I just finished school at SAN JAC. Call a local trucking company 3 days before finishing school and have a interview on Tuesday. This is a great school with three instructor that will take the time to work on your driving needs. You will spend about 90 percent of your time driving. If you are serious about getting your CDL and short on fund you may qualify for a grant.
San Jacinto College Pasadena TX
We hit the road during the first week. They try to get everyone on the road everyday. There was a lot of NASCAR driving going on. If we did not have recruiters coming or there was not a planned road trip all we had to do was ask one of the instructor and they would take us out. The trips were about 7 to 15 miles in heavy to normal traffic. I think the course was 160 hours.
Both are gone. The instructor are John, Ray , and Monica. I heard a few stories about Doyle. I went through on Va Vocational Rehab program. They paid for school and paid me while going to school. Now that I've finish school they are paying me for the next two months to give me time to find a job. I would advise anyone who qualifies for the program to use it.
I just graduated from San Jacinto College Truck Driving last month. 6 weeks, Mon-Thurs 7am to 6pm. There were 2 instructors....John and Ray. John is a tell it like it is instructor, he will get on your case but he just wants his students to learn. Ray is chilled out and a great story teller. They had 2 Petes, 3 KWs. On the 3rd day we were driving around the range. The 2nd week we hit the road, all city driving no freeway. We had 15 students, 2 dropped out and 2 didn't pass the DPS test or San Jac's test. You get take a defensive driving course too.
We had several recruiters come talk to us....TMC, Averitt, CTL, Schnieder, Werner, Service Transport. They all seemed to be straight forward but I was suspicious about Werner cause he told us we can choose what kind of truck we want (Pete, KW, ect.) and even the COLOR, ha.
Haven't made up my mind yet but I'm leaning towards TMC.
Go to Houston Community College instead. It's one of the only 3 PTDI certified schools in the entire state of Texas. 186 Hours of Study with 15 trucks or so. They have a computer lab where you can hear the manual instead of reading it. College is also getting the permission to take the driving test on campus for the CDL. A lot of companies exempt 1 year of driving experience for a PTDI certified school training.
I recently graduated from San Jac, I wanted to add my $0.02 but didn't want to create a new thread.
Currently, the school is operating on "COVID" hours. The school hours have been reduced from 7am-6pm to 7am-3pm. We were told that usually, the truck driving school would have classes of 20 or more people, but since COVID, their classes have been steady at around 6 people. Our class had 6 people registered but only 5 showed up.
John is still the main instructor, but Monica comes in from time to time.
Because of COVID, the school issued the rule that no more than two people are allowed in the trucks at any time, which made class interesting. When someone wasn't riding on the street with an instructor, we had an odd man out that would end up with his own truck for the week, which had its benefits. Also, because of COVID and the limited hours, the long trip that they usually take (Beaumont, Hill Country) was canceled.
Someone had mentioned earlier that John seemed like he was tired of his job, but I think he re-kindled his passion for teaching because I thought he was a really good instructor and seemed to only get irritated or agitated when you asked a stupid question, a question about something that had already been covered countless times, or when someone would run through the grass or get into an accident.
San Jac no longer tests at the DPS, San Jac has reached an agreement to do 3rd party testing at Alvin Community College, which is a bonus. The testers at Alvin are super laid back old truckers.
Before choosing San Jac, I did a lot of research on San Jac, HCC, and Lone Star. In my research, I noticed that HCC and Lone Star had mostly automatic trucks, whereas San Jac had all manuals. Lone Star has a smack brand new department and complex for their truck driving program, but they're tied to Stevens Transport, which never set right with me for whatever reason.
Ultimately, I went through the Texas Workforce Commission for a grant and they only gave me the option of San Jac and Lone Star, and I chose San Jac because of their manual trucks and because it was about 45 minutes closer to my home.
The only downside that I found to attending San Jac was also one of the pro's, to be honest, and that would be the trucks.
As of our class, the school had five trucks, it had three Kenworth's and two Peterbilt's.
The black KW was out of service the entire time, however, and it was the newest truck at the school, as a 1995.
Of the four trucks that we had to work with, three of them were 9 speeds and one was a 10 speed. The 10 speed (Gray and Red 93 Pete) started to die when you'd take it above 35mph and ended up being a range truck for most of the class. The only truck that didn't spend time in the shop was the Yellow KW (88) but because it had issues with some of the lights, it wasn't eligible to be used to test in. We all spent weeks preparing to test in the silver Pete (93) because we liked the 450 Detroit that was in it, but it ended up going out of service a couple days before the test to get the clutch repaired.
We ended up with only one option to test in, which was the Red KW (94) which was ironic as it was in the shop for three weeks prior and was returned days before the test. At the end of the day, everyone passed their test in Alvin.
The trucks were kinda junky and run down and virtually all the reviews I've seen had people complaining about trying to learn how to drive a truck and try to learn different shift patterns, but I thought it was an added bonus.
We only had 9 and 10 speed trucks, but the advantage came from the different motors and transmissions. We had Road Ranger and Eaton transmissions, we had mechanical and computer motors, we had a Caterpillar, a Detroit, and two Cummins. We had 350's and a 450.
I definitely recommend going to San Jac College, It doesn't have the PTDI certifications that HCC has, and it doesn't have the brand new trucks, technology, and buildings that Lone Star has, but the instructors know what they're talking about. They're old school, their equipment is old school, and they care.