Choosing the right truck driving school is a very important decision, and will have an effect on your choice of jobs once you complete training. The first thing to decide, and the most important factor I feel, is do you already have a driving job with a company lined up, or are you going to rely on finding a good driving job after you’ve graduated?
Attending an independent school, one that’s not tied to a particular transportation factoring freight carrier, is an option that many people choose because it gives them the most flexibility in scheduling, financing options, and campus locations. Nearly every major city across the country has at least one local option if someone wants to get a commercial driver’s license. Many of these schools have excellent histories, and credentials, and do provide their students with a combination of classroom and extensive on the road training in a variety of traffic conditions.
The other choice when deciding on the right truck driving school is attending a school that is connected with one of the major freight carriers, and whose students are guaranteed a job with that carrier once they successfully complete their training. These schools are also an excellent source of a professionally run classroom and behind the wheel training, and give the student plenty of opportunities to learn many important lessons.
While the total amount of time needed to complete training can vary from school to school from as short as one week, up to some that are eight weeks, the typical independent school is going to last between four and five weeks. Upon graduation, the student will have a Class A CDL (commercial driver’s license) and can even qualify for additional endorsements such as tanker, doubles/triples, hazmat, and more, but they’re now relying on finding a job with, in most cases, the assistance of the school’s job placement group. Many employers are looking for drivers with at least one year of experience so a job right out of school can prove difficult to find.
Attending a company school usually means a three to four-week training program, which also graduates the student with their Class A CDL, with possible endorsements, but in addition, the student is then assigned a mentor from the company’s fleet. The student drives under the direction of their mentor for anywhere from two to six weeks, meeting a number of training objectives during their time together such as different types of backing maneuvers, and different types of weather conditions experienced. Once the student has completed training with their mentor, they are then assigned a company truck of their own.