Continuing Education Options for Semi Truck Drivers

Continuing education is always something to think about, whether you are a semi truck driver, a teacher, an entrepreneur, a rocket scientist or anything else. In our modern economy, people are switching careers more times throughout their lives than they have in the past. Even if you are planning to continue working in the industry you have chosen, it’s important to set yourself apart from other candidates by learning new technologies and keeping your skills up to date.

Luckily, driving a semi truck provides downtime with limited available activities at truck stops, loading docks and truck service centers. And the increase in online education programs offers more opportunities for employees on the road to further their education than ever before. 

Education Opportunities Within the Semi-Truck Industry: Commercial Driver’s Licenses

As any professional semi truck driver knows, since the Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Act was signed into law in 1986, anyone operating a commercial vehicle must have a commercial driver’s license (CDL). However, there are three different classes of CDLs, each one allowing you to drive more specialized vehicles. Obtaining a new license will allow you to broaden your future career opportunities. 

With a CDL Class A, you will be able to drive any combination of vehicles with a gross combination weight rating (GVWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, provided the towed vehicle is heavier than 10,000 pounds. This applies to: 

  • Tractor-trailers
  • Truck and trailer combinations
  • Tank vehicles
  • Livestock carriers
  • Flatbeds

With a CDL Class B, you can drive a single vehicle with a gross combination weight rating of 26,001 or more pounds, or tow a vehicle not heavier than 10,000 pounds.This applies to: 

  • Straight trucks
  • Large passenger buses
  • Segmented buses
  • Box trucks
  • Dump trucks with small trailers
  • Tractor-trailers

With a CDL Class C, you can drive a vehicle that is designed to transport 16 or more occupants (including you, the driver) or hazardous materials (HazMat). This applies to: 

  • Small HazMat vehicles
  • Passenger vans
  • Combination vehicles not covered by Classes A or B

Earning a College Degree on the Road

While driving a semi truck or another commercial vehicle does not require a college degree, many commercial truck drivers decide to pursue a college education in the downtime built into their schedules. Waiting at a truck service center or a rest stop provides the perfect opportunity to read textbooks or write papers. And all those hours on the road can be used to listen to books on tape or entire semesters’ worth of recorded lectures.

Thanks to the prevalence of online degree programs, truck drivers can obtain degrees in a wide variety of subjects. You may want to take business administration or economics classes to enhance career opportunities in trucking or logistics. Taking certain computer classes might prepare you for advances in automation technology or electronic logging devices (ELDs). 

Additionally, many drivers simply want to learn a new language or master a subject unrelated to their current career. No matter the subject, education is always a good idea when it comes to bettering ourselves generally and opening up new career opportunities down the road.

Contact Nextran Truck Centers

To learn about maximizing your fleet’s resources with brands like Ford, Volvo, Mack Trucks or Isuzu, contact Nextran Truck Centers. With 16 locations across Florida, Georgia and Alabama, we’re here for all your trucking needs.

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