So you want to train for a career as a truck driver? There are truck driving schools everywhere. It is only a matter of knowing what’s out there and where so you can make your decision which one to enroll yourself in.
Here are some things to expect if you sign up for truck driving training.
Most schools require that a student be at least 21 years old and has a valid driver’s license. He must also have a clean driving record (no DUIs or reckless driving incidents), no criminal convictions and must demonstrate his ability to pay for his school fees. Some schools require that an applicant pass their qualification test before enrollment.
Some schools offer different levels of training, so whether you are a neophyte with no prior experience in truck driving, or a professional looking for a refresher course, there is a module that will meet your needs.
Methods of teaching and training may vary slightly, but because driving is a universal skill, there are standards that schools follow like a set number of hours for classroom and supervised driving.
Course and Fees
A training course can last anywhere from three weeks to more than two months and can sometimes require you to shell out a down payment of at least $500 for a course that could cost from $2500 to more than $4500. Full-time class hours last about 8-9 hours. You can expect about 40 hours classroom instruction and about 120 or more hours of on-the-road training.
A student will incur additional costs like drug screening fees and lodging, if the school is out of state.
There are options available to help finance tuition. Some schools offer loans to qualified applicants. Some companies who will either sponsor or reimburse a student’s tuition so long as you work for them after training completion.
Financing is also available through public funds that support government programs assistance for job training like Vocational Rehabilitation (VocRehab), Veterans Administration (VA), Trade Adjustment Assistance (TRA/TAA) and the Workforce Investment Act (WIA). You need to qualify for these, so be sure to inquire.
Classroom instruction will include trip planning and map reading. Driving techniques in different weather conditions and locations will also be taught, along with proper vehicle inspection and preventive maintenance, defensive driving techniques and accident procedures.
Range and on-the-road training will include parking, docking, backing (on a straight line, at 45, 90 and serpentine). Driving on different lanes and locations (two-lane, four-lane, rural, mountain, interstate, urban and mountain driving) will also be part of the training.
A school must have experienced instructors who are qualified to teach. A school with a low instructor-student ratio is a good choice because during on-the-road trainings, you will have more chances of getting behind the wheel of a training equipment for supervised driving.
Most reputable schools will have late model equipment for you to practice on. On-the-road training will require supervised coaching from your instructor. At least 140 hours would be an ideal amount of time to spend behind the wheel.
According to a trucking industry data, newly-trained truck drivers’ salaries range from $37,000 to more than $40,000 a year while an experienced driver earns over $50,000 a year. Truck driving is a very marketable skill and should be learned carefully and completely. There are hundreds of thousands of truck drivers out there handling large equipment. Imagine if a fifth of those were not trained sufficiently and are out there on the road almost everyday. Safety should be a primary concern both for you and your instructors.