Truck Driving Schools

You’ve just written and passed your test for your A/Class One License, you have a newly minted piece of paper saying you now have what is called your beginners “A” License, so you ask yourself, “Now What?”

You should for the most part have already done your research into what trucking school you want to attend, but if you haven’t, this article should help you along in figuring out just what you should be looking for in a truck driving school.

driver training

The one thing to remember as you begin your search is that there are plenty of schools out there, especially in a big city like Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Calgary etc. There are some very good schools out there but there are also some schools that only teach you how to pass the provincially mandated road test, nothing more, nothing less. The key is doing your research into your school to avoid these type of situations. If you live in Ontario there is hope that those situations will become a thing of the past as the province is going through the process of introducing Mandatory Entry Level Training which should change the way some of the fly by night truck driving schools in the province do business and maybe even put some of them out of business.

The main goal of any school you go to should be to put you in the best possible position to succeed as a truck driver. Of course once you do graduate school there is a pretty good chance that most trucking companies will have their own finishing training and that will be more about their company policies than behind the wheel learning.

The first thing to look for when finding a good school is to look and see if they are a member of Professional Truck Driving Institute. Schools that are a member of the P.D.T.I are required to have stringent training requirements. In Ontario a good question to ask a potential school would be to find out if they are also an approved vocational school through the Private Career College Act 2005. It’s also a good question to ask what kind of equipment you will get to train on. There are many schools out there that have new equipment with all the latest technology which is an added plus and there may not be must of an adjustment when you do get hired on with a company.

Another thing that you will want to ask is if the school offers job placement assistance, in fact most credible schools will advertise that they offer job placement assistance. Those schools also most likely have relationships with trucking companies. In fact there are schools out there where certain companies will come in and will offer the students in the class a job once they graduate from the course and obtain their full license. Those companies are also the ones that do the finishing training that I mentioned earlier. Most of these schools have also added professional resume training as a part of the course curriculum.

Another important thing to ask is if the on the road training is one to one training, there are some schools where they will have a group of students riding in the truck while the one student is getting his/her seat time in. They also count all the time spent with the group as your allotted on road training hours. There is also a good chance that a student doesn’t learn well in a group setting and in the end isn’t getting the most out of their training. A good credible school will have your on the road training as a one to one session so that the student can get the most out of their training time with the instructor.

It’s also a good thing to ask a prospective school if how much experience do their instructors have as instructors? Do they have real industry experience outside of being instructors at the school? Another thing to ask is what is their students success rate when it comes to finishing the course and passing their road test and obtaining a full A/Class One License. It’s a good chance that your in truck instructor will be different than the in class instructor. The in class instructor will most likely be someone who has lots of industry experience as well as experience as an instructor and most likely may still be an in truck instructor.

Another thing to ask is whether or not the school offers any add on courses such as first aid training, do they offer skid school training, do they offer forklift training and certification? Some schools will have a day where you visit a ministry of transportation inspection site where they will take the students through what to expect when you have to go into a roadside scale and inspection station. Some schools will also have a day where you visit Canada Customs and they go through the process for border crossings. Most schools in Ontario offer the Z endorsement as part of the course however there are some that do not, If it were me I would choose a school that offers the Z endorsement as the course is really informative and they show you step by step when it comes to learning the air brakes system and most of the schools do a much better job describing things than how the book explains it.

first aid training

Another good question to ask is does the school have a sizeable fleet of equipment to use or do they have a small number of truck of which can make scheduling your one to one in truck learning time difficult. The larger the fleet that the school has the easier it becomes when it comes to getting your seat time in truck as it will be more consistent and you won’t likely have long waiting times in between when you can forget some of the in cab stuff that you have learned.

A good thing to ask about it whether or not the course will also teach you about the real every day stuff in the industry, such as distribution of the weight of the load, can you tell a forklift driver how you want the freight loaded in your trailer and know that the weight will be evenly distributed throughout your trailer. Ask if learning about sliding the trailer tandems will be taught during the course. They will teach you what the weight limits are for Canada and the US, but do they teach you how to shift your tandems on your trailer or possibly moving of the fifth wheel on the truck if your over your allotted axle weights to make the load legal. Chances are that some will and some won’t but if you hire on with a trucking company that does finish up training they will go over that stuff so that you won’t feel lost once you get out on the road.

Unlike in the United States, most Canadian companies do not have their own training schools in which they train drivers on how to drive and get their license. There is one Canadian Company that does however, Hyndman Transport out of Wroxeter Ontario and who is owned by Indianapolis based Celadon now has their own training academy that they operate out of their headquarters in Wroxeter Ont. It’s a nine month program where you take a six week AZ training course then you are with a mentor for six weeks and then they team you for six weeks and during that time you do get paid, although it’s not much, and on the upside if you finish the course the training doesn’t cost you anything.

The only downside that I don’t like in that plan is that they do the team thing, now it doesn’t say if you are teamed with someone with experience or another rookie, I’ve been with companies that do the teaming of rookies and to me it’s a plan that in my opinion isn’t a good idea. I don’t think for the first year that new drivers should team, they should be learning on their own and not have to worry about having to sleep while the truck is moving, those companies are just setting guys up to fail and that doesn’t do the drivers or the companies any good.

As I’ve stated earlier the big thing that you should be looking at when trying to find a good school is one that has a solid reputation. Ask around, ask other drivers about certain schools. They will let you know if it’s a good school or whether to run the other way. Make sure that it is associated with the PDTI. Make sure that they have a job placement assistance program in place, most will even offer a lifetime job placement which is a nice added touch.

Here is one more thing to keep in mind, the top schools in Canada will have programs that will be roughly a two month course, they will offer you 50-60 hours of in class training, 40-50 hours of yard instruction which will include pre trip inspections, coupling and uncoupling of the trailer and backing into a dock etc, and roughly 50 hours of in truck on the road instruction.

Hopefully these pointers and questions outlined above will help you land a good trucking school for your truck driver training. Good Luck!

Comments

  1. Asheli Manoj says:

    Hi,
    I am an Indian living in US at present. Applied for canada express entry. but in waiting due to insufficient score.
    I want to drive trucks in canada. I have no access to training or license here in US. Is there a way I can legally get truck driving training in Canada and continue working there?

  2. Rayan elbarmi says:

    Hi there my name is Rayan I live in uneted state of America I have driving license class A what I need is orientation for 2 to 3 weeks that’ all so can I make it in Canada?

  3. i am indian. i want to drive trucks in canada .i have indian driving license how can i move to canada from india

  4. SENTHILKUMAR says:

    Dear sir
    I am indian citizen, currently working in qatar. I have indian 4 wheeler driving licence.
    I am very interesting in driving so i want to learn advance driving course. My ielts band is 4.5. May i am eligible for this course. Kindly do the needfull.

  5. Ok this is me, from India, searched on lot on internet 4 this field “heavy vehicles driving licence, specially heavy 53 tall truck, there is no school in India for tuck, and as i dig more i only found that in canada and America there’s only school available who provides trainning for truck driving, which cost you $4000 to 20000, means what you can got in India in just ₹6000 to 8000 (im tallking about Indian rupees) you can get heavy vehicles driving licence ,includ, you can learn truck too, you just have to give your time for that,… If you are in India you don’t pay any institut for truck, you just have too make friend who trucking ragular.. Befor apllaing loaded vehicles licence you need a car driving license for that you have to go to the car training school.

  6. Hi,
    I am an Indian living in US at present. Applied for canada express entry. but in waiting due to insufficient score.
    I want to drive trucks in canada. I have no access to training or license here in US. Is there a way I can legally get truck driving training in Canada and continue working there?

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