There are many truck driver training opportunities available to potential truck drivers. One major factor in choosing a training program is the cost of the training and your budget. Options include colleges, technical schools, private schools, private instructors, on the job training and others. The cost will vary depending upon which option you choose. Some trucking companies will pay for you to attend a truck driving school if you agree to work for them for a specific amount of time. If you don’t have much money for training and don’t want to be obligated to work for a company for a designated amount of time you might want to consider community colleges and technical schools.
I’m Bill and I would like to share my truck driving training experience with you. I got into trucking when the country was in a deep recession. At that time I was unemployed and jobs were few and far between. I had always worked in typical blue collar jobs but knew absolutely nothing about the trucking industry. Fortunately, a friend who worked in the trucking industry informed me that there were plenty of opportunities available in the trucking industry and all I had to do was to get the necessary training and pass both the licensing exam and a physical exam to enable me to qualify as a driver.
I was living in the Atlanta area so he directed me to one of the technical schools in my area for the training. This school was absolutely wonderful for me and very inexpensive. If cost is a consideration for you I suggest you check out community colleges or county operated technical schools in your area. They are probably the least expensive way to obtain training.
This was the beginning of one of the greatest adventures of my life. The cost of the training was very inexpensive. There were a total of 18 students in the class. The training I received was excellent and very inexpensive. My training lasted 8 weeks. The school had 3 tractors and a very nice driving range. We were divided into groups of small groups for each truck. The first 4 days of the class was spent in the classroom. We were taught an overview of the trucking industry. We learned the rules of the road for commercial trucks. We were also taught that 80,000 pounds was the maximum weight for trucks and trailers. We learned about safety issues and how to properly inspect the trucks. We were also taught that an over the road driver is to spend 30 minutes inspecting the truck each day and to record this time in their logbook. At the time it seemed redundant to me that each student had to do this but this was a necessary part of our training.
We were taught every thing we needed to know to enable us to be successful truck drivers. The next few weeks were spent on the driving range. This is where we actually began the driving part of the class. The driving range was consisted of a parking lot which was roughly the size of two football fields pushed together. There were 3 International Diamond Reo over the road tractors and 48 foot long trailers with sleepers. All of the tractors had dual tandem drive.
The staff consisted of 4 hands on trainers including the dean of the truck driving program. One of the trainers was a female and she was actually our favorite trainer. Our day began with the students being divided into small groups. Each group was assigned to one of the 3 trucks. Each student had to inspect the truck. This consisted of inspecting the left side of the rig, the front, back, the right side and the engine compartment. The underside of the trailer was the last item to be inspected. At the time it seemed redundant to me that each student had to do this but this was a necessary part of our training. We were also taught to “double clutch” gears when driving. That is how we were trained. However, once we were on the road working others drivers taught us to float our gears.
The next step after this inspection was to practice backing parallel parking and simply driving the rigs on the range. We were not allowed to take the trucks off the range for the first 4 weeks. After 4 weeks on the range we were sent in small groups where we along with a trainer were able to actually drive on the highways and expressways in the area. This was the hardest and the most stressful part of the course. The instructor rode shotgun while each student drove. During this time the other students lined the sleeper waiting for their respective turns. I admit that I was very nervous. Imagine how you might feel if 5 people were looking over your shoulder while you were driving. i was as nervous as a cat in a roomful of dogs.
The final part of our training was preparation for the final driving test needed to qualify for our letters to the State Licensing Department. The final test consisted of 4 on the range maneuvers of the rig followed up by a five mile road drive for each student. There was a tiny young lady in our group and she was the first one to pass the final driving test. She took to those rigs like a duck to water. We men were nervous after that after all we certainly didn’t want to be outdone by a female. Fortunately, each of us passed the test. We were absolutely elated. I took my passing letter to the State Licensing Department and was issued my commercial driver’s license. That was a happy day for me and the beginning of my new career. Trucking has been good to me. Perhaps, it may good for you also.
The school also offered two commercial truck driver training programs for those that wanted to drive buses. Students could qualify to drive school buses or commercial passenger buses. I was not personally involved in these courses but the students I talked to said that they were being very well prepared for their future driving jobs..
I am retired now but drove for several years with various companies. I never was involved in an accident or received a speeding ticket. I have fond memories of those days. Trucking was a lifesaver for me and my family.The trucking industry is one where qualified people can get jobs and earn a good income for themselves and their families.