Upgrading from school bus to Class A

Discussion in 'The Welcome Wagon' started by RoadSideDown, Mar 15, 2021.

  1. RoadSideDown

    RoadSideDown Bobtail Member

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    Hey guys, you have a great forum here. I have been reading several pinned and new threads. Tons of great info!

    I am a school bus driver just over a year in Portland, OR west side area. Discovered I enjoy driving and want to try big rigs. Retired from a corporate job so have flexibility but not for most days/nights away from my wife. Having done some labor jobs I am in good physical shape so some dock work is OK.

    my general plan is to go through a shipper’s academy and drive a year for them to get that basic experience. Then assess options. Willing to do whatever hours needed in the first year but want avoid lots of overnighters.

    From what I have read here it sounds like a LTL/Line Haul is the type of driving that a home every day/night and will pay well. So I am applying for the academy/apprentice programs in Portland with Old Dominion and FedEx so far. Any others I should target? How do you find LTL/LH outfits in tour city?

    I already have my Class B with airbrake and tanker. Setting up TSA fingerprint appt this week to start Hazmat process and also study for doubles so I can test and get my Class A permit ASAP.

    Any advice you have for my start up process or eventual driving jobs and firms is most welcome!
     
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  3. Chinatown

    Chinatown Road Train Member

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    Here's another one in Portland that's hiring for their cdl-a program.
    6845 N Cutter Cir, Portland, OR 97217
    ~
    Yellow hiring 1,500 drivers, opening 12 schools - FreightWaves
    Yellow hiring 1,500 drivers, opening 12 schools - FreightWaves
    Driver hiring driver schools Less-than-truckload LTL carriers Yellow Corp. Based in Richmond, VA, Todd is the finance editor at FreightWaves. Prior to joining FreightWaves, he covered the TLs, LTLs, railroads and brokers for RBC Capital Markets and BB&T Capital Markets.
    [​IMG]
     
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  4. RoadSideDown

    RoadSideDown Bobtail Member

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    Thank you Chinatown! I saw their ad but thought they were strictly OTR. I will add YRC to my list this week. Seems like Portland has a decent number of training outfits for how small our city is.
     
  5. shooter19802003

    shooter19802003 Road Train Member

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    If I lived anywhere close to civilization, I would be a company driver for yrc or OD.
     
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  6. DoctorWho_214

    DoctorWho_214 Bobtail Member

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    Feb 21, 2021
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    Nice to see a fellow ex-school bus driver in the forum! I had the same experience, drove as a bus driver for years and wanted to advance my driving career. Got my class A just last year as well and working my year to gain experience so I can look for something closer to home. Good luck on your endeavors!
     
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  7. RoadSideDown

    RoadSideDown Bobtail Member

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    Just filled out my TSA hazmat application and have an appt for fingerprints on Thursday. Also submitted my application to FedEx Freight tonight.

    My next effort is to study for doubles and go to DMV for my test and Class A learning permit. Hope to get that within a week or two depending on DMV appts.

    It would be a lot more intimidating doing this from scratch, but having done a good portion already for Class B it is not so much. Really excited to get something going soon. Pretty tedious filling out online applications but gotta be done. :)
     
  8. RoadSideDown

    RoadSideDown Bobtail Member

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    What route did you take to get your Class A? Who are you driving for now?

    I have so far applied for driver trainee programs with Old Dominion, FedEx Freight, and ABF Freight. Also sent an inquiry for info to YRC. I have a TSA appt this week and a DMV test/permit appt next week. If nothing comes through by then I will apply with Swift. There are also opportunities with Estes and XPO but their training programs are 14-16 weeks!

    I am really hoping for OD!
     
  9. DoctorWho_214

    DoctorWho_214 Bobtail Member

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    Feb 21, 2021
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    I had my Class B license for a bit more than 5 years and after that decided to bite the bullet and get my upgrade. I went through company sponsored training, so I am under contract with them for a year. I'm with Wilson Logistics and it's pretty good over there. Thinking about finishing my year there and going back home and applying for a tanker job. I'm looking at Estes, OD, and ABF Freight myself once my year is done.

    Have you heard anything from the driver trainee apps you sent in?
     
  10. RoadSideDown

    RoadSideDown Bobtail Member

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    Nice to hear success! I hear good things on here about Wilson but their website shows the only cover SE states. So I didn’t apply there.

    No word from my applications yet. Sent OD on Sunday, FedEx on Tuesday, and ABF today. I have heard it can take a week to hear back so trying to be patient. I am still bus driving so have a partial schedule with limited student pickups and a couple of sports games per week.

    I cancelled my interview with the bus charter outfit this week. I decided I want to definitely go Class A and get a year experience. Hoping to hear back from YRC tomorrow with info on how to apply.

    I would not have a clue what was available or who to target without this forum!! Everyone on here has helped me tremendously with past posts and current.
    Studying my Combo chapter and it is so easy compared to School Bus and Hazmat. Shot of confidence that I will be ready to test on the 26th. Passed five practice tests so far on it.
     
  11. 88 Alpha

    88 Alpha Trucker Forum STAFF Staff Member

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    Are you sure you were looking at the right Wilson Logistics? I'm guessing you weren't. They are frequently on the list @Chinatown posts. Maybe he can point you to the company who has PNW (Pacific North West) regional and I-5 corridor gigs.
     
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