I just finished my training with Schneider (Fontana, CA) and wanted to post a new thread to discuss the process for those of you who are considering them.
First of all, I got my CDL just prior to going to Schneider so the program was a little easier for me.
Schneider has a two week training program that everyone goes through (except those that have driving experience, in which case you'll be in the 4 day orientation). Since I had just completed a CDL school I wasn't too excited about going through another course but am really glad I did. The two week program goes very fast. It's a mix of classroom, driving and slow manuevering/backing and simulator time. The classroom stuff was pretty boring for the most part since I already had my CDL but I did learn some new things. The trip planning and Hazmat portions were what most people had the most trouble with. For the trip planning portion, my biggest tip is to get with other classmates and work through them together. I noticed that those that didn't group up and learn together failed the test on it at least one time. One guy failed out of training because he just didn't 'get it', and he never met with other people to get help.
You take about 10 tests for the classroom portion and all of them except the final are open book/open note. If you fail any single test 3 times, you're out...if you fail any combination of tests 5 times, you're out. This only happened to one out of 24 students.
Out of 24 students that started in our class we graduated with 10. Some people just quit because it wasn't for them, some were escorted out when something came up in their background and some failed because they couldn't pass the road test or backing portions of the QRT (Qualifying Road Test which includes backing).
There is a pre-work screening process as well that you take on the 2nd day of class. You can get detailed information about this under "Inexperienced Drivers > training" on the Schneider website. All new hires must pass this or you are sent home. Basically you do some physical activities and they take your pulse after every one. If your heartrate goes above the mark (200 - YourAGE X .9) at anytime during the screening you are sent home. The class that followed mine lost 6 people during this part. My class didn't lose any. My suggestion is that you try to imitate what they will be doing (look on the website for what you have to do, it's exactly like that) and test your heart rate to see if you will have an issue or not.
On the third day, you are assigned to a trainer. You will train with this specific trainer for the remainder of your two weeks. You will train in the same tractor/trailer combo as well. I thought this was great, you don't have to worry about the little differences in the rigs, you can just get used to and settle into one and know that is the one you'll be tested on.
You'll have either a 48' or 53' trailer and I really didn't notice much difference between them except for a little more swing in the tailend of the 53 footer.
You'll do time in the simulators as well and I thought it was a lot of fun.
Schneider stresses safety first throughout the program so keep that in mind. Certain things can get you fired on the spot so pay attention. They like you to use an acronym to do your Coupling/Uncoupling and I suggest you use it if you like your job, it insures you'll never screw it up if you don't be lazy and follow it.
On the 13th day of your training you take your closed book written final (50 questions - EASY!)...and your QRT. For QRT you do a pre-trip inspection (if you already have your CDL they will skip you thru most if it), a pump down (air brakes tests), a coupling and uncoupling, 3 - 45degree backs and a drive test on the streets and freeways in the Fontana area. Once you pass all of these you'll graduate on Friday (day 14).
Once you graduate you'll be assigned a TE (Training Engineer) for road training. You'll be out for 7 - 14 days with them pulling loads and doing the job. I was out for 7 days and had a lot of fun. This is really where you get to put it all together, you do some trip plans for practice, and you learn how they want you to use the Qualcomm and handle paperwork, etc...
After the TE training on the road you will take the SQT test, which is basically just like the QRT, though mine was even easier. Pass it and you're done! You go back to Fontana for a half day workshop (they make sure you learned how to use the Qualcomm and teach you to put on chains) then you are assigned your truck!
Overall, I give a high rating to Schneiders training process, it's really tailored to how you are doing as an individual. Your trainer will work with you on stuff that YOU need to work on and really helps you perfect your skills. You may or may not get a day or two off between the 14 day program and the TE training, just depends on TE availability etc...Just go in expecting to be away from home 3-5 weeks and you won't be upset. It was 3 1/2 weeks for me.
If you don't already have your CDL you will do that part after you are released from your TE. Also if you don't have your CDL you will be signing an 18 month contract with them. If you already have your CDL (which I would suggest you get prior to going to Schneider) then you DO NOT have to sign a contract and they WILL re-imburse you $200/month until you pay off your CDL school loan. If you paid cash for your CDL school they still pay you $200/month until you are fully re-imbursed. Pretty good deal if you ask me. I paid almost $5000 for my CDL school and like that as long as I work for them I get $200/month until it's paid. Especially nice since my loan payment is only $147, so I'll pay it off earlier than scheduled.
Feel free to post any questions and I'll do my best to reply. Like I said, I just finished my SQT training and got to come home for 4 days before I head down to get my truck assigned.
Good luck in whatever company you choose and I hope this information helps you if you are considering Schneider.
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Inexperienced right out of training is .29 cents per mile (0 - 6 months)
.32 cents per mile 6 months - 1 year
and after the first year you bump up to .35 cents per mile.
Quarterly bonuses are an additional .02 cents per mile. You get the bonus for not having an accident, no service failures, staying within the overspeed and idling limits (which are reasonable). Most of the drivers I've talked to have never missed their bonuses and it's a nice check since it's quarterly.
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