Truck driving schools perform one of the most important roles in the transport industry: providing truck drivers and operators of specialized road equipment. It is their role, to make sure that the number of graduates is large enough, to fill in all new truck drivers’ positions that are required by the American road transport business. As the volume of freight moved using vehicular systems grows every year, the task of balancing supply and demand for qualified truck drivers lies with the educational institutions, dedicated to run accredited courses and classes, across the USA.
Basically, every larger town has at least one truck driving school. Many have more than that, with truck driving courses being run by university colleges, private schools and last but not least, by the trucking industry integrated programs. Here is the basic run down of each of these categories:
Privately owned truck driving schools are highly specialized businesses, dedicated to teach truck drivers, and make profit out of it. Consequently, maintaining their reputation is very important, as it means many new enrollees, each of them having great chance to be offered a position, upon the graduation. The range and standard of the training equipment is usually very high. Some of the best trainers and instructors work there. Fees depend on the location and fame of the school. It is possible to have the course’s curriculum individually modified, to suit trainee’s needs.- College-based truck driving school is very popular with recent high school graduates, who through vocational training want to enhance their employment prospects. The fees charged are minimal, as the courses are subsidized by the state’s education department. The overall quality of tuition is good, but often limited by the outdated equipment and training facilities. There is very little room to accommodate individual needs of the students, with regards to timetables and duration of the classes.
Trucking industry integrated schools are usually part of the transport company, who prefers to train their own drivers. This kind of truck driving school is very popular with people who want to obtain new qualifications, and change their existing jobs. Prospective students are virtually guaranteed jobs driving the company’s fleet of semis and other specialized equipment, after they graduate. No tuition fees are charged, but entering the course is conditional on signing by the trainee an undertaking that he or she will work for the course provider for a period of usually two years. Very little flexibility is possible, as the relationship is of the employee-employer kind, right from the start. The training equipment is quite good, and no efforts are spared to train competent truck drivers.
This is the current state of the truck driving schools and affiliated training in the USA. Before committing to any one of them, it pays to do some in-depth research. Finding whether the institution is accredited with the Professional Truck Drivers Institute is the first step. Comparing how one truck driving school compares with others in fees, course’s duration and timetable, is absolutely essential. It’s all about to starting the new exciting career of a truck driver, from the most advantageous position.
Picking The Right Truck Driving School
Staff and instructors of truck schools should be committed to guiding students in the right direction to get their trucking careers on the move. They should make sure that students understand, and are satisfied with the institution‘s history, policies, academics, facilities, housing arrangements, training curriculum, financing and job placement policy before they sign any contracts. Students should be encouraged to ask questions. Truck schools should be able to provide documentation of any claims made in regard to financing and their job placement policy. Administration and management should satisfactorily answer concerned questions candidates may have, and satisfactorily resolve problems or conflicts that may arise. A pleasant recruiter/student relationship should be encouraged.
Truck schools look for serious candidates who have a strong desire to succeed in the transport industry, and determination to excel in their training program. Even though prior knowledge or experience in truck driving is not required, they expect candidates to meet a set of minimum qualifications to be considered for enrollment. Generally these are: • Candidates are required to be at least 18 years old at the time of graduation for local or intrastate driving, or 21 years old for over-the-road or interstate driving. • Generally they must have a high school diploma, a GED, or be judged able to benefit from the program through an interview and written test. • Know the English language according to Department of Transportation standards. • Prospective trainees must be able to pass a DOT physical examination, and a mandatory drug screen. • Quite often a background check will be made for the purposes of job placement requirements. • Students must have a valid driver’s license, usually for at least one year. • A clean driving record will be required, with no DUI convictions within the past three years.
Admission requirements will vary from school to school except for the DOT mandatory requirements. Reputable truck schools will not enroll students if they are not employable. If not living locally, they will be required to transfer their driver’s license over to the state in which the school operates. Enrollees will be expected to pay for that expense. If housing is provided, students are expected to pay for their own meals. They are also expected to provide their own transportation when traveling outside of the school’s facilities.
Truck driving schools committed to meeting the needs of future truck drivers naturally expect commitment from their students as well. Once enrolled, they are expected to satisfactorily complete all classroom assignments, homework, tests and hours of training, and act in a professional manner, and maintain that demeanor among staff and their peers throughout the entire training process. Students are expected to respect truck schools property, and abide by the relevant policies, rules and regulations. They are expected to abide by the school’s safety rules and policies, and contribute to the safety of the school, its environment, staff, other students, vehicles and classroom equipment.
The main purpose of truck schools is to provide students with the necessary amount of training and instruction that will make it possible for them to pass their CDL test, and be job ready by the time they graduate. Truck driving is a serious occupation, and short cuts in training should be unacceptable.
As recommended by the Professional Truck Drivers Institute, trainees should receive and complete at least 148 hours of training of which 104 hours are class time, and 44 hours are driving time.
The first two weeks of training begins with classroom training that includes: – General knowledge – All endorsements – Combinations – Logs / hours of service – Pre-trip – Driver and equipment safety – Brake inspections – Truck and trailer maintenance – Troubleshooting – Repair
Attendees of truck schools are given homework and study assignments to ensure they become fully knowledgeable in those areas. Tests are given and graded to measure their ability to familiarize themselves with, and learn the important tasks they must perform as truck drivers.
The second two weeks ends with equipment training in late model tractor-trailers. Basic control skills and skills maneuvers include: – Coupling and uncoupling – Straight line backing – Alley docking – Parallel parking
All aspects of road training are covered. At the end of this phase, graduates are given the final Department of Motor Vehicle (DMV) equipment test given by an experienced qualified road tester that determines whether they will receive their CDL.