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 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.
  • image of a hamburger and french fries in a basket with text over image that reads " living a healthy life when driving otr"

    Better, Healthier Choices Make Better, Healthier Truckers!

    Having a career as a truck driver, where stops are infrequent and normally include gas-station or fast food, doesn't have to mean living an unhealthy lifestyle. By making small, impactful changes, drivers can ensure they are living their healthiest life even while on the road.

    Don't diet—just eat healthily

    A big trend is to take on the newest fad in healthcare and try it out in hopes of finding quick success. The problem with dieting is that it usually causes intense relapses and setbacks. Because dieting is usually a temporary option used to treat a specific problem, many people often gain the weight back once they quit, or they overeat through binge cycles. By focusing on eating healthier instead of dieting, truckers will change their lifestyle for the better, not just for the time being. And because eating healthy is hard on the road, here are a few quick tips for those needing easy substitutes for their hearty snacks.
    • Swap chips for popcorn
    • Eat an apple
    • Flavor your water with fruit slices
    • Eat raw foods when available (including nuts, seeds, and fruit)
    • Eat more fiber, not more food
    • Plan your meals ahead of time - learn how to make quick and easy meals right in your truck!
    • Swap things out - try tuna salad instead of a hot dog

    Take a hike… literally

    Although it can be hard to find time to eat, drink, visit the restroom, and walk during your short break as a driver, it's an important and necessary task. Instead of eating while sitting down, consider eating while walking around the area. Better yet, run in place or drop down for some pushups. If you have space, bring your favorite workout equipment with you on the road, including a bicycle, free weights, or even rollerblades—whatever it is that will inspire you to get moving.

    Drink water

    Staying hydrated will make you feel more awake and keep you feeling fuller, longer. Often when we feel hungry, it's just our body asking for more water. So instead of reaching for a (healthy) snack, take a sip instead and see how it makes you feel. Water will also cure many driving-induced headaches, will lubricate your cartilage and joints, and keep you focused. Water also has the ability to regulate blood pressure, remove toxins from your body, fight illnesses, and stave off cravings. Also, if you bring your own reusable cup, many gas stations and restaurants offer free water refills at the soda station—saving you money, too!

    Check your posture

    Because drivers are sitting for extended periods of time, having good posture can help alleviate many aches and pains traditionally associated with the career. Instead of hunching over in an unnatural position, reteach your body to sit up straight, with your shoulders back. An easy trick is to keep your elbows low and close to your body, which will force your shoulders into a good position. What might feel awkward and uncomfortable at first will soon become habit, and your lower back will thank you for it. Consider also adjusting the seat so it is nearly upright and the distance from pedals to knee is at almost a 90-degree angle. This will allow for proper alignment in the body, while also helping with focus and vision abilities.

    Get a good night's sleep

    At the end of the day, the most important thing you can do for your body and your safety is to get a good night's sleep. Tired driving is dangerous to everyone on the road and is a big inhibiting factor to a healthy lifestyle. Here are a few tricks to getting a good sleep at the end of a long day:
    • Download a white-noise app
    • Read a book
    • Practice meditation
    • Eat smaller portions, especially before bedtime
    • Consider vibration when finding a parking spot
    • Wear a sleep mask
    • Invest in a mattress topper
    • Drink more water
    There are a variety of ways to stay healthy while living a life as a truck driver. The most important thing you can do is to be aware of the setbacks and come prepared for a successful day. Having the right tools and information to be healthy is the first step in making an impactful lifestyle change. For more information about starting or improving your life on the road, contact us today.
    Heavy Metal Truck Training is a Minnesota state-licensed truck driving school that trains students from all over the country through affordable CDL training programs. The right training sets a foundation for a successful career. Talk to us today to learn how you can build the skills and confidence you need to stay healthy on the road! Call us at 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 'what to expect at truck driving school'

    Going Through Truck Driver Training at HMTT

    As the shortage of truck drivers continues to grow, so does the demand for new truck drivers. This high demand has many people excited about the new and rewarding career opportunities in the trucking industry. If you're one of these people, you're probably considering getting a head start by taking a career training CDL class. You're not alone. HMTT continues to enroll students from Minnesota, Wisconsin, and the surrounding states to train for a State-licensed Class A CDL. Going through our CDL training course gives many students the skills, knowledge, experience, and confidence needed to pass the CDL exam, and is a great foundation for them to build and grow in their new career!

    So, what can you expect from the CDL training programs at Heavy Metal Truck Training? 

    You'll Get Pre-Hired

    Our pre-hire program means you'll have a job before training even begins. Not only will you receive the best quality truck driver training at an affordable cost, but you won't waste time searching for the job you want when you're done with training. You'll have the option to choose from dozens of employment opportunities, and you'll start right after graduation.

    No Experience? No Problem.

    At Heavy Metal Truck Training, we are well equipped and prepared to train a beginner with zero experience in heavy truck driving to successfully pass and become employed as a truck driver with his or her CDL license.

    We strive to provide the safest entry-level drivers to the transportation industry and offer free CDL test prep class and an online test prep service to help students successfully pass the written tests necessary to obtain a Class A CDL permit. Students may take advantage of this service to help qualify for the written test for a Class A CDL permit test. Best of all -there is no additional charge for this.

    Classroom Studies and Hands-on Road Training

    Classes are small, with personalized training options. Class time will be spent learning DOT & state laws, and the rules of the road. State and federal requirements of commercial drivers and procedures will also be taught in the classroom. Hands-on training takes place in an actual truck. At Heavy Metal Truck Training, we DO NOT use a simulator! You'll get actual hands-on learning of pre-trip checks, backing, coupling/uncoupling, and driving with heavy loads. In your fifth week of training, you'll take your road test, and with our Attendance Rewards Program, students may also have unlimited road test opportunities!

    After Certification

    When you graduate, don’t think your training is complete. There is still a lot to learn with the company you go to work for. But going through CDL training will put you one step ahead of the competition, and builds the confidence that you can do the job.

    Riding with your Trainer

    Once you graduate from HMTT, you'll usually begin your new job by riding with a trainer. This offers more learning opportunities and increases your confidence for your first solo ride. Companies differ in the time required to ride with a trainer. Some companies may provide a trainer for a couple of weeks while others will provide a trainer for 30 days.

    Ready to Ride Solo

    Start your career in confidence knowing you completed a comprehensive program and received high-quality instruction from Heavy Metal Truck Training School. With the knowledge and hands-on training you received at HMTT, you'll be on the road to a long, safe, and successful career in the trucking industry!

    Begin your new trucking career now! Get rolling by calling HMTT today at 651-528-8994 for more information!
       
  • How to Overcome Them for a Great Career in Trucking

    Want a career that is always in high demand? Look no further than driving a big rig. Becoming a truck driver is a perfect way to challenge yourself and gain a great career! Every career has its own unique set of challenges and driving a commercial vehicle is no different. There are great ways to conquer those challenges if you have the desire to take them on. Let's look at a few:

    • Keeping accurate records - There are records you will have to keep for taxes, DOT regulations, etc. Keeping up with it as you go is your best solution. There are lots of software programs available now to help you. Just a few minutes each day will keep you on top of everything, making your job smooth.

    • Staying fit - Sitting for hours on end isn't good for anyone in the long run. Make time for yourself 3 or 4 days a week to spend an hour in a gym or a pick-up basketball game or take a jog. Set regular doctor appointments during your time at home and keep them! A little effort goes a long way. Eat healthy as much as possible. Keep healthy snacks in your truck and be mindful of what you are ordering at restaurants.

    • Boredom - Sitting alone in a truck for hours on end can mess with your mind. Use the time to listen to audiobooks, enjoy the changing scenery, or learn something new listening to CDs. The time will pass by faster if you are enjoying yourself. Make this a priority from the beginning, to learn something new every day!

    • Family time - You will have adjustments to make if you are in a relationship, that's for sure. It can be done with time, willingness, and flexibility. Set regular times to talk to your family. With hands-free calling and determination, you can make this happen. Enjoy every moment you are together, making your time apart just another part of the daily family life.

    Truck driving is a noble, honorable line of work that is always in demand. There are pros and cons to every job, but you can overcome the challenges and enjoy a long, happy life in trucking. Call HMTT today at 651-528-8994 and let us help you challenge yourself as you start a great career in trucking!  
  • How To Easily Afford Truck Driving School

    "Grants" and "FAFSA" (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) are words normally associated with tuition funding for colleges and universities. However, they are also available for trade schools - yes, even truck driving school! Let's look at how you can easily afford truck driving school.

    Grants

    These cover 100% of your training costs. You must meet specific qualifications to receive a grant, such as being unemployed, underemployed, a veteran or a WI/MN resident.

    FAFSA

    Funds received from a FAFSA are not a loan and do not require repayment. There are several requirements that must be met for qualification for schools that accept FAFSA.

    State & Federal Assistance

    There are several state and federal programs available to individuals wishing to further their education. Being unemployed can qualify you for these funds. Heavy Metal Truck Training is WIOA certified in Minnesota and Wisconsin.

    Loans

    Student loans may be available through your bank, credit union, or in-house through HMTT. Apply online! Everyone is qualified for assistance without the lengthy process of a financial institution.

    Tuition Reimbursement

    HMTT partners with different trucking companies that offer tuition reimbursement once hired. Many companies will pay an additional $100-$300 on top of your pay each month that you can use to pay off your loan.

    Veterans

    Several options are available to the brave men and women who have served our country. Training grants can be obtained with or without using VA benefits. Several carriers that work with HMTT also participate in the VA & DOL Driver Apprenticeship Program, which pays Veterans over-and-above their regular earnings, up to a set limit. Heavy Metal Truck Training is here to help you reach your career goals! Don't let funding to be an issue that stops you from achieving your dreams! Talk to a financial representative today to find out which programs we partner with that you'll qualify to use. Our admissions team is here to help you on a one-on-one basis to find funding for your CDL training. Let's get started! Call 651-528-8994 today!