and guidance beforehand gives them more confidence than someone who can take a written test and maybe squeak through the driver skills test. Plus, completing a program shows that you have some skin in the game and dedication to the decision, always an important facet of the equation.

Good luck, read up the info here, these folks WILL NOT steer you wrong. Brett designed this site as honest information and a set of tools for success in this industry. The follow through is up to 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.

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

EPU:

Electric Auxiliary Power Units

Electric APUs have started gaining acceptance. These electric APUs use battery packs instead of the diesel engine on traditional APUs as a source of power. The APU's battery pack is charged when the truck is in motion. When the truck is idle, the stored energy in the battery pack is then used to power an air conditioner, heater, and other devices

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar

You should completely ignore the gripes and grumbles you'll find in other forums about pretty much everything, especially the quality (or lack thereof) of trucking companies.

Generally speaking, if you have to money to afford a private truck driving school you'll be a little better off than a Company-Sponsored Training Program.

For one, at a private school the pace is a little bit slower and you'll be shown a little more patience when it comes to the speed you're learning at.

Also, company-sponsored programs are a little more like a tryout to make the team than they are a pure school. They'll bring in a lot of people knowing that most of them won't make the team. Everyone has an equal opportunity, but most people find a way to screw it up for themselves by either failing the physical or drug test, lying on their application, or even having a poor attitude toward the learning process.

Then of course you'll have a choice of companies after graduating from a private school, assuming your background record is solid.

But ultimately both ways of getting training work out great in the end. It's mostly just a matter of what you can afford.

Go through our Truck Driver's Career Guide from beginning to end and follow all of the links you come across. It covers the different types of schools thoroughly and will help you understand the differences.

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Tim F.'s Comment
member avatar

Hey Jason...I attended Roehls Driving school. I did so because I could not afford a private cdl school. Its a 3 week school so as Brett indicated you really need to learn quickly. The nice thing about Roehl is theylimit the class size. You should get plenty of seat time. They teach you everything you need to know to BECOME a safe driver and pass your CDL licensing exam.

I am now driving for Roehl and quite happy. As payment for the school I need to drive 120,000 miles...which is about 1 year.

I would simply say to check them out as part of your process.

Good luck in your search!!

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.
Jason B.'s Comment
member avatar

What problems with medications? I was under the understanding that as long as you have a prescription and a doctor signs that it doesn't effect your driving and isn't under the dot list that you are ok? I am currently taking humira and strattera I hope that neither will be a problem but as far as my understanding it shouldn't be at all as I have a prescription and it isn't under the dot no no list.

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.

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar

What problems with medications? I was under the understanding that as long as you have a prescription and a doctor signs that it doesn't effect your driving and isn't under the dot list that you are ok? I am currently taking humira and strattera I hope that neither will be a problem but as far as my understanding it shouldn't be at all as I have a prescription and it isn't under the dot no no list.

Either speak with your doctor about it or speak with a doctor that gives DOT physicals. They'll be able to tell you if your prescriptions will be acceptable for commercial driving.

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.

Ken C.'s Comment
member avatar

What problems with medications? I was under the understanding that as long as you have a prescription and a doctor signs that it doesn't effect your driving and isn't under the dot list that you are ok? I am currently taking humira and strattera I hope that neither will be a problem but as far as my understanding it shouldn't be at all as I have a prescription and it isn't under the dot no no list.

I went through Prime's Training and am enjoying my life as a Over the Road Truck and HIGHLY recommend going with a Company-Sponsored Training program. Too many success stories against a few failures but any Med's that are stimulative or have any kind of sleep possible side effects are a NO NO....! Call and ask the Recruiter, your Dr and Local DMV Enforcement Office what is and isn't accepted for Commercial Drivers.

Ken C

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.

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.

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.

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.

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