Reasons to Get Your CDLIt 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.
- There is currently a truck driver shortage, and companies are eager to hire drivers with proper training.
- Travel across the country and see new cities you would have otherwise not been able to see - and get paid for it.
- The average starting pay for a truck driver can be $40,000 or more. Drivers with experience, team drivers, or those with other endorsements have the potential to earn quite a bit more.
- Some companies will cover the tuition costs for your training!
- When you are a truck driver driving across the country it can get kind of lonely. Staying connected to those back home may take some coordination.
- When driving across the country it can sometimes put a strain on a relationship. Make sure that your partner is aware of this and is fully supportive of your career choice.
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
Get your Minnesota CDL at HMTTChoosing the right south St. Paul truck driving school is an important decision. As you're looking to find a CDL school in south St. Paul, you need to pick the place that will give you the best training and job prospects. Here's why that place is Heavy Metal Truck Training.
Class A CDL Training Done The Right WaySome schools use a simulator to provide "behind-the-wheel" CDL training. Heavy Metal Truck Training doesn't. At our south St. Paul truck driving school, you receive all of your behind-the-wheel training in a truck. Our goal is to make our students safe, road-ready drivers. We teach our Class A CDL training according to the Professional Truck Driver Institute's (PTDI) curriculum standards.
We Help You Find Work Before Training YouOur south St. Paul truck driving school has a pre-hire service. Before you start training, we verify you qualify for training and job placement by taking a look at your driving record, health, and criminal background. Through our pre-hire service, we have partnerships with dozens of truck carriers. Heavy Metal Truck Training students know they have a job waiting for them.
Attend a Free Pre-Hiring EventYou're welcome to attend one of our free pre-hiring events. There's no obligation to you. While you're there, you'll have the opportunity to hear directly from one or more trucking company representatives. Also, we give you more information about the professional trucking industry.
You May Qualify for Tuition ReimbursementMany of our carrier partners offer tuition reimbursement. Some students are able to cover all of their tuition this way. This is how it works. You pay for your training with HMTT. Once you start working, the carrier partner pays you $100 to $300 over your earnings each month up to $10,000.
Company Sponsorships for Qualified IndividualsSome carrier partners sponsor qualified individuals. These companies pay for part or all of your tuition at Heavy Metal Truck Training. Find out which companies we are partnered with, so you can start your career with them as soon as your training here is done! Register today, or get more information about our class A CDL training, pre-hire service, and tuition assistance programs! Simply call us at 651-528-8994 or fill out the form you see on this page!
Test-Drive the Trucking Life Without Leaving HomeA career in trucking is an awesome way to get out and see this big beautiful country while making a living. Whether you've been trucking for years already, or if you're still considering a career in trucking, there are plenty of trucking vlogs out there to entertain and educate.
Get a Taste of the Trucking LifeStill debating whether a career driving trucks is right for you? Check out these vlogs to get a taste of what trucking life is really like:
- Trucker Josh posts nearly daily vlogs about his life on the road trucking all across the USA and Canada
- Lil Dawg vlogs about his career trucking around the city of Chicago
- On the youtube channel Trucking with Selena, you can watch a husband and wife team adjusting to the life of a long haul trucker
- KayBee Tha Trucker provides motivation, entertainment, and insight into the trucking world on his vlog
Been There...There are plenty of trucking vlogs out there for the experienced driver as well, offering tips, tricks, and a good laugh. Enough content to shake your head at and think "I've been there!"
- Try the Smart Trucking Channel for tips and advice
- The Golden Child offers advice on trucking, life, and money on his channel
- For help with EGR Emissions and other ways to maximize fuel economy check out the MakeCents vlog
Truckers on Instagram
- Need a good laugh? Check out twistedtruckers on Instagram for a little trucking humor.
- For some amazing images that show the realities and beauty of life on the road check out truckersjourney.
- Trying to stay healthy while out on the road? Easier said than done! The Healthy Trucker is full of tips on everything from exercises you can do in your cab, to healthy inexpensive snacks for the road.
Getting Your Family on BoardMaking the decision to start your CDL training can be exciting, but it can be equally important to have the support of your family before embarking upon a new life journey. The more information you arm yourself with when sitting down to discuss the decision with your support system, the better. Here are some helpful things to keep in mind when opening up that conversation.
1. Apply For Tuition AssistanceSeveral carriers partner with Heavy Metal Trucking for tuition assistance, and the programs vary widely to fit different needs. From tuition reimbursement to paid training options, there's a vast array of resources available to prospective students who are ready to take the first step.
2. Stay ConnectedWith the advances in modern technology, it's easier than ever to remain connected with family over long distances through mechanisms such as video chat. But even if you're not an electronics whiz, there are still plenty of other ways to feel close to loved ones while you're away. Many drivers carry along precious keepsakes or photos to ease homesickness. You could also mail letters or postcards to and from family members at stops along the way.
3. Think Long-TermIf you are the parent of young children, over the road driving is most likely a concern for all involved. However, it's important to keep in mind that you will likely be eligible for other driving jobs that allow you to stay closer to home after your first year of behind the wheel.
4. Choose The Right TrainingWhether you're just beginning to consider your CDL training or you're looking to expand your skillsets and obtain a higher level of certification, Heavy Metal Trucking has a program that is customized to fit your needs.
5. Let Them Tag AlongCompanies vary widely on this policy, but you would typically be permitted to take a family member along with you as long as they are above a certain age and do not possess a CDL. There is usually a small fee involved for companies to cover extra insurance costs. If this is an option that interests you, be sure to mention it to your prospective employer in order to choose a company that best fits your family needs. For more tips and information on obtaining your CDL training, call us today! 651-528-8994
Manual Transmission Fears?Are you a prospective truck driver worried about learning to drive a stick shift? They do indeed make automatic semi trucks. However, you need to think twice before you skip getting licensed to drive on manual transmissions. There are a few reasons we will examine. Companies will prefer you be able to drive manual transmissions. This is so that when you become certified there are no restrictions on your license. This is why it is so important to choose the proper CDL training program. These programs are designed to teach those who have very little knowledge of truck driving initially. So, don't fear if you've never driven a manual transmission before. You'll be among many other students in the very same boat. In fact, it's common to have little knowledge of operating manual transmissions when you begin training.
It's Important You Learn to Drive on a Manual TransmissionIf you do test only on an automatic transmission there will be a restriction on your license preventing you from operating semi trucks with manual transmissions. This will seriously limit the number of jobs you are able to take. This is because the vast majority of semi-trucks require operating a manual transmission. There is also the very strong possibility that the truck you test on to complete your CDL training will use a manual transmission as well. If you are truly unable to get the hang of operating a manual transmission, you are able to test on an automatic transmission. However, it's highly unlikely you will need to! Following the training appropriately will prepare you to operate a manual transmission. Here's an overview for those worrying about learning to drive manual transmissions:
- Most trucks use manual transmissions
- You aren't alone in your lack of knowledge
- You'll get many hours of training and supervision
- You will open yourself to many more job opportunities!
Will the Drive Safe Act Improve Trucking?The Drive Safe Act is a piece of legislation that was introduced to Congress last year. It is supported by both the American Trucking Associations and the International Foodservice Distributors Association. If passed it will have a major impact on the current driver shortage.
The ProblemThe American Trucking Associations estimates that the trucking industry is currently 50,000 drivers short, and that number could potentially reach as high as 175,000 drivers by 2026. This is a major problem for the foodservice distribution industry that relies on these trucks to deliver tens of thousands of products each day. Adding to the issue is the age restrictions currently placed on drivers. You can earn a CDL when you are 18, but drivers are not allowed to cross state lines until they are 21. This causes the industry to lose potential drivers who choose other career paths out of high school.
The Drive Safe ActThe Drive Safe Act will allow drivers to cross state lines at 18, as long as they complete a two part apprenticeship. The drivers will be required to complete 400 hours of on duty time and 240 hours of drive time with an experienced driver in the cab. Additionally, trucks used in the program will be required to have certain safety features such as, an active braking system, a forward facing camera and speed governed at 65 mph or less.
The Effect on TruckingIf the Drive Safe Act passes it will help reduce the driver shortage. It will allow people to obtain their CDL and begin their apprenticeship right out of high school. It will open up higher paying jobs to younger drivers, making a trucking career more appealing to them. It will also make the industry safer through it's new training requirements. To learn more about how this Act will impact your trucking career, contact us today.
Which one is More Beneficial to you?The differences between a Class A and a Class B CDL are the vehicles they let you operate different classes (and weights) of motor vehicles depending on what your job requirements happen to include. The federal government has even passed the Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Act to set minimum requirements for drivers of large vehicles and the training and CDL that they must hold to be allowed to drive certain vehicles. We train students for their Class A CDL because of the variety of job opportunities it allows for. However, it's important to know what each class allows so you can make the best decision for your career. In this blog post will take a look at the difference between the Class A & Class B CDL and what each one will allow you to do.
Class A CDL:Your Class A CDL will allow you to operate a variety of different motor vehicles that a regular commercial driver's license wouldn't let you operate. Your Class A CDL will allow you to drive combination vehicles such as a semi-tractor and trailer or with combined gross weights of 26,001 or more. You will also be able to drive a trailer that weighs 10,000 pounds or more. You might need special endorsements to drive certain vehicles such as those carrying toxic waste or those with a certain number of passengers. The following are examples of some of the different types of vehicles you might drive on a Class A CDL:
- Tractor trailers
- Truck and trailer combinations
- Tractor trailer buses
- Tanker vehicles
- Flatbed vehicles
- Most Class B and Class C vehicles can get driven on a Class A CDL
Class B CDL:Your Class B CDL will let you operate a variety of different motor vehicles that a regular commercial driver's license won't let you operate. Your Class B CDL will let you drive single vehicles that weigh 26,001 pounds or more in gross weight. It allows you to operate a trailer vehicle that weighs more than 10,000 pounds. The following types of vehicles can get driven on a Class B CDL:
- Straight trucks
- Large buses (i.e., large city or school buses)
- Box trucks
- Dump trucks
- Some Class C vehicles with the correct endorsements
Class A & B CDL, What's the Difference?A Class A CDL gives you more flexibility in driving different types of vehicles and lets you drive almost all of the vehicles that a Class B license allows you to drive. If you are looking for maximum flexibility in the vehicles you drive, the Class A CDL is probably the best fit for you.
Endorsements for Class A CDL Drivers:Being able to haul hazardous loads, driving double trailers, or other variable requires special endorsements on your CDL. It is up to the driver to know and understand the laws requiring endorsements and to ensure that you obtain any endorsements required to drive the vehicles you do and to be in compliance with the law. Our jobs is to help you determine which endorsements will be beneficial to you in your career. The following list includes some of the most common endorsements, what the driver must do to get them, and the vehicles that they become required for if you wish to drive them as part of your job:
- H Endorsement: required if you will be driving vehicles containing hazardous materials and includes a written knowledge test to receive the endorsement
- N Endorsement: permits drivers to drive vehicles with tanks on them and also requires a written knowledge test to receive the endorsement
- T Endorsement: permits drivers to drive a double or triple trailer and requires the driver to pass an additional knowledge test to receive this endorsement
- X Endorsement: permits drivers to drive vehicles that transport HAZMAT materials or vehicles that are tankers and the driver must pass a knowledge test to receive this endorsement.
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
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
Answers to Some FAQ's about HMTT
When you are deciding where to get your CDL, we understand that you have a variety of schools to choose from. At HMTT, 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. The requirements for each CDL program are listed here.
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 direction in your new career. At HMTT we also assist with job placements 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. Click here to enroll and to begin your classes ASAP!
Q: How much will it cost me to get my CDL?
A: The average CDL program will cost between $3,000 and $7,000. However, HMTT 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. A list of our financial aid offerings can be viewed here.
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, or fill out the form you see on this page. You can also check us out on Facebook and connect with us there!