Course trains truck trivers in rapidly growing industry

by JONATHAN BROOKSHIRE//Social Media Coordinator

There is a high demand for truck drivers, and the industry isn’t slowing down.

South Plains College’s office of Workforce Development offers a Professional Driver Training (PDT) course to try to meet this demand.

The course is affiliated with International Schools, which is “the largest provider of truck driver training in the United States,” according to Mona Russell, the education consultant at PDT. The class is taught in room 403 of Building 4 on the Reese Center Campus.

The course costs $4,150, due up front, for 200 hours of training, which includes classroom study, testing, and open-road driving.

“[The drivers] use tarmac and runway at Reese,” Russell explained. “Then after their training there, they drive in and around Lubbock.”

truck driving
Photo courtesy of Mona Russell

Russell also explains that in the last week the drivers go to the Department of Public Safety office and take the test with a DPS instructor. All written and driving testing is done at the Department of Motor Vehicles.

The only requirements are that the student must be 21 years of age or older, have a high school diploma, GED, or successful completion of an assessment test, and pass the Department of Transportation’s physical examination. In addition to the requirements, the student must have no outstanding warrants or tickets, no unresolved child support issues, and have a valid Texas driver’s license and Social Security card.

According to Russell, truck driving is one of the most in-demand jobs, as the industry will need 6,000 drivers.

In the most recent class, there were 10 students who attended the class and graduated.

Upon graduating from the class, the student will receive a class A driver’s license with doubles, triples, and tanker endorsements.

“People go to school for five weeks, and as soon as they graduate they go to work for an over-the-road company,” Russell said. “The company teaches them how to drive in all sorts of weather, in the mountains, and all across America.”

The training with the company is paid, and according to Russell, the average income for a new driver is around $50,00 – $55,000 annually.

The general starting age requirement for companies to hire truck drivers is 21 to 24, according to Russell.

The teachers of the classes are Doyle Russell, who is the senior lead instructor, Bob Kirby, who is an instructor, and Ricky Kirby, who is the lead instructor.

The class is five weeks long, but does not operate on national holidays and there is a break during Christmas.

For more information, contact Mona Russell at mrussell@southplainscollege.edu, or by phone at (806) 744-5252, or stop by the office at 3610 Ave. Q, Suite 111, in Lubbock.

Author: Plainsman Press Staff

The student newspaper of South Plains College.

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