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  1. #1
    Bobtail Member
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    Central Refrigerated Service vs. Community College

    So I have the option of getting a CDL through Central or paying out of pocket (around $5000) at a community college, Bates Tech in Tacoma. My question is what would be the advantages of going the community college route versus toughing it out for a year with Central? Would there be much difference in pay for my first year driving OTR? I assume even if I did the community college CDL training I would still have to go OTR for a year before I could get a local job. Any advice would be appreciated, thanks in advance.


  2. #2
    Bobtail Member
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    I've been w/ central for almost 2yrs. I actually live in your area. If you go the CC route, you spend 5k and still need a year exp. Before most companies will hire you. With central, there is no up front cost, and within 8wks you're on your own in a new truck. They just got all new freightliner cascadias. I became a lease operator and a trainer through them.

    Now is everything perfect? No.. reefer freight can suck from time to time, but if you're looking to get your foot in the door of the trucking industry with no money up front, central in my opinion is the way to go. You get to keep your 5k and be working in the industry in a couple of months.

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  4. #3
    Bobtail Member
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    How's the money as a trainer for central? I wouldn't mind doing that eventually. Do you plan on staying with them for a while?

  5. #4
    Light Load Member rda2580's Avatar
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    There's no grant money available thru the College? Just look at all the options if you don't have to be on the hook to anybody that would be your best bet. IMO.

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  7. #5
    Road Train Member popcorn169's Avatar
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    If you go with the community college vs. central and you decide to leave central you are not on the hook to them for full amount.

  8. #6
    Medium Load Member Jakaby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rda2580 View Post
    There's no grant money available thru the College? Just look at all the options if you don't have to be on the hook to anybody that would be your best bet. IMO.
    This is true. Investigate all the financial aid options at the community college. If its a true community college, that means its state funded. You will have to navigate the system, but there are people at the college who will hold your hand and help you get whatever is out there. Another route to explore is your state's unemployment office. Workforce training grants are provided to the states from the department of labor. Point of all of this is that money is there for vocational training if you are willing to look for it.

    I'm old fashioned in that I don't believe anything in life is "free." Nothing against Central, mind you. I've heard the usual good and bad, which means its just like every big company out there. Any job is what you make it to be. In my opinion, the negatives of company training outweigh the positives. Companies are training you to work for them, while community colleges are training you to drive a truck while letting you investigate who you might want to work for.


    Driving trucks may not be your cup of tea, which is ok. If you learn this early on, all you owe is a two week notice instead of thousands of dollars that they WILL collect from you

  9. #7
    Crusty Deer Slayer Tonythetruckerdude's Avatar
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    Your best bet will be to go to the CC. You'll get better training , and will have the option of picking from several different companies to work for after graduating, as most schools offer some sort of job placement services once you finish. Is it more expensive, probably, but the benefits out-weigh the costs. As far as companies making you a trainer and getting you to sign a lease agreement well....you research that on your own....but before you do I would advise you to talk with someone that has been an O/O for alot more time than AceKing has , after 2 years he is really not in a spot to give that sort of advice....no disrespect intended to him at all , just stating a fact. Good Luck which ever way you decide to go.

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  11. #8
    Road Train Member DriverToBroker's Avatar
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    Why not a private cdl school for $1500 or so?

  12. #9
    Road Train Member drvrtech77's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AceKing View Post
    I've been w/ central for almost 2yrs. I actually live in your area. If you go the CC route, you spend 5k and still need a year exp. Before most companies will hire you. With central, there is no up front cost, and within 8wks you're on your own in a new truck. They just got all new freightliner cascadias. I became a lease operator and a trainer through them.

    Now is everything perfect? No.. reefer freight can suck from time to time, but if you're looking to get your foot in the door of the trucking industry with no money up front, central in my opinion is the way to go. You get to keep your 5k and be working in the industry in a couple of months.
    I call crap on this...you're saying that anyone who goes to an outside school will not be able to find a driving job so therefore you have to go thru a trucking co's school??...I almost believe this is what central told you and you believe it too...

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  14. #10
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    Thank you all for the replies. After doing some more research on this board and this thread I think it's better if I have the option, to obtain my CDL either via C.C. or a private school somewhere. And becoming a lease-operator from what I've learned from this board is not a good thing. I've seen alot more bad than good from most of the posts on here. If leasing a car is usually a bad deal, then leasing a truck would be even worse! I think the best way to become an owner-operator would be to just save up the money yourself and purchase one eventually down the road, no? And I understand that the money isn't going to be that good my first year driving OTR, but I'm making a little less than 20K/year currently, so if I could do 30K - 35K my first year I would be fine with that. No wife, no kids so no problem with that part for now at least.

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