CDL Training Resources & Truck Driver Career News

Helpful Information About CDL Training & Trucking Jobs

Check out this selection of news articles, training resources, and other helpful information about the trucking industry to learn more about your career choices and how to prepare for in-demand job opportunities in trucking. Then, when you’re ready to get started with your CDL Training, give us a call! 1-800-835-2540 or if you’re in the Twin Cities area, call 651-528-8994

  • Image of piggy bank and laptop showing the words "Financial Planning" and charts on the screen

    Organizing Your Finances While Out on the Road

    As a trucker, it's important to keep your finances in order while out on the road. Regardless of if you're new to the trucking industry, or are a seasoned driver, it's never the wrong time to get your finances going in the right direction. Check out these simple financial planning tips for truckers:

    Set Goals & Be Realistic

    • Track spending and income. For at least a month or two, keep track of every penny you spend and every penny you make. Be honest and track every expenditure, even if you would really rather not. Take a good look at it; where is there room to save? Are there any opportunities to increase your earning?
    • Assess account balances. What do you have in savings? Checking? Do you have any debt - credit card, student loans, mortgage, or vehicle loans?
    • Set short-term goals. Keep these goals realistic and measurable. Do you want to pay off some existing debt? Ask yourself if you can put an extra $100 towards it each month. Do you want to build some savings? Can you put even just $10/week into a savings account?
    • Set long-term goals. Are you hoping to buy a new car or make a down payment on a house? Think about how you can start saving for those goals as well. Even small amounts of savings will add up to help you meet your goals.
    • Use a budgeting app. The internet has so many free budgeting tools, that allow you to see exactly where you're spending your money. One of the best is called "Every Dollar", by Dave Ramsey.
    • Take advantage of 401K match options. Consider this - if you make $50k a year, and your employer offers to match 50% your 401k contributions up to 6%, that means that there is up to $1,500 of additional pay available to you.
    If you currently don't have a budget in place or any savings, then it's a good plan to create a six-month emergency fund. Ideally, this fund will have enough money to tide you over for six months in case something happens to you. It can take a long time to build, of course, but it provides a lot of security and comfort. Keep this fund separate from your other savings and keep it for just emergencies.

    So, where are some places to find room in your budget?

    • Eating outOf course, so much of your job is on the road, and eating out is the easiest thing to do. But in addition to being rough on your waistline, eating frequent meals in restaurants is rough on your budget. Pack your own snacks and beverages, make your own coffee, and plan to eat meals in your truck more often than you eat out.
    • Bad habits. Smoking or other tobacco usage, speeding tickets, or unnecessary entertainment can all eat into your budget.
    • Cell phone and other device plans. Are you constantly going over your minutes or data usage and paying hefty overage charges? Or are you regularly not using your plan to its fullest and overpaying?
    • Insurance. Regularly assess your insurance coverage (whether home, truck, or otherwise) to make sure you have enough coverage, but you aren't overpaying.
    • Preventative maintenance. On you or your truck. Take care of your health and get regular medical and dental checkups to save money in the long run. Same goes for your truck - take good care of it now and avoid costly breakdowns later.
    • Pay with cash. Save on interest charges on a personal credit card and make sure you stick to your budget by using cash.
    These are just a few small changes you can make to get you on your way to financial planning as a trucker.

    Are you ready to start earning a consistent paycheck as a truck driver? Call HMTT today at 651-528-8994 and discover the tuition assistance program that best fits your situation, so you can get rolling in a new career in the trucking industry. See how easy it is to afford CDL Training at HMTT!

  • Image of semi driving on highway in the snow and cold. Text over image reads: "How to prepare your truck for winter"

    Tips for Winter Trucking

    While some truck drivers are lucky enough to avoid driving in snow and freezing conditions, for most long-haul truck drivers the coming winter will mean battling icy roads and frigid temperatures in the months ahead. This makes it critical that you take certain steps to prepare your truck for winter in order to ensure your safety on the road as well as keep your deliveries on time. If you anticipate driving in harsh winter weather, here are just a few steps that you can take to prepare your truck for winter.

    Treat Your Fuel

    When on the road in extreme winter weather, there is a risk that things will begin to freeze. If left untreated, your diesel fuel can freeze if conditions are cold enough. An important part of preparing your truck for winter is treating your fuel to prevent this from happening. Diesel can gel in extremely cold weather, which would prevent your truck from running. To prevent your fuel from gelling, it is critical that you add an anti-gelling additive to your truck's fuel tanks before adding fuel when the temperature drops. You should also keep anti-gel additives stocked up in your cab, as there may be shortages due to high demand during severe weather.

    Prevent Frozen Breaks

    Another important thing to consider when preparing your truck for winter is your brakes. When the temperature drops, frost can spread throughout your brake system causing your brakes to freeze, which can be extremely dangerous. To prevent this from occurring, you should drain your air tanks and fuel water separators every day when extreme cold sets in. You can also put an additive in your air tank that will spread through your brake system, which can help prevent it from freezing.

    Keep Your Engine Warm

    Diesel engines require a higher cylinder temperature to start than gasoline vehicles, which is why it can be difficult to start a diesel engine in the winter. If you anticipate stopping overnight in cold conditions this winter, you should consider investing in block heaters for your truck (if you do not already have them) that circulate water around the engine to keep it warm. Plugging in your block heaters at night during cold weather can help to prevent your engine from freezing this winter.

    At Heavy Metal Truck Training we offer training for your Minnesota CDL. Minnesota winters can be cold and brutal. To learn more about the steps you can take to prepare your truck for the coming winter, contact us today, or give us a call at 651-528-8994!

  • Image of close up of American flag and military uniform.

    Why Veterans Should Consider a Career in Trucking

    Veterans transitioning out of a career in the military might wonder what their next job will be. Luckily, military service provides skills and experience that are easily transferable, needed and appreciated in the trucking industry.

    Your Military Skills Crossover to Trucking

    Carriers are eager to hire veterans to fill their open driver positions. They know that veterans are ready to work, reliable, trustworthy, and equipped with skills beneficial in the industry. From the physical demands of driving heavy-duty equipment to knowing the value of self-discipline, your time in the service can shape your trucking career. In fact, many former military truckers say their years of service helped them transition to a truck driving career.

    Why Choose Trucking?

    It's a great time to become a truck driver. The trucking industry offers high pay, full benefits, and is a great choice for Veterans looking for long-term, stable employment. Moreover, carriers also offer incentives like sign-on bonuses, 401k plans, and paid vacations. Many truck drivers start out making $40,000+ per year with the potential to much more in some positions.

    Road Test Exemptions

    Military veterans with 2+ years of experience driving heavy-duty equipment in the last year may be able to skip the road test portion of the CDL exam, making getting their CDL a quicker process. Your Heavy Metal Truck Training admissions representative can help determine if you qualify for this exemption.

    At Heavy Metal Truck Training, we help veterans get a quality, high-paying job by making CDL training affordable. See what military benefits you can use towards your CDL training! Give us a call at 651-528-8994 today to get on the road toward your new career in the trucking industry.

  • Image of cdl truck driving on a scenic highway with mountains in the background

    Are There Rules About Exploring in Your Downtime?

    As a professional truck driver, you'll travel across the country, and drive though towns and cities you never knew existed, let alone thought you'd have a chance to see. You'll probably see more sights and scenery than you ever thought possible...but can you actually go sightseeing as a professional truck driver? In short, yes--but it's almost impossible to plan for. You just have to go when the opportunity arises. Every once in a while, you'll get to take your reset near a beach, football game or great local restaurant. When you do, take advantage of it! So when it actually lines up that you are on reset in a cool place, how do you go about sightseeing?

    First, check with your carrier.

    Every company has different rules on bobtailing on personal time. A bobtail truck is a semi truck that travels from one point to another without a trailer. Bobtailing on personal time is known as personal conveyance. Trucking carriers have different rules on personal conveyance. Some ban it all together, while others put limitations on the distance you can drive. If you are required to leave your truck in a "safe haven" while on reset, another option is finding a cheap car rental to enjoy the sights and local restaurants. You can always use Uber or Lyft if you don't want to mess with renting a car! You might want to rent a car or Uber or Lyft even if you are allowed to bobtail on personal time--parking can be difficult to find.

    Let your dispatcher know.

    Make sure you let your dispatcher know you're taking your 34 hour reset so they don't dispatch you anything.

    Use travel resources.

    If you know where you're headed, stock up on local road maps to help you out in a pinch. You can also use a trip planner like or Trip Advisor to find attractions that are accessible by public transportation, or even within walking distance of your tuck terminal. You might even find some offbeat, strange, and unusual places to visit! The amount of sightseeing you can do on your downtime depends on the rules your company sets. But if you can, take advantage of your resets and days off and go explore!

    Your first step to sightseeing as a truck driver is becoming one! Enroll at Heavy Metal Truck Training where we have state-approved Class A CDL programs and provide drivers with a well-rounded education. So, what are you waiting for? Take the first step and contact us to get your CDL training classes started! The road is calling--grab your keys, and head to HMTT!

  • Image of close up of a semi truck driving down a scenic highway at sunset

    Guidelines from the DOT

    As a driver new to the industry, or as someone considering getting a CDL, there are some important things to know about the time you can spend on the road driving. The Department of Transport determines the number of hours truck drivers may accumulate per day and week on the road. The rules are to ensure the safety of the truckers and other road users. There's a limit as to how long a driver may be on the road to ensure they get sufficient rest. The rules can sometimes be a little complicated and confusing. Breaking them down according to categories can help you understand them.

    Some of the hours-of-service rule guidelines

    • Your last legal reset is when your workweek begins. For example, if you started at 8 a.m. Tuesday, your 168-hour workweek ends on Tuesday at 8 a.m. the following week.
    • Every duty period starts after a 10-hour off.
    • Truck drivers may not work for more than 60 hours in seven days.
    • It is not possible to extend the 14-hour duty period using off duty time for fueling, meals, and breaks.
    • Following a 10-hour off duty period, the truck drivers can be on duty for up to 14 hours. But there's a limit of 11 hours driving time.
    • A 30-minute break is mandatory within 8 hours after coming on duty.

    Some of the penalties for violating hours-of-service rule guidelines

    • Depending on the severity of the violation, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration can levy fines of between $1,000 and $11,000.
    • The law enforcement officers can place you on shutdown by the roadside until you accumulate the recommended rest hours.
    At HMTT, our CDL training program will cover the Hours-of-service rules in more detail. You can ensure your safety, the safety of others on the road, and avoid the hefty fines associated with violating the rules. Ignorance is no defense and our comprehensive training program can equip you with the knowledge and skills to abide by the rules.
    The right training makes all the difference for a long, successful career! Enroll today and learn all about HOS rules. Call 651-528-8994 or submit the form on this page!
  • Image of hands opening wallet to take out cash.

    Skill Level, Experience & Tuition Assistance Matter

    When considering CDL training programs, the price of training can be a deciding factor. So how much will your CDL training cost you? There are a number of factors that determine the cost of a program. In this post, we'll break down the two main factors that determine the price of CDL training.

    Skill & Experience

    Photo of a CDL student driver in a semi talking to his instructorThe first factor to consider is a driver's skill and experience level. A beginner driver requires more training than someone who has been driving commercial trucks for years. Therefore, the cost of your training will depend on your experience as a truck driver.

    At Heavy Metal Truck Training, we train students of all skill levels and offer various courses based on experience level. You can choose the CDL training program that will fit with your current skill level and will help meet your professional goals. Our courses range from Class A CDL certificate programs for beginners to shorter Refresher CDL courses for experienced drivers.

    Tuition Assistance

    The second factor to consider is tuition assistance.3 stacks of coins with pens piled up in between In addition to the course you enroll in, you should also talk to your enrollment specialist about the tuition assistance programs available at your school. Odds are, you will qualify for some sort of financial assistance! At HMTT, we offer a number of different tuition assistance options to help with the price of our CDL training courses. These options include:
    • Tuition Reimbursement: We work with different trucking companies that reimburse tuition costs for pre-hired drivers. When you pay for your CDL training at HMTT, you have the opportunity to have your tuition costs reimbursed by the company you decide to work for. Tuition reimbursement can be combined with other forms of tuition assistance.
    • State & Government Programs, Grants & Scholarships: There are both federal and state grant programs available to qualified individuals, including programs for unemployed or under-employed individuals.
    • Personal Financing: Student loans are an option for financing your CDL training. HMTT even provides special in-house financing options for students.
    • Company Sponsored Training: With company-sponsored training, students get funding to cover part or all of their CDL training costs. Additionally, some carriers also pay students a 40-hours per week income while in school. HMTT staff will help determine if students meet requirements and are eligible to use this program.
    As you can see, the price of CDL training varies from person to person depending on the program chosen, and the amount of tuition assistance they are eligible for. At HMTT, we will work with you to find the tuition assistance option that gives you as little out-of-pocket cost as possible! Give us a call today at 651-528-8994, and we will help you find the CDL training and tuition assistance programs to best fit your needs.