Once you’ve been on the road for a while, you may start to look back on your time spent training to become a truck driver. What was your experience like? How did your trainer help you to understand the rules of the road before you went out on your own? How did they get started as a CDL instructor?
If you find yourself wondering if you could teach future truck drivers, you may be interested in becoming a CDL instructor or TNT trainer yourself. Prime allows drivers who meet certain criteria to become certified as instructors and trainers, permitting them to help train the next generation of drivers to be safe.
Ready to learn more? Let’s go over how to become a CDL instructor.
What are the qualifications to become a trainer or instructor?
First, let’s discuss the different types of trainers. Prime drivers can choose between becoming a CDL Instructor or TNT Trainer, or doing both. CDL instructors help new drivers to earn their CDLs, while TNT trainers work with drivers once they have earned their CDL to haul loads across the country and get the experience they need before the can get into their own truck.
If you are interested in becoming a trainer or instructor, you should contact your fleet manager to discuss your eligibility. Both CDL instructors and TNT trainers are required to have the same qualifications before starting.
- At least 9 months of professional driving experience (including winter driving experience)
- At least 60 days at Prime as an A Seat lead driver
- No DOT reportable accidents in last 12 months
- Clean MVR/low CSA score/minimum log violations
- Minimum 7.5 mpg for last 8 weeks/net fuel cost under 15 cpm
- Solid on time service record
- Must have taken Prime Safety Certified course and ACE 2 (if lease operator) prior to attending CDL Instructor Class.
What is the pay like for trainers?
The pay setup differs slightly for instructors and trainers, since trainers will essentially be running team with their co-driver, while instructors will be focused on teaching new drivers the skills needed to obtain their Class A CDL. The pay for each is listed below:
- CDL Instructor:
- Earn $300 per week (up to 4 weeks)
- Earn a bonus ($500 minimum) when your student passes the CDL Exam
- $875 when the student passes on the 1st time!
- Earn $300 when your apprentice stays with Prime for 6 months
- Earn $300 when your apprentice stays with Prime for 1 year
- Earn $500 when your apprentice becomes an “A” seat lead driver
($3175 maximum earnings per apprentice, based on non-spouse training)
- TNT Trainer:
- TNT Training allows the trainer to improve their utilization and run more miles therefore having the opportunity for higher earning power.
- Any team miles over 3,000 in a week pay an additional 22 cents per mile to be split between the lead seat and trainee.
What should I know before I get started?
Before you get started, you should ask yourself a few big questions:
- Will you teach drivers to be safe? Safety is our highest calling here at Prime. Each of our drivers needs to be carefully taught the ins and outs of safety, and as an instructor or trainer, it’s your job to make sure they grasp these concepts while out on the road. Furthermore, our qualifications make it so that drivers who do not prioritize safety will not be eligible to be instructors or trainers.
- Can you work with all kinds of people and personalities? Truck drivers come from all walks of life, meaning you’ll have to be prepared to meet all kinds of people. Apprentices may be coming to you with years of experience or having never been behind the wheel of a truck. They may have wanted to be a truck driver for their whole lives, or they may have worked a white collar job before this. Whatever the case is, there will be many different kinds of people, all with different personalities. No matter the case, you’ll need to be able to work with them and help them to become truck drivers.
- Will you be patient with new drivers? When you train, you’ll need to understand that people can make mistakes. Did you get everything right the first time you got into a truck? Think about how you would want to be treated when you’re first learning something. You’d probably rather have someone be kind to you than deal with someone who’s rude and mad about your errors.
If you feel you are ready to take on the challenge and pass on your knowledge and skills to new drivers, ask your Fleet Manager how you can qualify to become an instructor or trainer.
If you’re just getting started as a truck driver, you’ve found the perfect place to launch your career.
Enroll in Prime’s Driver Training Program today. You’ll receive 1-on-1 training from our qualified trainers and prepare to start your career on the road.
If you still need more information, reach out to our recruiters and we will get back with you shortly.