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What are the Benefits of Free Truck Driving Schools?

So, you have decided that you need to take up a new career path and trucking seems a good thing to try? Here is the point to confess that the title of the text you are reading is a bit misleading. There is not no such thing as a free lunch and you have probably been skeptical when looking for a free truck driving school, but the good news is that while such schools are not free, they feel pretty much the same. In other words, if you want to be a truck driver but cannot afford the education, there is a way for you to do it without having to pay everything at once.

Without any further introduction, you must know that as a wannabe truck driver you have two opportunities. One of them is those trucking schools known as ‘independently owned’. Visiting such school will cost you somewhere between $3,000 and $7,000, but you don’t have to pay them upfront. Instead, you can apply for a government loan, which you will have to pay back after you graduate. The other option is to visit a school that is owned and organized by a trucking company. At this school, you don’t have to pay anything and you don’t have to take a loan. However, after you graduate, you will have responsibilities for the trucking company which school you have visited.

Independently Owned Schools for Truck Drivers

The independently owned trucking schools are just ordinary schools where you can get commercial driver’s license (CDL). Their advantage is that you can graduate from them with the help of a government loan. It is easy to apply and get such a loan because the government is pretty sure you will pay it back – there is a lot of work for truck drivers and you are bound to make $35,000-40,000 during your first year on the road, while the monthly repayments of your loan will be $100-150 per month. There is only one slight problem – a case in which you cannot find a job after you graduate. However, the chances for this are quite minimal and knowing that it can happen only if you don’t try and are inactive will motivate you and make you even more successful in pursuing your career.

Schools Organised by Trucking Companies

The other option you have if you want to become a truck driver without investing anything at all is to attend a school owned/organised by a particular trucking company. This will practically cost you nothing upfront. However, before starting, you will have to sign a contract with the company which obliges you to work for them for a certain period after you obtain your commercial driving license, for example, a year. Of course, you will not work for free – you will get paid, but at a slightly lower rate that will help the company get back what they have invested in your education. If you decide you would like to leave the company before the end of the period, you will be liable to pay a compensation, which may be equal to the sum you would have to pay to an independent trucking school or, if the contract specifies so – bigger.

The Differences Between Independently Owned and Company Owned Trucking Schools

Normally, you can expect that the driving education you will obtain from these two types of institutions will be generally similar, but with slight differences. For example, the independently driving schools will make sure you follow the books strictly and know your theory. On the other hand, the schools operated by trucking companies will also require from you to know everything written in the books, but may also teach you things that are expected at that particular company – keeping your driver’s log in a particular style, handling the braking system, interaction with clients, etc. The trucking companies are likely to shape your trucking know how through their own prism, thus preparing you to be the ideal employee for them. This is not necessarily bad thing because thus you can learn a lot of tricks and get insider hints that won’t be present in the curriculum of the independently owned schools. This will help you a lot if you decide to run your own company after time or to be an independent driver. In other words, you will learn not only how to drive, but also how to be an efficient and organised truck driver.

Some Final Points to Note

Whichever option you decide to take, prepare to be indebted to someone for a short period of time after graduation – either the government or the trucking company that will take care of your education. However, this is a small price to pay in comparison to $7,000 paid at once – an obstacle that can make you give up your trucking dreams. Make the effort to research the trucking company which school you plan to attend – get to know its policies, conditions, pay rates etc. You don’t want to be stuck in a company that does not respect its employees and is not correct with them, but if you sign a contract, you may have no other choice.

To cut a long story short, now you have the invaluable opportunity to become a truck driver for almost free. If you are considering it, you must have already analysed the advantages a trucking career can bring you. We recommend you take your time and research the options for free trucking education available to you – both can have their positive and negative sides depending on your preferences. Now, however, you know what they are and we hope that it will make the choice easier for you to make.

Which Truck Driving School Should I Choose?

There are hundreds of truck driving schools in the United States, making it difficult to choose the school that’s right for you. Driving schools are a great option, but you can also learn to drive a truck from an individual who has truck driving experience or from a company who trains new drivers and offers them jobs. You can use any of these options to get your CDL and start driving, but you have to figure out which is the best choice for you.

Individual Training

If you know someone who is a truck driver it is best to learn from them. They probably won’t charge you very much for their time and individual instruction is a great way to learn. The downside is that the person you are learning from will probably not have any experience teaching and they will probably forget a few of the things that you need to know. Make sure that you study the drivers manual carefully and go over the non-driving parts of the job, such as trip planning and completing a logbook. Learning from a friend or family member is inexpensive, but it is better to leave truck driver training to the professionals.

Truck Driving Schools

Schools that teach people how to drive commercial vehicles have become popular over the past few years. These schools usually charge hefty tuition fees and are in business to make money. Some schools offer high-interest loans to prospective drivers so they can pay tuition. Sometimes drivers pay thousands to be trained at a school and are unable to find a job in the trucking industry after they have graduated. Trucking companies are required to conduct background checks and follow federal hiring regulations. Getting your CDL is a step on the road to working as a truck driver, but there is more to getting a job than graduating from an expensive school.

Paid Training Through Companies

Several large trucking companies are prepared to cover most of the tuition costs for a prospective driver to attend a driving school that they have approved in exchange for a commitment to work for them after graduation. Most of these driver training programs last about three weeks before you graduate and are allowed to finish learning on the job. Not every prospective driver qualifies for these programs, but they can be a win-win situation. You are committed to working for that company, but they are also guaranteeing you a job after you graduate from a training program. This is considered to be one of the best ways to get your start as a truck driver because the instructors at a truck driving school are likely to teach you more than an individual that you know, but you get a big break on tuition fees because the company you’re working for is subsidizing the cost of your training.

Preparing Yourself for Driver Training

After you have decided to begin a career as a driver, you should take a little time to prepare yourself before beginning a training course. Get a CDL manual for the state you will be getting your license in and study it throughly.

Department of Transportation Physical

Before you can even get a permit to begin training for your CDL license you are required to pass a DOT physical. Many schools that specialize in truck driver training administer a DOT physical as a routine part of beginning their training course. Drivers are required to have a certain level of physical fitness before they are allowed to get behind the wheel of a big rig.

Your vision in each eye must be correctable to 20/40. Contact lenses or glasses are allowed as long as you wear them at all times while you are driving. CDL drivers cannot be dependent on injectable insulin to regulate their blood sugar. Diabetic drivers can get a CDL if their condition is controlled by oral medication or diet. You are allowed to take medication to control your blood pressure, but it must not be over 160/90. Drivers may not be cleared by the DOT if you have a hernia, back injury, sleep apnea or recent major surgery. Your doctor should be able to tell you if you aren’t healthy enough to pass the physical.

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