With so many companies and schools competing to recruit new workers into professional driving, it’s little wonder that there’s a lot of misinformation out there. Truck driving can be a wonderful option for a new career, particularly if you enjoy being on the open road and working on your own independently – but only if you get off to the right start.
You need to have the facts about truck driving schools in Ontario if you’re going to successfully move into a trucking career. Remember, you can’t simply walk into a shipping company and get a job right off the street. You need a Commercial Driver’s License that fits the job, and the right school will make that much easier.
In this article, we wanted to look at some common pieces of misinformation we hear, and other myths about Ontario truck driving schools.
Let’s get started.
Debunking Common Myths About Truck Driving Schools
1 – Truck driving schools are (NOT) rare
Surprisingly, a lot of people don’t even know that truck driving academies are an option. This is probably because they often don’t go out of their way to advertise themselves, or only have ads in industry sources.
Most of the time, the reason for this is simply that there is enough demand that they don’t need to advertise. Would-be students tend to find schools on their own. The truth is, there are plenty of driving schools across Canada and the USA. If you want to attend a school to obtain your CDL and get driving training, there’s almost certainly one close enough for you to attend.
If it happens to be a bit of a drive to reach it, well, welcome to trucking.
2 – On-the-job training is (NOT) all you need
Many commercial shipping companies are now trying to encourage students to bypass truck driving academies and sign up with them directly. They often advertise free or paid training as an incentive.
However, there are two big downsides here. First, a shipping company isn’t going to give you a robust well-rounded trucking education. They’re going to only give you the bare minimum needed to get you trained on their machines and systems. That’s going to make it more difficult to change jobs later on.
And speaking of changing jobs, that’s the other problem. The true price you pay for that “free” training is that you’re going to be locked into an extended contract with the company that trained you – potentially for years. Don’t like working there? Too bad. You owe them.
Attending an Ontario truck driving school gives you real independence. You can choose jobs or employers as you like, or even invest in your own rig to truly go independent.
3 – Truck driving schools do (NOT) only teach to the CDL test
This is another dangerous myth, usually spread by mediocre schools trying to cover up their own deficiencies. Indeed, some schools focus entirely on ‘book learning’ and teaching to the MTO AZ test route so that you can get your licence – but those aren’t the driving schools you want to attend.
The best schools are going to be the ones located outside the city, where they can maintain their own extended campuses and vehicle fleets. A quality school like this can give you true on-the-job training, on simulated job sites, running real equipment. This will give you a huge leg up when searching for jobs and make you far more attractive to employers. It will also help you avoid getting locked into an unfavorable contract, as mentioned above.
This is a case of “you get what you pay for.” Spending a little more on a well-equipped driving school will be an investment in your career that pays off when you’re job hunting.
4 – Good truck driving schools do (NOT) only teach trucking.
This misconception is a bit easier to understand. After all, if it’s a truck driving school, you’re going there to learn to drive trucks – right?
Well, not necessarily. Another advantage to attending a high-quality truck driving academy with dedicated facilities is that they often offer a wider variety of vehicle training. Many can potentially train you on almost any machine that requires a certification to legally operate or load. So, you could theoretically learn to operate trucks and heavy construction equipment, for example.
The more qualifications and licenses you can pick up, the easier it will be for you to find work. You might even be able to switch between jobs, to prevent tedium or burnout. Again, this is training you can only get from a high-quality truck driving academy.
5 – Truck Driving Schools Are (NOT) Only for Long-Haul Truckers
No, just no. We’re not sure why this one gets repeated. If you are doing any kind of commercial driving, even only hauling loads back and forth within a single city, you must have a CDL. That means attending training and passing the necessary state tests.
In fact, plenty of truck drivers avoid long-haul work because it takes them away from their families for too long, or because they don’t like the extended isolation. If you’re more interested in short-haul work, you’ll still get a great education from a truck driving academy.
6 – You Are (NOT) On Your Own When Looking for A Job
This is another lie spread by bad trucking schools. Many, especially the cut-rate operations, will basically get you your CDL and then shove you out the door to fend for yourself. However, it absolutely does not need to be that way.
Good trucking schools have been in business for decades and will have contacts across the trucking and shipping industry. They’ll often host job boards or provide similar methods of connecting graduates with employers. The very best schools will even be visited by recruiters looking to hire new drivers right after graduation.
Simply put, if an Ontario truck driving school doesn’t have resources available to help you find a job, you should attend a different school.
7 – Truck Driving Is (NOT!!!) Only For Men
We want to emphasize this point. The stereotype of a truck driver is of a large male, and that was probably even accurate once upon a time – like in the last century. However, in recent years, there has been a huge swell of female drivers getting their CDLs and entering the industry. Trucking is truly no longer the ‘boys club’ that it used to be.
The fact is that there are hundreds of thousands of female truck drivers and machine operators working in North America today. Their numbers have grown by 50% in just the last decade or so. Commercial vehicle operation has become a gender-neutral profession. Women who want to experience the fun and freedom of trucking are truly welcome to join in.
Get A Quality Driving Education At 5th Wheel
For decades, 5th Wheel Training Institute has been a leader among truck driving schools in Ontario. We have faculty and staff taken from the industry, and we’re frequently visited by recruiters looking for the best new drivers. We’ll give you the education you need, on multiple vehicles if you like, see you pass your CDL tests, and help you find a job after.