Beginning your career as a professional truck driver is an exciting venture. At this point, you have finished your CDL training and other licensing and are now preparing to onboard at your new job. For many trucking companies, the first step of your career path will be the truck driver orientation. Read on to learn more about what you can expect as you prepare to attend:
What is Truck Driver Orientation?
For most major trucking companies, the truck driver orientation is a sort of pre-interview that will lead to a major trucking job within the industry. In most cases, you as a potential truck driver will receive a formal invitation to this event, usually in the form of a pre-hire letter. The orientation is basically a meet-and-greet, allowing you to meet your potential future employers. You will also learn what a trucking company can offer you during this time of orientation.
Questions to Ask Before Attending
Before making plans to attend a truck driver orientation with a potential employer, it’s important to understand the specifics of the event. You need to ask them various questions to be sure you are well-prepared to attend. Consider asking the following questions to help you ascertain what will be covered and not covered as part of the process:
- Will you be getting paid for training? You will want to know if your time is going to be paid, or if it’s just an expected part of getting the job as a truck driver. Generally, truck driver orientation takes place over a few days, and several companies will pay potential employees for their time at this event.
- What will be provided? Will there be food or lodging? In many cases, when drivers must travel to orientation to attend, transportation will be provided. Many truck companies will also provide lodging arrangements as well or at least offer to reimburse you for your lodging expenses. Most companies will also provide food, allowing for one to three meals a day throughout the orientation program.
- What about the truck? When you test as part of orientation, will there be a truck provided?
What to Bring With You to Orientation
When you choose to attend a truck driver orientation, the next step is preparing yourself for what you need to bring along. Here is a simple truck driver orientation checklist:
- Personal documents. Necessary documents can include your birth certificate, medical cards, CDL licenses, and more. Anything that you would likely need when starting a new job.
- Clothes. Aim for comfortable but professional. Some employers will not allow sweatpants or shorts to be worn even in orientation, so you need to determine if there are dress code restrictions or just aim to wear cargo pants, khakis, or jeans. Also, make sure to wear comfortable shoes and be sure to check the weather at the orientation location, so you know if you need to bring along a jacket or anything.
- Some extra money. Even if food is provided, there will likely still be times you need a snack or perhaps just want something different from what is being served.
- Stationery supplies. Have something to write with and take notes. This can include a pen, or pencil along with a notebook and highlighter or other similar materials.
What to Expect to Learn
Your trucking orientation will be an educational experience, teaching you a great deal of information about the company itself as well as its safety standards. After this initial introduction phase, most orientations will also include a driving test that will allow someone in the company to grade your abilities. After this, you will be set up with a dispatcher and begin to plan your first route as a new truck driver!