Dreaming of Driving a Big Rig: How to Get a Start in Class A Trucking

You may be thinking about how amazing it will be to drive one of these 80,000-pound vehicles. Paper Transport, Inc. has been in the game of transportation for over 30 years. It was only in the last seven years that we began to train drivers from accredited truck driving school programs. In late October 2020, we revamped our training program and launched the Accelerate program, which is deeply committed to developing the next generation of professional truck drivers coming out of CDL schools across the Midwest and Southeast. Here are some helpful insights we’ve gained over the years as we’ve partnered with new Class A CDL holders.

Where to Earn Your Class A CDL

Your research and decision on where to attend truck driving school is vitally important. Make sure you are doing your research and asking questions about the school’s curriculum. Ensure you are going to receive ample time behind the wheel on the roadway, getting instruction on the yard, and learning about the industry and its regulations. No matter what transportation carrier you select after schooling, the expectation will be that you have a solid baseline and foundation in each of these areas to expand upon.

Check out our posts on What to Look for in a CDL School and What to Ask When Deciding on a CDL Truck Driving School

Where to Train

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Getting proper training sets you up to be successfully released into the wild world of driving a big rig! So as you start your class A driving career ask these questions. How much time behind the wheel are you getting? Are you also reviewing and practicing yard maneuvers in addition to spending time on the roadway? Also, ask potential employers for the opportunity to talk to some recent individuals who went through the company’s finishing training.

Paper Transport, Inc.’s Accelerate program for inexperienced/new Class A CDL holders starts with an in-depth onboarding and hands-on training at our corporate office in Green Bay (De Pere), Wisconsin. For a full week, you will get to know us and the teams with whom you will work. We will also hone your yard and roadway skills as well as prepare you for your on-the-job training. Entering your second week of training, the Accelerate program assigns you to our best-in-class trainers where you will get real-world on-the-job training for a minimum of 2 weeks. Your trainer’s focus is to help you learn and grow to be safe and confident. After the first day with your trainer, you are 100% behind the wheel. Other training programs require the trainee to wait days or weeks to be assigned to a trainer or they run in a team driving configuration. That’s definitely not the PTI Accelerate way!

Check out our post on What to Look for in a Post-Graduate CDL Finishing Program

Where to Work

“Where am I going to go to work?” An even better question: “Where do I want my career to go for the long term?” We’ve seen so many experienced drivers bounce from place to place – sometimes never finding his or her right home or leaving the transportation industry altogether. As you make your move into transportation, ensure you are looking for a long-term partner for an employer. Pay and home time are likely very important to you – make sure you are getting a real picture of the industry and company you are joining by vetting the company. Don’t hesitate to talk to professional drivers of the company you’re vetting – it is the best way to get the real deal.

Final Words: Get it Right

Finally, one of the things I share each week over lunch with our new Accelerate professional drivers is this: If you develop and learn the skills on the front end to ensure you are operating safely, then this is a career that won’t escape or elude you. If you do things the right way, safely, and partner with an employer who is fully committed to safety and to your overall goals your career as a professional driver will be extremely secure and rewarding!

So, what drives you? It’s the question we ask every employee and customer because it’s not what you do, it’s why you do it. Knowing what drives or motivates you will help you create your path for a better future. Let us know: We’ll help you get there.

Click here to learn more about our Accelerate Program for inexperienced/new CDL holders.

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