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 a semi truck driving down a road against a blue sky background. text over image reads 'don't like the company you started with? how to change jobs in the trucking industry'

    How to Change Jobs in the Trucking Industry

    The trucking industry is full of different types of companies with different driver needs. The industry is experiencing a lot of growth at the moment with a lot of exciting new opportunities. But as with any business or industry, every job is not the best fit for every person. Don't give up on the career path if you aren't enjoying your current employer. Here are some suggestions on just what to do if you are not completely satisfied with your job in the trucking industry.

    Hang in There for a Year

    This isn't always the easiest thing to hear, but staying with your first employer in the trucking industry for at least a year is very important. During this year, you will be getting a lot of good training and building a certain level of experience that you'll definitely want as you move on to greener pastures. Spending a full year with your first employer also sends a good message to other potential employers that you are committed.

    Look at Your Needs and Wants

    Be honest with yourself about what you want and need in your career. Maybe you have young children and need to be home more than an OTR job can provide. Maybe you have other limitations that make it difficult to be on the road for extended periods of time. These are things you have to consider at length and then try to determine what you need to accomplish these career goals. Fortunately, there are a great number of different driving jobs for people with a CDL. Finding the right one for you is just a matter of looking.

    Work with Your Training Institution

    Job placement is a huge part of HMTT and it is a service that you should come to expect from a reputable training program. With our pre-hire service, we work hard to place you with a company that best fits your needs. But, if you find that you don't have the right fit as an employee with your current company, reaching out to our job placement staff so you can discuss new job placement options. At Heavy Metal Truck Training, we can help reach your career goals in the trucking industry! Contact us today to get started in your new driving career! 651-528-8994
  • image of a student driver at the wheel of a truck with the instructor standing along side giving instructions. text over image reads "is trucking school hard? what to expect in cdl class at heavy metal truck training'

    What to Expect at HMTT

    Working in the trucking industry requires attention to detail, self-discipline, physical endurance, and a strong work ethic. Going through CDL training gives students the skills, knowledge, tools, and training needed to succeed. But, is the training hard? What should you expect during your time in school? 

    Here are some things you can expect when you attend HMTT for your CDL training.

    Detailed Traffic Law Training

    To say that traffic laws are a little different for truckers is an understatement. While the basic laws are the same, driving a commercial vehicle adds some additional things to consider. There will be a lot of book learning where you will become well aware of these laws. Don't worry, you will be fully prepared for everything you'll need to pass your written driver test!

    Best Practices for Safety

    Preparing drivers for best practices in safety while operating a commercial vehicle is a very large part of your training. Lives are at stake when anyone operates any vehicle, but large commercial vehicles can be even more dangerous if not operated properly. Your training will include a complete knowledge and understanding of laws and best practices concerning the safe operation of a commercial vehicle.

    Actual Operation of Vehicles

    Bookwork is very important, but actually spending time and working physically in a commercial vehicle is even more important. It's necessary to get a feel for the size and type of vehicle you'll be driving professionally. At Heavy Metal Truck Training, you'll spend a great deal of time working with these vehicles and developing your skills and comfort. All of our training is performed in actual trucks - we don't use simulators! Trucking school should challenge you as it prepares you for an exciting and rewarding new career. If you are driven with a strong work ethic, you will absolutely succeed with the proper training. To get started on your road to success in the trucking industry, call HMTT today, 651-528-8994!
  • picture of trucking students sitting in a classroom with text over image that reads 'back to school for grown ups, enrolling in training for your cdl"

    Enrolling in training for your CDL

    Now that the kiddos are gearing up to head back to school, you might be considering heading back too. With the demand for entry-level truck drivers continuing to grow, a brand new career could be just on the other side of a CDL test. But, are you getting in the way of your own success? If you've been talking yourself out of getting your CDL, you're not the only one. Here are some suggestions on turning those negative thoughts into positive action!

    can't compete with people half my age.

    You might be a little anxious wondering if you'll be the oldest student in the classroom. Other students might just be starting out with their very first career. Either way, you're all going through the same program, likely learning the same things for the first time together.

    I can't quit my job and go to school.

    We know you're busy. We are ready to work with your schedule. At HMTT, we have classes starting regularly so you can get started with your training sooner than later. We also offer customized training programs, or one-on-one training to create the best training schedule for you! Heavy Metal Truck Training offers a variety of training programs that allow our students to keep working while attending school to earn a CDL. 

    I don't have the money for training.

    There are a lot of options for financial assistance here at Heavy Metal Truck Training! Tuition reimbursement, company-sponsored training, grants, loans, or payment plans - we have options for you! HMTT staff can help you with our in-house student loan financing. Start your application now to see how much you are qualified to receive!

    I was never a good student.

    Your years in the workforce has taught you to be a good student. Take notes, ask questions, and actively participate. Partner up with a classmate or ask a family member to study with you. We even offer free practice tests to make sure you're prepared to pass your CDL exams! Sign up today, and get unlimited access!

    I'm terrible at taking tests. What if I fail?

    You're attending school to learn the skills necessary to be a safe and productive driver. Failing the exam is not uncommon and it is not the end. Luckily, we have plenty of tips and tricks to help you study for - and pass! - your CDL exams.

    Am I making the right choice?

    At HMTT, we strive to provide the safest entry-level drivers in the transportation industry! We update our training programs regularly to meet industry standards and are able to train students of all skill levels with various programs for each. We know that there are a lot of options for getting your CDL. With HMTT, you are only a few short weeks away from a great salary and benefits!

    Get back to school so you can get out on the road! Let Heavy Metal Truck Training help you get the training you need for the job you want! call today, 651-528-8994!

  • image of a white male sitting in the drivers seat of a truck looking at the dashboard controls with text overlay reading "the realities of being a rookie truck driver. What to expect in your first year driving truck"

    What to expect in your first year driving

    Truck driving can be a long-term, rewarding career. The demand for new drivers is at an all-time high with plenty driving position needing to be filled. And since you can earn your CDL in a few weeks, you could be on the road earning a nice income in no time.  However, it's important to come into this career choice with realistic expectations. So, let's go over what you should expect in your first year of driving.

    Pay

    Obviously, pay varies immensely on the company, routes, experience, and what you're hauling. In 2013, the average salary of an entry-level trucker was $34,000 a year. However, trucker pay has been going up in the recent years, and according to the Labor Department, the average salary for a new driver currently sits at $40,000, or even more.

    Experience

    Your first year as a trucker should be focused on gaining experience behind the wheel. Seat time and seniority play big roles in the industry. Drivers with more experience will likely be offered better paying and more desirable routes. However, it doesn't take long to climb the ladder so those job offers could come to you quickly. Expect the pay to raise as your experience in the industry grows, as with most jobs. Thankfully, as a trucker, it's relatively easy to rise through the ranks as long as you're consistently providing a good service.

    What You Should Do Now

    Think of this first year as an investment of your time. You're building credibility to have a more fruitful, fulfilling job in this industry in the future. During this time, you'll be able to learn the rules of the road, gain experience, and can better prove to your employer you're adding value to their company by being a high-quality driver. Stay focused, worked hard, and keep a clean driving record. Err on the side of caution, and avoid anything hazardous and accident-causing. If you exceed expectations and focus on becoming experienced, you'll be on the right track. Are you ready to get your new career rollin'? HMTT is a Minnesota-based truck driver training school with years of experience in placing new drivers in rewarding positions!! Call us today to learn more about what we can offer you! 651-528-8994
  • image of the back of a semi truck with the words "student driver" painted in red with text over the image that reads "what happens if I fail my CDL exam?"

    Knowing these things can help you earn your license!

    The Commercial Driver's License exam can be difficult for some folks to pass. If you're currently studying for the test, you may be concerned about what happens if you fail to pass it. Luckily, having too low of a score once doesn't mean you'll never be able to earn your license. If you do fail, here are a few things you should keep in mind to plan and change for next time:

    For Now, Remember...

    • The CDL exam is like any other test. Many people fail it the first time (or even the first few times) they attempt it.
    • Stay positive. Since you've taken the test once, you'll be better prepared for next time. There's more to a test than knowing the questions. Experiencing the real testing environment will make retaking the exam far easier.
    • The state of Minnesota allows you to retake any written portions of the CDL exam as often as once a day.
    • You can schedule retakes of the driving portion if necessary.
    • There is no limit to the number of times you can retake either exam.
    • You're only required to pay a retesting fee ($10 for the written and $20 for the road) after failing twice before.
    • You can always ask for help! Talk to your instructor about the items you feel unsure about, or want more practice on.

    For Next Time, Consider...

    • What mistakes you made during the written exam and what you should study for next time.
    • What you forgot to check during the road test — or what driving skills you need to practice more.
    • What endorsements you want to add to your license. If you forget to test for an endorsement while you are getting your commercial license, don't worry. You can take endorsement exams even if you already have a commercial license.
    Practice makes perfect. Make time to take our free CDL practice tests so you can be prepared! Heavy Metal Truck Training will teach you the skills needed to pass the exam and drive trucks professionally! Give us a call at 651-528-8994!
  • image of a semi truck driving down a road against a blue sky background. text over image reads 'how to study for (and pass!) your cdl exam'

    Tips & Tricks to Successfully Pass the CDL Test

    The Wisconsin CDL Manual is roughly 160 pages long; Minnesota's is nearly 200. That is a lot of info to wrap your head around when you're studying for your CDL exams. Trying to memorize everything in the manual would be difficult, and ultimately, very frustrating. So, what's the key to studying for your CDL exam? Let's start with some study basics. What's on the test? Having an idea of what will be on the CDL exam gives focus to your study sessions. Concentrate on the materials that you will be tested on, don't bog yourself down with trying to study the material for endorsements you are not seeking. Improve on your weaknesses. Spend extra time studying parts that you know you struggle with the most. Don't be afraid to ask your instructors for clarification on areas you have difficulty with. Stay Focused. Studying when you're tired is not an effective way to retain information. Set aside time to study when you're focused and alert.

    Practice, Practice, Practice!

    Practice tests are a great way to get familiar with the information you will be tested on and learn the areas that you struggle with. Use practice CDL exams to highlight the areas you still need to work on so you know where to focus your studies. Take practice tests as often as you want until you know the material front to back! Still struggling in some areas? Try taking an "open book" test where you refer back to the CDL manual for answers. Then, test your skills by setting a time limit to see just how well you can do without the book.

    Did We Mention We Offer Free CDL Practice Tests?

    Sign up for free and get unlimited access to HMTT's free online CDL Practice Tests! The CDL test can seem daunting, but with the right training and practice, you can be confident you'll successfully pass the written portion of your CDL exam.

    Set a great foundation to build and grow in your trucking career with training from Heavy Metal Truck Training! Call us today to get started! 651-528-8994