From the Experts

Hear from the Experts on all things Trucking and Welding

  • What the Future Holds for Welders

    As we head into a new year, many experts are turning their attention to what one can expect from the welding industry as we move into 2019. Overall, the industry experts weighing in say that the upcoming year looks quite bright for those who are interested in training to become welders. Consumer demand is increasing at a modest rate and that means that the demand for welders will continue to grow. Pay and compensation have stayed quite high and the standard of living a welder can have is relatively competitive with many other professions of today.

    A Look Into Welding's Future: 2019 and Beyond

    As we ring in 2019, welders are making a median entry-level wage of about $40,000+ per year which averages out to about $19-20 per hour. The field is also accessible to most Americans as the requirements to begin the work is either a high school diploma or GED. Most welding jobs do not have previous work or experience requirements in order to be qualified to begin the job. As of 2016, there are about 404,800 welders working throughout the US. In 2019, the field is expected to grow at a steady rate of about 6%. This is about the average growth rates for most occupations in the US right now. That rate is anticipated to set the pace until at least 2026, which is for the foreseeable future. Ultimately, this means that the welding industry will add about 22,500 jobs between the years 2016 and 2026.

    How Do I Get Into Welding As a Career?

    Most welding programs, such as the one offered by the Advanced Career Institute, accept applicants directly out of high school or those who have received their GED (or equivalent) to apply to our program. Most programs can be completed within about 9 months from their start date and there are no previous requirements for experience in welding to be accepted into our program. Students who complete the ACI Welding Training program are able to meet the qualifications to join the American Welding Society (AWS). The AWS sets the standards for training for welders entering the industry and seeking employment in the welding field. ACI's program will qualify students for a variety of positions including horizontal, vertical, overhead, & 6G positions. This will prepare workers for a career in a variety of different areas of welding including welding for the purposes of agriculture, construction, structural metals manufacturing, machinery equipment repair/maintenance, and commercial purposes, just to name a few fields that students will be eligible to get work in.

    A Positive Outlook

    As the industry continues to grow at a modest rate, coming to the Advanced Career Institute can give students a head start to a great new career. Through Welding Training, students will earn their certification to join the American Welding Society (AWS) and get started in this lucrative field. Welding comes with competitive pay and full benefits. For more information on getting your American Welding Society (AWS) certification so that you can get a job in this excited, growing field, feel free to contact us Advanced Career Institute for further assistance!
  • Getting Ready for the Winter Weather

    As the temperatures plummet and winter sets in, many truck drivers are beginning to consider how they will prepare their truck so they can continue on working through the winter months. It's important that truck drivers are aware of how they can prepare their truck for winter to ensure they are able to handle anything the cold, frigid temperatures and ice, sleet, and snow throw at them. The following are 6 great tips to help keep truck drivers safe on the road and to help them travel safely even through the winter season's most treacherous stretches:

    Keep Necessities on Hand

    Should you break down on the side of the road, you should consider packing an emergency kit to help you through until someone can help you. A kit should include warm clothing and several blankets (in case you have to wait a while). Consider a supply of a couple gallons of fresh drinking water as well as portable snacks such as dried fruit, cereal bars, etc. to help keep you fed until someone can come to assist you.

    Prepare An Emergency Supply Kit for Your Truck

    Beyond clothes and food, other basic emergency supplies will help in the case you should break down while driving. Consider keeping extra jumper cables, flares (to help cars see you), extra flashlights, etc. in case you happen to need these items if you were to break down while on the road.

    Give Your Truck an Extra Inspection

    Checking over all the minor maintenance items that tend to go wrong with your truck before the winter starts can queue you if anything looks like it might be needing attention before the coldest weather arrives. Checking things like your batteries and filters and seeing if your tires need to be rotated or if your oil needs changed can help ensure that your vehicle is primed for winter. These basic steps can help you avoid a breakdown or lessen your chances of a breakdown out in the frigid cold if these things are up-to-date and in working order. Nothing is a guarantee but it's safer than not checking at all.

    Check Your Antifreeze

    Ensuring that you have the appropriate amount and mixture of antifreeze in your vehicle is vital when it comes to clearing windshields and windows in inclement weather. Be sure to check your antifreeze levels regularly as you use the fluid throughout the winter. Driving with ice or other precipitation particles on your windshield is not only dangerous to you but others as well. If you need to defrost till you can see move over to the side of the road and wait before driving with an obstructed view.

    Have Your Breaks & Tire Traction Checked

    Your breaks will need to be in their best shape in order to help you stop on snow-covered or icy roads. You will also need to ensure your tire traction is up to snuff in order to allow your vehicle to grip the road and keep you in your land during treacherous conditions.

    Consider Snow Chains

    Consider packing snow chains in your truck if your vehicle and the types of tires you have done well with them. Many companies will have policies on using snow chains and on when to use or not use them. Understand that appropriate conditions in which to use your snow chains for safety and which situations might be made more dangerous by snow chains rather than made safer.   These are a few great things to keep in mind when you are driving during the winter months. While you can't prepare for everything, ensuring you check over your truck each time you drive, you will ensure that you catch preventable breakdowns. In the case that rare breakdowns do happen in the cold weather, if you have emergency supplies on hand you will be prepared to wait it out until someone can come to your aid. For more information on keeping your truck safe and running smoothly as possible during the winter months, please feel free to contact us.
  • Navigating Through Your New Career

    So you’re ready to be a truck driver, huh? Of course, you are. If you’re in truck driving school, chances are you’re chomping at the bit to get out of the practice truck and get into a truck that will help you earn a living. Barr-Nunn Transportation driver, Dave Casanova has been climbing into the cab of a truck for 18 years. He has experience on both the general freight and expedited side of the trucking business. In other words, he has some tips for new truck drivers. Casanova offered his tips that every new truck driver needs to know. Whether it’s managing the job, the expectations surrounding the job, and how to build experiences that counts in the industry, he has some great advice!

    1. Trucking is more mental than physical.

    Managing your own mental state is the secret to trucking success. “It can be a very frustrating and depressing job if you don’t carry the right mindset,” he said. “For some people, being away from the family weeks at a time can quickly become unmanageable.”

    2. Don’t expect the world right out of the gate.

    It’s not realistic to expect your dream job right out of trucking school. “The first job you get out of school most likely won't be the one you stay at for 20 years,” Casanova said. “This first job is where you should be learning about everything you need to be safe and compliant. This first job is where you start building a reputation for yourself as a safe, compliant driver.” Find a “Mr. Right Now” job for your first gig, then look for “Mr. Right” after you’ve gained a little experience.

    3. It takes about a year to “get it.”

    Things may feel a little chaotic during the first year. “To get a good handle on all the rules and regulations in trucking, it will take about a year,” he said. “The 3 biggest points to focus on are following distance, knowing the Smith System of driving, and trip planning. Remember that 80,000-lb. rigs don't stop quickly and can't be turned around as readily as a car when you miss a turn.”

    4. Year one goal: no accidents.

    In the midst of that first year, focus on safety. Simply finishing the year accident-free can in itself be a victory. Casanova suggests living the time-tested safety rule: “G.O.A.L. Get Out And Look,” he said. “Anytime you need to back up, you absolutely need to get out of the rig and check out your surroundings to avoid backing accidents.”

    5. Know your career goals.

    Know what you have, what you need, and what you want from your career, and have specific set goals. Decide what you want out of this career,” he said. “Are you looking for maximum income? Is home time a top priority? What benefits or health insurance do you need to make you happy? Once you've got an idea of what you need to be happy, you can research companies efficiently.”

    6. Don’t job hop.

    Many young people switch jobs frequently in their first year, looking for the next possible big opportunity. As much as it’s not the greatest strategy outside of the trucking industry, it most definitely not in trucking. Your time of service matters greatly. “The fewer number of times you change jobs, the more likely you will wind up at a top paying carrier,” he said. “Doing your homework prior to jumping ship is crucial if your goal is working for a top tier carrier at some point.”

    7. It’s all about attitude.

    Remember that even with a driver shortage, your job is not always guaranteed. A carrier/driver relationship should be built on mutual benefit. “I don't believe there is a shortage of drivers. I believe there is a shortage of good drivers. Casanova said. “You want to continue to grow your reputation. By bringing a good attitude, when things get slow, you increase your chances of being a driver that gets taken care of. Be a good driver and reap the rewards.”

    BONUS! -- Find a mentor. Or, better yet, mentors.

    Find a few industry veterans to get advice from on the road. You want good solid resources that will help keep you from making common rookie mistakes. Experienced drivers can be a wealth of knowledge. By finding a few that you trust to tell it to you straight, you stand to gain a lot. As you earn experience you can bounce ‘what ifs’ off of them, to see how they would handle different situations. Keep in mind though, not every experienced driver can be a mentor. You really need to be selective of whom you take advice from.”   If you're ready to get started on your new career, let Advanced Career Institute help you begin your CDL training. Advanced Career Institute provides both Class A and Class B CDL training at four locations throughout California. Contact us today to begin!
  • Advanced Career Institute Opens School in Bakersfield

    Bakersfield, CA – Advanced Career Institute would like to announce their newest location in Bakersfield, California. Their new school is located at 2925 Mosasco St. Unit B, Bakersfield, CA 93312, the former John Lopez Welding School. ACI had their first welding class start on Wednesday, July 24, 2018. President of Advanced Career Institute, Barry Bither said, “It is with great excitement that I am able to announce we opened with our first welding class in Bakersfield… All of our staff has done a great job getting the new campus off to a great start. We have completed the purchase of John Lopez Welding School and wish John all the best in his retirement. In the next few weeks, we will be diligently working on adding all of our truck driving programs to the new campus. Please welcome the new employees we are adding to the ACI family.” The new Bakersfield Campus will have both Welding and CDL Training. The Welding Training will consist of the Advanced Welding Technology Program that lasts 38-weeks and a new Basic Plate Welding Program that will last 5-weeks. The CDL Training programs at the Bakersfield Campus will consist of their Professional Truck Driver Program, lasting 4-weeks, and the more advanced Agriculture Transportation Training Course lasting 20-weeks. The first transportation class start date will be August 13, 2018. Like all ACI Campuses, Bakersfield students will gain the quality education and training needed to start a new career. Advanced Career Institute programs combine both hands-on experience and in-class technical training. ACI offers financial aid to those who qualify. The Admissions staff will work with every student to determine their eligibility, and then help them apply for financial aid. The Career Services staff will provide students with the tools that are necessary to find employment, which includes helping them search and apply for current job openings. All staff and instructors at Advanced Career Institute are excited about this new school opening in Bakersfield and the potential to help new students begin their careers in trucking and welding. For more information about our Bakersfield Campus and the training programs provided, call us at 661-535-1480.  
  • Trucking Industry Misunderstandings

    Over the years, many misconceptions have developed about what it's like to be a truck driver. The truth is that truck driving is growing at a steady rate with opportunities left and right for qualified individuals. Unfortunately, getting some people to think beyond what they have heard or been told, isn't always easy. Here are five common misconceptions about truck driving and the real truth about each.

    1. There's No Money in Trucking

    The truth is that wages for truck drivers are better than ever! Companies are looking for reliable individuals that are properly qualified. Because every company is going after the same talent pool, they are highly competitive when it comes to pay. Often, you can even get reimbursed for your truck driver training classes.

    2. You're Gone all the Time

    While this is the case for some types of drivers, it's important to know that there are all kinds of truck driving jobs. Many of these jobs are regional and/or local that will put you home at the end of your workday. Just because you drive a truck doesn't mean that you have to go across the country for weeks at a time.

    3. It's a Lonely Life

    Truck driving allows for meeting, communicating and working with a lot of different people. Truck drivers will meet new people all the time, with opportunities to share the bond of the road. With modern technology in many trucks, drivers can stay connected and have conversations with just about anyone even while they drive.

    4. Uncomfortable Living Arrangements

    If you look at most of the trucks on the road today, you might notice that there are actually pretty roomy sleeping cabs. Truck drivers don't have to be uncomfortable when they pull over to get some rest. They can only drive a certain amount of time each day, giving them plenty of opportunity for rest in a comfortable environment, even when on the road.

    5. Men Only

    There are a high number of women that drive trucks for a living. The profession is not just for men, with women being accommodated and welcomed in every segment of the trucking industry. Don't let gender get in the way of a very inclusive and equal opportunity profession.   These are just some of the many misconceptions that people have about the trucking industry. If you are interested in taking the next step into the exciting world of truck driving, contact us to help get you started down the path to success in this booming industry.
  • A Study Guide for Passing the CDL Test

    Like any test, the Commercial Driving License (CDL) exam requires study and preparation because you will be tested on a lot of information. However, simply trying to memorize the entire CDL manual, which is typically around 180 pages long, is not the best way to prepare for the exam. Instead of wasting countless hours becoming tired and frustrated, study smart. Here are six study steps to help you prepare for and pass your CDL exam.

    Plan Ahead

    Cramming a day or two before your CDL exam will not yield the best exam results. Besides causing sleep deprivation and trouble focusing, you won't retain important material that you need to understand as a responsible, safe driver. Pick a day to take your exam and start studying ahead of time so that you are fully prepared. If you are new to the exam, consider taking a training course online or in-person, which some states require. There are a number of programs you can choose from, so shop around for a course that works best for you. For example, at Advanced Career Institute, we offer Class A and Class B CDL training courses as well as CDL refresher courses for experienced drivers in California.

    Find Out What to Study

    Are you wondering what exactly is on the CDL exam? Take a look at the DMV CDL study guide, which breaks down the test section by section in terms of the CDL manual. For a detailed, free, comprehensive guide, check out Study Guide Zone's CDL Test Study Guide. No matter what kind of CDL you are studying for, you'll have to know General Knowledge. Based on the type of CDL you wish to receive, you'll have to study specific topics, such as School Buses and Hazardous Materials.

    Take a Diagnostic Exam

    It doesn't make sense to study what you already know. To find out what you do know and what you don't know, take a diagnostic exam. Driving-tests.org allows you to select your state and take a free, full-length general knowledge practice exam. Taking a diagnostic test will also help you get a feel for the exam so you'll be better prepared on exam day.

    Collect Your Study Materials

    Make sure that you have everything you need to help you study. The most important tool will be the CDL manual, which you can download on your state's DMV website. You can also pick up a hard copy from your local DMV. The DMV endorses DMVCheatSheets.com, which provides a number of cheat sheets with a money-back guarantee if you do not pass your CDL exam after using the service. Consider purchasing a CDL test prep book, downloading an app from the Apple App or Google Play stores, and saving helpful websites with study guides and other prep tools.

    Study What You Don't Know in an Effective Environment

    Using the results from your diagnostic exam, review the material that you don't know in the CDL manual. If you have purchased a test prep book, you can find the sections that you need to review using the table of contents. When studying, make sure you have a distraction-free space. Remember to take breaks and have some snacks nearby to refuel.

    Test Your Knowledge

    After reviewing what you need to from the CDL manual, test your knowledge through flashcards and additional practice questions. Union Test Prep offers free CDL flashcards and practice tests based on specific subjects. There are a number of apps that can also help you study on the go. You can also ask your family and friends to help quiz you on the sections that you have trouble with. Using these tips and tricks can help you pass your CDL exam. Of course with your training at Advanced Career Insitute, we will help prepare you for this exam by going over every little detail. The goal is, by the time you go in for the test, all questions should be second nature to you. For more information about passing your California CDL exam and our training options, contact us today!
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