Frequently Asked Questions
ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS YOU MAY HAVE ABOUT TRANSTECH
Yes. TransTech is licensed by the North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles as a truck driver training school and third-party examination site to perform CDL Skills Examinations.
Full-time Course (4-weeks) Monday – Thursday 7:00 AM – 5:00 PM Friday 7:00AM – 11:00 AM Part-time Weekend Course (10-weekends) *Not Available in All Locations* Saturday – Sunday 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Yes. We are here to help. Our instructors will help prepare you for the CDL permit exam during the first week of our program.
After training, students will complete the CDL skills examination on-site. However, should any student fail the final test, additional training is offered at no extra cost.
As a result of our expertise, TransTech understands that many people face the dilemma of having negative remarks on their driving record. If this pertains to you, there may still be employment options available to you – we can assess your driving history on an individual basis to ensure potential employment. We encourage you to get in touch with us as soon as possible to begin the consideration process.
Trucking is one of the most stable, high-demand industries in the country, and the demand for drivers has never been higher. Every product or service in America benefits from trucking. Truck driving is also a highly paid profession that allows you to provide a higher standard of living for your family and offers excellent benefits, including medical and dental insurance, paid vacations, and compensation incentives. Driving a truck also gives people the opportunity to travel the country and see new places while getting paid. Many people enjoy the lifestyle freedom that truck driving offers, while others love the high pay and the unmatched job security. No matter what the reason is, truck driving is an excellent choice for anyone looking to make a positive career change in his or her life.
You will spend time behind the wheel of the truck learning backing, turning, shifting, and coupling and uncoupling a trailer. TransTech uses a closed course driving range to practice these skills before letting you out onto a public street. Over-the-road driving is a critical element of TransTech’s training program which includes rural, city, and highway so that you will experience real-world situations that you will encounter before you’re out on your own. Practice makes perfect no matter what you’re doing! The most critical skills you will learn while attending CDL training occur both behind the wheel and inside the classroom. For example, you will learn the basic handling skills for driving a truck, such as backing, left and right turning, and coupling or uncoupling a trailer. The opportunity to learn how to operate a manual tractor transmission is available to those that prefer this option. You will also learn about the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) safety regulations and operating procedures that you must follow while driving a tractor-trailer including how to read maps, plan trips, and keep accurate logbooks/records. It is important to remember to learn a lot more than just how to handle a truck to be a good truck driver, and that each part of the training will help you in the future. Finally, you will learn how to perform a safety inspection before ever getting on the road. Thus, while enrolled in schooling, you will gain what you need to know to drive a truck and what you need to know to be a safe, prosperous, and professional truck driver.
The North Carolina Department of Transportation and the North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles requires that any individual wishing to obtain a commercial driver’s license (CDL) must be a minimum of 18 years of age. However, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration requires any individual desiring to operate a commercial motor vehicle outside state lines to be a minimum of 21 years of age.
It is not the practice or policy of TransTech to guarantee you a driving job after you complete CDL training. Even programs that are company-sponsored or that ‘pre-hire’ you with a carrier cannot guarantee you employment. Your employment with carriers or any company as a driver is dependent on several factors including successful completion of the state CDL licensing test, completion of a Department of Transportation (DOT) physical and drug screen, and completion of the CDL training program. All of these conditions must be met before you can begin driving for any carrier.
Each of our partner carriers is different as if pertains to what they offer as part of their compensation package. Recently, Indeed.com posted that the average salary for an entry-level driver is approximately $70,000 in the United States. However, after one year of experience driving a truck over the road, you can expect your salary to increase significantly. Even though the pay scale throughout the industry is similar from company to company, other parts of their compensation packages such as bonuses and incentives may greatly differ. Those employed as truck drivers are paid per mile driven, thus your final earnings are dependent upon how much time you spend on the road. As mentioned, carriers also have incentive pay options which allow you to make more in wages based on how much you want to drive and what incentives you participate in or are offered. In the end, being a truck driver can be a very rewarding career both financially and professionally.
After you graduate from TransTech and obtain your Class A CDL, several possible career options are available to you. For example, you can work as a driver for a major trucking company, a small haul carrier, or even the government. Trucking positions are open in nearly every industry imaginable. However, almost every short-haul or local position requires that you have at least one year of over-the-road driving experience. Once you have completed a year’s worth of long-haul driving, most companies will be able to hire you for short-haul and even local driving positions. Many students attend through our company-sponsored training with Schneider National, Swift Transportation, or Stevens Transport – and work for them for one year and then choose to either sign on as a company driver or owner-operator or leave the company for another position.
Trucking companies realize that their drivers have family and friends they will miss while they’re out on the road. Therefore, most companies allow their drivers to have a rider come with them at certain times, and some carriers even allow pets in the truck. However, every company has its own rules and restrictions, such as the rider’s age, how long he or she can be with the driver, and whether or not the driver must purchase additional insurance for the rider. Generally, most carriers do not allow more than one passenger in the truck at a time. If having your family on the road with you is essential, you should find a carrier with a very liberal rider policy. Some trucking companies also offer team positions for either long-haul or dedicated routes. Many people choose to team with their husband or wife, brother, or friend if they feel that being alone on the road will be too difficult. Most companies require that the teams be naturally made, which means they won’t team you with a person you’ve never met before. Team driving opportunities are great for people who have a family member or spouse interested in the trucking industry.
Just like your pay scale, your amount of home time will vary slightly from company to company. For example, some companies will only require a driver to be away for five days, while others will have drivers out for three weeks before heading back. However, the industry average for over-the-road truck drivers is 10 to 14 days away from home at a time. The basic rule of thumb for the trucking industry is to earn one day of home time every week spent on the road. So, if you are out for two weeks, you will be able to come home for 2 to 3 days before being routed back on the road. Many trucking companies have policies regarding home time, such as promising drivers that they will be home 2 out of 3 weekends a month or giving them “personal days” to use on special dates like family birthdays or doctor’s appointments. It is important to remember, however, that even local drivers sometimes work 10-hour days. In addition, trucking is a career that will take you away from your home and your family for some period, so be prepared to make that sacrifice if you choose to become a truck driver.
Because there are thousands of trucking companies all over the country, you should never have to move to find a trucking job. However, every company has a geographic hiring area that they recruit drivers from because it is closest to its headquarters and customers. Therefore, you must live in a company’s hiring area to drive for that company. Every company is different: some carriers will allow you to take your truck home with you on your days off, while others specify that you must leave it at a company drop-yard or in a secure, public area. Most truckers live within 2 to 3 hours of their company drop-yards. You will be based out of your home area, and your dispatcher will route you according to where you live or where you park your truck. You will always be routed back to this same area for your home time as well.
If you are working as an over-the-road company driver, you will probably never have to pay for fuel or any maintenance associated with your truck. Instead, the trucking companies will support themselves and pay for towing roadside assistance or other issues. Also, most trucking companies give their drivers fuel cards and participate in gas-saving programs that offer discounts. Most companies will even cover any expenses for tolls, bridges, and an EZ-Pass that makes going through these areas faster and easier. However, if you become an owner-operator, you will be responsible for paying for both your fuel and your truck’s maintenance. At the same time, owner-operators are like independent contractors for trucking companies, and the driver owns the vehicle he/she drives. With the price of gas so high, however, many trucking companies have been offering a fuel surcharge for owner-operators, which means that they will pay the driver extra per mile to help offset fuel costs. However, if you work as a company driver, you won’t have to worry about paying for your fuel or maintenance costs.
Years ago, most truck drivers had to help load or unload their trailers when they arrived at a stop. Today, however, trucking companies find that it is safer and more profitable to have another company’s employees load and unload shipments instead of the drivers. As a result, almost all of the major trucking companies offer drivers a “no-touch freight” policy – that is, the driver won’t have to worry about touching his truck’s cargo when he picks it up or drops it off. Most companies have between 75 to 85 percent no-touch freight, so a driver may still be required to help load or unload a truck in some situations. Most of the time, however, it will not be necessary to touch your cargo at any point in the haul.
To become a CDL licensed over-the-road driver, you aren’t required to carry a HazMat or Hazardous Materials Endorsement. HazMat training is required for CDL drivers who want to be permitted to transport potentially dangerous chemicals and materials, such as gasoline, fertilizer, or dynamite. To haul everyday cargo, such as foodstuffs or automobile parts, a HazMat endorsement is not required. If you are interested in obtaining your HME, you can find an application at your local NC DMV. You will be required to pay for additional HazMat training and to pass a general knowledge test from your license branch, as well as complete a fingerprint analysis and background check from the Transportation Security Administration. More details are available at your nearest NC DMV branch.
Class A CDL trucks are the traditional 18-wheeler semi tractor-trailers you see on the highways every day. Even though thousands of trucking companies throughout the country, most carriers rely on one or two major tractor brands for their fleets. If you choose to attend CDL training, the models you will learn to drive on will be very similar to the truck you will begin operating on your own. Tractor-trailers are much more technologically advanced today than they have been in the past. Today, many trucking companies have installed satellite systems such as Qualcomm in their trucks that allow drivers to use GPS navigation systems and in-cab email. A few major tractor manufacturers have also started making automatic transmissions for their machines, something that trucking companies have begun offering to new drivers. The best carriers take pride in their equipment and will provide the most modern, best-maintained trucks available to their drivers.