• cash spread all over

    Earning Potential for a CDL Driver

    There is really no quick answer to how much a truck driver can make. The amount of money a trucker can make depends on their experience, level of licensing, and type of load being hauled. Entry-level, Over-The-Road (OTR) drivers make on average $45,000 to $60,000 per year to start.

    Licenses and Endorsements: 

    There are three levels of CDLs: Class A, B, and C. Class A drivers are able to operate all three levels of vehicles, while Class B drivers can operate Class B and C vehicles. At US Truck, we offer both Class A and B CDL training.

    Class A CDL:

    Starting pay from $45,000 to $60,000
    A Class A CDL shows that you are a certified and licensed professional truck driver. Having your Class A CDL means you can drive the following vehicles:
    • Tractor-trailers
    • Truck and trailer combinations
    • Tanker trucks
    • Livestock carriers
    • Double and triple trailers
    • Flatbeds

    Class B CDL

    Starting pay from $25,000 to $40,000
    A Class B CDL shows you are certified to drive vehicles not hitched to a trailer. Class B drivers drive smaller vehicles than Class A. These include:
    • Buses
    • Segmented buses
    • Box trucks
    • Dump trucks
    • Tow trucks
    • Delivery trucks
    • Garbage trucks
    • Cement production

    Special Endorsements

    CDL drivers often improve their skills and earning potential by leveling up their license, and by getting endorsements. Endorsements are special tests that allow you to haul more dangerous material. For instance, a Hazardous Materials (Hazmat) Tanker driver will earn a lot more than a truck driver without endorsements. There is great potential for high increased wages for commercial drivers. The more years they drive, the more money they make.

    Types of Endorsements

    • P is for Passengers
    • T is for Tankers
    • H is for Hazmat
    • S is for School bus

    Who Can Get a CDL?

    You must be 21 years old to apply for a CDL. Some states--including Colorado--allow 18-year-olds to get a single-state license allowing them to drive only in their home state. The single state restriction is automatically removed when a driver turns 21. Even very experienced drivers go back to school to pick up new endorsements to make more money. At United States Truck Driving School, we have tuition assistance programs to help you get your training without the financial stress. Contact us to earn your CDL or a add a new endorsement, and start making more money today!
  • atlas with white semi truck

    Are You In It for the Long Haul?

    Are you deciding if being an over-the-road (OTR) truck driver is right for you? According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, truck drivers will continue to be in demand, making trucking a safe and profitable career choice. If you're considering getting your CDL and becoming an OTR driver, make sure your loved ones are involved in the decision. You'll spend a considerable amount of time away from them. But if long haul trucking appeals to you, you'll find that the trucker lifestyle is full of adventure and offers the kind of freedom that few other jobs do.

    The Realities of Being an OTR Truck Driver

    OTR truck driving allows you to see the country while earning more money doing a job you love. Expect to drive around 500 miles a day, 300 days a year. Here are a few things you can expect while living the OTR lifestyle:
    • You'll have flexibility. You may have early mornings but no set-in-stone start time.
    • You'll drive no more than 11 hours a day with at least a ten-hour break between drives.
    • You'll get "home time" about once every three weeks. As a general rule, OTR drivers need to have at least a full 34 hours off after 70 hours of driving. The 70 hours is usually done over eight days.
    • You'll likely be compensated per mile, depending on your carrier.
    • You'll be able to stop at truck stops or other locations for meals and showers. Many truck stops have showers you can pay to use. Some truckers choose to use portable showers in their trucks.
    • You'll use the sleeper cab behind the driver's seat to sleep and enjoy free time. The sleeper cab can fit a small mattress. Some truckers have a small television, microwave, and mini-refrigerator in their cabs.
    • You'll be able to enjoy some solitude as you travel the country.
    When you get your first long-haul trucking job, you'll have a trainer teaching you the ins and outs of the OTR lifestyle. This trainer will show you how to take breaks, find meals, and live in your truck. You won't have to learn it all yourself.

    Prepare for Life on the Road with CDL Training

    The OTR lifestyle often appeals to people who enjoy time alone, desire flexibility, and enjoy traveling the country. If you're considering becoming an OTR truck driver, you'll first need to get your CDL. At United States Truck Driving School, our CDL training programs can help you learn to drive trucks, pass your CDL exam, and get a job. If you're interested in beginning a career as an OTR truck driver, contact us today to learn more about our programs.
  • graphic with guitar and lightning with truck in background

    Rock Stars of the Road

    There are rock stars in the sense of Led Zeppelin or AC/DC, but the real rock stars in the driving world are truck drivers. Truck drivers are the "bread and butter" of our society. Even Elvis Presley was told to "stick to truck driving because he would never make it as a rock star." However, we know that being a truck driver is actually a great career that helps many people in the process! Consider what truck drivers do every day. They get consumer goods to stores, stock our grocery shelves with food, bring food to the restaurants we enjoy eating at, and help stock our favorite stores. If we didn't have truck drivers, many of the goods and services that we enjoy every day would not be readily available.

    The Trucking Industry

    The trucking industry brings in more than $676.2 billion annually in the US. About 8.9 million people are employed in the truck driving industry, and about 2.3 million of those people drive the actual trucks to their final locations. The average driver gets paid about $40,000 as an entry-level wage. That amount can increase as the driver becomes a "seasoned veteran" in the industry.

    Celebrating Truck Drivers

    The week of September 8th through the 14th, 2019 is National Truck Driver Appreciation Week. It's your opportunity to show truck drivers appreciation for doing what they do. So, how do you participate in Truck Driver Appreciation Week? The following are some great ideas that you can use to treat a local truck driver like the rock star of the road that they are:
    • Share a shout out to your local truck drivers on social media (especially if you own a store or small business).
    • Give a local truck driver you know an "appreciation gift." (A reusable mug to fill with their favorite drink on the road is a great idea--you could even fill it with goodies!)
    • Buy a truck driver a meal when you see them in a gas station to thank them for what they do.
    • Set up a "truck wash" in your community to help drivers clean up their truck. (It gives them a break from doing it FOR ONCE, and they will appreciate it.)
    • Write a note and thank a truck driver you see out and about
    These are a few great ways that you can thank truck drivers who serve your community without breaking the bank. At United States Truck Driving School, we are proud to participate in National Truck Driver Appreciation Week. If you're interested in getting started in the trucking industry, contact us about how we can help you obtain your CDL.
  • police lights with title text over and a blue filter

    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 for 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
  • truck driving into tunnel with blue filter

    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   
  • New job ahead road sign with blue filter

    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