Driving a big rig means getting a commercial driver’s license and that takes a specific type of schooling. Three types of tractor trailer schools exist: motor training school, private school, and publicly funded school.

Motor Training School

Many companies hire truckers as part of doing business. Motor training schools often are a short term set up by a company or industry due to immediate business needs. Courses are not full blown versions since companies tailor courses to their specific needs for that year. Course development involves mostly hands on experience under the guidance of an instructor. For someone in the industry, the courses become an ideal way for breaking into the field of driving big rigs.

Private Trucking School

On the opposite end of the scale, private tractor trailer schools do teach trucking fully. Private schools are not tied to particular industries or agendas. Programs teach a variety of skills by instruction and by driving big rigs with an experienced driver present. A person should look for private schools that have been in business for some time. A few states regulate private trucking schools so check the records for violations or ratings.

Public Funded Trucking School

Check community colleges and vocational schools for trucking programs. State and federal government supports programs in an area where the needs are great for such skills. The training in these programs vary widely depending on the needs of the community. The schools may offer only courses in specific skills or a certification instead of a commercial driver’s license. An advantage is most will plug into local industry needs and so will indicate where professional tractor trailer drivers are hired.

Professional Truck Driving Institute

At its website the Professional Truck Driving Institute states it works to develop standardized skill performance, certification standards, and curriculum. The non-profit organization works with both schools and industry to develop quality driving courses to create high quality drivers. It gives lists by state which truck driving schools meet the high standards. Links lead to private training and community college training programs with costs and options noted.


According to the Occupational Outlook Handbook tractor-trailer drivers opportunities have a faster than average growth rate. For short distances no other mode of transportation is as efficient as trucks at hauling goods. Qualified long-haul drivers are at a shortage so companies are willing to hire those certified by high quality schools. General freight trucking firms hire the most drivers. Median wage was at $37,770. Payment in most industries is by how many miles driven which varies by employer. Of course hazardous material cargo pays more. A high school diploma, good hand and eye coordination, good general health and the ability to pass vision tests are the basic requirements for eligibility for a training program.

On the Road

Different companies have different expectations for drivers. In general, truckers unload and load cargo, find the best routes to deliver cargo, inspect their rig, and keep all equipment clean and in good working order. Trucking does often mean a lifestyle change since many drives require being away from home for days or even weeks. For those so inclined, trucking can become a great way to make a living.

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Aaron Shorts is a specialist in Allight Light Towers and frequently reports on the mining industry.