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Thread: Getting a CDL A on your own without school??

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    townie388 is offline Rookie
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    Default Getting a CDL A on your own without school??

    If you get your own Class A (not attending school or a training program through a carrier), how hard is it to then find a job?? Husband has a Class B already that he did on his own. We're just trying to figure out if spending the $ for school will help him better find a job. Basically either way he has no OTR experience, right? He drives a cement mixer now.

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    mapleleaf_1 is offline Board Regular
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    I personally feel it's better taking a course through a school or carrier. Companies are more responsive and willing to hire new drivers with training. Doing it on your own you could miss some valuable information or pick up some bad habits which might hurt you in the future. This is just my opinion. Best of luck with your decision. Drive safe everyone.

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    If your husband already has a Class B and driving experience, he should have some familiarity with some of the rules and regulations of the road. All you will get at a school is a CDL. If he gets a Class A then he may be able to start with a trainer and start earning money a little faster. You can't learn this business in a classroom. The problem I have with most of these schools is that they don't offer enough actual driving time. Since that is what we mostly do, we should spend a lot of time behind the wheel. If he has driving experience in a Class B vehicle, it would help him even though it won't count as experience with most carriers. I would check with some of the training carriers such as Millis, Swift, Roehl, Schneider, CRST, etc., These people are the ones who can best answer your questions. I got my CDL many years ago when we learned by getting behind the wheel. We didn't have driving schools back then. There are several recruiters who frequent this board. They could best answer your questions, at least as far as their respective carrier's are concerned. If it were me, I would go ahead and get the license on my own. Keep in mind that you will likely need to do a road test in a Class A truck with a trailer. I am not sure how they handle the transition from Class B to Class A. I know that he will need to at least take the written combination test. It is difficult to rent a class 8 truck without first having a Class A license. If he could obtain his CDL before going with a carrier, he may avoid the long term commitment for training. That will be left up to the respective carrier. There have been some on the board who have gotten their Class A license without going to a driving school. Bandit's Cousin is one that comes to mind. He is in HHG. You might shoot him a pm and ask.

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    The summer that I turned 21, my first year on wheat harvest was when I got my CDL. I got the study book, and I took the tests/road test, and got my license. The guys that I drove for has trucks, so I had a truck/trailer for the road test.
    If you can find someone you know who has a truck/trailer for the road test, you shouldnt have any trouble getting the Class A.
    I was going to try to get the Intrastate license when I turned 18. Come to find out, no CDL is required for farm use vehicles.

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    Uturn2001 is offline Senior Board Member
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    While not impossible to find a Class A driving job with out attending a CDL school it is very difficult.

    If you want to find out just how difficult then call some carriers and tell them:

    I have a Class A CDL, no Class A driving experience and have never attended a driving school and see what they say.
    Finding the right trucking company is like finding the right person to marry. I really comes down to finding one whose BS you can put up with and who can put up wih yours.

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    Years ago I got my cdl on a whim, I read the tri-fold brochure at the dmv, took the tests and passed, there was a guy outside who would rent you his truck, we drove around for an hour or so and went back so I could take the road test, I passed, I never drove for about 8 years, then the cdl license came into being, I bought a $15 study guide, took the test and passed again, another 5 years go by and I get some part time jobs driving stage/lights/sound around the mid-west, then no driving for 7 years. Now itís 2007, I decide to go driving full time, there was one company that said if I passed their road test Iíd be driving in 3 days, I told the recruiter that I wouldnít be doing him any favors due to my lack of experience, he didnít seem to mind. I personally believe that by attending a PTDI school I made a much wiser decision, I got the training I never had, became a safer driver, more knowledgeable about rules/regs and opened up many more doors than had I just gone with the big company with the white trucks.
    Anybody can get a class A cdl without going to school, getting a good job may not be so easy.
    My advice is this, go to a PTDI school, youíll learn more and not be a slave to some company contract, sure you may not have had to spend that money but youíll be a safer more marketable driver in the end.
    Just my 2 cents

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    Karnajj is offline Senior Board Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Uturn2001
    While not impossible to find a Class A driving job with out attending a CDL school it is very difficult.

    If you want to find out just how difficult then call some carriers and tell them:

    I have a Class A CDL, no Class A driving experience and have never attended a driving school and see what they say.
    I agree completely. Your odds of getting on with a carrier without going to school are nill. Its mostly an insurance thing.
    I'm willing to die to protect my Right to Bear Arms.

    Are you willing to die to take them away from me?

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    I did back in the mid 90's of course I got mine because I was a mechanic prior to driving OTR. Of course my father who drove for 30 years was my trainer so that helped there and he knew a company that would hire me when I did turn 21. I had no problem getting a job driving but times have changed.

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    GoldiesPlating is offline Senior Board Member
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    Difficult but not impossible at best to get a good job without formal CDL schooling. Not just any schooling either. First try and narrow down your list of companies you would LIKE to work for and ask what their requirements are. Don't just go to any school only to find out later that the company you pick doesn't recognize their training.
    With TMC for example, we require a 160 hour course and only from certain schools on our list.
    Best of luck to you.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Uturn2001
    While not impossible to find a Class A driving job with out attending a CDL school it is very difficult.
    Not un-true, but the other side of the coin is that I blew six grand to go to driving school, and it turned out the company I went with would have been glad to train me and get me a CDL if they had known me ahead of time. We trained one guy from the warehouse, and a couple guys off the street in my time there. I was the only sucker in the whole bunch working to pay off that $6,000 tab for CDL school.

    On the other other side, I had no idea that company existed, and I found out about them through the placement office at CDL school.

    I also think I got better, more broadly applicable training in school, and it was a good way to go, except for the exorbitant tuition.

    (Everybody else who went through that school went through JTPA. I was apparently a real sucker for putting the whole tab on my Visa. Which was, in retrospect, an incredibly stupid thing to do. Sort of. OTOOOH, it all paid off, and OTOOOOH, I paid like $10,000+ for school once I got done with all the interest. So what do you do about hindsight? It's hard to say. I guess the main thing is I made it all work, and I'm not broke anymore, and I'm making a viable go of being a freight relocation engineering technologist for all that.)

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    townie388 is offline Rookie
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    Thanks for all the replies! If DH decides to do the school route the hardest thing will be we'll have no salary for 6 weeks and no medical benefits. Lots to think about.

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    i would not go to school. pay all that money, time, stress. then get hired at a company to most likely find that you made more money driving a cement truck. i got my class b working for a oil co. the co also had a big rig tanker. i would go out & practice a lot on my off time & days with the tanker driver to learn enough to get my class a cdl.

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    Karnajj is offline Senior Board Member
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    The point I think some are missing is just because some tiny mom and pop outfit is willing to hire someone with no school doesn't mean that the larger more established companies are willing to hire that driver if they decide to move on. You are seriously handicapping yourself by not going to school. There are exceptions but seriously, what are your chances of being one of those exceptions? Pretty poor.
    I'm willing to die to protect my Right to Bear Arms.

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    pogo379 is offline Rookie
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    If your interested in flatbed Maverick will hire you without cdl school. We had a guy in my orientation that got his cdl by running around with an owner operator and Maverick gave him a chance.

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    I would be a so-called "exception" :lol:

    Got my CDl on my own and went o/o day one

    I'm a success story though, followed by lots of mud, sweat, and gears!
    Mud, sweat, and gears

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    Quote Originally Posted by Karnajj
    The point I think some are missing is just because some tiny mom and pop outfit is willing to hire someone with no school doesn't mean that the larger more established companies are willing to hire that driver if they decide to move on. You are seriously handicapping yourself by not going to school. There are exceptions but seriously, what are your chances of being one of those exceptions? Pretty poor.
    Well if you stay at the mom and pop place a year or 2 then you have exp. and you can go anywhere.
    Truck Driving an occupation consisting of hours of boredom interrupted by sheer terror!!

    "All the coolie carriers suck. Log 70, work 80-100, paid for 50." - the Great ColdFrostyMug



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    Karnajj is offline Senior Board Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mackman
    Quote Originally Posted by Karnajj
    The point I think some are missing is just because some tiny mom and pop outfit is willing to hire someone with no school doesn't mean that the larger more established companies are willing to hire that driver if they decide to move on. You are seriously handicapping yourself by not going to school. There are exceptions but seriously, what are your chances of being one of those exceptions? Pretty poor.
    Well if you stay at the mom and pop place a year or 2 then you have exp. and you can go anywhere.
    Disagree. That may have been the case years ago but not today. You MIGHT get on with another mom and pop but not with a company that's well established.
    I'm willing to die to protect my Right to Bear Arms.

    Are you willing to die to take them away from me?

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    so are you saying a guy with 5 years OTR exp. wouldnt be able to get on with a well established company cuz he didnt go to school to get his cdl.???? Most of the well established companys want exp. or recent grands.
    Truck Driving an occupation consisting of hours of boredom interrupted by sheer terror!!

    "All the coolie carriers suck. Log 70, work 80-100, paid for 50." - the Great ColdFrostyMug



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    Karnajj is offline Senior Board Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mackman
    so are you saying a guy with 5 years OTR exp. wouldnt be able to get on with a well established company cuz he didnt go to school to get his cdl.???? Most of the well established companys want exp. or recent grands.
    Most companies insurance want to see that piece of paper that says "I graduated".
    I'm willing to die to protect my Right to Bear Arms.

    Are you willing to die to take them away from me?

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    redsfan is offline Senior Board Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by townie388
    Thanks for all the replies! If DH decides to do the school route the hardest thing will be we'll have no salary for 6 weeks and no medical benefits. Lots to think about.
    Check into some of the local community colleges in your area.

    The local CC here offers a night an weekend course that lasts 8 weeks. You do the classroom portion of the training in the evenings and the driving portion on the weekends. I'm not 100% certain on this, but I am pretty sure that they also mix in some night driving also. Which is something you won't get from most weekday schools.

    Good luck.
    The opinions expressed are those of the author's only. They do not represent the views of CAD or of the other members of CAD...

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