From the Experts

Hear from the Experts on all things Trucking and Welding

  • Finding the Best Carrier for Your Lifestyle

    When considering which trucking carrier you will work for, you have many options to consider. Trucking is a job that is currently in high demand with ~60,000 available throughout the U.S. as of 2019. This high demand for truckers means that you also have your choice of which type of trucking job you would like to do. Whether you prefer to be a local, regional, or over-the-road trucking, here is a position out there to meet your needs!

    Speaking to the Recruiters:

    During your CDL training at Advanced Career Institute, you will have the opportunity to speak with several trucking companies. When talking to the recruiters, be sure that you are getting a feel for what that specific truck carrier has to offer. Each carrier will offer their perks and benefits. It will be all about finding one that fits your particular lifestyle and your personal needs. There is no one "right choice" for everyone. Asking the right questions up front and being honest about your needs and expectations in the industry will help you come out with a satisfactory experience once you choose with whom you want to work.

    50 Questions to Consider Asking Recruiters:

    Before you go to a recruiter event, consider writing down what you want to ask the recruiters before you commit to working for any specific company once you get your CDL. The following are 50 questions that you may consider asking as a start when you are looking to find the truck carrier that works best for your needs:
    1. What is your company's home-time policy?
    2. How much time off can I expect to get through your company's home-time policy?
    3. Will my days off vary or be consistent?
    4. What is your policy for needing extra time off (i.e., medical needs, injury outside of work, illness, family emergencies, etc.)?
    5. What kind of paid vacation do you offer me to start?
    6. How much more vacation time can I earn by staying with this carrier and how long will it take for that vacation time to accumulate?
    7. Are there restrictions on when I can use my vacation time (i.e., only taking so long off at once, not taking off around holidays, etc.)?
    8. Do vacation days expire annually or can they carry over into the next year?
    9. How many vacation days can I accumulate before I must use them?
    10. Which routes do your drivers most often travel?
    11. How many driving miles can I expect to log?
    12. How many miles away from home will I be expected to travel?
    13. What kind of equipment do I need to get comfortable working with/
    14. Will my truck be equipped with air-ride suspension?
    15. What size (how many tons) will the truck weigh?
    16. Do you provide layover pay?
    17. How long is the average layover period?
    18. How many loads can I expect to haul each week/month?
    19. Do you require drivers to "slip-seat" to take time off?
    20. What do you pay drivers for each job position (i.e., local or regional drivers versus OTR drivers)?
    21. What kind of raises may I receive overtime?
    22. What is my top earning potential in this position?
    23. Does the cost of living in my area affect how much you will pay me?
    24. What are the potentials for promotions in the future?
    25. What do my promotion potentials end up paying once I earn them,?
    26. How long will it take me to earn a pay increase?
    27. What kinds of benefits does your carrier offer to its drivers?
    28. Do you offer your drivers full health insurance benefits?
    29. Do you provide healthcare coverage for drivers families?
    30. What plans can I choose from when I am picking my healthcare?
    31. Do you offer short-term disability coverage to your workers?
    32. Do you offer retirement benefits such as 401ks?
    33. Do you offer pension benefits to drivers?
    34. If you provide retirement benefits, what matches on employee contributions do you make to my retirement?
    35. Do you provide driver bonus opportunities?
    36. How do you earn bonuses and what are the criteria for qualifying for them?
    37. When do you provide bonus pay and when can I expect to receive any bonuses that I have earned?
    38. Is there a limit of how many bonuses (or the dollar value) that a driver can earn annually?
    39. Do you offer new driver sign-on bonuses?
    40. Does your carrier pay for lumpers?
    41. Who is responsible for loading or unloading trucks if you don't hire lumpers?
    42. Do drivers ever have to unload their trucks?
    43. What are your deadline policies for delivering goods?
    44. What are the consequences for me as an employee if a delivery deadline gets missed?
    45. What about missing deadlines for circumstances beyond my control (i.e. truck breakdowns, personal health issues, bad weather, closed roads, traffic, accidents, etc.)?
    46. Will I get a dedicated truck driver manager?
    47. What type of on-the-job training will I receive as a new driveR?
    48. Do I receive mentorship as a new driver?
    49. What are the policies you have on how many hours I must rest versus how many hours I may drive at one time?
    50. Are there any other company policies or rules of which I  need to be made aware?
      These are just 50 fundamental questions that you will want to consider asking recruiters to see if their carrier meets your needs. It's all about finding a trucking job that is an excellent fit for you personally and for your lifestyle. This vital information includes much of what you will want and need to know to make the most informed choice possible about your career moving forward! For further information about questions you will want to ask a recruiter before signing on to work with a truck carrier please be sure to contact us at the Advanced Career Institute for further assistance.
  • Which Welding Career Path is Best for You?

    People who get into welding are those who love to work with their hands and are not afraid to get dirty while doing it. Welders take pride in their job and want to do their best at every project they take on. When started a career in welding, are a variety of job options for those who have completed their degree and are looking for work. The following are seven welding careers you may not have thought of:

    Assemblers and Fabricators:

    These individuals work to put the finishing touches on a variety of consumer goods that we purchase in our daily lives. They use their welding skills to help finish making items such as toys, electronic devices, and computers. Assemblers and Fabricators also work on other vital pieces of our country's infrastructure such as modes of transportation. They help build forms of transportation such as aircraft, ships, and boats.

    Boilermakers:

    Boilermakers produce steel fabrications such from plates and tubes. Originally, boilermakers created boilers, although today they develop a variety of different technologies including bridges, blast makers, and other mining equipment. Many of these welders travel to the worksite to do their work. This line of work may mean some regional or national traveling to perform their welding on the structures that need to be worked on.

    Jeweler, Precious Stone, and Metal Workers:

    Many welders that work in the jewelry field spend their days at a small bench hunched over a specific piece of jewelry that they are working to repair. Most jewelry that they work on will be higher-cost pieces that include precious stones and metals such as gold. The goal is to get the piece close to original condition as possible to get the value of the piece as high as possible.

    Machinists, Tool, and Die Makers:

    These welders work on welding pieces of machines or tools that get used in a variety of different fields including transportation (i.e., automobiles, trucks, buses, aircraft, planes, or boats) or the construction industry (such as welding and finishing off construction tools). This sect of welders often has to work nights and weekends to get their jobs completed on a strict timeline for other automotive or construction projects to be able to move forward on their set schedules.

    Sheet Metal Workers:

    Sheet Metal Workers are welders who are responsible for welding sheets of metal together to create finished products. Most sheet metal workers work to generate heating and air conditioning systems which require these sheets of metal to be welded together to produce these units for both commercial and residential buildings. Sheet metal will often get heavy, and the structures that these welders work on become very sizable. Heavy lifting and moving large, finished pieces of work are all part of the job.

    Plumbers, Pipefitters, and Steamfitters:

    These welders work primarily in the construction industry to help work on building projects that are still getting completed. They often work on plumbing and pipefitting in both commercial and residential buildings. Their jobs are to ensure that the plumbing, piping, and ductwork in buildings is up to the building code and safety standards outlined in that area. These workers will have to travel to the construction site to perform their work. Deadlines are also standard in this field of welding as the plumbing and pipefitting must get finished before the next phase of construction can begin.

    Metal and Plastic Machine Workers:

    Metal and Plastic Machine Workers are welders who set up and operate machines that are responsible for cutting, shaping and producing both metal and plastic pieces that get used in the construction of a variety of goods that get created in our modern, consumer society. These products are often required to get built to certain safety standards set forth by the industry for which the product is getting designed.   There is a variety of options for welders when it comes to choosing a long-term career. Dream big and find a career that fits your desires and needs as a welder! In the end, it will make work a pleasure, and not a chore as the options in the welding field are genuinely endless. For further information on Advanced Career Institute's Welding Training, contact us today!
    *This blog was originally written in 2016 and has been updated according to industry standards.
  • Checking Truck Driving Industry Outlook

    As we close in on the year 2019, we are looking ahead to see what the new year holds for the trucking industry. Overall, the trucking industry can expect the coming year to be very positive. Consumer demand is slated to grow modestly and there are plenty of job vacancies for people who want to go to school to get their CDL and get into driving careers. The positive outlook on the industry is believed to extend even beyond 2019 according to many experts.

    Consumer Demand Continues to Climb

    As we head into 2019, the overall consumer demand in the US is predicted to climb another 3-4% as the economy continues to recover from the 2008 financial crisis. Considering that about 70% of all consumer goods that travel throughout the US do so by truck, that means that there will be plenty of work for truck drivers. This promotes job security for those already in the industry and opportunities for those looking to join the industry.

    There Are Trucking Jobs to Fill

    The trucking industry has ~52,000 job vacancies throughout the US with more scheduled to become available throughout 2019. The vast amount of open jobs in the industry means that there are job opportunities for everyone no matter where you may live. Job security once you earn your CDL is strong. The trucking industry is growing at a rapid rate and needing more drivers than ever just to meet consumer demand.

    Automatic Trucks Will Not Be Taking Jobs Away From Drivers Any Time Soon

    Automatic trucks are not going to be a threat to truck driver's job security any time in the near future. While these trucks are being developed, they are only in their "infancy" stages of development. The first models are very unlikely to be able to drive themselves completely. Drivers will still have to do the more challenging maneuvers such as backing in and out of tight spaces or entering and exiting busy highways or interstates manually. It is likely to be a couple of generations or more of truck drivers that come and go before automatic trucks are even a remote possibility of being a reality. This means that drivers jobs are safe.

    Truck Drivers are Bringing Home the Bacon

    Truck drivers are in high demand and they generally have a fairly high standard of living. Most truck drivers will begin as OTR drivers that make an average of $45,000+ per year. This is comparable or higher than many other jobs that require a college education. In addition to a modest starting salary, most companies offer drivers a few weeks of paid vacation each year, complete health benefits, and retirement benefits as well. Many large truck carriers are also willing to help a driver pay back their student debt or loans. Some offer $100 to $400 per month, above and beyond their regular wages and compensation, to pay back debts.

    Beginning a New Career

    As the industry has many job vacancies and a steadily increasing consumer demand, now is a great time to get your CDL license. The New Year is a great time to get started in a great new career. For more information on starting classes and getting your CDL contact Advanced Career Institute for further assistance.
  • 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!
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