There are plenty of reasons to pursue commercial truck driving as a profession. Driving jobs offer competitive pay, job security, comprehensive benefits, independent work, and a rewarding experience. But before you get behind the wheel for work, you have to go to trucker training school to learn the rules of the road and how to operate large commercial vehicles so you can earn your commercial driver’s license (CDL). To give you a better idea of what it takes to become a professional driver, Commercial Truck Trader is sharing more on what it’s like to go to trucker training school.
What to Expect at Trucker Training School
You can expect to be in training school anywhere from a few weeks to a few months, though new drivers usually need to complete at least 180 hours of training. There will be classroom instruction with a written test, as well as driving tests. When you complete school, you’ll receive either a certificate or diploma and your CDL. Some driving schools offer onsite or nearby living accommodations for students, such as apartments, dormitories, or lodging at hotels/motels. Temporary housing is sometimes reserved only for students that may have to commute to school from far distances.
Commercial Driver’s License
The CDL you earn depends on what type of truck you plan to drive, its weight, and towing weight. There are three different classes of CDLs, here’s a quick overview:
- Class A: This class allows drivers to operate a combination of commerce vehicles. They must have a Gross Combination Weight Rating (GCWR) of 26,001 pounds or more, provided the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of the trailer is more than 10,000 pounds. Vehicle examples include tractor trailers and trailer buses.
- Class B: This class allows drivers to operate a single commerce vehicle. There must be a GCWR of 26,001 pounds or more, and if towing a vehicle, the GVWR of the towed unit must be 10,000 pounds or less. Vehicle examples include box trucks, garbage trucks, dump trucks, cement trucks, and buses.
- Class C: This class allows drivers to operate single vehicles of 26,000 pounds or less that are designed to transport 16 or more passengers, such as passenger vans, or designed to transport hazardous materials.
Choosing the Right Trucker Training School
There are a few things to consider before you make your decision where to attend trucker training school. To compare schools, look at what they have to offer, how much they cost, their location, duration of their courses, resources they have for students, and their reputation. Try to find schools with smaller class sizes and reputable instructors. You should also consider your financial aid options and if you qualify for any veteran/military benefits or scholarships.
What’s Covered in the Classroom
The classroom will go over the essentials, including laws, rules, regulations, and safety involved with driving. You’ll also be introduced to the regulations involved with the commercial driving profession. Here’s a list of some of the areas you’ll cover.
- Correct lane to drive in
- Maintaining a proper distance
- Road hazards
- Accidents and safety
- Tire safety
- Night driving
- Inclement weather and different driving conditions
- EPA regulations
- Driving laws that differ per state
- Handling hazardous materials
- Securing cargo
- Avoiding idling
- Required home time
- How many hours per day you can drive
- Electronic logging device rules
- Drug testing
- Licensing requirements
Training with Trucks
In addition to your classroom training, you will get hands-on experience with the truck. Your instruction will cover subjects that relate to pre-driving inspections followed by a driving test. Here is what you can expect outside of the classroom.
- Pre-trip inspections
- Logbook training
- Maintaining proper care of the vehicle
- Backing up
- City driving
- Driving on narrow/small roads
- Highway driving
Careers in Trucking
There are a number of potential career paths you can pursue once you’ve completed training school and have earned your CDL. This includes long-haul trucking, delivery carriers, dispatchers, school bus driving, city transit, and more.
After you complete classroom lessons and behind-the-wheel training, you’ll take the test for your CDL and earn your certificate/diploma. While there are many steps involved to become a professional driver, trucker training school gives you a better understanding of the profession so you can start your career. If you’re looking to purchase your next truck, be sure to check out a selection of new and used vehicles on CommercialTruckTrader.com and NextTruckOnline.com!