If you are interested in going to college or technical school, there is a lot of work to do to get you there. There’s your SAT scores, copies of transcripts, recommendations, immunization records…and several more steps just to enroll. So, what about trucking school? Do you have to jump through hoop after hoop just to apply? We are here to clear up the process and give you everything you need to start truck driver training school.
Finding a Trucking School Near You
The first step in the process is the most time consuming. You want to find a trucking school near you, but you also need to research whether the training program is right for you. Here are some questions to help guide you:
- Where is the trucking school located, and is it near or far from my home base?
- Will I have to get transportation, i.e., bus or airplane, to get to the school? If so, will a sponsoring trucking company, such as Swift Transportation or Werner Enterprises, provide transportation to and from the training program?
- Will I stay on campus during the training program, and if so, will I have to pay for accommodations and/or food?
- How long is the trucking school training course? Does this include behind-the-wheel training?
- What is the training curriculum?
- How many hours of classroom and behind-the-wheel training are included?
- What is the ratio of students to instructors?
- What kind of training and experience do the instructors bring?
- What is the reputation of the trucking school among actual truck drivers? You can find this information via online review sites, like Yelp, as well as online truck driver forums.
Once you have found a trucking school you want to attend, it’s time to submit your application. One more thing, you’ll want to check the time line for the training program to see when the next class for trucking students begins.
Applying for Trucking School
Here is where things get easy. When you apply to a trucking school, you only need to have a commercial driver’s license permit or CLP. This driving permit ensures you are legal to drive a big rig in a training capacity with a trainer riding in the passenger seat at all times. You don’t need to provide trucking insurance to attend trucking school. Additionally, you don’t have to have health insurance coverage, like you do for many graduate school programs, like nursing. You will not have to show your high school transcripts or proof of a GED to apply. Again, all you need is your CLP, and you are ready to roll.
Paperwork You Need for Enrollment
When you start your trucking school program, you will have to fill out paperwork. However, this is after you are already enrolled, and it doesn’t play a role in the application process. What is all this paperwork about? Well, depending on the training school you attend, you may have to sign a contract of work.
For trucking companies, such as Swift Transportation, Werner Enterprises, or CR England, that sponsor trucking schools, you can attend their trucking school for free. In exchange, you will be required to work for the sponsoring company for so many months, years, or miles after you graduate trucking school and get a CDL (commercial driver’s license). In this instance, you will be required to sign a contract establishing your promise to drive for the trucking company upon graduation. If you do sign such a document, read it before you sign. You want to be completely clear about what you are promising and how much money you will owe the company if you back out on the contract.
You will also need to get your Department of Transportation physical exam and complete CDL exam applications for trucking school. Generally, you will fill this paperwork out during the first day of trucking school. To complete the paperwork, you’ll need to bring:
- Driver’s license and CLP
- Birth certificate
- Social Security card or number
You should also bring a copy of your resume to give to trucking job recruiters. Recruitment officers from either a sponsoring company or affiliated trucking company will be on hand during your training. This is the perfect time to submit a pre-application and score a spot in a trucking orientation program at a top-paying trucking company. By the time you graduate trucking school, you will already have a good trucking job with a respectable carrier. Not many college programs can offer you that good a job opportunity after you graduate!