News & Updates

Your Guide to Becoming a Truck Driver: CDL Endorsements

May 23, 2019

 

graphic with image of bus and text that reads "Your Guide to Becoming a Truck Driver. Part 4: License Endorsements"

 

CDL Endorsements Increase Your Skills and Job Opportunities

The Commercial Drivers License (CDL) you obtain from Georgia Driving Academy will only allow you to drive a single trailer vehicle. As you have heard in CDL class training, endorsements are additional, acquired certifications that prepare and qualify you to transport certain types of loads.  Found on GEORGIA GOV under “Commercial License,” you find the “License Endorsements” that will allow you to drive different types of loads, as illustrated by the FMCSA.

  • “C – For Hire” – Georgia requires anyone, even CDL drivers, driving for a limousine company must have this level of endorsement.
  • “P – Passenger Vehicles (sixteen or more, including the driver)”
  • “H – Hazardous Materials Haulers” – You have the authority to haul hazardous materials
  • “S – School Bus (no qualified for Permits)” – You can legally drive a school bus.
  • “T – Double/Triple-Trailers” – You can legally pull multiple trailers at the same time.
  • “N – Tank Vehicles” – You are allowed to haul liquids or gas that are otherwise restricted.
  • “X – Tank Vehicle + Hazardous Material” – You are certified to haul tanks with hazardous materials.

Be in Higher-Demand with One License Endorsement or More

The more qualified you are, the more truck driving opportunity you will have coming your way. You will find good advice on Smart Trucking. As you will read, “getting a CDL endorsement or taking continuing education courses can give your resume more appeal,” and also bring you a higher-paying job.

So which endorsement should you get? That’s up to you as an individual, but many truck drivers recommend getting all of them. Endorsements make you much more valuable to a trucking company because you can perform tasks that not everyone can perform. Employers like that kind of flexibility, and when it comes to being in the job market, vault you to the front of the line when it comes to desirability. Think about it: if you run a large outfit, and you see two similarly qualified applicants, but one can haul double trailers and do HAZMAT, which one has the advantage?

Once you’ve decided which endorsement you want to get, it’s time to take the CDL exam! Come back for Part 5 as we break down the ins and outs of the test…

Your Guide to Becoming a Truck Driver: CDL Training

May 14, 2019

 

The next step in your quest to becoming a truck driver centers on the main portion of the training: going to CDL school. This is the part where you’re actually committing your financial resources to your new career ambitions and there’s no turning back. Due to this, we wanted to answer a few common questions people ask about the Class A CDL we have at GDA. You can find answers to those questions below:

How Long Is CDL Training?

Trucking training generally runs between 6 and 12 weeks, depending on how intensive your sessions are and how much time you commit weekly. It is important to go through the entire course, and work hard to ensure you not just become familiar with the concepts of your CDL training, but that you master them.

What Does CDL Training Consist of?

There are two aspects to your job training. The first is the most obvious: learning how to drive. Your time in the truck, learning the controls and how to maneuver this monstrosity around without hitting anything, getting stuck, or running off the road is of major focus during this portion of your CDL training.

The second part is classroom work. In the classroom you learn the rules and regulations of driving a truck, so you are prepared once you get out on the road. When all is said and done, the act of learning to drive is pretty worthless if you don’t know the limitations and rules that govern you while you’re out there.

As a student, you must commit an equal amount of resources to learning both of these aspects of driving. Being out on the road and employed as a truck driver can negate itself if you’re constantly getting tickets and inspection violations while on the road.

How Do I Complete a CDL Training Course?

After completing CDL training with driving and studying, you’ll be approaching the big day: taking the CDL exam. Without completion of the exam, you will be unable to take a job as a truck driver. But before that, we’re going to discuss a rather important point of CDL training: endorsements.

Come back next time for Part 4 of Your Guide to Truck Driving to learn how endorsements are a vital part of your job training program.

 

Your Guide to Becoming a Truck Driver: Getting Started

May 8, 2019

 

Your Guide to Becoming a Truck Driver: Getting Started

Driving a truck is an exciting and adventurous career that can be very rewarding. The process to start driving, however, is a little different than most jobs. There are a few prerequisites that must be met before climbing behind the wheel and starting your career.

Pass the DOT Physical

First and foremost, you must be able to pass a DOT physical. There are certain health concerns that can prevent a driver from obtaining and keeping their license such as diabetes, epilepsy, and hypertension to name a few. There are several places the physicals can be obtained, which generally cost between $75 to $150. At GDA, we require both physicals and drug test be administered in-house.

Motor Vehicle Report

An MVR is a comprehensive look at your driving history and lists tickets, accidents, points, and license status is a necessity. Many companies request 5 years of MVR history. These documents can be obtained either online or at the local Department of Driver Services building. The fees for these reports are minimal, $6 for a certified 3 year and $10 for a certified 7 year.

Attend CDL Training School

Lastly, you must have formal training at an accredited learning center or school. Some companies will send you to their personal driving schools which requires you to sign a contract stating that you will drive for them a certain number of years. However, there are several academies, such as Georgia Driving Academy that not only is accredited, offers financial aid as well as job placement services. Georgia Driving Academy also offers Class A CDL , Class B CDL, and even a Refresher class. The academies are able to offer one-on-one training in the classroom and on the road with a proven hands-on curriculum.

After passing graduating from the Georgia Driving Academy and passing the state test, it’s time to find a job. Luckily, the Georgia Driving Academy has staff that works with recruiters from across the country to help place drivers that have graduated with reliable and steady companies. Drivers can feel comfortable knowing that they will be assisted in completing that next step in their career as a truck driver.

Still interested in becoming a truck driver? Stay tuned for Part 3 of the series!

Your Guide to Becoming a Truck Driver: Is Truck Driving The Right Fit?

Apr 29, 2019

 

graphic with image of truck and text that reads "Your Guide to Becoming a Truck Driver. Part 1: Is Truck Driving Right Fit?"

Some people have it easy, career-wise. They know exactly what they want to do for a living from a young age, and can devote the early part of their training toward that goal.

Others don’t have it quite so easy and finish high school still not quite sure what they want to do for work. Some people know whether they want to go into an office environment, work in a trade like in IT, as an electrician, or construction worker.

Truck driving is another career choice, and for people who think they may want to choose that as a profession should understand what their career will be like, and whether that kind of lifestyle truly suits them.

This guide will lead you through the process, helping you decide whether trucking is the right career choice for you.

Getting Started: Is Trucking The Right Choice?

If you have been thinking about a career in truck driving recently but aren’t ready to pull the trigger, this might be the right blog for you. Certain qualities make for a successful truck driver and we’ve gathered those below. Check them out to see if you think you’d be a good fit for a career in trucking.

You’re Self-Disciplined

Truck drivers don’t have a boss constantly telling them what to do. You have to have the discipline to work long hours without supervision and to keep up with the demanding delivery schedule. You may have no trouble getting out of bed early now, but getting up early can become difficult when you’ve only had a few hours sleep after a day of driving.

You’re Ready for a Physical Challenge

The long hours of sitting that come with truck driving are exhausting and even with legally required breaks, you will get tired. The breaks that you have you’ll have to focus on the maintenance of your truck and keeping with your delivery times, there won’t be much time for sleeping. It takes time to find a place to park, shower, and eat. You have to be prepared for moments of extreme fatigue and stay alert of the road at all times.

You Enjoy Time Alone

Some folks enjoy being alone, others can’t stand it. If you’re going to be a truck driver, you have to be prepared to have long periods of time without human interaction. Truck drivers spend multiple hours, days and even weeks away from friends and family. There are many ways to stay entertained and connected, from listening to a good music playlist to Facetiming your family, but if you thrive in social environments, truck driving might not be the best fit for you.

You Like Adventure

From the road, you’ll get to see more of the country than most people and meet amazing people along the way. One of the best parts of truck driving is constant changes in the scenery while you drive from one state to another. It’s a great way to see places you never imagined as you check things off your bucket list that you never thought to have.

You’re Ready to Learn More

If you believe truck driving may be right for you, head over to our class A CDL training page. Georgia Driving Academy has convenient locations in Conyers and in Columbus and our Admissions staff is just a quick phone call away. Call us at 1 (800) 711-4301 or you can even apply online to get started and we’ll be happy to answer any additional questions you might have!

So can you handle the realities of being a truck driver? If you think so, read on. Part 2 of the series will show you how to move toward earning your CDL and becoming an actual truck driver.

Ready to take the next step towards a career in the truck driving industry? The right training makes all the difference. Learn how GDA can help you fulfill your career goals by filling out the form on the right!

How OTR Drivers Stay Connected

Apr 18, 2019

 

Being an OTR (over-the-road) truck driver can be a very rewarding career that provides a great financial foundation for you and your loved ones. It doesn’t come without complications, though. Missing your loved ones is one of the main struggles of OTR truckers while on those extended trips.  The good thing is that with today’s advances you can choose from a number of traditional and modern methods of communication.

Digital Communication

We live in a great time that allows us to communicate instantly with our loved ones when we can’t be together. Consider these fun ways to stay in touch.

Email

If you want to leave your loved one a message because you missed them or they can’t chat on the phone, email is always a great option. Fill their inbox with emails talking about your day and any adventures that occurred. Those emails are sure to put a smile on their faces.

Video Chat

See each other face-to-face using apps such as Facetime or Skype for video chatting. Skype is a free app that allows you to video chat as well as send pictures, stickers, and voice messages.

Group Chat

Apps such as GroupMe or WhatsApp allow groups of people to communicate altogether. You can talk to your spouse and kids at the same time and everyone can share their daily updates. You can also include groups of extended family and friends.

Online Gaming

There is nothing quite like playing games with friends and family to help you wind down at the end of the day. The good thing is you can still do that with online social game apps such as Words With Friends or Dice With Buddies.

Traditional Communication

While modern phone apps are fun, there is nothing quite like the good ‘ole paper and pen. Try these options for keeping in touch in a more traditional manner.

Send Letters At Each Stop

Be sure to pack plenty of stamps, paper, envelopes, and pens. Every night before you go to bed write a sweet letter to your loved ones and pop it in the mailbox. Maybe even stick small mementos you find along the way so they can enjoy the trip with you.

Leave a Stack of Notes Before You Leave

This one takes a bit more work before you leave but it will be worth it. Write a romantic letter for each night you will be gone. Number the envelopes and encourage your loved one to have the patience to open each letter on its respective day. It will be a fun and loving way to count down the days to your return home.

Being away from family while being OTR can be tough but the good thing is that staying connected does not have to be difficult. Your career as an OTR trucker is right around the corner. Don’t let communication get in the way. You can do this!