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

  • An image of a man sitting behind the wheel in a white truck, giving a thumbs up.

    Getting a Commercial Driver's License is a Great Way to Enhance Your Career Potential

    If you're considering getting a commercial driver's license (CDL), the amount of work it takes may be daunting. But don't let it turn you away from your future as a commercial driver! Here are the top three Commercial Driver's License benefits and why having your CDL is a great asset to your career potential.

    1. Truck drivers are in demand.

    With a whole generation of baby-boom truck drivers retiring, companies are struggling to find the next generation of employees. Next time you drive somewhere, take a look at signs as you pass by. If you live in a populated area, you'll notice that a lot of businesses are now hiring truck drivers. Getting your CDL is the first step towards seizing these job opportunities.

    2. A variety of jobs require a CDL.

    Not too interested in truck driving? There are plenty of other jobs that require a CDL! As the name implies, this license applies towards any career in commercial driving. So you'll also need a CDL to become a bus driver, hazmat carrier, or garbage worker. All of these are unique careers, and some of them have high pay, too.

    3. Even if you get a different job, having a CDL is a marketable skill.

    Your CDL could quite possibly come in handy even if you choose to work behind a desk. When companies are looking for who to hire, they consider all aspects of the applicant's work history and qualifications. Your CDL will show them that you have the dedication to pursue additional professional certification and the versatility to work in a variety of roles if needed. If these Commercial Driver's License benefits sound like something you want to take advantage of, start the process of getting your CDL sooner rather than later. Because the sooner you become a licensed commercial driver, the faster you can take advantage of all of these great opportunities!
  • An image of four white trucks and a blue truck sitting at an OTR trucking stop.

    CDL Requirements in Minnesota

    So, you live in Minnesota and you're considering a career as a truck driver, but aren't sure exactly what's involved. According to the Minnesota Driver and Vehicle Services and DMV.org, the following are requirements for a commercial driver's license, which is necessary to drive any vehicle towing a unit over a certain weight. The first step is getting your commercial driver's permit (CDP), so you can learn to drive a tractor-trailer, just like you had to first obtain a permit when you learned to drive a car.

    To apply for a CDP you will need to bring to the Driver and Vehicle Services (DVS) office:

    • A valid non-CDL driver's license.
    • US citizens: a birth certificate or US passport
    • Non-citizens: proof of permanent US residency
    • Certain medical documents
    • Note: You will also need to pass a written test to get your permit

    Once you have your commercial driver's permit (CDP):

    • You must hold your permit for at least 14 days before applying for a license
    • You must practice driving a commercial vehicle only on public roads and only with a CDL holder as your driving partner.
    • Your permit is good for 6 months and is not renewable
    • It is not technically required but is nevertheless strongly recommended, that you attend a commercial driving school.

    Special endorsements are required for:

    • HAZMAT vehicles
    • Passenger vehicles or school buses
    • Double or triple trailers
    • Tanks

    Testing for your Commercial Driver's License (CDL) means:

    • Pre-trip inspection
    • Basic control skills
    • Road test
    • Note: The vehicle you use for your test will affect what trucks you can drive in the future. If your test vehicle doesn't have air brakes, your license won't allow you to drive a truck with air brakes. Similarly, if you test in a truck with an automatic transmission, your CDL will restrict you from driving a truck with a standard transmission.
      At Heavy Metal Truck Training we provide you with the knowledge and skills to confidently take your test and begin a career as a commercial driver. We help with job placement and if money is a problem, we can help you explore tuition assistance. Contact us today to start exploring this rewarding career.
  • How a Career Change Took Him OTR, But Closer to Family.

    For over 30 years, Craig and his wife Jodi owned a small business renting offices and small apartment buildings. But, after devastating business losses, overwhelming stress, and a health scare, they knew it was time to liquidate and make a change. They adopted two small children (a 2-1/2 year old boy, and his 9 year old sister), and decided to spend some time focusing on them, their 5 grown daughters, and their grandkids. But full retirement was not to last. After many conversations with his wife, Craig decided to follow his boyhood dream of becoming a truck driver. Craig weighed his options (for more than 6 months!) before he enrolled in a CDL training program here at Heavy Metal Truck Training. Craig qualified for a job retraining program through the State of Minnesota which helped cover the cost of his CDL training. He also utilized HMTT's Job Placement program which put him in touch with the driver recruiters at Transport America. After a company tour, and a lot of online research, Craig accepted a driver position and has been driving for Transport America for over 18 months! [caption id="attachment_1408" align="aligncenter" width="263"]picture of Craig Hunter and his grandson taking a selfie in front of a semi truck front grill Photo courtesy of Transport America[/caption] Craig graduated from HMTT in July 2015. Taking a chance and making a career change has paid off for the Hunter family. Craig and Jodi are no longer tied down to their real estate properties, their stress level is reduced, and Craig often includes his family as part of his driving adventure. He recently took his 12-year old grandson out on the road with him for 2 weeks, and calls his wife and kids every night from the road.
    Thank you for helping me with my career change. I can honestly say that I use skills I learned at your school everyday as an OTR driver. -Craig Hunter
    Are you ready to take a chance at a new truck driving career? Let us help you get on the road! Give the school office a call today at 651-528-8994 to find the CDL program that fits your needs, and use our job placement assistance to get pre-hired before you even begin your training! 
    Read the full article about Craig's career change on the Transport America website.
  • Can You See the Sights as a Truck Driver?

    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 - it just requires a little extra planning and effort on your part. 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. 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 the local restaurants. 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 Roadtrippers.com 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 down time depends on the rules your company sets. But if you can, do a little planning and take advantage of your resets and days off! If you want to see the sights as a truck driver, your first step 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 start your classes at Heavy Metal Truck Training. The road is calling - grab your keys, and head to HMTT!
  • an image of a truck driver instructor standing next to the tractor talking to the student driver who is in the driver seat

    Finally Putting the Rumor Mill to Rest

    Without a doubt, truck drivers are the life blood of the nation. They transport everything from the latest Smartphone to fresh produce. Truckers keep this country rolling. While a lot of people consider truck driving as a potential career path, too many let faulty information discourage them from going trough CDL training. If you’re considering pursuing a career in the trucking industry, we've got some things that may be good to know about earning a living as a truck driver. Here are three common misconceptions that we'd like to clear up:

    "It’s a Big Investment. You Need Your Own Rig."

    It’s true that many truck drivers have their own outfit. They tend to buy rigs after years of driving. Like anything, they enjoy being their own boss and are able to negotiate higher rates. But, in reality, the vast majority of truck drivers work for companies that have their own fleet. To break into the industry, you just need to undergo truck driver training, earn your CDL license and fill out job applications.

    "It’s Hard to Get a Full-time Job Driving."

    The changing economy over the last 10-15 years has had a profound effect on the trucking industry. More and more products are off-loaded from ships and go right on tractor trailers. The demand for qualified truck drivers has risen dramatically each year and there’s a huge shortage of drivers. Between increased work and retirement-age drivers, there was a driver shortage of about 48,000 in 2015. That number is expected to grow significantly over the next decade. The industry could hire close to 900,000 truckers during the next 10 years.

    "The Pay Isn’t Very Good."

    For people who have just finished truck driver training, first-year salaries average about $45,000. Once you gain some experience, there are numerous opportunities to earn OT (over time) and bonuses that can pump that number up quickly. You can also pursue being a “dedicated driver,” which means working for a major chain company. Their average salaries tend to run $45,000 to $65,000. If you have a partner for long-haul runs, team drivers can pull down upwards of $150,000 and split it. If you get to the point where you do want to become an owner-operator, $100,000 per year is common. Simply put, truck drivers make good money. The demand for hauling goods has never been higher and the shortage of qualified drivers will likely lead to even higher salaries. If you’re considering earning a Class A CDL license at Heavy Metal Truck Training in Minneapolis, the future of the industry looks very promising.
  • image of a little white dog wearing a red bandana sitting with his head out the drivers side window of a semi truck

    Taking Your Pet With You on the Road

    Being a solo OTR truck driver means you might find yourself on the road, and away from home, for weeks at a time. But what if you had a buddy to keep you company during those hours behind the wheel? No, I'm not talking about Team Driving. I'm talkin' about pets! For some truckers, being able to take a pet on the road can make the truck driving way of life even more rewarding. While not every trucking company is pet friendly, many are updating their policies and letting drivers take a pet or two on the road with them!

    Trucking with a dog. Or cat. Or...duck?

    Many trucking companies are allowing drivers to bring along a 4-legged, furry companion. But what about a duck?! Those in the Twin Cities metro might remember Frank the duck. Back in 2008 Boyd Huppert introduced us to Frank in his Land of 10,000 Stories: Duck in a truck story. Frank rode along with his human, Joe Mansheim, as he delivered construction materials across the Twin Cities. Here's the story, originally aired in 2008: On Monday, Kare11 updated their viewers that Frank the duck died last week, on his 9th birthday.

    Pet Friendly Trucking Companies

    Riding a long with a feathered friend might be out of the normal, but not out of the question. LTI Trucking Services gave one of their drivers permission to bring his talking parrot along. The bird sat on his shoulder while he rolled down the road! It's important to know that not every trucking company is pet friendly, and some are more friendly than others. Be sure to ask important questions, like what their pet policy is, what breeds are allowed, and if there is a deposit or other requirements. Roehl Transport Inc., H.O. Wolding, US Xpress, and Stevens Transport are just a few of the trucking company HMTT partners with that allows pets. TruckingTruth.com has an updated list of trucking companies that allow pets, but for the most current information, talk to a company recruiter!

    If you’re looking to start your trucking career and want to bring a pet along for the journey, your first step is to start here! At HMTT, you'll get the CDL training you need, and we can connect you with pet friendly trucking companies though our job placement and pre-hire program!

    Contact us today! 651-528-8994