When browsing for jobs, the sentence you often encounter is “requires x years of experience.” It can be frustrating when you are just starting off in the field and have zero experience. This is why it is important to look for companies that offer training programs that lead to permanent jobs.
Most big companies offer such programs to young enthusiasts or recent graduates. Some of the best trucking companies that train you will be reviewed in this article.
Before that, let’s see what you need to become a truck driver and how it is beneficial.
Why Truck Driving is a Great Career Path
Though there are many perks to being a truck driver, which we will discuss here, you should keep in mind that driving for long distances is a crucial aspect of it. If you don’t love driving, then this job is not for you. Otherwise, read ahead to see all that you can expect from this career path.
As a truck driver, your job is to pick-up and deliver goods from one station to another. The goods are from all industries, including medical, consumer, automobile, construction, etc. As a result, you become part of a supply chain that is always active and can be considered essential, depending on what you are transporting (e.g., medicine, food).
Truck drivers make an average of $45k a year as of 2019. The pay differs depending on your location and what you drive. Flatbed drivers make the most, around $72k a year. As you get more years of experience, your pay and other bonuses increase likewise.
This job has some of the best pay plans, bonuses, and benefits for people with a high school diploma since it does not require the driver to be a college graduate.
Many people have a passion for traveling and don’t like the idea of spending their life behind a desk. If you think so too, then truck driving is the best job for you. Although many truck drivers only work within a small region or a city (preferred if you have a family), many are required to travel across the country to deliver goods (OTR drivers). So, you get to see the country while on your job for free. Some companies also deliver goods to Canada and Mexico.
There is no doubt that truck driving is a difficult job. It requires commitment and has long hours, but on top of the basic pay, there are good bonuses and benefits.
Employees often get a sign-on and referral bonus. If you invite your friend or family to the company, you get a bonus after they have successfully worked there for some time. Although life insurance is not a guarantee, some companies do offer it.
What is a guarantee in almost every truck driving company is paid vacation, paid sick leave, health, dental, vision, and 401(k).
What it Takes to Become a Certified Truck Driver
Becoming a truck driver is not too difficult. Make your schedule and complete the following tasks for you to succeed.
Most, if not all, trucking companies require their drivers to be high school graduates or to have a GED. This is the minimum education that one should have.
Before thinking about driving heavy trucks, you first need to be good at driving a normal car. You usually get a driver's license when you are 16 years old. Through this, you learn the basics of driving and road regulations.
Before you apply to any job as a long-haul driver, you should attend a truck driving school or academy. These schools teach you the essentials of a CDL exam, which is the license you need for driving a commercial vehicle. If you plan on dealing with hazardous material, you should look into a course focusing on that.
After you are done with your training, you can take the CDL exam. It has two parts, skills and knowledge. In the knowledge part, you display your theoretical learning, and in the skills part, you drive the vehicle and prove that you are a safe driver.
Once you pass the exam, you can start looking for a job. And since you just got your license, look for training programs that lead to jobs.
Review of the Best Trucking Companies That Train You
There are plenty of training companies to choose from, but you should know your choices to start your career from a good point. Now, let’s see the top companies that offer some of the best training programs.
1. Maverick Transportation LLC
- Address: North Little Rock, Arkansas
- Phone Number: 800-289-1100
- Email: email@example.com
- Website: https://maverickusa.com/
Who is Maverick Transportation LLC?
Maverick Transportation can be traced back to 1980. Steve Williams and Larry Leahy founded it. Larry Leahy left in 1983 when Steve Williams bought his shares and is still the CEO of the company.
Over the years, the company has acquired other similar companies as well, including:
- Kissick Truck Lines
- Jewett Scott Truck Line
- Parrett Trucking
- Schneider Specialized
- Crossover Transportation
- Haywood Trucking
- Flanary & Sons
- Marine Transportation, Inc.
The company operates in the United States, Canada, and Mexico, and its services include:
- Customer analytics
- Sales & support
One prominent job here is for flatbed drivers. They get home every week, and if they don’t have a lot of experience, they can take advantage of the company’s training. During the training, drivers are taught securement techniques for flatbeds as well.
There’s also a glass division responsible for transporting big industrial glass, which is delicate and needs to be handled with care. These drivers are paid for the amount of extra work.
Another position is for dedicated drivers. These don’t travel far and have consistent routes and they get home more often.
The company offers two training programs, i.e., the student program and the CDL training program.
The latter is for those who don’t yet have a license. The company has its own training school in which they provide you with housing and meals as well. The training does not just include CDL, but also the company’s innovative training program, business unit training, and OTR training.
The student program is for those who have recently earned their CDL or have less than a year of experience in the field. They give you specialized training about the company’s services.
Salary and Benefits
A flatbed driver here makes $.54 to $.58 per mile at the start. They have a driver referral bonus of $1000 to $2000. Other incentives are detention pay ($15 per hour), performance bonus, paid vacation, health insurance, dental insurance, life insurance, and 401(k).
Glass drivers have an increased payment of $.55 to $.59 per mile. They also get $75 for live payload, $50 for border crossing, $25 trap pay, and $30 glass pay. Other benefits are the same as that provided to flatbed drivers.
Dedicated or local drivers are different according to the region they work in. They make somewhere from $57k to $65k a year. This might be less if they start at $.40 per mile.
2. Swift Transportation Company
- Address: 2200 S. 75th Ave. Phoenix, AZ 85043
- Phone Number: 1-800-800-2200
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Website: https://www.swifttrans.com/
Who is Swift Transportation Company?
Swift Transportation was founded in 1966 by Jerry and Carl Moyes to transport imported steel and export cotton. Swift has partnered with Knight Transportation to make Knight-Swift Transportation Holding Inc.
The company also operates in Mexico and has 14,000 trucks in its fleet. It is considered the largest full truckload company in North America. Its services include over-the-road, dedicated, flatbed, intermodal, logistics, and warehousing. The company also leases its equipment.
The company has earned many awards over the years, including the SmartWay Excellence award.
At Swift Transportation, you can work as a driver or a mechanic. The driving jobs include dry van, refrigerated, flatbed, heavy-haul, dedicated, and intermodal. Intermodal drivers haul freight during the first and last leg of the journey while the train carries it in between.
Long-haul driving jobs include dry van and refrigerated. These drivers have to travel long distances covering 48 states. Flatbed drivers have to handle the extra weight and take a tie-down class with the company. It is a more physically demanding job.
Heavy-haul driving jobs are only located in the Pacific Northwest. They don’t require long traveling but give more steady miles and better home time. In the company’s CDL training school, students are allowed to earn while learning. They also have a special veteran program.
Salary and Benefits
If you are part of a team at Swift Transportation, the average yearly salary is $61k to $71k. Drivers are also given a $100 weekly productivity bonus. A new trainee gets a paid $675 weekly.
They offer their employees a medical plan, prescription drug plans, dental plan, vision plan, 401(k), and an employee stock purchase program. Supplement benefits include group accident coverage, critical illness, disability, and life insurance.
How Much Does a First-Year Swift Driver Make?
Swift drivers make an average of $47k a year when they first start.
3. Roehl Transport
- Address: 1916 E. 29th Street, PO Box 750, Marshfield, WI 54449
- Phone Number: 715-591-7050
- Email: email@example.com
- Website: https://www.roehl.jobs/
Who is Roehl Transport?
Roehl Transport started in 1962 and currently has a fleet of over 2,000 trucks and 5200 trailers. Their services include dry van, refrigerated, flatbed, dedicated, and curtain side. Their extensive training program is one of the best in this field.
They have options for people that need a CDL, that have a CDL and need a job, and owner-operators. They also offer logistics services, storage and warehousing, and equipment leasing services. They have received several awards over the years for customer service and environmental protection, among others.
If you want to work at Roehl, you have two options. One is that you have a CDL and some experience. You can work in any one of the departments mentioned above according to your experience.
If you want to get a CDL, then the company will sponsor your training. This guarantees a job to anyone who successfully passes the training. They also have training options for those that have a CDL but no training.
Salary and Benefits
You can start earning $.59 per mile, meaning you can make $1200 and more a week. Their top drivers earn approximately $82,500 a year. The company offers quarterly bonuses according to performance.
It also offers pay for intermediate stops, trapping, untrapping, loading, unloading, detention time, layover day, holidays, 401k, short-term income protection, dental, health, long-term disability, and life insurance. Trainees get $500 a week during the training period.
How Long is Roehl Training?
Roehl truck driving training is four weeks long.
4. Dart Transit Company
- Address: 800 Lone Oak Rd, Eagan, MN 55121
- Phone Number: 866-532-4976
- Email Address: N/A
- Website: https://drivingdart.com/
Who is Dart Transit Company?
Dart Transit Company is more than 80 years old and was founded in 1934 by Earl Owen. The company currently works in 48 states. Their services include truckload, logistics, intermodal, portable storage, and warehousing.
They have received several awards over the years, including the recent top 100 truckers for 2019. Their portable storage service is often used by people that need a temporary office space. In their logistics service, they manage the entire distribution process by customizing the plan for every customer.
To become a company driver at Dart, you need to have a CDL-A, and you need to have six months of truck driving experience. Every driver goes through training for safety during the transportation of both the driver and the equipment.
You can work as an owner-operator, owner-operator lease purchase, company driver, or a dedicated driver. For veterans, they have additional pay benefits. Dedicated drivers have better home time while company drivers get more pay raises.
You can also work as a mechanic or in the warehousing department.
Salary and Benefits
Company drivers earn $.55 per mile and have a pay increase option of $.04 to $.08 according to experience. Drivers also get paid vacation and holidays. Lease purchasers can earn $165,000 a year with Dart.
Veterans can earn an additional $0.2 per mile on top of the base pay, and their military service is considered driving experience.
How Do You Become a Dart Driver?
To become a company driver at Dart, you need to have a CDL-A, and you need to have six months of truck driving experience.
5. Knight Transportation
- Address: 20002 N. 19th Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85027
- Phone Number: 1-888-214-9815
- Email: N/A
- Website: https://driveknight.com/driving-associates/training/
Who is Knight Transportation?
Knight Transportation was founded in 1990 by the Knight family, i.e., Kevin, Keith, Randy, and Gary Knight. They started their business with the help of Mercedes Benz.
They currently have 25 terminals and 4,000 trucks. They have received many awards, including Forbes America’s Most Trustworthy Company. They have more than 30 subsidiaries as part of the Knight-Swift merger deal.
Their services include dry van, temperature-controlled, dedicated, port services, logistics, expedited, intermodal, and flatbed. Their port service covers every marine terminal and rail depot in the US.
With Knight Transportation, you can work as either a driving associate, owner-operator, or join their training session. Driving associates will drive either the dry van, refrigerated van, flatbed truck, work in the dedicated department, or the port and rail department.
In the CDL school, you can also become a trainer if you have the experience. They also give OTR training. They give you the chance to earn money while training. Dry-van and dedicated drivers get more home time and flexible hours.
Salary and Benefits
Dry van drivers get flexible home time, paid time off, consistent miles, medical, dental, vision, 401k, and a $0.05 mile per month bonus. Refrigerated truck drivers, on top of all these benefits, also get life insurance, whereas port trucking drivers are offered extra free preventative care. They also have a pet policy program.
If you refer a non-experienced driver to the company, you get a $150 bonus and a $1000 bonus for an experienced driver.
Does Knight Transportation Have a Training Program?
Yes, they do. The Knight training program is four to six weeks long.
6. TMC Transportation
- Address: 6115 SW Leland Avenue, Des Moines, IA 50321
- Phone Number: 800-247-2862
- Email Address: N/A
- Website: https://www.tmctrans.com/
Who is TMC Transportation?
Harold Annett founded TMC Transportation in 1972, and it is currently an employee-owned company. All eligible employees are part owners of the company through the employee stock ownership program.
They give services in logistics and transportation. Their specialization is in flatbed driving. They don’t have OTR drivers, only regional ones. This gives them more flexible working hours.
At TMC, you can work as a flatbed driver, maintenance personnel, yard instructor, IT expert, logistics expert, or office personnel.
Drivers don’t have long hours and stay within a region. They get home on the weekends. On average, they can expect 500 miles a day. You can also work with them if you don’t have any experience. Their training program is paid in which they teach load securement, strapping, and flatbed driving.
Salary and Benefits
TMC offers its student drivers $600 a week, as well as bonuses according to performance. The drivers at the start of the career with no experience make $.49 per mile, and experienced drivers make $.51 per mile. After one month with the company, you can start earning $.60 per mile. This pay increases according to performance.
Additional pay includes trap pay, stop breakdown, layover, detention, borough, vacation, and over-dimensional load pay. Drivers also get sign-on and referral bonuses, paid vacation, health insurance, prescription drug coverage, dental, vision, disability coverage, legal services, life insurance, 401k, and accidental death and dismemberment insurance.
7. Stevens Transport
- Address: 9757 Military Pkwy, Dallas, TX 75227
- Phone Number: 1-800-333-8595
- Email Address: N/A
- Website: https://www.stevenstransport.com/
Who is Stevens Transport?
Stevens Transport was founded in 1980 in Dallas as a poultry transporting company. It is a family-owned company that provides refrigerated truck services.
Their services include intermodal, cross-border, truckload, and dedicated, but all are temperature controlled. They also offer logistic solutions and have won various awards over the years, including Tyson Premier Carrier Award in 2019.
Their cross-border solutions are for Canada and Mexico. They have a Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism certificate, ensuring the safety of customers’ products.
Here, you can either be a company driver or an owner-operator. You can also join the military veteran’s program or enroll in the CDL training school.
You can either be an over-the-road driver, a regional driver, a trainer, or a dedicated driver. A Stevens Transport contract is one year if you are a solo driver and six months if you are a team driver. Over-the-road drivers are paid the most, and they also have to travel to Canada. Regional drivers work within three to five states, and so do dedicated drivers.
If you are a military veteran, you don’t need any experience to get trained with them.
Salary and Benefits
Military veterans with Stevens Transport earn up to $50k a year, and after three years, they can earn $70k. They have three different benefit plans, i.e., active-duty three years and more service, post 9/11 service, and select reserves.
Active-duty veterans are eligible for $13k benefits for six months after training, while active-duty post 9/11 veterans are eligible for $21k. All company drivers get health insurance, medical, dental, vision, disability insurance, 401k, vacation days, and life insurance.
Does Stevens Transport Pay During Training?
During training, students are given meal money, transportation to and from home, lodging, and $7500 reimbursement for training from an outside school.
How Long is a Stevens Transport Contract?
A transport contract commitment is 1 year, however, it is financed over a 3 year period. Staying for 1 year only ensures that the loan will continue to be financed through the company.
Types of Training Programs Trucking Companies Offer
The different types of training programs include:
Training For CDL
This option is for those that are new to the field or are looking for a career change. Before getting started as commercial drivers, they will need the CDL. Companies that offer CDL test training for people.
Training After CDL
If someone already has a commercial driving license, but they don’t have any experience or too little experience to get a good job, then this is what they need. They enroll in the program and get practical experience and start earning as well.
After this, the company either hires them, or they can add this to their CV and get a job elsewhere. However, some companies might ask for money if you decide to leave them or if you fail.
Training For a Special Truck
Some companies will offer special training for working with refrigerated trucks or for working with hazardous materials. If a company uses only one type of truck, e.g., a flatbed, then they will give training for that.
Training From an Outside Source
If a person decides to train from a school that is not part of the company, some companies offer them reimbursements for the money spent on the training.
There are plenty of options for you to choose from. Having no experience is not a hindrance to your career anymore. This field of work is ever-increasing in demand, and employers are looking to hire and train drivers for specialized tasks. The opportunities are all present; it is the only a matter of finding the ideal place for yourself.
People Also Ask
If you have more questions about truck driving, training, and pay, you can read these frequently asked questions below.
Do Trucking Companies Pay For Training?
Some, but not all, truck companies pay for training.
Is Being a Truck Driver Worth it?
If you don’t mind long working hours and love driving, then the job is worthwhile. It pays well and has many benefits, as you might have read in the reviews above.
Do You Still Owe Money to a Trucking Company if They Train You and You Fail?
If you fail the training and decide to leave, then you will have to pay the company for the training and resources they spent on you.
How Many Hours of Training Do You Need to Become a Truck Driver?
To earn your commercial driving license, you have to attend three to six weeks of classes and then pass the written and practical examination. The company training differs for each company.
Can I Get a CDL Without Going to School?
Yes, you can study for the CDL test yourself, but companies mostly look for a good training background.
Which States Require the Least Training to Become a Truck Driver?
The states of Florida and South Dakota are some of the easiest states to get a commercial driver’s license.