Commercial Driver Education in Oregon
A resource for oregon CDL drivers, with trucking schools, application information, and more.
OR CDL driver ed information. Trucking schools, colleges, how to apply and more explained here.
For commercial vehicles, like a truck, tractor-trailer, or school bus, a commercial drivers license is necessary. It is not obligatory to take a commercial driver’s education course in order to get your commercial driver’s license (CDL) in Oregon. However not technically mandatory, commercial driver’s education is particularly useful to get the knowledge and experience that you need to have in order to get a CDL and to drive a commercial vehicle successfully.
COMMERCIAL DRIVERS FEDERAL REGULATIONS
Federal regulations for commercial driving are identical for all states in the US. Regulations are determined by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) outlining standards for driver safety and the general public.
STATE REGULATIONS FOR COMMERCIAL DRIVING
The state of Oregon requires you to successfully complete certain tests to obtain your CDL before you can legally drive a commercial vehicle. These tests depend on the type of CDL and the amount and type of endorsements on it. The tests that you need to clear to conform to state regulations are the written knowledge test, the Air Brake Inspection exam, and the road exam. Apart from these driver tests, the test vehicle also has to undergo inspection of the examiner. See here for the testing and application requirements for obtaining a CDL.
Oregon has also adopted the U.S. Division of Motor Vehicles Hazardous Materials Regulations which involves the mandatory training and testing of commercial drivers who transport hazardous materials.
Drivers applying for a CDL in order to operate school buses require an additional school bus endorsement on their CDL which should note that they are authorized to drive 15 or more people beside themselves. Separate knowledge and practical driving safety tests are required for bus driving. If there are air brakes on the school bus, a section on the test will cover them. The driver must also clear the skills test required to drive the school bus.
CERTIFIED TRUCK DRIVING PROGRAMS IN THE US
The Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI) certifies truck driving courses across the US. They set standards that programs may opt to adhere to, which indicates their program meets the criteria set out by PTDI. The criteria is based on driving skills taught, theoretical knowledge, and curriculum.
Below are the three types of training schools:
- There are the private schools which are run by privately owned establishments like corporate houses. Their main aim is to train people to join the truck driving industry which has a high level of demand. Their programs are typically of a good standard.
- Public schools – government run programs through colleges or institutes, usually at a subsidized cost.
- In house programs – these are training programs offered by individual companies themselves set up to train workers for their company. These programs can vary and usually typecast workers for that company only.
The PTDI standard curriculum outlines what is required for certification under their standards, and provides other info and basic training for CDL drivers.
FINDING A GOOD TRUCK DRIVING TRAINING PROGRAM
You can pick a good school on the basis of the information that you receive from the school catalogue or brochure. Most decent school will present everything that is offered from the course, in the booklet. The catalogue should inform you about:
- the school and its involvement with truck driving training – how it will help you get licensed and recruited.
- what the facilities are like and the code of conduct.
- what type of courses are available and the how to apply.
- expenses for receiving a CDL and for taking the courses.
- the refund policy in the event that you drop out of the course or are asked to leave.
- what the evaluation method is, i.e. grading, graduation.
The length of commercial education courses offered by different schools varies as there are no set standards for the same. A good school will note the duration in details on their brochure, clearly outlining how many hours are spent in actual driving and how many in the class. The training given behind the wheel is the most practical aspect of this training program. As per PTDI standards, each student should get at least 44 hours of actual driving experience and 104 hours of classroom and laboratory training in order to drive a truck safely and competently. Any course which comes close to this standard is a good course and is worth enrolling for.
It is recommended by experts to complete training that takes 4-6 weeks, with daily classes. Some high quality schools offer longer programs to give more time to individual driving experience and classroom attention.
GETTING WORK AFTER THE PROGRAM
Private training programs and public training programs typically offer a diploma or certificate after the program is finished. These certificates and diplomas provide a good value for comparison of workers when employers are deciding on positions. This proof is also required by their insurance providers as part of the new hire processes. Training programs offered by motor carriers do not offer such a diploma or certificate and that training cannot be used as proof of completing the program during recruitment. Hence, students from these programs have to take positions with the motor carriers themselves.
Good schools help their students to find employment after completing their training program. They usually have placement services on campus which arrange recruiting events with prospective employers to come and make presentations to the students and interview them.
Placement rates are given by some programs detailing what the rate of employment is for graduates upon completion of the course. They aim to increase these rates through interview and resume prep and networking. Some programs offer lifetime placement assistance.
- Since training schools are evaluated on the basis of their placement rates, it is important to complete a commercial driver’s education program from a good school before you apply for a CDL. This ensures that you become a safe driver and are also able to get a good job.
- See CDL Basics and How to Renew a CDL.