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

  • Photo of semi trucks backing into ports. Text overlay reads: "Trucking maneuvers: 4 tips to backing a big truck"

    Learn How to Back Up a Big Rig

    For large trucks, the most common advice related to backing up is this: if you can plan ahead and pull through, don't put yourself in a position where you have to back up. Sometimes, though, you have to back up so here are a few tips for getting your back up skills sharp:

    Practice in open areas

    One of the best ways to get good at backing up is to practice in an open area. Generally, empty parking lots without any pylons or lights make a good practice ground. You can even use wheel chocks or other road gear to set up a practice range. Regardless of how much experience we have as drivers, our skills can become dull without use. Practice is key to staying safe and sharp.

    When in doubt, GOAL

    Whether you're backing up to a loading dock, moving a load in the yard, or trying to get out of a tight spot, you may not be able to see very well. If your vision is limited, don't rush, GOAL (Get Out and Look), the stress you will have saved is worthwhile. This can also help prevent costly backing accidents. We offer more advice on the GOAL tactic in our courses.

    Remember how steering moves the trailer

    When driving a trailer, it is very easy to impulsively turn the steering wheel like a normal vehicle. The only problem is, trailers back up the opposite direction of the steering wheel. You have to turn trailers with the rear dually axle as opposed to the front wheels. It is also worthwhile to know that pulling up and backing again to straighten the trailer gives you more visibility.

    Be mindful of what's around you

    When backing a trailer, don't be afraid to get out and check to see what's behind you. Keep an eye on the mirrors—usually the left mirror—and watch for any changes to your environment. You don't want to clip the loading dock or one of the workers.

    At Heavy Metal Truck Training, we offer a safe space for drivers—both seasoned and "green" drivers to come, learn, and practice their trade. Call us today and see how we can help you master these and other important trucking skills! 651-528-8994

  • Photo of CDL trucks in parking lot. Text overlay reads: "Job placement program: well paying jobs are waiting."

    Helping You Find a Trucking Job After Graduation

    Whether you want a career that offers room to grow or need something that can cover the bills, getting your CDL can open new doors for you. According to Glassdoor, the average salary for a CDL driver is around $37,000/year, with some companies like UPS and Coca-Cola offering upwards of $65,000/year or more. Walmart just increased their driver salaries to nearly $90,000 per year.

    How can you get your CDL?

    CDLs require extensive testing and training through a certified school along with a certain number of driving hours. For specific CDL "license types", there may be other requirements. When getting your CDL, look for a school that meets all of your needs and offers the full licensing package.

    Choosing the right license type

    Different CDL types have different licensing requirements and different privileges. When you are picking your license type, determine which type of CDL driving job you want to do and see what licenses are required for several employers.

    Next, be sure to consult with a school to make sure they offer the type of license you want.

    Seeking a job after getting licensed

    When you are seeking a job after getting your license, make sure that you give your "first-round draft" picks the most attention. If you need a job with benefits and a slightly better salary, take extra care to put your best foot forward when applying to them.

    Negotiating your pay with the license

    Once you've gotten your foot in the door and have some time and trust built with the company, you may be able to negotiate a raise based on your reliability, performance, location, and the rates of other, similar drivers from other companies in the same circumstances. Websites like Glassdoor (linked above) can be a good resource for finding this type of information.

    How we can help you find the right program help you get out on the road? Fill out the form on this page, or call us today and find out! 651-528-8994

  • Photo of HMTT semi truck. Text overlay reads: "Why choose HMTT for your CDL training?"

    Answers to Some FAQ's about HMTT

    When you are deciding where to get your Commercial Driver's License, we understand that you have a variety of schools to choose from. At Heavy Metal Truck Training, we strive to be your top choice when you are seeking a driving school to attend. We offer all of the services that you will need to get your CDL and are also committed to helping you find work when you graduate our CDL training program. Today we are going to go over some of the more commonly asked questions that we get asked by those wanting to get their CDL.

    Q: How long will it take me to earn my CDL?

    A: It depends on which program you register in, but you can expect to spend anywhere between 120 and 460-hours of training. This generally takes anywhere between 4 and 14-weeks to complete. We'll find the program that is best for you depending on your skill level and needs.

    Q: When do classes start?

    A: Classes will usually always start on a Monday unless Monday happens to be a holiday. Then, we'll adjust schedules to have the first day of class start on a Tuesday or the next regular day of business.

    Q: Is it worth going to a CDL school vs getting a CDL on my own?

    A: We think so! Enrolling in a CDL school gives you knowledge and confidence to pass the CDL exam, as well as the direction in your new career. At HMTT we also assist with job placement to ensure the right fit for each graduate. There are a lot of options out there, and HMTT has dedicated professionals here to help you find the job that suits your needs best.

    Q: How much will it cost me to get my CDL?

    A: Training cost differs from person to person due to several factors. The first would be the CDL program you choose and secondly, the tuition assistance we can provide students. Heavy Metal offers a variety of different financial assistance programs to help you afford to get your CDL. Depending on the assistance you use, some or all of your costs may be covered.

    Q: If I want more information where can I get it?

    A: We are always happy to help you understand why getting your CDL is the right choice for you. We'll be glad to provide you with more information on our classes or financial aid! Give us a call at 651-528-8994.
  • Photo of CDL students sitting in class

    Being Humble & Coachable

    Whether you've already put in over a million miles or have yet to drive your first inch as a trucker, the most valuable skill in your arsenal is being open to learning. New experiences teach volumes to those who are willing to buckle up for the ride and take away new lessons. Lessons that frequently save time, like new routes, save lives, like driving skills, and save worry, like route planning.

    What can a CDL refresher offer you?

    Refreshing your certification can help you learn or relearn new and important driving skills. For newer drivers, it can help you learn some rules of the road. In case of a lapsed CDL, there may even be new laws that you should know.

    How can you take ownership on the road?

    Taking ownership means knowing that you are responsible for the truck and trailer regardless of what is happening. The heavy burden of ownership means that you have to stay in the know about new laws, equipment, and driving techniques. Sometimes companies don't push veteran drivers to seek out new information, but allow them to leave work at the door.

    Our program gives new and veteran drivers alike a fresh view of the trucking world and respects their status as a veteran. We also respect new drivers and show them the ropes so they have the tools they need when hitting the road.

    How can a classroom benefit a coachable, yet seasoned trucker?

    Being coachable just means taking yourself out of the equation and listening to an instructor. Listening does not mean staying silent, but it does mean keeping an open mind. How can you keep an open mind?

    Know that you or may not have more practical experience than the instructor. Also know that the instructor is giving out knowledge that has been collected from countless veterans like you to help newer drivers and experts alike stay safe and happy.

    Feel free to reach out to us and see how we can help you learn and renew or meet any other needs you have in the trucking world. Fill out the form, or call us today! 651-528-8994

  • Image of semis parked in parking lot. Text overlay reads: "Programs to help you afford your Minnesota CDL training"

    Programs to Help you Afford your Minnesota CDL Training

    CDL Training may cost anywhere between $3,000 and $7,000 depending on the school and training program That can seem like a daunting, fairly expensive undertaking for many people. The good news is there are ways you can afford to attend Heavy Metal Truck Training and get your CDL license!

    Company Sponsored Training & Reimbursement

    Many truck carriers assist or sponsor students attending Heavy Metal Trucking Training. These companies will pay for all or part of the tuition costs for drivers that commit to working for them upon graduation. Alternatively, tuition reimbursement may be available to students for the expenses they incurred going through CDL training. While it varies by company and sponsorship, a driver can receive $100 to $300 per month above their regular earnings to help them repay their tuition. Most companies will cumulatively reimburse a student up to $10,000 for their education in total.

    Dislocated Worker Program

    For those who are unemployed, assistance may be available through the Dislocated Worker Program. Other programs may also assist unemployed individuals in getting their CDL so they can get back to work. Some of these programs include TAA or MET to name a couple. In addition, Heavy Metal Truck Training is WIOA certified in both Minnesota and Wisconsin.

    Financial Assistance Through Grants

    Grant programs may also be available. These financial assistance programs can help those who are under or unemployed get back on their feet and start their training to become a truck driver. Some of these programs are run through the city of Minneapolis while others are State or Federal programs. As you can see, there are plenty of different ways to afford trucking school with financial assistance. If you are interested in getting your CDL and feel like you might need financial assistance call us today! We can find the program that is perfect for you! 651-528-8994
  • Image of 5 semi trucks in parking lot

    Industry Outlook for the New Year

    There are many reasons why you should consider a career in the trucking industry. But one of the most important questions to ask is - Will there be work for me after I complete my training and get my CDL A? If you're looking to start a first career or need to find a better paying job - and one where you don't have to worry about being laid off, then continue reading this jobs forecast. Industry analyst shows the trucking industry is expected to do very well in the year 2019.

    Not Enough Drivers To Meet The Jobs

    First of all, there is a shortage of trained truck drivers to fill the jobs that are available. Shipping products by truck is on the rise. According to Truck.com  
    "Overall, the trucking industry moves more than 70 percent of the nation's freight by volume...The industry was short about 50,000 drivers in 2017, and that number could rise to 175,000 by 2026..."
    The truck driver shortage is not new, but maybe the reasons why we need more drivers has changed: -- the current workforce is mostly male over 45 years of age - many are starting to retire early -- some truck drivers decide to change to desk jobs where they are in the office more -- other drivers stop hauling due to  health concerns such as diabetes and high blood pressure What does this mean for you? Never has there been a better time to enroll at Heavy Metal Truck Training. This is the first step to a rewarding career that gives you freedom and an excellent income.

    Trucking Industry Forecast For 2019

    The trucking industry is experiencing a period of growth right now. This is due to NAFTA trade agreements that support the movement of goods across the nation - between the Canadian and Mexican borders. Carriers are looking to find enough drivers to move this freight. Here are some statistics according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics: -- Heavy and Tractor-Trailer Truck Drivers - Number of Jobs: 1,871,700 for an increase of 108,400 -- Delivery Truck Drivers  - Number of Jobs: 1,421,400 for an increase of 55,200 -- Taxi Drivers and Ride-Hailing Drivers - Number of Jobs: 305,100 for an increase of 15,100 These numbers are average, and as the economy continues to improve, it is certain the trucking industry will surpass these statistics. Discover how you can become a part of this growing industry that expects wages to continue to skyrocket by calling HMTT today! 651-528-8994