The life of a truck driver is cloaked in mystery and stereotypes for most people. It’s not unusual to find people blaming unsafe road conditions and worse on truck drivers, but good truck drivers are highly trained professionals who are key to keeping life running smoothly. An essential step toward becoming a truck driver is to attend trucking school, but sometimes people are turned off the idea because of certain pre-conceived notions. Here are four myths about trucking schools that you can safely leave behind if you want to start working toward a career as a truck driver.
1. Trucking Schools Don’t Exist
Trucking school isn’t something you see advertisements for very often, but the schools do exist. You have a choice between national chains with locations in different states and smaller local schools. The size of the school isn’t a real issue, though; what you should be concerned about is whether the school offers all of the training you need to pass your commercial driver’s license test and drive a truck safely. It’s important you find a trucking school that is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education-approved organization, and the school should provide training that’s in line with the Professional Truck Driver Institute.
2. Trucking Schools Aren’t Necessary
A dangerous myth is that trucking schools aren’t necessary, and that you can learn how to drive by having a friend or employer teach you. However, trucking school education is mandatory if you want to be behind the wheel. Truck drivers have to take state skills tests to ensure they will be safe on the road before they start driving a truck — these are not skills you can pick up in on-the-job training.
In a trucking school, students learn how to drive and maneuver vehicles, including backing up a truck that has a full load. When you attend a trucking school, you’ll learn how to deal with runaway trucks, bad weather, pre-trip inspections, mid-trip inspection station requirements, and other aspects of trucking that involve much more than just sitting behind a big steering wheel.
3. Trucking Schools are for Men Only
The popular image of a truck driver shows the driver being male, but that is not the case in reality. While truck driving is a male-heavy profession, there is a substantial percentage of drivers who are female. As a matter of fact, there are over 200,000 female truck drivers in the United States alone, a 50 percent increase since 2005. In addition to that, female drivers have a vastly better collective driving record. According to statistics, they are three times less likely to get into an accident and five times less likely to disobey traffic safety laws. Female truck drivers are an asset to any company that hires them, and trucking schools are very happy to have more and more female students.
4. Trucking Schools are for Long-Haul Trucking Only
Trucking as a profession brings to mind the image of a semi on an interstate highway, but trucking skills – as well as a commercial driving license (CDL) – are necessary for local trucking services, like moving trucks and delivery services. Most professions that require you to drive a large vehicle also require that you have a commercial license, and trucking school is one of the best places to get that training.
So, even if you plan to work for the city dump, driving garbage trucks, you are likely going to need a commercial license. Instead of scrambling for training, a relatively short program at a trucking school can provide the education you need without requiring too much of your time. If you can find a school that offers night and weekend courses, you can hold onto your day job while you train.
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Posted by Jason King on Tuesday, June 29, 2010
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