Women in Trucking - One Woman's Journey

Okay, I have decided to make this change in my career. I have most of my questions answered, well, all I can think of for right now. So, how do I get my CDL? I hear it is a complicated process involving taking numerous tests and trying to borrow a semi to take the over the road test. And the expense?!!

Luckily, I had the benefit of having my husband who just finished his school. So I will pass this information on to you.

Find a good driving school in your area. I would recommend that this school not be connected to any trucking operation and be accredited. I am attending Boise State University. I will receive 19 college credits upon my completion. They tell me what to study for the CDL and give hands on driving instruction for a number of hours. We cover backing and parking, coupling and uncoupling, air brakes, doubles, driving on back roads, driving on highways, going up and down hills, pre-inspections and provide a certified test person to give us the test at the end.

Since I had to continue working while I was going to school, it was important for me to find a school that offered night and weekend classes. Make a list of things that are important to you before you call the guidance counselor for your school of choice. Some things you may want to ask are:

  1. What is the cost of the school? Are there any added costs (your license, your books, etc.)?

  2. How long is the school?

  3. Are the instructors former truck drivers?

  4. What equipment are you using? Do you have a simulator? Do you have a skid pad?

  5. How many students will be in each truck when we are driving?

  6. How many instructors per student?

  7. Can I get a Pell Grant or other loans?

  8. Do I have to sign a contract with the trucking company for repayment of this school?

I'm sure you will have lots of questions of your own to ask when you call. Make an informed decision. Pick the school that is right for you.