How to Ace Your CDL Exam the First Time?

Check out our tips on how to pass your exams to get your CDL!

There are many steps involved in getting your Class A Commercial Driver License, one of which is the Written and Driving Skills Combined CDL Exam. These exams require you to memorize a great deal of information. Testing materials range from driving maneuvers to general knowledge facts and truck inspection steps. Luckily, many resources are available at your fingertips that can help you do well on your tests!

Before we discuss the different ways you can prepare for these CDL tests, let us first go over the common topics you will encounter on each exam:

  • Written (General Knowledge) Exam – Typically 50 Questions:
    • General Nebraska CDL Requirements
    • Basic Vehicle Controls
    • Skid Control and Recovery
    • Shifting Gears
    • Space Management
    • Cargo Weight and Balance
  • Driving Skills Exam:
    • Pre-Trip Inspection:
      • Engine Compartment
      • Brake Check
      • Trailer
    • Basic Controls (Backing Truck and Trailer)
    • Road Test
      • Left and Right Turns
      • Driving Through Intersections, underpasses, and expressways

Now that we’ve covered what to expect on these tests, let’s discuss how you can prep yourself to perform well on your exams!

CDL Exam Online Study Materials

 A quick Google search for “CDL Exam Resources” populates close to four million different articles, study guides, and practice tests. These study aids can be accessed anytime on any day. This means you can continue to study the important information you have already learned from your CDL Training School on your own time. Practice tests are also significant indicators as to what key information needs to be committed to memory. Lastly, several study-buddy apps are available on both the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store. You can study on any electronic device while on the go!

In-Person Study Materials for the CDL Test

 If computers and phones are not your jam, don’t fret! There are many physical copies of study guides, practice tests, and CDL Manuals that you can print online or get from your local Nebraska DMV branch. You can create flashcards that contain essential information and vocabulary words that will appear on the Written CDL Exam. Finally, you can ask your classmates if they would like to form a study group, which allows you to gain new points of view and study techniques for different topics, while also developing and gaining new friends who you may see driving alongside you on the road!

JTL Truck Driver Training Offers You the Best of Both Worlds

 At JTL Truck Driver Training, we provide you all the above plus behind-the-wheel training, so you are prepared for each avenue of your CDL test. Our experienced instructors have over 100 combined years of truck driving experience and have trained hundreds of students to succeed in the trucking industry. They will be by your side every step of the way, ensuring that you understand all the necessary knowledge and skills that you will need to make the best grade on your tests and become the best professional truck driver you can be!

Don’t go at this new adventure alone – let JTL Truck Driver Training get you started on the right foot! Fill out the form or give us a call today at 402-932-0000 to reserve your spot in our next available class!

Women are Leading Truck Driving into the Future

Investing in Woman Drivers

With the current truck driver shortage affecting the trucking industry, the demand for truck drivers has never been higher. The shortage creates an excellent opportunity for women truck drivers. Only 10% of the industry is female; however, this number has been steadily increasing since 2018 when it was 6%. This means that, regardless of gender, there will always be job opportunities for licensed truck drivers all over the country, and job security is high.

Why are Companies Looking Towards Women?

The opinion that women cannot do the same jobs as men has been proven wrong time and time again. The trucking industry is waking up to this fact and realizing that women can not only drive semi-trucks, but they tend to do so with more care and dedication than their male co-workers. Studies have proven that women truck drivers tend to be better for business. They have fewer accidents, go for more miles, and women tend to stay in the job longer.

Trucking Companies Want Women

Many trucking carriers have begun to hire as many people as possible that are appropriately licensed to try and fill the driver shortage. Many companies have now seen a more mixed-gender workforce that is more attractive to more people and more cost-effective to run. Another reason to have more women in trucking is that they are more likely to train other women, which creates a more welcoming experience for women to join the industry. It has become more important as advocacy groups for women, such as Women in Trucking, push for women to be in trucking and push for companies to treat women equally in the trucking world.

Why Should Women Choose Trucking?

The driver shortage has now given drivers the power to decide which jobs are the best fit for them as many companies are hiring. This gives women the ability to determine what companies to work for and what is best for them. Truck driving jobs are different from typical jobs as driver’s pay raises are based on how safe they are on the road and how reliable they are at delivering their freight. Studies have shown that women truck drivers tend to be safer and more reliable than their male counterparts.

The trucking industry wants to add more women to their driving fleets! JTL emphasizes getting women trained to be as skilled as possible. JTL’s job placement program will help place you with the perfect company!

Lead the next generation of female truck drivers and learn how you can get started today! Call JTL today at 402-932-0000 to begin your next journey!

Military to Trucking: The Logical Shift

One of the Best Career Options for Veterans

Military veterans have to make several difficult decisions while serving. Yet, one of the most complex decisions many veterans face is what to do when they return home from active service. The choice is difficult because, for many, they are not only affecting themselves but the lives of their families as well. Many veterans look for careers that can promise a stable work environment and pay. Trucking is one of the jobs that can weather most economic changes as communities rely on it. Trucking can be the most logical shift for many military veterans.

Why Choose a Career in Trucking?

Trucking is a backbone of the US’s economy. 70% of all goods are transported by semi-truck at some point during their delivery. This makes a job in trucking one of the more stable jobs one can have at the moment. Job stability has even greater importance now that the truck driver shortage is growing. Companies do not want to lose the drivers they currently have. For returning veterans, this is the perfect time to join the trucking industry. The continued job stability will help veterans transition back to civilian life while still supporting their families. Currently, with the truck driver shortage, the industry is seeing better benefits and pay, while drivers can have more control over who they work for.

Military Skills Lead to Trucking with Ease

Becoming a great truck driver requires a specific set of skills to succeed in the trucking industry. Great truck drivers all have several skills in common. They are great communicators, extremely reliable, and always disciplined to ensure nothing goes wrong with their truck or the shipment they are hauling. While on the road, truck drivers have to be motivated, self-sufficient, and accountable. Drivers are the only ones responsible for their trucks when on the road. These skills are critical factors in many veterans’ military training as well. The individuals that succeed are the ones who are self-sufficient, motivated to succeed, and accountable.

Benefits to a Trucking Career

There are many incentives for veterans to go through the training process to become professional truck drivers. Truck driving schools have offered military benefits to help ease the financial commitment of the training process. The Post 9/11 GI bill® is available to help military members start their civilian lives by learning a new career. While the GI bill is nationwide, be aware that individual schools may also have their own veteran benefits they offer.

Additionally, veterans who were trained to operate heavy equipment while serving may be able to have the driving portion of their CDL exam waived through the Military CDL Skills Test Waiver. The Nebraska DMV states that any service member who either had a license within the last 12 months or are currently licensed to operate military machinery may be eligible for the Military CDL Skills Test Waiver.

Another great bonus for transitioning veterans is the eligibility for the Transition Trucking Award. This award is given to one veteran every year who has successfully transitioned into trucking and deserves recognition for their hard work and dedication. The winner each year receives a fully-loaded Kenworth T-680 to help them launch their career and inspire other veterans.

 

To begin your journey from active service member to a successful truck driver, contact us at JTL Truck Driver Training today to learn about our veteran assistance programs and get your CDL in as little as 4 weeks!

 

 

 

 

GI Bill® is a registered trademark of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).  More information about education benefits offered by VA is available at the official U.S. government website
at http://www.benefits.va.gov/gibill.

What Jobs Can I Get with a Class A CDL?

Know your trucking career options!

A Class A CDL is one of the most common CDLs obtained by students. This type of CDL also has a wide variety of job possibilities available to students once they complete their CDL training. Let’s take a look at the jobs that could be waiting for you with a Class A CDL.

With a Class A CDL, you can drive any combination of vehicles with a combined gross weight of 26001 pounds or more with a trailer– if the vehicle weighs more than 10,000 pounds.

OTR Trucking

Over-The-Road trucking is one of the most common pathways students take after earning their CDL. There are so many OTR carriers that are constantly looking for students to fill open positions. These long-hauling jobs may require drivers to drive over 100 miles a day and stick to a strict schedule in order to make deliveries on time. OTR drivers are often away from home for an extended amount of time, but in return usually are given at least a week off in between routes to be home with family and friends.

Heavy Equipment Driver

These drivers typically will work in a construction setting operating heavy equipment such as a dump truck or concrete mixer. Heavy equipment jobs are classified differently. This is any job pulling equipment weighing no more than 26,000 pounds. The number of miles you will drive will depend on the specific job. You could be driving to jobs just across town or across several states.

Bus Driver

This may not be the first job you think about when getting your CDL, but a career as a bus driver could be extremely rewarding. You would be responsible for getting passengers from point A to point B safely.

Delivery Truck Driver

As a delivery truck driver, your day could be different every day or you could be assigned to the same route on a daily basis. However, most delivery jobs are entry-level positions and do not have the earning potential of other trucking jobs.

Endorsements

Let’s not forget to mention the multiple endorsements you can add to your Class A CDL. Each endorsement will allow you to drive a specific type of equipment or materials. Endorsements can greatly increase the value of your CDL.

  • H Endorsement: required if you will be driving vehicles containing hazardous materials.
  • N Endorsement: permits drivers to drive vehicles with tanks on them.
  • P Endorsement: permits drivers to drive vehicles that carry a specific number of passengers. The actual number of passengers allowed will vary by state.
  • S Endorsement: permits drivers to drive school buses. Getting an S Endorsement will also require the driver to take a road skills test, submit entirely separate application forms, pass a complete background check, and have an acceptable driving record.
  • T Endorsement: permits drivers to drive a double or triple trailer.
  • X Endorsement: permits drivers to drive vehicles that transport HAZMAT materials or vehicles that are tankers.
Do any of these careers sound interesting to you? We can help you get started. Sign up for one of our next class starts today or call 402-932-0000 for more information.

Truckers Against Human Trafficking

Our Heros of the Highway

Human trafficking has been a persistent issue for centuries. There is an unsettling 40 million victims around the world. Unfortunately, truck drivers see it occurring regularly in plain sight at truck stops, restaurants, motels, and more. The trucking industry has been working hard to focus more of its attention on the issue. January is recognized as National Human Trafficking Awareness Month in the United States. We encourage you to take a look at how you can participate this month.

To build awareness around the issue. We encourage you to take a look at how you can participate this month.

What is Human Trafficking?

Human trafficking is the exploitation of humans through force or fraud for the purpose of commercial sex or forced labor. The following information is from dosomething.org and Truckers Against Trafficking.

  • Globally, human trafficking brings in $150 billion a year for traffickers.
  • The National Human Trafficking Hotline received more calls from California than any other state followed by Texas and Florida.
  • 2,692 of those calls made to NHTH were by truck drivers.
  • About 50,000 people are trafficked into the US each year, most often from Mexico and the Philippines.
  • 1,296 human trafficking victims have been identified by the transportation industry.

Truckers Against Trafficking

Truck drivers have shown they are in business to save lives. Truckers Against Trafficking was established in 2009 to empower the transportation industry to take a public stand against human trafficking. Currently, 1,014,367 truck drivers have completed their Certified Trucker Against Trafficking program. Over the years, TAT has received recognition from U.S. Congress and United Nation’s 100 Best Practices list for their success. Also, TAT has partnered with numerous motor carriers, trucking industry associations, government transportation agencies, truck stops, travel plazas and law enforcement.

Hero of the Highway

Millions of truck drivers have become the eyes and ears of our nation’s highways, like Kevin Kimmel. In 2015, Kimmel saved a woman from modern-day slavery. At the time, he was pulling into a truck stop to sleep. He saw a distraught young woman through the darkened window of an RV. Kimmel decided things didn’t look right and called local law enforcement. The police found her inside the RV malnourished and frightened. She had been kidnapped two weeks prior. Kevin Kimmel’s heroic action granted her, her freedom.

3 Ways Truck Drivers Can Make a Difference

  1. Get Certified. If you’ve received your CDL training, join TAT’s army of transportation professionals working to disrupt human trafficking. The Truckers Against Trafficking test is free for all truck drivers. You can get certified online or see if your organization offers training.
  2. Follow your instincts. Call or text the National Human Trafficking Hotline to report a tip if you ever believe you may have information about a trafficking situation.
  3. Don’t turn a blind eye. If you witness any suspicious activity notify the truck stop employee or call local law enforcement.

#WearBlueDay

The Blue Campaign, a public awareness campaign created by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, hosts several human trafficking educational events. One of their largest initiatives is #WearBlueDay on January 11. Many Americans participated by taking a photo of themselves dressed in blue and shared to social media. See how everyone came together for #WearBlueDay on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN BECOMING A HERO OF THE HIGHWAY, LEARN MORE ABOUT HOW TO BECOME A LICENSED CDL TRUCK DRIVER. AMERICA IS DEPENDING ON YOU!

Trucking Industry Outlook for 2021

What to Expect in the Coming Year

Forecasts show 2021 as a transitional year for the trucking industry. The economy and truck driver demand is expected to rebound throughout 2021 from the impacts the pandemic had and create a positive trend going into the 2022 year. If you are looking to start a trucking career, 2021 is the year to do it!

Increased Salary

A big reason to get into the trucking industry right now is the increase in pay that companies are implementing for beginner drivers. Spot rates are increasing compared to earlier in 2020 due to the high demand and manufacturer supply, which motivates drivers to carry more loads. The average salary for a truck driver right now is between $55,000-$60,000 with an entry-level driver making between $40,000-$50,000. Drivers with more experience will get better benefits and higher pay generally. Driver pay also depends on the carrier they drive for, with some paying more than others and some having different pay structures. Drivers also can add certifications like a hazmat to increase their pay.

Economic Bounce Back

The need for truckers hauling freight is still in high demand even though the economy took a hit in 2020. E-commerce and online shopping have never been higher and are only expected to increase in the future. This upward trend in shopping means America will need more drivers to balance out the growing demand for freight. According to FTR Transportation Intelligence predictions, truck freight will grow 6% in 2021, which is a strong growth rate when looking at year-over-year comparisons.

Since the amount of freight is predicted to grow, the trucking industry will need to hire more drivers to meet demand. Currently, the trucking industry has a shortage of drivers and if this trend continues, the trucking industry could be short as much as 105,000 drivers by 2023. This is good news for new drivers getting into the industry. New and beginner drivers in Nebraska will be able to have multiple career options to choose from when obtaining their CDL due to the number of companies hiring new drivers.

Fast Training

Fortunately for new drivers, CDL training at JTL only takes 4 weeks! Those individuals who want to obtain their CDL could be heading into a new career in no time! Students can get out and start making money quickly.

The trucking industry is always changing, so more insights and forecasts may become available as 2021 gets closer. If you would like to get your CDL in Nebraska and start your trucking career, contact JTL Truck Driver Training today and see how we can assist you in starting your new career!

NTDAW: How to Thank a Trucker

What You Can Do to Say Thanks

To help celebrate National Truck Driver Appreciation Week, we wanted to showcase some of the best ways Americans have been showing their appreciation for drivers. In this difficult year, truck drivers have stepped up to keep America running, and we are all thankful. Let’s take a look at some of the ways Americans are showing their appreciation to truckers, but first, let’s recap everything that has happened since March.

COVID-19 Impact on Trucking

When COVID-19 hit back in March, it impacted our transportation industry majorly. No one knew what to expect and the stay-at-home orders brought everyone’s life to a halt. Everyone except truck drivers. While most were working from home, that was not a possibility for truckers. With 70% of the country’s total freight being moved on trucks and 48% of Nebraska communities depending on trucks, drivers not going to work would be catastrophic.

As they worked nonstop through the pandemic, they often found it hard to feed themselves. Almost every restaurant (including truck stops) in the country had shut its doors for dine-in, leaving truckers without access to quality meals. Many things we take for granted like showers and restrooms were no longer available to the individuals keeping food on our own tables. These issues led to campaigns created for truckers, and easy ways we can show appreciation for what they provide for us.

Feed A Trucker Campaigns

The issue of truckers not being able to find available food from restaurants led to dozens of campaigns across the country of feeding truck drivers. People came together in showing their appreciation by providing meals, water, and even health and sanitation products to drivers in their respective areas of the country. The Nebraska Trucking Association (NTA) has provided thousands of free meals to truckers since the start of the pandemic, including free meal coupons and pre-packaged homemade meals.

Corporate America Gives Thanks

 While you can find small campaigns thanking truckers all over the country, you can also find major corporations doing their part.

  • Uber: Uber Freight launched a giant campaign saying thank you for all that truckers do. This campaign included the delivery of more than 10,000 care packages to drivers and a $20 Uber Eats discount.
  • Tyson Foods: America’s largest supplier of chicken, beef, and pork donated $60 million in bonuses to drivers during the height of the pandemic. They also gave out thousands of masks and sanitation equipment to drivers.
  • American Trucking Associates: The largest national trade association for the trucking industry took health and safety into their own hands for drivers by setting up multiple free hand sanitizer refill spots for truck drivers.

map of hand sanitizer stations in usa

How You Can Say Thanks

If you don’t have the time to set up a food stand or make special deliveries to truck drivers, you can still show them you care in many ways. A popular way is to take to social media to show your appreciation, using the hashtag #ThankATrucker. Another fun way you can get involved is by sending a thank-you poster to the NTA. The NTA will then print and distribute your poster to truckers at different truck stops throughout Nebraska. Finally, an unspoken way you can show truckers appreciation every day is by being courteous to them on the road. This will go a long way in saying “thank you” to them and may make their drive easier.

 

Truck Driver Salary: What You Should Expect

Expected Pay For Truck Drivers in Nebraska

One of the most common questions asked about the trucking industry is the salary you will have as a truck driver. All entry-level truckers are offered a competitive starting salary, even though they may range from company to company. The salary of truckers depends on the company they work for and the position they hold. OTR drivers can make different money than a local driver, but it will depend on each trucking company’s pay structure for its drivers.

OTR Salary

Although each company may pay differently, OTR drivers can expect to make between $45,000 to $50,000 a year. Entry-level trucker’s salary range rival’s college grad salaries and is an enticing reason to consider getting your CDL. Most trucking companies want drivers to gain experience driving OTR for a year or two before switching to regional or local driving. The more experienced a driver you are, the higher your salary usually is.

Benefits

Drivers also have many benefits along with their salary from carriers. Each carrier’s benefits are different, but some common benefits include offer paid vacation days, paid holidays, healthcare benefits, retirement plans, insurance plans, bonuses, and tuition reimbursement plans. Many companies reward drivers who are with them longer with better benefits and more vacation days. After having a few years of experience, your salary and benefits should reflect your hard work.

Additional Pay Opportunities

Endorsements – When you earn your Class A CDL, you are really only taking the first step towards a long, successful career in trucking. You can continue to build up your experience and salary by adding endorsements to your CDL. There are hazmat endorsements, that allow you to handle a variety of hazardous loads. Or a tanker endorsement that allows you to help food distributors move products across the country. Having endorsements can make you more valuable to different carriers, especially after you have a couple of years of OTR under your belt.

Owner/Operator –Another way of increasing your pay is to become an owner-operator. Becoming an owner-operator has its benefits for drivers, but it can be difficult too. Since you own your own truck as an owner-operator, you take on all responsibilities that come with it. Owner-operators must be prepared for those unexpected expenses that arise randomly.

 

If becoming a professional truck driver sounds like something you are interested in and are ready for a great yearly salary, contact us today to get started. We can get you the training you need to begin your career as a truck driver and start making money!

How Do I Get a CDL in Nebraska?

The Steps to Getting My CDL in Omaha, NE.

The decision to get your CDL or Commercial Driver’s License can be an important step in changing your career and income. Becoming a professional truck driver can provide multiple career opportunities and provide a stable income for you and your family. With JTL, we can have you trained and on the road in as little as 4 weeks! If you are ready to take the next step towards getting your CDL in Nebraska, follow these steps:

1. Do you Qualify? – You want to make sure you meet all of the requirements needed to obtain your CDL:

  1. At least 18 years old
  2. You have to be at least age 21 to drive a commercial motor vehicle across Nebraska state lines and to drive with certain endorsements.
  3. You cannot have more than one Driver’s License and your current driving record needs to be free of restrictions.
  4. You must meet the medical requirements of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations.
  5. You must prove citizenship in the state of Nebraska and have permission to work in the United States.
  6. You must be able to speak and read the English language

2. Need to Obtain Your CDL Permit– In order to be able to train behind the wheel for your CDL exam, you first will need to obtain a CDL Permit. You can do this by studying by yourself and taking the test at a DMV, or if you sign up for training through JTL, we will help you get your permit during your first week of training.

3. Pay for Your CDL Permit – It costs $14.50 for a Commercial Learner’s Permit. There is a possible additional fee for any change of address, class, endorsement, or restriction to the CLP.

4. Sign Up for a CDL Training Course – You will need to contact a CDL training school, like JTL, to start working toward your Commercial Driver’s License.

5. Schedule Your DOT Physical Exam – You must pass a DOT medical examination that can only be performed by a licensed medical examiner found on the FMSCA’s national registry. 

6. Driving Record Check – You must submit a driving record check that covers your past 10 years of driving across all 50 states. If you have a Nebraska license, JTL will obtain the driving record for you. If you have an out-of-state license, you will need to obtain the driving record yourself from the DMV in the state where your license was obtained. You can request a driving record online at the DMV’s website.

7. Schedule your CDL Exam – JTL will schedule your CDL exam and we will make sure you are fully prepared for the test.

 8.Identification Documents – You will need to bring one document that is proof of your citizenship. This could be a certified birth certificate, social security card, a passport, or a permanent resident card. You will also need two address verification documents.

If you think you are ready to learn more about getting your CDL, please contact JTL Truck Driver Training today. (402) 932-0000. Our staff are experts in the process necessary to obtain your CDL!

JTL Graduate making Headlines for her Career Change

Kristi Knicely moves from the medical field to construction.

It is not every day that we find ourselves completely changing our career paths. Moving companies or changing a job title: yes, but moving from a career as a researcher in the medical field to a truck driver, not so much.

After becoming a single mom, Kristi decided it was time to find a career that made her happy. She came to JTL Truck Driver Training to complete our four-week training course and get her CDL. Kristi worked hard with our trainers every day and had a full-time job waiting for her two days after graduation with Concrete Supply. Kristi was even recently interviewed by Channel 6 News to discuss how her life-changing career decision has brought immense positivity to her and her family’s life.

“I feel like I am actually contributing. I can drive around the city and I can say ‘I was a part of that!’ And really see the end product.”

Kristi is not the only JTL graduate who has found success in the trucking industry. We have graduates working with Schnieder, Crete Carrier, Chief Carriers, and many many more. Currently, the trucking industry is experiencing a truck driver shortage, and there are plenty of jobs to go around.

JTL instructor Aaron Piper discusses the truck driver shortage in a Fox 42 News article. “Our graduation rate is right up there at about four weeks, but the industry needs a lot of help.” Even with JTL’s four-week graduation rate, it is still not enough to keep up with the demand.

If you are eager the get into a new career, call us today at 402-932-0000! Our staff is ready to work with you and will get you on the road in as little as 4 weeks!