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  1. #21
    Bobtail Member
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    FTA

    I just Graduated FTA and the ratio is incorrect our class started with 24 and ended with 13. 4 weeks of smoking cussing and aggravation but hey got my cdl and a contract forcing me to stay true blue to usa truck for a year.


  2. #22
    Medium Load Member jbee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by willie123 View Post
    I just Graduated FTA and the ratio is incorrect our class started with 24 and ended with 13. 4 weeks of smoking cussing and aggravation but hey got my cdl and a contract forcing me to stay true blue to usa truck for a year.
    New member to the forum and a long time reader/lurker before registering.

    Interesting comments regarding this subject. I've done a lot of research prior to taking the leap. As with some of the other posters,

    1. Yep. I will incur an obligatory 1 yr contract with said company for my tuition in exchange. I realize this can be good or not so good, depending on the company you wind up with. Bottom line is preparing to suck it up for the year regardless, pay my dues and go from there, whether as a free agent or sticking with them if the dispatch, cpm, equipment and miles are decent. More experienced drivers deserve more than that at a minimum. Figure if I get 2 out of the 4, I'll consider myself fortunate.

    2. The Learning Process. I began this long before I ever got a class date. Why anyone would wait until the last minute and goes in blind with no prior research or learning is beyond me. I believe the original poster in another thread regarding FTA (Which is kind of an ironic acronym considering it was a common army term for guys that hated it ) was the wife of someone who didn't take the time to stack the deck in his own favor, went into the contract with one eye open, probably had a bad experience (Failed the course) and rather than him making the post, his other half did.

    In any event, I'm a firm believer in it is what you make out of it, and you take away the same.

    I look at it this way, my tuition will be paid, I'll get my cdl and then continue my learning experience every day from then on. I don't kid myself into believing anymore then a lot of smart truckers do that the learning doesn't end once out of the classroom and into the seat, it's a never ending process every day you're alive.

    As to the quality of education and their instructors, once I'm MC, I'll do a follow up post regarding my experience so others can benefit from it, good, bad or indifferent and make a more informed decision.

    Figure as a newb, that's the least I can do. Any bi##hing, is usually kept to myself, or for that matter, if really warranted, done by the same, rather than having my 6 element doing it for me.

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  4. #23
    Bobtail Member
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    FTA

    Yeh it was a learning experience i have dealt with trucks about 15 years.Always wanted to get my class a finally i took the leap.I was well prepared before going to the school i already had my permit prior to going during school i pushed hard for observation and driving time finished up one day early so it worked out.But as far as usa truck i have been talking with a driver that went through DS to drive for usa he is trying to finish his year he is saying miles are not good right now and his current truck has no AC so there will be hassles that first year but you have to get otr somewhere.
    Last edited by willie123; 06.04.2011 at 09.15 AM.

  5. #24
    Medium Load Member jbee's Avatar
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    Just to comply with my previous post, finished up with FTA, got my CDL and now awaiting orientation.

    Just a snapshot for a quick overview:

    Week 1 lays out all the basics. If you have access to Egears or an equivalent, you'll definitely be ahead of the game. Got my permit at the end of the week on the first go around. Pre trip practical exercise inspections are done daily from week one on until graduation.

    Week 2 Backing, straightline and angle. Those with their permits start their observation time doing ride alongs. Highways used for getting to the secondary roads for the most part. Lots of miles racked up on some very twisted, hilly and narrow roads.

    Week 3 Backing, continued observation time and begin driving, day and night, on ramp and off ramp exercises, repetitive stops and tight turning. Box trailers, empty and loaded, and the flatbed made for a good mix. Each has its own personality, much like the trainers. Good experience learning to double clutch some older, finicky gear boxes and just learning some of the handling characteristics of each.

    Week 4 Backing, observation and more driving and finally. testing. Congested (Not like LA or NYC) city driving, learning emergency and hazmat stops, RR crossings etc. Pre trip testing (Don't study or practice and you're guaranteed to fail it) Straight line and 45 degree backing tests, and finally, your road test.

    Once you've met all the course mandated requirements, back to the DMV with NC's 75.00 fee, come back with your temp CDL (They now mail the hard copy to your home address) finish with some administrative paperwork and the course is complete.

    As for the course curriculum and its instructors, found both to be first rate and all to be very professional. Randy runs a very tight and well run ship. Lost a few people to the physical and some others along the way. Excessive BP is a course separator that seemed to weed out quite a few from not only our group, but the follow on classes as well

    All in all, no complaints and would recommend FTA to anyone wanting to get in on the ground floor. There are other ways to get into the course besides Driver Solutions for NC residents and job placement (If you don't already have employment) is not that hard to gain provided you have the employment history, background etc each company may be looking for.

    Hope this helps those with their decision making and those that have already done so.

    Good luck.

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  7. #25
    Bobtail Member
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    First and foremost to drive a tractor-trailer truck you need to get a CDL via a truck driving school. The companies that will hire newbies will not hire you without the certificate and there are few of those and they are mainly the larger ones—it appears to be all about insurance on new drivers. I decided I wanted to drive for a living so I started shopping. For a number of reasons I chose Future Truckers of America in Asheboro, NC. I discovered that there is money available via the federal Workforce Investment Act (WIA) so I jumped through all the hoops I needed to qualify. (That was another story of its own!) They paid for most of the school and the rest I spent out of my pocket. What I did not want to do was let a company pay for my training and me be their indentured servant for a year. I finished FTA last week and have a couple of phone interviews this week. I am looking forward to driving as a “second” career. Although I am not hired yet, thus I can’t address if FTA has given me the skills I need to be successful, I do want to take this opportunity to say a little something about FTA. The people that run the school and the instructors are ALL good people. Every word I heard was positive in that they want the students to be successful. When you mix good people that believe in what they are doing… add in the years of experience they have it is a winning combination. Although I had my permit when I got there the classroom training to pass the test was right on and Randy threw in lots of helpful information on the industry as well… the first week was all classroom. The second week was backing. Mark was wonderful. He watched us all and when someone was struggling he would jump up to the window of the cab and patiently guide the student through the maneuver. Third week was observation and I used the time to learn the different instructors teaching style. If I have any advice I would suggest you ride with as many of the instructors as possible and request the one you think fits you best. I requested Bill and he was GREAT! Final week was all about driving… and shifting. Again a little advice… if you can pass your test early and have the opportunity to have instruction aimed at driving in the real world… not just passing the driving test… do it. Bill relished taking me through tight streets; weird and difficult turns that were uphill and downhill; showing me how to float shift and “bump and run”. I left the school feeling confident in my skills yet, with enough knowledge to know I have a long way to go to be a real pro. Anyone wanting to get a good quick start into trucking FTA I think is a good rout to take. And yes, if you read this Bill, I will watch my %@#* trailer.

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  9. #26
    Road Train Member
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    deleted, redundant

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