Choosing the Right Truck Driving School For You

In these days when vocational schools are mushrooming online and offline, it is vital to know how to choose the right one that can give you the appropriate knowledge and training you need. The same is true if you’re searching for a good truck driving school.

Truck drivers who wish to become properly licensed for commercial truck driving work are required to undergo the right training today. Before they can be hired by companies, one important qualification they need to have is a commercial driver’s license. This is gained through the CDL training at a truck driving school.

Basically, there are three types of truck driving schools. These are the private, public and the motor carrier. Private schools are normally certified but charge a high fee. A motor carrier, on the other hand, offers a two to three-week course with additional practice for a few more weeks.

The first step you can take when looking for a good school is to list down the truck driving schools in the area where you live. From your list, look for a program certified by a Professional Truck Driver School. Contact the schools by phone or email and find out what certifications they possess. Not all schools, however, may have the PTDI certification so this is an important consideration you need to keep in mind.

The next step is to check the course syllabus for the CDL course of the truck driving school. Ideally, students under this program should be taught the theories and be provided with practical experience in handling a truck, how to check its vital components for possible problems and how to fix them.

It would be a good idea to personally visit the institution so you can have the opportunity to consult with the administrators and teachers. While there, you may also want to review available school catalogs and talk with the past students to find out how their training went.

Visiting the school should also give you the chance to see what facilities are available and find out if the equipment in place, including the vehicle itself, are modern and not the old ones. An institution that utilizes newer truck models shows itself as being dedicated to providing quality education to its students. In other words, it is committed to make its students competitive in the truck driving industry after completion of their course.

Be wary of schools that offer quick training such as for only two weeks. Many truck drivers easily get attracted to this advertisement particularly those eager to start their career but always check the schools’ credentials first.

It cannot be denied that while there are reputable truck driving institutions, there are also others that are in place but only purely for business. They promote themselves as quality schools when in fact, they offer poor quality training that costs thousands of dollars.

There are some truck driving schools that offer placement services for the newly graduates. This can be another consideration if you will although not really necessary because the increasing job openings in the truck driving position these days.

Truck Driving Regulations You Need To Be Aware Of

Every driver should adhere to traffic rules and regulations all the time. Failure to do so will mean getting a ticket or a heavier penalty.

Truck drivers, on the other hand, have to follow certain regulations. This is because they’re driving a big vehicle which poses more danger to motorists.

These traffic laws are taught at truck driving schools that offer CDL training. The training course is a basic requirement for people wishing to become professional truck drivers. Completion of the course earns you a certificate that qualifies you to apply for truck driving positions offered by companies engaged in the transport of goods.

In the U.S., the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) issues all the traffic rules concerning safety of interstate commercial driving. This agency is under the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) which covers industries that involve all kinds of transportation from airlines, shipping, trucking to railroads. Another department that handles other road matters is the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA).

When it comes to trucks, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) oversee the road safety of these large vehicles. The NHTSA is responsible for setting standards for new truck equipment and may also cover equipment standard for trucks traveling on highways.

The FMCSA, on the other hand, covers commercial vehicles that travel from one state to another. It handles issues pertaining to equipment, licensing, vehicle inspection and maintenance as well as hours of service.

People aged at least 18 years old are allowed to drive trucks but only within their specific state. Those allowed to drive large vehicles across various states should be at least 21 years old or older.

Hours of service. The FMCSA strictly enforces the rules for hours of service or work hour limits. Under this rule, commercial truck drivers traveling interstate are allowed only to drive 11 hours after which they need to have a 10-hour break. Drivers are also limited to 60 work hours in one week or 70 hours in eight consecutive days.

Long haul truckers are required to bring a logbook wherein they can record their work hours while drivers traveling short distances do not need to bring this.

Alcohol drinking. Although this is not much of a problem for those handling huge vehicles, drinking alcohol is a big no for truck drivers. There are stiff penalties when you are caught to be under the influence of alcohol while driving and could face a lawsuit in the event you get involved in an accident due to alcohol drinking.

Government regulations require carriers to conduct an alcohol and drug test on specific occasions. All carriers are required to conduct a drug contest to commercial drivers applying for their company before hiring them, after crashes take place and on random basis. Alcohol tests, meanwhile, are required after crashes occur and also on random basis.

Radar detectors. This device has long been banned in commercial vehicles that travel across states. The radar detector was found not be very useful as it was only meant to avoid the enforcement of a speed limit.

Accredited Truck Driving Schools

Do you need truck driving school to be a truck driver? YES!

It takes skill and training to become a safe and effective commercial truck driver. In order to work for trucking companies throughout the United States you will need your CDL (commercial drivers license) and complete trucking company requirements.

So where do you start? The fastest way to become a commercial truck driver is to attend an accredited truck driving school. Professional truck drivers will teach you how to drive the big rigs, buses, tractor trailers and more.

Average Truck Driving School Cost – the cost to attend truck driving schools varies widely by state. The range of accredited truck driving school ranges anywhere from $1500 to $20,000, however, the average is around $4500.

You may qualify for financial aid via student loans to help pay for trucking school. If you are a pre-approved truck driving student, some schools offer to reimburse your tuition 100% if you meet hiring qualifications.

Trucking School on your schedule – most schools offer truck driving courses during the day, evenings and weekends. You can earn your CDL in as little as 4 weeks or graduate as a professional truck driver in approximately 6 months.

Here are the base truck driving school programs currently available from accredited schools:

Professional Truck Driver Program

Approximately 730 Clock Hours, Length of Class 6 months (2 months on-site driver training and 2 months on-the-job training).

CDL Training Program –

Approximately 160 Clock Hours and classes last for 4 weeks

CDL Driver Training Program

Approximately 80 Clock Hours, 2-weeks of day classes and 4 weeks if you choose night classes.

Here are the basics for truck driving school applicants – be sure to review and make sure you qualify before you apply:

  • Must have high school diploma, GED or pass approved ability-to-benefit test.
  • Must be 18 years old by the time trucking program is completed for intrastate license.
  • Must be 21 years old by the time trucking program completed for all interstate licenses.
  • Must be licensed to drive in state you receive your training in order to receive your state’s CDL.
  • Must meet Department of Transportation physical requirements for drivers commercial qualifications.
  • Must pass a drug test.
  • Must be able to speak and read English well enough to converse with the general public, understand road signs and signals, make reports and record entries to truck journals etc.
  • Must have 1 year standard drivers license experience from your state or country.
  • All qualifications need to be met for the FMCSR or Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations.
  • Must have a valid U.S.A. Social Security Card

Professionally trained commercial truck drivers are always in demand. Top truck driver schools will often offer life-time job placement to their graduates!

Commercial Truck Financing – Bad Credit

If you are a trucking business owner you’ll want to save as much as possible and extend the life of your most important business investment, your truck. When you look at today’s current advertisements you will come across a lot of bait and switch advertisers. Well-known services like Kelley Blue Book and Edmunds report the true values of new and used cars and trucks. Driving a commercial truck is one of the most lucrative careers in today’s market.

If you compare how much money a former college student will make a few years out of college and how much a truck driver makes after only a few weaks out of school, you will see just how much money you can actually make. Trucking is not just a career, it is a lifestyle. You can become very succesfull driving a truck if you follow all the rules of the trucking indutry. If you want to earn a living driving, than leasing is a great option. Your vehicle is essentially your most important tool for your business. 

Many of the steps to buy a used commercial truck are the same for selling any other vehicle. Consider leasing a used vehicle instead of a new one. Rising fuel prices and the poor economy in the last few years, resulted in a glut in sales, which for you, means very good prices for buying used trucks. On the other hand, if you buy new, the depreciation will be higher due to the soft used truck market.

Commercial truck driving is certainly a booming career and for everyone out there who is thinking about getting on the road, there is good news for you. Even in this economy you can make a killing driving. You also get to know all the rules and regulations that exist in the trucking world. You can even get truck-driving lessons at colleges and universities as a vocational training subject. Obtaining a handsomely paying job, that too, in trucking industry, isn’t all that difficult. Becoming a professional driver can most certainly be a promising career change for you. For those looking for a new career opportunity, there could not be a better time to start a rewarding job in the truck driving industry.