Truck Driver Training
It’s a bold statement to say that any career field is recession proof. But there are a few that can come very, very close to making that claim. That includes driving an 18 wheeler.
“Next to nursing, this is probably the most stable career field there is,” said Duncan Quick, the coordinator of the Truck Driving Training School at Southside Virginia Community College.
“Hiring slowed down a little in those really lean years but it never stopped. People just aren’t being laid off,” he said.
What is it?
The Truck Driver Training School is a six week program offered at three of Virginia’s Community Colleges. Students receive approximately 300 hours of training (15% classroom and 85% hands-on and observation). The class day is structured very close to a normal workday. Pre-trip inspections, keeping logbooks updated, and constant backing up and twisting and turning to maneuver the trucks will become habit. Main focal points during the course will include preventive maintenance, highway safety and handling hazardous materials.
Quick said the program has close to a perfect record when it comes to matching those who graduate from the programs with jobs.
“Our goal is to see our students graduate on a Friday and be sitting in some company’s orientation session [for their new job] on the following Monday,” he said.
Quick said his graduates earn starting salaries ranging between $35,000 and $50,000 a year with full benefits.
The Virginia Education Wizard’s Occupation Profile page for truck driving backs him up on that.
Who is it helping?
Truck driver training at Virginia’s Community Colleges is designed to get students qualified quickly to earn a paycheck. Quick says he sees the demand for safety-focused, quality truck drivers increasing. He also sees a continued increase in safety regulations and enforcement so drivers need to be proactive and particular about the condition of their truck and the way they drive it.
Quick says its also important for people to understand the realities of truck driving and that he estimates that some 80 percent of truck driving jobs require time on the road.
“This is not an easy job, being away from home and away from family; We can’t train them for that,” Quick said.
Where is it offered?
What are we learning from it?
This program demonstrates the community college mission perfectly: bringing together hard working people seeking good career opportunities with employers needing qualified employees. Progress in technology and other matters make truck driving an increasingly complex occupation requiring intensive training and community colleges are a natural place to earn that training and certification.
What’s its future?
Truck Driving as an occupation is in, “Very high demand,” said Quick. “And that’s not going to change anytime soon.”
Editor’s Note: 30 Ways in 30 Days Virginia’s Community Colleges are Elevating Virginia is a month-long blog series dedicated to exploring some of the many creative and inspiring ways our colleges are helping people find and create opportunity. The series is part of the VCCS tribute to National Community College Month. To read more of the series just click on the “30 ways in 30 days” category.