Nov 5, 2021

Training to Be a Truck Driver and How Much Does It Take

A lot of people are interested in starting a new career as a professional truck driver. 

That's why most trucking companies find it more convenient and practical to be part of a Consortium/Third-Party Administrators (C/TPAs) like Labworks USA to manage all, or part, of an employer's DOT drug and alcohol testing program. We perform tasks as agreed to by the employer to assist in implementing the drug and alcohol testing program and to help keep the employer compliant with the DOT/FMCSA Drug and Alcohol Testing rules and regulations. We as a DOT Consortium can help you.

Well, there are a lot of institutions out there. Most training programs offer the necessary training to obtain your commercial driver's license (CDL) after passing your state's licensing exam or CDL exam. A CDL Training Course is streamlined to help prepare you for passing the state licensing exam. You will surely receive teaching experience from industry professionals. They will help you obtain a CDL and help you start driving a truck as quickly as possible. A CDL Training Course usually offers both day and evening classes.

The CDL Training Program is 20 days long and consists of 168 clock hours, broken down as follows:

  • 40 hours of classroom training
  • 16 range hours
  • 16 over-the-road hours
  • 96 hours of remedial training

For a deeper dive into the ins and outs of truck driving, there are longer and more comprehensive Professional Truck Driving Programs.

These programs usually last 20 weeks of job training and cover:

  • Instruction on state CDL standards (CDL Exam Procedures, Licensing Exam, Certification Exam, Certification Process)
  • Pre-Trip Inspection and Driver safety
  • Maintenance procedures, air brakes, combination vehicles, vehicle inspection, defensive driving, and road trainer
  • Logbook, trip planning, and public and employee relations.
  • DOT Physical, Drug Screening, and Hazardous materials
  • Actual Job Training or any Additional Training

Graduates may be qualified for a long list of transportation-related careers, including truck driving. Ready to get ahead of the training as a professional truck driver? Continue reading some training essentials below.

Know the Types of Truck Driver Licenses (CDL License)

The type of license you need for a career in truck driving largely depends on the trucks you will be required to drive. Most training to be a truck driver training will prepare you to earn a CDL Class A license. Here are some class-to-class guides.

CDL Class A: The CDL Class A license legally allows you to operate any combination of vehicles totaling a gross weight of 26,001 lbs. or more, including class B and class C vehicles with proper endorsements.

Class A vehicles include:

  • Truck/trailer combinations
  • Tractor-trailers
  • Tankers
  • Large flatbed trucks
  • Commercial livestock carriers

CDL Class B: The CDL Class B license allows you to operate a single vehicle of up to 26,001 lbs. or a vehicle towing another vehicle weighing up to, but no more than, 10,000 lbs. Class B vehicles include:

  • Straight trucks
  • Large buses
  • Segmented buses
  • Box trucks, such as for delivery drivers
  • Dump trucks with small trailers

CDL Class C: The CDL Class C license covers other large vehicles not included in class A or B, including:

  • Vehicles transporting 16 or more people
  • HAZMAT transport vehicles
  • Small truck/trailer combos

The Factor Affect the Amount of CDL Training Needed

Beyond the time spent in the Truck Driver Training Program or CDL Training program, here are a few other things that may affect the amount of time it takes to get your CDL:

Commercial learner's permit (CLP): Before you can take the test for your CDL, you must first acquire your commercial learner's permit and complete any necessary driving miles. Additionally, you must have your CLP for at least 14 days before applying for your actual license.

What to Expect After CDL Training

If you proceed through training and pass all licensing exams, here are a few things you can expect in the trucking industry:

Salary: While no job or salary is ever a guarantee, the U.S. median annual wage for heavy truck and tractor-trailer drivers was in May 2020.

An industry that's in high demand: According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the trucking industry is expected to grow 2% from 2019 to 2029.

Flexible/shifting schedules: While traditional hours are available, many routes and jobs have hours that can vary. Acquiring a CDL helps provide opportunities for those looking for variety in their work schedules.

The chance to travel: Truck driving, by its very nature, is traveling. Drivers may have the opportunity to travel across the country or within the local area. Some shipping routes could also include international travel into Canada or Mexico.

If you like the idea of seeing the U.S. through the window of a truck cab, truck driving might be a great career path for you. Training for the CDL test is the first step. 

For your reference, here's a list of DOT Consortium services we offer at Labworks USA with respective rates.

Why You Should Be Inspired to Train Today as a Truck Driver?

Let's simply say that the transportation industry needs you. The supply chain continues to suffer due to the pandemic, a truck driver shortage factored into the mix is adding to supply and shipping delays.

And within the past decade, the trucking industry has constantly struggled with a driver shortage. Driving job is more open to more professionals. 

Pandemic supply-chain issues now mean a shortage of glass jars and bottles

According to the American Trucking Associations, trucks move roughly 72.5% of the nation's freight by weight carrying items such as oil, food, clothing, paper products, and vehicles to name a few.

An ATA study found that in 2015, there was a need for 48,000 truck drivers.

As of 2021, the industry is short 68,000 drivers that are needed on the roads as 25% of current truckers have reached retirement or are close to the age of retiring, according to Lindsey Trent of the Next Generation in Trucking Association Trent, who serves as co-founder and president of the nonprofit trucking association, says that if the shortage of truckers continues to grow, by the year 2028 the shortage could exceed 100,000 drivers.

But hiring younger students with training across class sizes could potentially solve this issue.

Yes, this requires hands-on experience and sometimes financial assistance due to the cost of training or program costs. Even just for an entry-level position with a good track record from a comprehensive training program, a young pro could fill the need.

Entry-level drivers will now gain more hours of service added to their trucking career records right away after the certification exam. 

Earnings truck drivers vary with the industry and the type of truck operated and are affected by mileage and/or the number of hours worked. Many trucking companies will pre-hire students and successful completers of the program are able to go to work immediately.

Truck Driver Training Conclusion

A career in truck driving offers both men and women fun and adventure as well as a secure future in an in-demand career field. You wouldn't regret getting into a truck driver training program. Again, the transportation industry needs you. You have a career as a professional driver for commercial vehicles specifically, for trucks! 

A professional truck driving program prepares individuals with little or no commercial driving experience for a career in this industry driving.

Individuals who have a passion for driving locally and/or traveling across the country would be suitable for a career in truck driving. Ready for your first CDL truck driver job?

Take note though that it doesn't end on just passing the Training Program. After that, you will encounter a lot of DOT Compliance concerns. 

With that, If you have basic questions or common questions on DOT or FMCSA compliance, we can support you at Labworks USA. Feel free to reach out to us today.

Our DOT Consortium's friendly team will be more than happy to discuss any concerns you may have and work with you to ensure you are always fully compliant, especially with random DOT drug and alcohol testing and pre-employment testing. Moreover, if you need help with FMCSA Clearinghouse registration, we can further support you.