Howdy - how important is PDTI certification?

Discussion in 'The Drivers Lounge' started by mustb123, Dec 31, 2013.

  1. mustb123

    mustb123 New Member

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    First post and all. I am looking for a career change at 50 years old. After 20 years in my current field - I am tired of it. I have no convictions nor do I do any drugs. I don't drink enough to drown a flea.

    So I have a Sage training class at the state college 20 minutes down the road (Florida), but they are not PDTI certified. To cut down on costs, I searched for a PDTI center that was near a relative's home. The closest is near Pittsburgh. The drive would be about 1 hour each way.

    So, is it that important? It would not be that big a deal to drive to Pitt and stay with a relative for the month or so that the training takes.

    Any ideas? Suggestions? Hazmat or tanker certifications? My ultimate goal is to work full time in the field for 5 years or so and then, with my experience, land some kind of local/part time work to pay the light bill.

    Thank You
     
  2. Road Dust

    Road Dust Sunshine

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    Maybe check with some companies that you think you might want to work for and see if they require grads from a PDTI certified school.
     
  3. pro1driver

    pro1driver I am LAST

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    here is a brief rundown on the PDTI


    PTDI


    any school can give you the training, at nearly any price. some carriers only want PDTI some only want you to have the CDL license.

    your training CONTINUES, once you get a job, but be forewarned, that once you graduate, YOU MUST secure a job ASAP...go about 3 months and no job, say "hello" to a refresher course, at your expense...go beyond 3 months and past (say) 6 months, you "might be" looking at taking the entire course ALL OVER again....!!!

    so, this is tough.

    you can inquire at as many carriers as you wish, some say what they want on thier websites, some you MUST speak with a recruiter, and recruiters are only "head hunters" and couldn't give a flip whether you stay hired on or get fired, as they make thier commission once you get to the job.

    something else to consider, is your age, and general health.

    you must pass a DOT physical, then you get a 2 year "health card". if you come just at the cut off limits for high blood pressure, or diabetes, you may only get a 1 month card, 3 month card, or 1 year card. (i do not know if there is a 6 month card). i can tell you that driving, will raise your BP, so i would suggest getting that BP checked a few times during your first year.

    there are still some other points to think about, like the road skills test at the DMV, the written tests, etc, which may cost you additional monies if you fail, and have to do over.

    good luck, but here at my age.......(older than God), i am LOOKING FORWARD to turning in my CDL and say....."sigh-a narra".....!!!!
     
  4. Big Dave

    Big Dave Dispatcher for Team BRG-Wong

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    When you do get your CDL, get the tanker, hazmat and the doubles/triples/ combination (or however your state calls it) endorsements.
     
  5. mustb123

    mustb123 New Member

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    I am in good shape. I have no health problems. Low BP runs in the family. I am willing to work most anywhere to start.

    It seems there are 250 "trucking" companies. Finding an honest and reliable one seems to be the key. I know a couple of guys who do/did the OTR thing. One guy did it until 20 years ago and then bought his own rig. He did that for about 10 years and croaked. The other did it for about 15 years ago. Now he does a sweet gig out of Jacksonville. He drives south about 4 hours, swaps trailers and returns to J-Ville. The info I get regarding OTR from him is old and not much help in finding a good company today. I realize it will take years of experience to nail a gig like that. I realize I will be driving who knows where for who knows how long.

    I have a decent retirement coming - I just want to earn a good living until I retire to part time work, maybe 5-8 years.
     
  6. xeastend

    xeastend Active Member

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    Heard this was a decent program. Used to operate their own schools. Guess not any more. Anyhow, Schneider has a lot of different options. And tuition re-reimbursement

    Truck Driving School Programs

    Listen to Big Dave. He is correct on endorsements
    Also the worlds foremost authority




    [​IMG]
     
  7. mustb123

    mustb123 New Member

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    Big Dave - Check. That link is interesting. Thanks for the replies. Anything else you could tell a newbie?
     
  8. ABFer

    ABFer Super Moderator Staff Member

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    In all seriousness I would suggest that you look long and hard as to whether you want to get into trucking. It is not what it used to be. The hours are horrible, the work is bad and getting worse, pay is hardly improving if it's improving at all. I would suggest that maybe you look into CNC operator, I see signs looking for them more frequently than I do any other job. The work's pretty easy, hours should be good and the pay is not too bad. I don't know how long it takes to learn CNC but to me it would be worth a look.
     
  9. pro1driver

    pro1driver I am LAST

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    you know...ABFer...i have in the past tried to re-direct many from the industry, especially those that are say...above the age of 50.....but many times, i would get blasted for making trucking sound so bad. when in all reality, it is, but so many others want to encourage older folks, whether they be unemployed for X number of months, wanting change, or another income before they retire.

    too many times, you (and i) as well as so many have seen, these newbies go to school get hired, then walk away in short time.(this includes newbies of ALL ages)....

    this allows the trucking companies to play games with the pay, benefits, home time. as a result, those that have been in the business for again said X number of years, do not see pay raises, better health benefits or more home-time, as the companies know all too well that no one stays for too long, so why bother with better pay, benefits, etc,etc..???

    just "use them up, spit them out, start with another bunch of coconuts"

    oh sure, we have here on this website, a few drivers that "have it all", and those are the few exceptions.

    but those jobs can be just as gone as any other.

    then we have the wannabe owner-ops, that come and go like flies to.......well.....dog....."doo-doo"......

    how many times can we "advise" someone to NOT get into truck owner-ship, or leasing, or even into the business..???

    so, although NOT any type of new year resolutions, all i can do is take a question (or two, or three) from a wannabe student, and suggest a thing or two...

    in the end..it's all any of us can do....

    from that point on...."let the chips fall where they may".....


    besides, it becomes so much MORE fun, when they come back here crying about no home-time, no days off, lousy benefits, low pay, and a host of other problems, when we can then say clear and bold and loudly....


    ​WELL WE TOLD YOU SO....!!!
     
  10. mustb123

    mustb123 New Member

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    ABFer and pro1driver - I do appreciate the information and opinion. I have not made a decision yet. My biggest issue is the money....is it going to pay enough? I am used to long hours...12-14 is the usual. The time away from home will get old, but I am used to that some.

    So how much would a new driver make in the first year or two?
     
  11. ABFer

    ABFer Super Moderator Staff Member

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    That is a tough question with a big window of what it could be. When it comes to trucking it's different than most anything else. As new guy you get the worst work and the least work. After you've been around a while (and that amount of time varies widely from place to place) things improve a little. It's usually in small increments over a long period of time. If you landed a road job with a good LTL carrier and got lucky you could maybe hit the $50,000 range. If you go truckload I'd say you'd be lucky to hit $25,000 while spending your life on the road in a truck eating in truckstops and customers' candy machines. Both of those pay by the mile and the truckload guys can end up sitting for ungodly amounts of time without pay waiting for load or unload or driving hundreds of miles empty to get load. If you got in LTL city work you could end up working dock in PM for a few years, could get on call for any hour of the day. I doubt that you'd end up with a 2 or 3 AM start as they are usually taken by some older guys for some reason (insomnia maybe).

    One other thing. It's not like a regular job where you get hired and are pretty much guaranteed a 40hr work week. You can miss a lot of work as a new guy, there are no guarantees there.
     
  12. pro1driver

    pro1driver I am LAST

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    back a few years ago, i would do roughly 3400 miles a week.

    nowadays, i see ad's where "some drivers" get a whopping 2,000 to 2,500 miles per week.

    i think that to make some money, one needs to stay out for a month at a time, with such low miles.

    but then, comes the many, and i do mean MANY inconveniences of the road..

    like laundry, haircuts, appointments, food (and the cost of that on the road), when you are on the road, that big truck get's awfully small in short time.

    boredom will hit you, each time you need a toilet, and you are at a truck stop or rest area, you need to get dressed, put on a heavy coat (in winter) or a rain coat, get out of a warm truck, trudge to the building, then hope and pray that the toilets are clean and have toilet paper...

    i cannot tell you the many times, a truck stop bathroom will have the toilets "pre-filled" with crap from a trucker that just does not care where he craps or when or how much......

    you "have it made", where you are now....
     
  13. mustb123

    mustb123 New Member

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    Quick search for CNC operator shows a short training session at a community college or technical school....followed by a year or two of 20k to 25k a year.....then maybe more $ is available. Not gonna work. I don't mind longer hours for more dollars.

    So LTL would be what I would shoot for? Stay away from city work - OK. 50k would more than be enough, I would be thrilled with that. I don't have a lot of bills and my wife has a good job. Dockwork would not pay much I would think.
     
  14. Infidel

    Infidel Active Member

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    You would be better off working 2-40 hour per week minimum wage jobs. You would be home daily, be at work less, make more money and keep more of it.
    Spending days on end in an 18 wheel cubicle gets old fast.

    If you do pursue driving as a career, your options get better once you reach 2 years without the usual screw ups. (accidents, tickets etc..) There are local jobs
    outside of ltl that pay as well if not better than otr.
     
  15. pro1driver

    pro1driver I am LAST

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    hate to bust your bubble, but many times, LTL...IS city work....you WILL MAKE several stops during your day or night..you WILL WORK long hours.

    since you say that money is an issue.....


    it may take you up to 5 years, which would take up to to, 55, 56....

    now remember something ever so important...

    at that age........it can be tougher to get a better job.

    sure "some" employers want an older worker, while others KNOW you will only be there a short time, then retire, so why bother hiring you, investing in you, then you retire..??

    but what i am seeing, is the employer's hire the younger people, pay them less, and in many cases, can get 2 drivers at the price of what you think you deserve as an experienced driver.>!!
     
  16. mustb123

    mustb123 New Member

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    At 55, my retirement kicks in - at that time I would be thrilled to make 20k a year for working part time....any days of the week would be fine.

    Maybe I did not understand the city LTL thing. I connected it to being assigned to working a loading dock and not driving? No interest in loading docks - did that 30 years ago......
     
  17. pro1driver

    pro1driver I am LAST

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    some city/LTL jobs...REQUIRE YOU to work the docks....so watch out, it ain't all you drive and that's it only, for some employers out there.

    some city jobs, YOU MUST start at working the docks, then if they FEEL like it, you go and drive.

    do not forget, you will be "low man".....
     
  18. ABFer

    ABFer Super Moderator Staff Member

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    LTL=Less Than Tuckload, peddle runs city work. LTL companies also have road drivers. It is possible to get hired by some LTL companies without experience for the right candidate. You can check them out and they can tell you if it's possible where you are. It's a supply and demand kind of thing. If you work in the city (LTL peddle operation) you can count on dockwork being part of the program. Depending on what company you are with dock works pays almost as much as driver does. I work combo driver-city/dock and the pay is the same across the board, nite/day, city/dock.
     
  19. mustb123

    mustb123 New Member

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    What is that pay range? Again, if it is at all doable, I can afford to work my way up over a year or two. I have no illusions of starting out at 60k a year....I'm not talking about ND oil patch work. I am somewhat flexible regarding "home town". I am not stuck on my actual home town to start off.
     
  20. ABFer

    ABFer Super Moderator Staff Member

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    At ABF you should be able to start out at $20/hr or so if you got hired. I can't answer for the other companies. You can peruse their forums though as someone asked them all that question not too long ago. And road work for these outfits is almost all night work.
     

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