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

  • 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

  • image of a black male and woman standing with two hispanic males in front of semi trucks smiling toward the camera. text over image reads 'women & minorities in the trucking industry: the changing faces of big rig driving'

    The Changing Faces of Big Rig Driving

    When you think of a long-haul truck driver, the image that comes to mind is typically the stereotypical white male. In decades past, the industry has been dominated by white men in the driver's seat. However, new mindsets and higher paying wages are changing the faces of big rig driving.

    Women

    While women still only make up about 6% of the truck driving industry according to a recent American Truck Associations (ATA) report, that's changing. The shortage of qualified drivers has companies rushing to create incentives to attract more women to the job. Here are a few.
    • Better Pay - Wages for truck drivers continues to increase as the demand for new drivers soars.
    • More Home Time - More home time keeps drivers connected to their loved ones, and keeps them in the driver's seat longer.
    • Incentives - Carriers are increasingly offering better communication and personal incentives for their drivers to help increase driver retention.

    Minorities

    There has been a significant increase in the hiring of minorities for long-haul driving in recent years. Industry experts predict the growth of minority truck drivers and company owners will grow by 21% in the next couple of years. And there's plenty of support now thanks to organizations like the National Minority Trucking Association (NMTA).
    • Assistance and Support - Organizations like NMTA advocate for successful career paths for all minorities in the form of training and education.
    • Opportunities for Growth - The potential for professional advancement in the industry and as business owners is emphasized.
    • Community Awareness - NMTA and other organizations are making efforts to make minority communities aware of opportunities in trucking.
    Truck driving as a career is hard work but the rewards are numerous. Getting your CDL can lead to long-term job security, good pay, great benefits and opportunity for career advancement.

    Heavy Metal Truck Training offers affordable CDL training with options for tuition assistance. For more information on how you can get your start in the trucking industry, call us today! 651-528-8994

     
  • image of truck with the instructor standing along side giving instructions. text over image reads 'how to choose the best cdl training school'

    3 Key Training Items to Consider

    With so many options available for truck driving schools and CDL certification programs, how do you know where to begin? The thought of picking the right school can seem overwhelming. What do you look for? What questions should you ask? Today we'll take a look at some of the key training items you should look at when choosing the best CDL school. 

    Classroom Activities

    Classroom work isn't the most exciting, but it's still an important part to your success as a truck driver. At HMTT, students will spend classroom time watching videos and listening to lectures. We cover topics like State laws, regulations, and other pertinent knowledge needed to drive a large commercial vehicle. The actual curriculum will vary depending on the program you take, and is based on the FHWA Model of Curriculum and follows the Professional Truck Driver Institute’s (PTDI) curriculum standards. Classroom work also includes the National Safety Council Defensive Driving Certification class and hazardous materials coursework.

    Behind-the-Wheel Practice

    Some schools have shifting simulators and/or driving simulators. These are like big video games that students can practice on before getting into the actual truck. Driving simulators mimic different road conditions, but don't give you a feel for what it will really be like. At HMTT, you'll learn to drive a truck by actually driving one! We don’t use simulators for your truck driving training – all of your ‘behind-the-wheel’ training will be done in an actual truck. Your time in the yard will be spent practicing your shifting, turning, and backing skills. You'll learn how to hitch/unhitch a trailer and how to back into a loading dock. Students will also have driving practice off the lot in actual traffic and in different in driving conditions - always with a well-trained instructor alongside in the truck.

    Job Ready and Road Worthy

    Do the schools you are looking at have a job placement service? At Heavy Metal Truck Training, we partner with many different trucking companies to provide our students with assistance in starting a trucking career. We often host hiring events where representatives from some of the largest and most well-known employers will come to the school to meet with students during their training. Many students come to HMTT through our Pre-Hire Program, which means they'll have a job waiting for them once they graduate.
    These are just a few things you can expect when you enroll for your CDL training at Heavy Metal Truck Training. Call us at 651-528-8994 and we'll get you enrolled and ready to roll.