BUCKHANNON – Several Fred W. Eberle Technical Center students are buckling their seatbelts in preparation for their next journey after they graduate from the school’s truck driving program.
“My goal is to get a good, local job,” said Sheldon Long, soon-to-be graduate from the driving program. “I didn’t know anything about trucks before coming in here, but I’ve learned a lot since.”
Truck driving is more than just making deliveries. The FETC instructional units include orientation, preparation for a written driver’s test, pre-trip inspections, basic control skills and road driving skills. In the classroom, students participate in open discussions about learning modules and instructional driving videos.
“When students first come in, it can be very overwhelming — the pre-trip, skills on the road, shifting,” said Ron Roach, a FETC truck driving instructor who was a professional driver for 36 years. “We incrementally teach these things; we teach this part and then the next part.”
Graduates of the program can receive up to 300 hours of instructional time in preparation for their life on the road. Time behind the wheel – and graduation from the program – can lead to a local driving position or an over-the-road (longer-term) driving job.
The FETC truck driving programs range in length and tuition rates:
- 4 weeks (with a copy of a recent physical, drug test results and a valid CDL permit)
- 8 weeks
- 8 weeks with hazmat training
- 10 weeks (which includes two weeks of bus training)
“It’s a lot to learn, but if you put in the work and actually study when you get home, it’ll pay off in the end,” Long said.
All that hard work will pay off for another FETC truck driving student, Tyler Barlow.
“My next steps are to either find a job working on trucks again or – after winter is over – find a tractor-and-trailer job,” Barlow said.
Roach suggested that prospective students get familiar with trucks and the CDL manual, although it’s not required to begin the program. Barlow also expressed that future students should not be afraid to jump into the work, both inside and outside of the classroom, and even get a little dirty!
Check out the Fred W. Eberle Technical Center website to learn more about the truck driving program and other career training opportunities offered there. Keep up-to-date on exciting things happening at FETC by liking their Facebook page. There, you will find student testimonials, upcoming events and program opportunities.
At FETC, find the best program to fit you and the industry needs around you! Questions? Call FETC at 304-472-1259.