For anyone who is new to the trucking industry, the main priority is to learn the trade. This involves book knowledge and behind-the-wheel skills. You can find someone to help you, and you can purchase study guides, but the best way to train fast to be a trucker is to go to trucking school. If you are in Ohio, trucking schools abound via Southern State Community College. This school has seven Truck Driving Academy locations throughout the state to make it easier for you to attend trucking school. Learn more about this training program to help you decide if this is the right method for you to advance your driving career.
Going to Trucking School in Ohio
The Southern State Community College system offers the Truck Driving Academy through the academic system. It is not through the cooperative education program like many community colleges. As a result, you can apply for student loans, including a Sallie Mae student loan, as well as WIA grants through the OhioMeansJobs office. You can also submit a FAFSA form to be eligible for federal student loans, grants, and work-study programs to help you pay for training. The school offers training at six campus locations throughout Ohio including:
- Brown County Campus in Mt. Orab
- Central Campus in Hillsboro
- Fayette Campus in Washington Court House
- North Campus in Wilmington
- Laurel Oaks Career Campus in Wilmington
- Ohio Strategic Training Center at South Point
These campuses allow you to gain the full experience of being a student while you get your truck driver training in a professional environment. Better yet, since the program is affiliated with a college, you can rest assured that the curriculum is highly vetted for quality control.
Time Frame for Trucker Training
At Southern State Community College, the Truck Driving Academy varies depending on the type of commercial driver’s license you are trying to get. For the Class A CDL program, the course is four to eight weeks long, and you will be required to spend at least 160 hours in training. For the Class B CDL program, your time frame is two weeks of training that encompasses 80 hours of instruction. Each of these two programs includes behind-the-wheel training, as well as hands-on training.
Once you complete the training program at the Truck Driving Academy at SSCC, you are ready to get your CDL. It will be up to you to go to the local Department of Motor Vehicles to apply for a CDL. Additionally, you will be required to get a medical exam certificate and drug/alcohol screen as required by the Department of Transportation. The trucking school and your instructor will be able to help you find the facilities, i.e., certified medical examiner and drug screen provider, in your area to meet these requirements.
Cost for Truck Driving School
To get started with truck driving school at SSCC, you will need to decide between the Class A CDL program and the Class B CDL program. Each feature a different track for studies, as well as its own price tag. For the Class A CDL program, you will need to pay $5,300, while the Class B CDL course is only $2,900.
Class A or Class B CDL
The main consideration is whether you need a Class A or Class B CDL to get trucking jobs that you want. The general consensus is that a Class A CDL is the way to go. For all over-the-road and most regional trucking jobs, you’ll have to get a Class A. Furthermore, for oversized trucking jobs and specialty hauls, such as machinery hauls or tanker loads, you’ll be required to have a Class A CDL.
If you plan on getting an endorsement for your CDL, such as the tanker, doubles/triples, or hazmat endorsements, then you’ll need to have a Class A. In reality, for most truck driver students, the Class A is the top choice. Why do drivers get a Class B? The Class B CDL is for hauling in tractor-trailers that weigh less than 26,000 pounds. This class is also permissible for truck drivers pulling straight trucks that do not have a trailer attached to an axle. If you are taking local trucking jobs or working for a parcel or moving company, then a Class B CDL is fine.
Paying for Trucking School
As this is provided via a community college, you are eligible to apply for financial assistance. If you are worried about having to get a loan to pay for trucking school, keep in mind there are plenty of trucking companies offering reimbursement programs. Several of the top-paying trucking companies like Werner Enterprises, TMC Transportation, Schneider National, and Roadmaster will reimburse you for all of your trucking school tuition expenses.
Before you apply for trucking school, take a look at these trucking companies to see what they require for trucking job applicants. For example, some companies require you to be a certain age, while other companies feature certain haul types. Tailor your trucking school training to help you meet these basic requirements by training on certain types of equipment.