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

  • Percy the cat clings under a semi - and lives to tell the tale

    If cats have nine lives, then Paul Robertson's feline friend has eight left. The St. Paul long-haul truck driver recently lost his cat, Percy, while recovering from a bout of food poisoning at a rest area in Ohio. While Robertson was sleeping in the bed of the truck, Percy stepped on the power window switch and escaped. Devastated, Robertson posted about the incident on Facebook. Robertson, 57, created a map to show his location, and his Facebook followers sprung to action. Some shared the post and offered prayers and tips on how to get Percy to come back. Others began calling nearby animal shelters looking for Percy. One friend showed up to help Robertson search the rest area in the rain and lightning, and another created a Go Fund Me account to raise money for a reward. When Percy got out, his words spoke so deeply to all of us, especially ones that have been in that position of losing a beloved pet," said Jennifer Smith, a close friend of Robertson's. It might just be him and his kitty in the truck hauling down the road day after day, but when he logs onto Facebook, they have an entire extended family online, new and old, looking forward to hearing about their day's adventure." By night's fall, there was still no sign of Percy. Robertson left Percy's litter box and food, and a pair of dirty socks outside the truck to lure Percy home. Still, no luck. A winter storm was moving in and Robertson would soon need to move on. He had a load to deliver and a deadline. After more than 24 hours of searching, Robertson regretfully left Percy behind, then posted the saddest Facebook update ever. "I felt hollow and low and terrible," Robertson said. "But I couldn't be days late because my cat went missing." The next 400 miles were the worst stretch of travel Robertson had experienced in his six years of driving semi-truck. But then, the unthinkable happened. Shortly after arriving to his destination, Robertson saw a cat emerge from beneath his semi-truck. It was Percy. Robertson detailed the reunion through - what else – a Facebook update. "This is the feel-good story of 2017," Robertson said. "If ever a moment felt like a gift from God, it was then." Aside from needing a warm bath and a trip to the veterinarian for some medication to heal an eye infection (likely from the dust and salt endured on the long trip), Percy happily reclaimed his co-pilot status after his daring adventure. And Robertson promptly MacGyvered the window switches so that Percy isn't tempted to take a joyride again. -- Article reposted with permission from Aimee Blanchette, Star Tribune Source: StarTribune.com
  • image of a caucasian female truck driver standing and smiling toward the camera against a background of a blurred out white semi truck

    What it Takes to Make it as a Woman Truck Driver

    Long-distance truck driving has traditionally been a male-populated and dominated field, but more women are entering the profession. Currently, women make up 5.8% of the 3.5 million drivers in the U.S. Trucking is an industry that is often fair-minded regarding women drivers. Many women, however, have avoided this profession for various reasons, the largest one being fear of safety. It has been found, however, that with common sense, women are no more in danger on the road than male drivers. They may even be safer because of their caution, and the fact that many women have a four-pawed rider along for both company and protection. So, what does it take to make it as a woman truck driver?

    Stamina

    Life as a truck driver requires long hours of driving, odd sleep schedules, and time management skills to be sure you make your delivery times on schedule. You need to be willing to sit for hours without a break. Truck stops can be few and far between so you will get used to eating on the road. But, if you can handle long hours, you are one step closer to the road!

    Ability to be Alone

    If you are a solo driver you'll have a lot of alone time in the truck. For some, that is ideal. Others might like the idea of driving with a team member. As a solo driver you need to be able to handle making decisions on your own. You will also need the discipline to keep moving even without a boss looking over your shoulder. If you are comfortable with your own company, you are even one step closer to life on the road!

    Physical Fitness

    Long hours, heavy lifting, and the physical demands of handling a big vehicle require you be physically fit. Following a regular exercise program and eating as well as possible will keep you healthy, alert, and ready for whatever the road throws at you. Your fitness level doesn't need to equal that of someone in the Armed Forces, but you need to be able to hold your own health-wise.

    Women in Trucking

    Women in Trucking is a non-profit organization with the mission to encourage women in the trucking industry. Their website is full of information, events, and other resources helpful to anyone in the trucking industry.  Connect with thousands of other drivers by joining the Women in Trucking Facebook Group. Ask questions, post tips, share experiences, photos, and things that happen on the road. Heavy Metal Truck Training is proud to be a business member supporter of Women in Trucking, and provides every female student with their first year of membership!   For the right person, life on the road is a wonderful career. And the right kind of CDL training is essential to having a successful, long term driving career. At HMTT, our instructors understand that when you are out there on the road, you have a huge responsibility for both yourself and other drivers. When it comes to your CDL training, don't just look for quick-and-easy. Let Heavy Metal Truck Training help you build the confidence, skills, and knowledge you need for life out on the road!
  • An image of four white trucks and a blue truck sitting at an OTR trucking stop.

    How the OTR Trucking Lifestyle Can Make You Happy

    Life on the road for an OTR trucker can be described as a professional tourist. While that sums up the most basic aspect of the job, there is so much more to OTR trucking. Here are the benefits of OTR trucking that people often forget about.

    The Horizon is your Friend

    On those long runs that might take days, the horizon is your friend. You won't have to stop very much or worry about traffic jams. Drivers won't have to worry about 9 to 5 work days or being on a team with micromanagers. You can set your own pace. As long as you get the load to it's destination on time, you'll be good to go.

    OTR Trucking is a Lifestyle

    Did you know that OTR drivers are admired and respected by the general public? It is because when you need someone to "get 'er done," truckers are considered to be extremely reliable. They have to be reliable since the pulse of the nation depends on the deliveries of necessary supplies and goods. Without truckers, the U.S. would come to a standstill. Commerce and the American lifestyle roll with truck drivers, mile after mile.

    Camaraderie

    Truckers are a rare breed, so cameraderie out on the road runs deep. If you are a trucker, you are a member of a rare group of individuals unlike anyone else in any other job. At every truck stop you pull into, you have instant friends, just because of the profession you have chosen. With OTR truckers, once a friend is always a friend. They are great at keeping these lasting friendship bonds.

    A Natural High

    Driving down highways and byways is as much about working as it is feeling a natural high. You may witness the sun coming up each morning or setting each night, flocks of geese flying over head, mountains that seem to go on forever, and water that has never looked so blue. Rivers and trees, bald eagles, herds of deer, and incredible star filled skies. All of this awaits you each and every time you get into the cab, fire up the engine and release the brakes. In all respects, there is truly nothing like being on the road, whether it's for the people you'll meet, the places you'll see or the adventures you may encounter. Few people get to experience this type of lifestyle, but that's what being an OTR trucker is all about. Interested in pursuing a career in OTR trucking? Find the CDL training program that best fits your situation and enroll today!
  • An image of a man sitting behind the wheel in a white truck, giving a thumbs up.

    Trucking Courses That'll Keep You Within Your Budget

    Heavy Metal Truck Training (HMTT) doesn't just help those who want to become truckers — we perfect the techniques of drivers at every level. Regardless of how much training you've had, keeping your skills sharp may advance your career further than you ever thought possible. Our goal is to help students take trucking school courses without causing a huge hit to your wallet. Learn more about the cost of our current programs and how you can pay for them.

    The Cost to Get Your Start

    The least expensive of our classes won't cost you a dime. Offered weekly, you can take the Free CDL Permit Test Prep Class to prepare yourself for the written portion of the test to receive your permit. We also offer the Federal Training Standards Certificate Program, a paid course, which adheres to the new rules proposed by the federal government for new drivers. This course comes with both classroom and driving instruction on the road.

    Beginner Classes

    You can take the 460 Hour Class A CDL Certificate Program, where you'll get between 10 and 14 weeks of training to become a professional driver. You will need to be pre-hired before taking this program, but you will also be paid through an externship. You may also opt for the 200 hour class for 5 weeks, where you'll cover much of the same material. This class is excellent for those who will start their first job at entry-level. Finally there's the 160 hour course, which is 4 weeks, and includes 3 weeks in class and one week on the road.

    Intermediate Classes

    For those who want to give themselves a refresher, there's the 160 Hour Class A CDL Certificate Program, which runs 4 weeks, and includes 3 weeks in class and one on the road. You may also wish to take our weekend program instead, which gives you flexibility to attend over 8 weekends on a part-time basis. For those on a tight budget, the Just a CDL License Program will not give you the full training, but it will help you get a Class A CDL License.

    Advanced Classes

    For those who know what they're doing, there's the CDL Refresher & Recertification Course which is 15 hours of personal attention to go over any training you may have forgotten.

    Additional Classes

    Learn more about how to organize your log book and service hours in a 2.5 hour course. You can also pay for personalized training for a minimum 2 hours, or as much as 10 hours.

    Need a Little Help?

    HMTT understands that these costs can certainly be a lot for anyone, so we want you to be aware of other ways to finance your education. You may receive tuition reimbursement one of our carrier partners, or your soon-to-be employer may sponsor it as necessary company training. You may also find help through government programs such as specific grants, as well as general financing through HMTT, a credit union or a bank. Find out more information on how to pay for trucking school here.
  • An image of Minnesota winter driving conditions with snow covered streets and a couple cars driving in the distance.

    Tips to Keep You and Your Rig Safe in the Snow

    If ya live up in Minnesota, ya get used to a bit of snow. It can make driving pretty interesting. The folks at HMTT wanted to share these tips on Minnesota winter driving wit all da car drivers out there. And if any Minnesotans are looking to upgrade their rides to 18 wheels, come check out our CDL training at HMTT. No matter what type of rig ya drive, ya should be prepared as best ya can. Since ya drive most everywheres, it’s a good idea to have some stuff with ya all the time. Here are some pointers on keeping yer rigs on the road and havin’ some safe travels. An image of the Minnesota skyline in the winter with the words "Minnesota: Come for the Culture. Stay Because Your Car Won't Start."

    Keep Da Car Runnin’ Good

    First of all, ya should keep yer car in good condition all da time. Keep da brakes in good shape and change da oil when ya should. Keep other stuff under da hood nice, too. Spark plugs, bat-tree, stuff like that. Oh ya!!! That bat-tree thing—that’s real important, don’t cha know! It gets cold here. Them thar bat-trees gotta be good. Make sure yer wipers clean off da windows so ya kin see where yer goin’all da time. And have enough windshield washer fluid, too. That’ll keep the windows clean in case somebody splashes some muddage on ya. An image displaying Minnesota winter driving on a highway after a snowstorm with the words "The only thing worse than traffic... is an un-plowed highway ...with traffic."

    Make Sure Your Tires Are Good

    Yer tires should be good all da time, too. Dey should have lots of tread on them, and the right amount of air in them. That’ll save you gas money, too. Snow tires or even them all-terrain tires are a good thing to have if we do get a bit of snow.

    What Ta Keep In Da Car

    So den ya gotta have stuff in da car for Minnesota winter driving, too. Ya gotta keep da snow offa da windows, so ya should have a snowbrush and a ice scraper wit cha. Make sure all da snow is off da windows and da whole car. A buncha other good things to have with ya are:
    • Flashlight and batteries
    • Blanket or sleeping bag
    • Extra winter clothes and boots
    • Jumper cables
    • A small shovel
    • Winter salt or cat litter ( a couple containers of this can also serve as weight in the back of your car)
    • Snacks and water
    Ya can find dis stuff at home or at da store. When yer dere, don’t forget to get yer pop and Lutefisk. Ya Gotta Drive Safe, Too! If ya gotta go somewhere ya might run inta a slurge of people, so ya gotta drive safe, don’t cha know. Take yer time and watch out fer da udder guy! Don’t forget to be nice. You betcha! Now that you know how to prepare yourself for Minnesota winter driving, get trained the proper way for a new career as a professional truck driver with CDL training from HMTT. Contact us today!
  • An image of gold sparklers at night spelling out "2017" as a symbol of the new trucking industry outlook.

    Trucking Job Search & Salary Outlook

    Trucking provides a rewarding and stable career. As with any job, though, you should not apply until you understand the industry. Before becoming a trucker, consider the trucking industry outlook for 2017:

    Job Offer Overview

    The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects employment in the trucking industry to grow at a rate of 5% over the next 10 years, creating 98,800 jobs. Given that experts predict many current truck drivers will retire soon, new truckers will have ample job opportunities. In addition to the overall rate of job growth, prospective drivers should consider the specific skills that trucking companies are seeking. Shippers are upgrading their trucks to improve fuel efficiency, prevent accidents, and provide electronic reports. Truckers who have experience or training with this technology are especially likely to find good jobs. Those with experience in the oil and gas industry also have a hiring advantage.

    Pay Prospects

    The average trucker earned a yearly salary of $40,260 in 2015. This is equal to earning $19.36 per hour. Most truckers, however, do not earn hourly wages. Instead, shippers pay them per mile and offer higher rates to truckers who transport more valuable cargo or drive under difficult conditions. Truckers who own their vehicles, or work for companies with profit sharing programs, can earn a portion of the shipping revenue. This includes distant deliveries. Truckers’ pay also varies by industry, with wholesale truckers earning $39,500 per year on average. Specialized freight drivers earn $40,840 a year. Generalized freight drivers earn a full $42,320 a year.

    Recruiting Requirements

    The law requires long-haul drivers to obtain commercial driver’s licenses. The licensing process varies by state but usually requires the trucker to pass a driving test and a written exam. Truckers who transport hazardous materials must also receive a HAZMAT endorsement. To get this endorsement, truckers are required to take another test and go through a background check.

    How You Can Benefit from the 2017 Trucking Industry Outlook

    Besides having your CDL, most employers require truckers to attend professional trucking schools. Heavy Metal Truck Training provides the training you need to impress any employer. Our courses offer in-depth training and preparation for all certifications. To begin your trucking career, discover the program that best fits your current skill level.