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 student truck driver driving around cones with instructor near. Text overlay reads: "What to expect after graduation from CDL school"

    You've earned your CDL...Now what?

    Congratulations! By finishing CDL school and earning your CDL, you've made two big steps toward becoming a truck driver. However, you're not ready to hit the road alone as a professional trucker yet. Here's what happens after CDL training but before your first solo trip.

    Join a Carrier

    Many graduates of Heavy Metal Truck Training join a carrier through our pre-hire service before they begin training with us. If you didn't take advantage of this service, your first step is to sign with a carrier. The national shortage of professional truck drivers means you probably won't have a hard time finding a trucking company to hire you. In fact, local and OTR company recruiters regularly visit our school to discuss employment vacancies or offer pre-hire letters to students.

    Attend New Driver Training

    Each trucking company has its own training program. A carrier may refer to this training by names like new hire training or driver orientation. No matter what the training is called, it usually covers common topics like:
    • Your daily responsibilities
    • Company operations
    • Personnel policies
    • Pay and benefits
    • Safety rules
    • Handling emergencies
    • Vehicle care
    • Communicating with dispatch
    • Cargo
    • Routes
    Most of your company training takes place in the classroom. You may spend some time in a simulator or an actual vehicle to learn skills not taught in CDL school. The length of the training depends on the company and what kind of freight you're going to carry. Company training may last a few days or a few weeks.

    Get on the Road

    Finally, it's time to get in the driver's seat and hit the road! At first, you won't be alone in the truck. An experienced driver (sometimes called a driver trainer or mentor) goes along for the ride as your passenger. The trainer is there to observe your conduct, answer questions, and provide advice based on his or her experience. After a few weeks with your trainer, you'll be ready to go it alone! If you haven't started your journey to become a professional trucker yet, why wait? It's a great time to start your CDL training and hit the road in a new career. Call us today to see how you can get started! 651-528-8994
  • Image of police car lights. Text overlay reds: "Getting a commercial drivers license as a felon. Can you do it?

    Are you disqualified from getting a CDL?

    We hear from a lot of people who want to know if they can get their CDL after a felony conviction. The answer depends on the person and the felony. The good news is that your odds of getting a trucking job are fairly high. Each state has the right to set its own requirements for earning a CDL, but most of them care much more about the individual's qualifications than about their record. The past matters, but not as much as the present.

    The Details Matter

    Everything will come down to the details of the case. The type of felony is the single biggest factor for most people. A felony that involved a vehicle will usually make things harder. On the other hand, there are plenty of other felonies that don't make a difference. The amount of time that has passed since the conviction can also be important.

    States Set Their Own Rules

    The most important thing to remember is that every state, school, and employer has its own set of rules. That might mean that you can qualify for your CDL in one state while being disqualified in the next one over. Similarly, employers may have different employment standards; you may qualify for employment with one company, but not another. Most states follow the same general pattern. They disqualify people with convictions for serious crimes related to vehicles and a few other offenses, but they don't care about the others. You do have to put in some effort to see if you can qualify in your state, but most people can do it.

    Ask the School

    There is an easy way to find out if you can qualify for your CDL. Just get in touch with us! We can go over your history with you to figure out if you can meet the requirements to get your Commercial Driver's License. It never hurts to ask, and you may be surprised to find out just how easy it is to get started. If you have a felony conviction but want to get back on your feet, getting your CDL at HMTT might be a great option! Call us today to see how soon you can get started! 651-528-8994
  • Photo of red semi on highway. Text overlay reads: "3 benefits of getting your commercial driver's license"

    Reasons to Consider Your Commercial Drivers License

    Interested in obtaining a CDL license? Starting a career as a truck driver has many benefits and can be easily adapted around your preferred lifestyle. It's also a career that doesn't require a four years bachelor's degree, and the starting pay and benefits can be great. These are but a few of the reasons why getting your CDL license is beneficial to your future and your life.

    Job Security

    Believe it or not, there is a shortage of truck drivers in the U.S. This means that the demand for drivers is high and the job security is excellent. There will always be a need for goods to be shipped long distances, making a truck driving career one you can depend on for a long time.

    Flexibility

    Once you get your CDL license, it's easy to shape your driving schedule around other activities in your life. And you don't have to be full-time driver, plenty of truckers drive on a part-time or seasonal basis. There is also great flexibility in where you might want to live. Residency requirements aren't something many trucking companies have, so you have a lot of freedom to choose a great home location. More and more local companies are hiring drives, too.

    Travel and Independence

    Traveling around the country and getting paid to do it isn't a bad way to make a living. Truck drivers are some of the most well-traveled people and always have plenty of stories and experiences to share. There are also a ton of opportunities to meet and connect with people while you're on the road, allowing you to form a network of relationships throughout the U.S. A CDL license also empowers truck drivers to have a certain sense of independence. Being by yourself for long hours on the road promotes a responsibility to yourself and the company you work for to complete the delivery or task at hand. Heavy Metal Truck Training can help you get on the road in your new career. For any questions about getting your CDL license, call us today! 651-528-8994
  • Photo of OTR semi on highway and local truck in town. Text overlay reads: "OTR or Local Driving? The pros and cons of both"

    Which Driving Position is Best for You?

    So you are done with your training, excelled in the CDL test, and you are ready to begin your career as a truck driver. The field offers plenty of job opportunities, and among the first decisions you will need to make is choosing whether to work as a local or over-the-road (OTR) driver. Since each of the career paths comes with its distinct pros and cons, you need to understand the drawbacks and benefits associated with each of the two.

    Local driver

    This group typically comprises of drivers working for a particular company. They mostly work within a specified regular route and usually operate 250 miles within their home terminal.

    Pros

    • More home time – If you work in this category, chances are you will be leaving for work in the morning, then join your family again later in the evening.
    • Less time behind the wheel – This opportunity lets you move frequently and take regular breaks from behind the wheel.
    • Set routine – Since you work on the same route each week, you can be sure of stability while also creating familiarity and friendly terms with businesses on your route.

    Cons

    • Lower pay – Generally you will make less as a local driver as opposed to when working as an OTR.
    • Possibly fewer job opportunities – Truck drivers may be on demand, but it is harder to find a local gig, especially if you are fresh from training.
    • Loading and offloading – This job may require you to take part in the physical loading and unloading of delivered freight.
    • Relatively longer working hours – You may go back home every night, but most shifts usually begin at 4 in the morning and end at 6.00 pm.

    Over the road driver

    Here, you may be charged with covering the lower 48 states, but the freight and routes to follow largely depend on your employer. You may work as a regional driver or travel from coast to coast.

    Pros

    • Higher Salary – The pay for an OTR driver is relatively higher, and you will enjoy additional financial packages
    • Paid off days – Most employers offer paid days off that correspond with how long you have been away.
    • Travel – Here, you can enjoy traveling and seeing the entire country and earn from it.
    • No-touch freight options – As opposed to a local driver, companies on your delivery schedule usually have their dedicated staff for the job

    Cons

    • Less home time – You must be ready to sacrifice your time and spend approximately one day every two weeks with your family
    • Driving hours & Hours of Service – The DOT regulates the number of hours a trucker can drive per day. Working hours per week are also regulated. Truckers must take appropriate time off of driving to avoid being out of compliance and facing fines.
    CDL holding truck drivers currently enjoy a job market with loads of opportunities! Depending on your preferences or circumstances, you can choose between the two pre-hire options. If you are ready to begin your career as a truck driver, contact us today for guidance on how you can succeed in the trucking industry! 651-528-8994
  • photo of semi and workout equipment. Text overlay reads "OTR trucker lifestyle: How to workout"

    Your Guide to Being Fit While Over the Road

    Finding time to work out while you are living the OTR trucking lifestyle can be not only very challenging, but it also may seem impossible as well. The good news, however, is that there are plenty of ways that OTR drivers can get their exercise in while they are on the road. You might have to get creative, but it can get done. The following will discuss what some of those methods are and how drivers stay in shape while on the road for weeks on end:

    Keep It Simple

    Exercise doesn't have to be complex to be effective. Something as simple as scheduling time throughout your day to walk a short distance while you are at the truck stop can help you feel loser, more ready, more awake, and more energized than you would have if you were sitting in the truck all day. Simple steps such as 10-15 minutes of movement each time you are at a truck stop can help burn calories and do wonders to keep yourself slim.

    Driving Regional or Local? Try a Gym Membership

    Getting a membership to a common fitness center that is likely to be somewhere near you at most times can allow you to get some workouts in regularly each week. Use the map function on your phone or another electronic device to find a location nearest you where you are on the road, no matter where you happen to go. When you find one, head out and workout for an hour. It will also provide you with weights and other exercise equipment besides the basic treadmill or elliptical. These centers can get you a full-body workout that you can't get just walking in the parking lot.

    Bring Light, Storable Workout Equipment

    If you have room in your truck, bring light workout equipment such as a yoga mat, stretch band, or set of free weights with you to workouts on the road. Even this basic workout gear can help you keep moving while you're on the road and help you avoid the bulge of fattening foods from the truck stops and a job that requires a lot of sitting down.

    Use Apps on Your Smartphone

    There's a ton of great workout programs that you can subscribe to via your tablet or smartphone while you are on the road. Most will only require light equipment like a jump rope, stretch bands, yoga mat, free weights, etc. Subscribe to one of the apps listed here and follow along for virtual workouts that last anywhere from 20-30 minutes up to about 90 minutes. No matter how much time you have, you can break a sweat and feel better about yourself afterward. Even with limited storage space and little equipment.

    Remember to Stretch

    Stretching can provide you with relief for sore muscles and body stiffness that come with sitting down for 8 to 10 hours at a time while you drive long distances. Keeping limber and flexible will help you be less sore while you are on the road and you will be able to stay comfortable while driving for longer. Fitness is not just strength and conditioning but also overall well-being which includes stretching and keeping your body's range of motion within what your body is designed to imitate. These are just a few ways that you can stay healthy while you are on the road trucking and are on your way to a healthier lifestyle while doing it. For rather an assistance in staying healthy while you are on the road, please feel free to contact us for further tips and information! Remember, you can live the fit OTR lifestyle if you plan and discipline yourself as well as commit to your health first!
  • Photo of semi on the highway. Text overlay reads: "Starting your new trucking career path"

    Reasons to Get Your CDL

    It is always a tough choice to start a new career path. Whether you are just starting out, or just in need of a change. No matter the reason, it usually takes times, but when you start your new job, you will know it was worth it.

    See new places as a truck driver.

    Being a truck driver can be exciting. You will get to see new areas and depending on the type of company you work for, you will even get the chance to see new states. There are so many benefits to driving a semi-truck. Before you land that truck driving job you are looking for, you will have to get your CDL. A Class A CDL will ensure that you are able to drive a truck across state lines. With so many companies in need of drivers, you are sure to land a job in this exciting field of work.

    Pros and Cons of being a truck driver.

    With every job that you do, there will be pros and cons. Make sure you weigh both and make sure this is the job for you before you start your class A CDL training.

    Pros:

    Cons:

    Start your new career today!

    Once you weigh the pros and cons you will need to make the choice on whether or not becoming a truck driver is right for you. If you have any questions about the training process, our staff at Heavy Metal Truck Training is ready to help you!
    Contact us today for more information on how to start your new truck driving career path! 651-528-8994