Newbies - Tips From the Trainer

Welcome! This is your personal online trainer. I will strive to provide insightful and 100% accurate information regarding questions you have about the first few months in the life of a new driver--from driving tips to industry policies. Get in on the action. Email your questions to me.

You ask a lot of questions about your career change into trucking, so I'll separate them to clarify things.

Q The school I attended trained mostly on automatics. If I go to training for a large company, will they train me on the straight shift or am I stuck with the few companies that use automatics?


This is becoming a "problem" or a situation more and more in the last couple of years. The best and quickest solution is to find a company that will use primarily automatics and try to hire on there. You should be a good fit there. Some fleets with standard equipment may take you, but you really need to call their recruiters and their training departments and see what they can suggest and offer to you. It's best to call these companies first anyway to see if your training is even acceptable to them. There are many cases where a person spends their hard-earned dollars on a school that doesn't meet most fleet's requirements for certified training. You say that you trained "mostly" on automatics. Does this mean that you do have some real time in a non-automatic truck and can double clutch and shift at least most of the time with a standard transmission? I would hate to see you get to a carrier only to fail the road test. There are some companies that do not road test their students on arrival and wait until after they are released by the road trainers. This gives the students a chance to train on the equipment that they are going to drive in the real world. This may help you, but you really need to call some companies and see what they say.

Q I live in Texas. I would like for you recommend a good truck driving school.


I really never suggest specific trucking schools as a rule. There really is no way that one person can keep track of all the trucking schools that pop up and/or go out of business. There is also no way that I can predict what trucking school is going to be a "fit" for everyone. What I do recommend to ALL new people considering getting into the industry is to research exactly they want out of the industry and what type of job within the industry that they would really like to do. There are many choices to decide on like what equipment--vans or reefers, flatbeds, tankers, dump trailers or other specialized trailers--and where you want to drive like all 48 states, regional, dedicated, etc.

The best place to find the answers after narrowing things down is to call the companies that actually do whatever it is that you want to do and see what they require for drivers to gain employment. They may offer a lot of suggestions on where they prefer drivers get their training and/or to what level they expect drivers to be trained to offer them employment. What you need to do is a little legwork and decide what you want. Then call the companies and see what they can tell you. They are the ones that are going to put you to WORK, not a trucking school! There are far too many schools that allow people into the school that have no idea what they want to do. Good luck.

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