5 Tips for Getting The Most Out of CDL Driver Training

Earning your commercial driver’s license (CDL) is the first step to a rewarding trucking career. In most cases, it’s best to get your training at a truck driving school. To get the most out of your CDL driver training, it’s important to have the right mindset.

Here are some tips:

1. Research the Industry Before You Start

Before you attend CDL school, read about the trucking industry. This helps you make sure that you are fully committed to this career path. There are many benefits, such as high pay and the opportunity to see the country, but you should consider every aspect of trucking and be prepared for the unique lifestyle.

Researching before you start CDL classes also helps you figure out what topics you may need more help understanding. Read the New Mexico CDL manual and keep track of any questions that come up. As you go over these topics again in school, you’ll be prepared to retain more of the material.

2. Stay Positive

During your CDL driver training, you’ll be learning a lot of new skills. You’ll be better at some than others and it’s easy to get overwhelmed or frustrated. However, staying positive can help you have the best possible experience. Remind yourself of why you are interested in a trucking career and focus on working toward your goals.

3. Ask Questions

There will be a lot of information to take in during your training. To help you understand everything your instructor covers, ask questions when you need to. Don’t feel self-conscious. Chances are other students will be wondering the same thing, and questions give everyone the opportunity to learn more about the material.

4. Practice, Practice, Practice

Your instructors will help you prepare for your CDL test, but you should also study on your own or with classmates. The skills on the driving test will require instructor supervision, but you can practice pre-trip inspections and study for the written tests without this. Find a study method that works for you and practice as much as you can.

5. Observe While Other Students Drive

In most cases, you will spend a portion of your time driving during hands-on training, and you will spend the rest of the time watching while other students drive. Instead of checking out, pay attention to what your classmates are doing. If they make mistakes, make a mental note of what you can do to avoid the same issues. If they are doing especially well, consider what you can learn from their technique. This helps you make the best use of your time.

Bonus Tip: Choose A High-Quality Trucking School

The above tips focus on what you can do to improve your experience, but this will also depend on the quality of the program you attend. At Phoenix Truck Driving School, our instructors have real-world experience and work hard to help you succeed. We also have a job placement assistance team and many of our students have offers before graduation. We can get you on the road and earning in as little as four weeks.

Get Started On The Road to a New Career

If you are interested in earning your CDL with Phoenix Truck Driving School, contact us today.

Why Most Entry-Level CDL Jobs are OTR

After earning a commercial driver’s license (CDL), many drivers start their career with an over-the-road (OTR) job. In the majority of cases, experienced drivers will advise rookies to start out with long-haul trucking. You will also likely see that most entry-level CDL jobs are OTR.

Here are some of the reasons why most new drivers start with an OTR job:

1. Build Experience

OTR job allows you to get exposure to a variety of driving conditions and situations. Since you’ll be driving across the country, you’ll learn how to handle icy roads, mountains, traffic, sudden weather changes, et cetera. Whether you continue to drive OTR or eventually transition into a regional or local job, your first year as a long-haul truck driver gives you the opportunity to start building these skills.

2. Space Out More Difficult Driving Conditions

Local jobs (and, to a certain extent, regional jobs) tend to involve a lot of city driving and backing into loading docks. These are challenging tasks for a new driver. While you get the chance to do both while driving OTR, you won’t spend your entire working day doing them.

This gives you the opportunity to focus on learning new skills without the stress of constantly doing the driving tasks that are most challenging for beginners. It’s also worth noting that staying accident-free your first year is helpful for finding jobs in the future, and this can be more difficult if you are driving in city traffic and backing into tight spots all day.

3. Higher Pay and Tuition Reimbursement

The specific pay scale varies depending on the carrier you choose to work with. However, OTR tends to be the highest-paying option for new CDL holders. This is because of the high demand for long-haul truckers. Many companies also offer tuition reimbursement for new graduates, further increasing the amount you can earn.

4. Insurance

The three reasons above illustrate where OTR jobs are often the best starting point for new truckers, but it’s also helpful to understand why there are fewer entry-level regional and local jobs. One of the major reasons for this is insurance.

It costs more to insure new CDL holders compared to those with experience. As this article previously mentioned, local and regional jobs can include challenging conditions on a daily basis, which further increases the risk for insuring new drivers in those positions. As a result, most regional and local routes will require 6 months to a year of previous experience, whereas entry-level OTR positions are more accessible to a student who just graduated CDL school.

Start Your Trucking Career

If you are interested in earning your commercial license, Phoenix Truck Driving School can help. We can get you on the road and earning in as little as four weeks.

To learn more about earning your CDL, contact us today.