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

  • You Can Do A Lot with a CDL

    Driving a commercial vehicle requires a higher level of training, knowledge, physical skill, and experience than driving a normal car. Drivers must obtain a Commercial Driver's License (CDL) to operate these vehicles. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), classifies different levels of commercial drivers licenses for different types of vehicles and places various endorsements on these. But what can you do with these licenses?

    A Class A CDL allows a driver to:

    • Operate any combination of vehicles weighing more than 26,000 pounds, so long as the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds

    • Drive this combination of vehicles across state lines.

    A Class B CDL allows a driver to:

    • Operate a commercial truck with an attached cab and cargo area with a combined weight greater than 26,000 pounds

    • Operate a truck with a detached towed cargo vehicle (i.e. a trailer) that weights less than 10,000 pounds.

    The FMCSA has identified the following endorsements that can be attached to a CDL:

    • Passenger;

    • Tank vehicle;

    • Hazardous material, or;

    • Double/triple trailers.

    Over-the-road trucking is not the only career direction with these CDLs; drivers can pursue many CDL career options with all types of vehicles:

    Dump Truck Driver - works with landscape, construction or excavation companies, or for a local government

    Mixer Truck Driver - works with construction or excavation companies, or for a local government

    Tanker Truck Drivers - are in demand from a variety of organizations, from farmers to gas companies, who hire commercially licensed drivers to drive tanker trucks

    Plow Truck Drivers - are always needed by cities, townships, counties, or states that hire commercially licensed drivers for plow work in the winter months; private companies also hire plow drivers for snow removal

    Local Delivery Drivers - need to know the operation of everything from vans to semi-trucks. Farmers, grocers, bakeries, building companies, and other suppliers hire commercially licensed drivers to make local deliveries

    Couriers - are similar to local delivery drivers. They make in-town or nearby deliveries for a variety of organizations using a variety of vehicles.

    Specialty Cargo Hauler - also similar to couriers and delivery drivers; commercially licensed drivers using a variety of vehicles are in demand for specialty cargo hauling, like automobile transport and furniture

    Bus Driver - sometimes will require passenger endorsements, but commercially licensed drivers are in demand for local transit authorities.

    For more information on getting your Class A or Class B CDL, contact us.
  • An image of two daughters standing with their dad, who is an OTR trucker, in front of his truck.

    A Daughter's View of Her Dad Being an OTR Trucker

    Earlier this year, we sat down with someone who knows what its like to have a loved one gone for work a majority of the time – a trucker’s daughter. Being an over-the-road truck driver is a profession that can have a huge impact on families. It’s hard for the spouse to be a single parent the majority of the time. The children also experience many challenges associated with a parent being away for long periods of time. The older the children get, though, the more they understand why their parent has made the sacrifices they’ve made. After years of reflection, here is one daughter’s view of growing up with a dad as an over the road (OTR) trucker: My father was an OTR trucker from the time I was in diapers to my early 20’s. My early childhood and teenage memories consist of the smell of diesel fuel and coffee at 4:00 in the morning. I remember being wide awake with excitement when it was time for him to come home. My mother and I waited at the truck yard for him to arrive. He would pack his things and come home with us for a few days. Living life as the daughter of an OTR trucker wasn’t always easy, but it was deeply rewarding.

    Was Your Dad Gone All the Time?

    My father was home a few days a month. It was a grueling schedule, but one that he largely chose in order to be the provider for our family. Many OTR truckers have the ability to adjust their schedules somewhat to reflect their own goals, whether they want to be home a little more often or they want to be on the road. So while my father was driving a lot of the time, not all truck drivers do.

    How Did You Cope with Your Father's Absence?

    Many people mistakenly equate having an OTR trucker for a parent to having an absentee parent, and there are really few similarities. When I was younger, I missed my father very much. But when I was old enough to understand, which was about the same time I began to resent his being gone, my mother explained to me his role as provider for our family. My mother worked small, low-paying jobs that couldn't possibly have given us the money we needed for housing, food, and clothing. As I learned that his absence from our family for a majority of each month was so that I could have school clothes and my favorite macaroni and cheese, I traded my resentment for a sense of pride in the sacrifices my father was making for us. After all, there were days that he craved to be home instead of on the road more than anything. But his choice to drive long hours was a choice he made because he loved us, not because he wanted to be away from us.

    Did Your Dad Like Being an OTR Trucker?

    My father loved seeing the country. He took photos of nearly everywhere he went. Something about getting in a huge truck and listening to Pink Floyd, Rush, and Van Halen on the open road gave him pride in who he was as a man. That is now a pride I carry with me.

    Did Your Father Ever Let You Drive His Truck?

    Yes, once. To me, such a huge truck was a monster. I started the truck, all the while looking to my father for guidance, wide eyed and terrified. He told me to lift my foot from the clutch slowly, which I did not do, and the truck lurched as I killed the engine. I made it but a few feet in a parking lot. He definitely wasn't supposed to let me do that. It was an exhilarating, shocking experience that I do not recommend to anyone that doesn't have a CDL! However, I walked away in awe that my father could operate such a magnificent machine. Once again, my heart was bursting with pride for what he did for a living.

    Is OTR Trucking a Good Option for Families?

    My father lost a tough battle with cancer several years ago and every memory I have of him is precious. Most of them are laced with the sights, sounds, and smells of the trucking industry. Although he was home infrequently, the times he was home were special and treasured. OTR trucking allows many, like my father, to provide for their family in ways that they otherwise wouldn't be able to. It is an option worth exploring. It's not right for every family, but it was for ours. And I still have every stuffed animal he won out of claw machines at countless truck stops and restaurants.   Even though life as a trucker can be difficult with less family time, it can be a rewarding career pursuit. Think OTR trucking is a good option for you and your family? Learn more about our CDL training programs. *This post was originally published in February 2017 and has since been updated."
  • image of a younger man sitting in the driver seat of a truck looking forward at the dashbaord

    4 Steps to Getting Back in the Drivers Seat

    In reality, very few professional tractor trailer drivers (1% or less) fail the required DOT drug and alcohol test. But if you're one of the few that has, you may wonder what the future holds. With a little work, HMTT can help you get get back in the drivers seat. For a full assessment, contact the HMTT school office at 651-528-8994 and we'll have the information you need to help you get through the DOT Return to Duty process. 4 Steps To Getting Your Class A CDL Working For You Again: You'll Be Given A List of SAPs.  If you fail the DOT exam, your employer (or potential employer) gives you a list of Substance Abuse Professionals (SAP) to make an appointment with for a personal evaluation. Your SAP Evaluates You.  The evaluation by your SAP (who is approved by the DOT as a qualified professional) leads them to direct you to treatment and/or education. Second Visit To SAP.  After completing the SAP-required treatment/education, you return to the same SAP with proof of completion. At this second visit,you will be drug tested again. Occasional Future Testing.  Because driving big rigs is a life-and-death responsibility, you will be randomly drug tested 6 times in the next 12 months. This 12 month period of testing could last for up to 4 more years, making 60 months in total. If you find yourself asking "I failed my DOT exam. What now?" know that there is a path to get you back in the drivers seat.  It's not free, and does take some work, but it's worth it to save or start your truck driving career. Professional truck driving is a great career that can't be outsourced. If you're ready to get back on the road, we can help! Contact us today and get back on the road to success!
  • image of a woman smiling into the camera, wearing scrubs and a stethoscope

    What Should You Expect?

    If you're thinking about getting your CDL you may have questions about getting a DOT Physical. Getting a Department of Transportation (DOT) physical exam ensures that drivers are able to adequately meet the physical demands of the job. So...what is a DOT Physical? The exam is similar to a standard physical, though it must be performed by an approved medical examiner. If you've never gone through a DOT Physical, you might be wondering what to expect. This guide should help you out.

    What to expect during the DOT exam:

    The medical examiner will perform a full physical, which includes:
    • Examination of the eyes, ears, mouth, and throat
    • Listening to heart and lungs
    • A hernia check
    • A check for spine deformities
    • Pressing on abdomen to check for abnormalities
    • A hearing and vision test

    What to bring:

    • A complete list of all medications you take regularly, along with dosage information
    • Documentation of any medical issues
    • Any necessary hearing aids or corrective lenses


    In order to pass the DOT physical examination, drivers must:
    • Demonstrate at least 20/40 correctable vision in both eyes
    • Pass a hearing test
    • Pass a drug test
    • Not have diabetes requiring insulin injections
    • Not have epilepsy or a history or seizures

    After the exam:

    The medical examiner will discuss with you your medical history and the results of your medical exam. If you meet the standard, you will receive certification valid for two years. If you do not meet the vision, hearing, diabetes, or epilepsy requirements, you may request an exemption from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). If granted, the exemption may allow drivers temporary certification for between three months and one year, at the discretion of the FMCSA. If you need more information on getting a DOT Physical, contact the HMTT school office! We'll help you get started on the road to your CDL!
  • black and white image of a man standing in front of a tanker semi truck smiling at the camera

    Yes! You Should Get Yours. Here's Why...

    Getting your CDL License and starting a career as a professional trucker is a great idea for a lot of reasons. It offers job security, great employer benefits, impressive starting pay. It also opens the door to many different types of professional trucking career opportunities.

    The benefits of getting a CDL License:

    - Showing You The Money: In the first year of driving with a CDL license, the average trucker can expect to earn somewhere around $43,500. There is even potential to make up to $60,000. Many companies also offer bonuses for things like safe driving and distance traveled!

    - Flexibility and Mobility: With a CDL License, drivers have can travel all over the country. You won't get bored sitting in an office cubicle. You can also drive for a local company, with options of more flexible hours.

    - Job Security: Certified truck drivers will always be needed as long as there are goods to be delivered. Getting a CDL License leads to great employment stability and reassurance.

    A CDL License opens up a whole bunch of different driving jobs:

    - Long-Term Hauling: This is typically what comes to mind when someone says "truck driver." These are the folks who drive all around the country as their primary job, delivering goods and products nationwide.

    - Part-Time Work: Helping construction workers out by driving dump trucks, driving big 18-wheelers on weekends, or picking up the odd shifts as a bus driver are all popular ways for CDL License holders to make some part-time cash. These gigs are perfect for those with other jobs looking for some extra money.

    At HMTT, our students receive affordable, high quality truck driver training. By getting your CDL License and becoming a professional truck driver, you will have access to these benefits, and more! We partner with major trucking companies - and local ones too - to find the best career fit for you. Ready to get started?! Schedule a no obligation appointment to complete the pre-hire application and land a job before you even start training for your CDL License!
  • Completing Your CDL Training

    So you have the opportunity to train with a driver trainer, congratulations! This can be a great opportunity, but there are some challenges that come with sharing a small space with another human being for an extended period of time. Here are some tips to help make the trip a little easier: 1. Respect the Space When 2 people share a small area, nothing gets on nerves faster than having to dig through belongings that are not yours. Cab spaces can be small, be sure to keep your belongings together as much as possible, and clean up any food wrappers or messes you make. 2. Communicate Take advantage of this opportunity to ask your instructor whatever questions you have about driving and living on the road. At the same time, don't try to force conversation on someone who seems inclined to enjoy the silence. Also, be sure to talk about expectations your instructor has as soon as possible so you're both on the same page 3. Take a Break On the other side of the 'communication coin' is being intentional about taking time for yourself - watch something or read a book while taking a break at a rest stop, or listen to an audio book during some quite time. It's important to try to get some space apart, even if it's just mental space while you each do your own thing. 4. Be Humble, Work Hard, Relax!  These three things may seem hard to combine, but start with Be Humble: you are there to learn, don't let your ego get in the way of valuable lessons your instructor has to teach you. Work Hard: you are still on a job, be professional and remember to respect and trust your instructor. And Relax! If your instructor is having a bad day, don't take it personally; he/she is human too. Being nervous can also lead to more mistakes, so do your best to take deep breath and trust yourself as well. Interested in becoming a truck driver? Heavy Metal Truck Training offers Class A CDL Training in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area. To learn more, head over to our Truck Driver Training Program!