If you’re considering a move into the trucking industry, it’s the perfect time to do so. Shipping companies across the continent still have a shortage of drivers, so a good student is often able to go straight from graduating truck driving school in Ontario into a great job!
At 5th Wheel Training Institute, we pride ourselves on creating well-trained drivers who are ready for their new careers, and we have an excellent passing rate. However, not everyone succeeds in truck driving school – and most of the time, it’s because they didn’t go in prepared for the experience.
So, in this article, we wanted to talk about the realities of attending an Ontario truck driving school: what you need, what will be asked of you, and how to mentally prepare yourself.
Getting Ready for Your New Experiences at Truck Driving School
1 – Research to find the best truck driving school near you
There are a lot of truck driving schools in Ontario, and not all of them are equal. In particular, you’re going to end up choosing between cheaper schools in the city, and more expensive ones in the countryside. Why the difference? Well look at the size of the property! That much land is critical to giving students ample space to learn in lower stress environments before getting out into traffic.
When you attend a truck driving school outside the city, it’s going to have room for dedicated trianing facilities which give you real hands-on experience. The extra you pay for this will be well worth it because you’ll be much more attractive to employers! Real hands-on training will most likely translate to higher wages right from the start.
2 – Get a head start on your learning
It helps to be prepared! All of the official province documents and required materials are available online and can be read before attending school. If you start memorizing the information in it before school even starts, you’ll be ahead of the class, and well positioned for success.
Your instructors will also notice which students did their homework ahead of time, so to speak, and that also tends to open up new opportunities.
Don’t worry if you don’t understand everything yet – that’s what classes are for. Just having some foundation will be a big help in your learning.
3 – Get your affairs in order
If you’re going to attend an Ontario truck driving school outside a city, chances are you’ll be living on campus for the duration of your training. This is typically only 3-6 weeks, but you will have very few opportunities to leave or do anything else. Training will be your full-time job once trucking school starts.
So, you need to be financially stable enough to go at least a couple of months without working and ensure your regular home is kept up in your absence. If you’re too distracted by outside affairs during training, it could significantly hurt your chances of success, so try to enter school with everything already taken care of.
4 – Bring all the necessary clothing and personal items
Specialty safety gear will be available from the school, of course, but you’ll need to otherwise come prepared with everything you need. You want comfortable clothes which you can move around in freely, and which will work in any sort of weather. Don’t forget to bring rain gear!
One important note: you cannot wear flip-flops, sandals, or other types of ‘open’ footwear. You need shoes and boots that are CSA approved that will fully protect your feet and won’t get stuck if you’re working in the mud.
5 – Bring necessary school supplies
Aside from clothing and personal items, most of the other things you need to bring will be typical school supplies: pens, paper, some form of binder or notebook, a calculator, and so on. Don’t assume these will be provided if you forget them.
Also, you’ll probably want to bring along your own snacks and maybe some food. If you’re staying on-campus, your dorm should have basic cooking facilities, but it’ll be on you to provide the food to cook. There are dining facilities near the campuses, but keep in mind those will likely be more expensive than cooking for yourself.
Finally, be sure to bring a source of money. Again, you’ll be training for 6-12 weeks, and you will be making purchases throughout. You’ll also need to eventually pay for your testing and certification courses. If you run out of funding, there may or may not be options to help you out, but it’s best to be prepared from the start.
6 – Have all your documentation in order
You’ll be asked to prove your identity and your citizenship and attending truck driving school requires already having an Ontario Class G license for four-wheeled vehicles.
Also, be aware you’ll need to pass an Ontario MTO physical and vision examination before you’re allowed to test for your license and certification. In almost all cases, you are required to take care of this before beginning your truck driving school training. If so, don’t forget to bring all the documentation along!
7 – Bring a positive can-do attitude
This isn’t dozing your way through high school math class. The harder you work, and the more closely you pay attention in class, the better you’ll do overall. Remember: your classmates will undoubtedly become your friends, but they are also your competition. The top students in any given class are those most likely to be directly recruited, and the worse your performance, the harder it will be to find a good job.
Come prepared to work and commit to it. You’ll impress your professors and any recruiters, and that’ll put you on track for success.
If you’ve read this far and think you’re ready for an Ontario truck driving school, attending the 5th Wheel Training Institute could be your path to a great new career! We’re highly respected throughout the trucking industry, with dedicated hands-on training facilities, and have numerous sources to help you find a job after you graduate.