• How to obtain your Colorado Commercial Driver's License

    According to experts, the trucking industry is currently experiencing a shortage of drivers. To combat this, and attract new drivers, most companies are already offering sign-on bonuses, higher pay per mile, and additional retirement and health benefits. Moreover, they are considering accommodating a younger generation of applicants, thus creating new opportunities for those interested in this adventurous career. Any newcomer to the industry will need to obtain their Commercial Driver's License in order to begin their new career. To do that, you'll need to meet the following requirements:

    Requirements for getting a Commercial Driver's License in Colorado

    In Colorado, the entire process of qualification, testing for, and issuance of a commercial driver's license is governed by a set of state and federal regulations set by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). 

    Age

    The general requirement for getting a CDL is 21 years. However, in February 2019, the Colorado State House passed a bill that would reduce the eligible age requirement for drivers from 21 to 18 years. Most other states still maintain the former, which is also the required age for Hazmat endorsement. Students at United States Truck Driving School must be at least 18 years old to enroll in any CDL training program.

    Other Requirements

    To qualify for training for your Commercial Drivers License in Colorado, you must also meet other enrollment requirements. Some of these include:
    • Holding a valid drivers license. Students will also be required to get a commercial learner's permit in order to begin training. 
    • Your last five years should be free from any DUI conviction related to alcohol or any other drug. Students must also pass the required drug screening. 

    Go for Specialized CDL training

    Getting your Colorado CDL is easier when you enroll for specialized training. United States Truck Driving School employs knowledgable instructors who will provide you with the resources, skills, and knowledge you'll require to get started as a truck driver. Our helpful staff is on hand for assistance with job placement after getting your Colorado CDL, or if you just want help exploring the different options of tuition assistance. If you're ready to get a CDL in Colorado and want to begin your training, give us a call! We'll guide you on how to maneuver and excel in the rewarding career opportunity of trucking! 303-848-8443
  • What disqualifies you from getting your CDL license?

    The trucking industry creates stable career opportunities for people from all different backgrounds. However, a flawed driving or criminal history may leave you questioning your eligibility for a commercial driver's license (CDL).  Not everyone qualifies for a commercial driver's license. Today we are answering the question of whether a felon can get a CDL and drive a truck.

    Can I get a CDL as a Felon?

    It depends. Some felons may have a temporary ban on getting a CDL, while others are permanently disqualified. The good news is that you do not have to have a spotless record to train and be hired as a truck driver. However, there are requirements you must meet to determine if you are eligible for CDL training. 
    • The state you live in matters
    Whether or not a felon qualifies for a commercial driver's license relies on the state of residence. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) sets the disqualification rules for all CDL holders. In addition, each state has its own rules on commercial driver's licenses that can disqualify you from eligibility. 
    • The felony conviction matters
    Not every offense damages your eligibility for getting your CDL. For instance, minor infractions (such as an overdue parking ticket) cannot disqualify you from getting a job as a truck driver. On the other hand, certain driving infractions or more serious criminal convictions may prohibit you from obtaining a CDL. 
    • How much time has passed?
    Many disqualifications are not permanent. Time does matter, and it can change a lot of things for the better. Many times, enough time has passed, or the conviction is not relevant to disqualify you from training. A thorough look into your background will help us determine if you are eligible to train for your CDL and start a career in the trucking industry.  

    Recommended Actions to Take

    Your best course of action is to meet with us one-on-one to discuss your eligibility.  A felon does not have to be defined by their past crime, but how they recover from them. Schedule a time to sit and talk with an Admissions Representative about your opportunities of having a CDL. We'll help you figure out if you are able and eligible for your CDL Permit, as well as discuss your job opportunities. Have an imperfect criminal history and want to know if you qualify to train for your CDL? Let's see if United States Truck Driving School can help get you on the road to success! Call us today! 303-848-8443
  • The pros and cons of driving each route

    After you have completed training and passed your CDL tests, you will have a lot of truck driving career opportunities to choose from. Your biggest decision will be deciding to go to work over-the-road (OTR) or for a local company. Both offer specific benefits and setbacks, and it's important to know the pros and cons before you pick either route.

    Local Driving Opportunities

    Most local driving positions will be with smaller, local companies. However, some national carriers have shorter regional or local routes available. In local driving positions, you will generally operate within a radius of 250 miles from your home terminal.

    The Pros of Local Driving Jobs

    • More Time at Home – Local routes mean no over-the-road time.  You'll be behind the wheel during a typical 8-or 12- hour shift in addition to performing other duties the position requires. 
    • Set Routine -  Working as a local driver usually means having a set schedule so you'll be back to your family in the evening. You may drive the same route, work with the same customers, or follow a regular routine each day. 
    • Smaller Company – Many of these local positions are with small, local companies in your community. Of course, there are many benefits of working for a smaller company, such as being part of a tightknit team.

    The Cons of Driving Locally

    • Fewer Opportunities – There is a high demand for truck drivers, but finding a local gig is not always as easy - particularly if you are new or have less experience.
    • Lower Earning Potential – Local drivers typically earn less compared to their OTR counterparts and enjoy less financial benefits. However, the additional home-time can be seen as a benefit that OTR drivers don't get. 
    • Extra Roles – Most of the time, you will also be required to physically load and unload the freight you are delivering.
    • Longer Hours – While you may enjoy the comfort of your bed every night, you may be required to begin shifts as early as 4 am, or work until late in the evenings.

    Over the Road Driving Opportunities

    Over-the-Road (OTR) driving is an adventurous opportunity that lets you cover the country's lower 48 states, and in some routes into Canada or Mexico. However, routes vary, and the choice of freight depends on the company you are working with.

    The Pros of Going Over-the-Road

    • Higher Pay – Working as an OTR driver is more lucrative, and most employers offer other perks such as sign-on or referral bonuses.  
    • Travel – What makes this an interesting opportunity is that you travel across the country and get paid for it!
    • Paid off-days – Most companies offer their drivers paid days off according to the number of days you have been working.
    • Defined Role – Typically you will not perform extra duties, such as offloading freight. Many carriers offer no-touch freight routes, which means exactly that. You drive the freight, but don't have to unload it!

    The Cons OTR Driving

    • Less Time at Home – It may be lucrative, but you will be home much less than local or regional drivers. Many drivers are gone a few weeks at a time. OTR is a lifestyle for the driver and his/her family!
    • Longer Driving Time – You'll have to follow the Hours of Service rules, but you'll spend a lot more time driving as an OTR trucker. One possible benefit? Team driving. Partner up and share the driving time. You’ll average more miles in a day which can equal faster trips – and more money.

    So, Which One is Better?

    The 'better' option depends on you! If you're looking for more home time, you may find local driving opportunities are a better fit. If you are a new driver looking for a little more adventure - or a little more pay - than OTR routes may be your calling. All in all, there are pros and cons to any career you choose. Truck driving is no different.  However, there is one advantage no matter which route you take: There are a lot of trucking companies hiring new drivers and loads of career opportunities when you hold a CDL. No matter if you want to work for a big national carrier, or for a smaller local company, it's a great time to start training for your CDL at United States Truck Driving School. Our Class A CDL training programs can have you on the road in a new career in just a few weeks. Get expert guidance on how to jump-start your trucking career in a position that is best for you! Call us today! 303-848-8443   
  • Understanding How a Pre-Hire Benefits You!

    When you're looking to begin your truck driving career, you may hear of or even find yourself with one or several pre-hire letters. If you are unfamiliar with these, we'll help explain what a pre-hire letter is, and how they benefit you as a new driver.

    Understanding Pre-Hires

    A pre-hire is a letter from a trucking company stating that you appear to meet their basic employment requirements. These letters are given to new or potential students - meaning you do not have to have a CDL to receive a pre-hire letter. The letters act as an intend-to-hire once you complete your CDL training program and obtain your license.  These letters don't guarantee employment, and you may receive several pre-hire letters from different companies at once. 

    What is the Benefit of Pre-Hire Letters?

    Both new drivers and companies benefit from pre-hire letters. The trucking companies we partner with know that we graduate quality truck drivers. By pre-hiring our students, companies are able to fill their employment vacancies faster, with more trustworthy drivers. For the student, they know they have a job waiting for them as soon as they graduate! 

    How to Get a Pre-Hire Letter

    At United States Truck Driving School, we regularly host company recruiter visits and truck driver job fairs. These events are free and open to anyone interested in starting a career as a truck driver.  Each recruiter visit presents the opportunity to meet future employers in person. You'll be able to learn more about the driver positions available, and will learn more about starting your truck driving career.  When you attend any of these events, you have the potential to leave with another pre-hire letter!

    Questions To Ask

    These recruiter events are open to students, graduates, and the general public. Everyone is welcome and encouraged to attend. If you've never been to one, you may wonder what to expect, or what questions to ask. Here are a few things you may want to ask when considering pre-hires from several companies:
    • Are there any benefits associated with this position?  
    • Are most of your routes long hauls or shorter day trips? 
    • What would an employee expect from your company?
    • What does your company expect from your employees? 
    If you're ready to receive a pre-hire letter (or several!) stop by our next recruiter event! See which companies will be visiting each campus, so you can prepare for your new career
  • What to expect after earning your CDL

    You've finished trucking school, and now you're feeling ready to head off on your first solo cross-country trip. Before you can strike out on your own, however, there are a few more steps you need to take after completing your CDL training.

    Pick a Carrier

    The employment opportunity you choose will depend on the type of CDL you have. With a Class A CDL, you'll be looking at trucking opportunities. A Class B CDL will allow you to drive buses. Research carriers and listen to testimonials from previous and current employees to find the best fit for you. Fortunately, this doesn't need to feel like a daunting step. Your driving school can help you find a job placement, making it easier to get your foot in the door.

    Pursue Endorsements 

    If you're interested in higher earning potential, or if you want to be more attractive to employers, consider pursuing additional training to receive endorsements on your license. Some endorsements you can pursue are:
    • Double and triple trailers. This endorsement allows you to drive a truck with two or three trailers in tow.
    • Tanker vehicles. With this endorsement, you can haul liquids and liquefied gases in bulk.
    • Passenger. This endorsement is required if you want to drive a vehicle with 16 or more passengers.
    • School bus. This endorsement allows you to drive a school bus.
    • Hazardous materials. Receiving this endorsement means you can transport hazardous material or hazardous waste.

    Receive On-the-Job Training

    Once you've found an employment opportunity, you'll be required to complete some on-the-job training. The length and nature of this training will vary by carrier, but will generally consist of:
    • Completing employment requirements such as physicals, drug screens, background checks, and paperwork.
    • Attending driver orientation and partnering with a driver-trainer
    • Practicing advanced driving techniques necessary for your specific job.

    Drive With a Trainer

    Before you can head out on your own, you will spend some time driving with a trainer. During this period, you will do the work you would normally do on your job, but with your trainer guiding you through the process. In addition to driving skills, you will learn other important skills associated with the unique aspects of life as a truck driver. Your trainer will teach you about receiving and making deliveries, living out on the road, finding your meals, and how to take breaks.

    Keep Your CDL Up-to-Date

    Throughout your career as a commercial driver, continue practicing safe driving to keep your license and stay on the road. You may even consider a taking CDL refresher course to brush up on your driving skills. Once you've completed these steps, you'll be driving solo in no time! At United States Truck Driving School, we offer high-quality CDL training programs. If you have questions about beginning a career as a truck driver,  contact us today so we can help you get started! 303-848-8443
  • What would happen if we were to lose our truck drivers?

    We've all heard that America relies on truckers. That truck drivers deliver the goods we all need to thrive and survive. It's also been said that without truckers, our country would soon come to a standstill.  Is that true? What would happen if we were to lose our truck drivers? Here are a few examples of what we could expect if the trucking industry came to a halt. 

    Our Economy Stalls

    Within a few days, gas stations would run out of fuel. Without gas for cars and buses, workers would soon find it difficult or impossible to get to work. Mail and package delivery would come to a halt. People cannot get out to spend money on necessities or entertainment. Goods would sit on ships and trains since there would be no trucks to deliver goods to their destinations. Retailers would have nothing to restock their shelves with. Many manufacturers depend upon regular truck deliveries rather than maintaining warehouses of parts. Their assembly lines would shut down and their employees would be out of work. 

    Necessities Run Out

    Grocery stores would sell out of food and bottled water. Hospitals would not be able to provide proper patient care because critical medical supplies would run out within hours. After a few weeks without truck drivers, pharmacies would run out of medicine. If we were without truckers for two to four weeks, we would lose our supply of clean water. Water treatment facilities need truck drivers to bring the chemicals they need to clean water. Without chemicals like chlorine, our tap water would not be safe to drink. All tap water would have to be boiled before we could drink it. Otherwise, we would become sick. 

    Keep on Truckin'

    So yes, America does rely on truckers! As more truckers are retiring, new truckers are in high demand to keep America moving forward. Without new drivers to fill these employment opportunities, the industry slows down, and our country suffers. You can have an exciting, new career in just a few weeks when you receive your CDL training at United States Truck Driving School. If you're ready to keep America moving forward, call us today to get started! 303-848-8443
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