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Helpful Information About Potential Welding Careers & Trucking Jobs

  • Why OTR Truck Driving is a Smart Decision

    Nearly anyone in the trucking industry has to think about the pros and cons of local versus OTR (over-the-road) truck driving. For some in this industry, the answer comes easily. One must consider their current life situation, such as marital/family status, financial situation, and personal preferences. Let's look at a few reasons a truck driver may opt for OTR over local trucking.

    Easier Driving

    While local driving usually requires difficult navigation through streets and intersections, OTR involves interstate driving. A new driver can gain experience through long stretches of highway and small amounts of navigation at pick-up and drop-off sites. Anyone who likes hitting the open road will prefer driving nationally vs city driving.

    Freedom

    Local driving usually involves being monitored over every mile, taking a specific route, and constant communication. Some may find this too restrictive and choose the relatively increased freedom that OTR offers. While an over-the-road driver will need to communicate with dispatch and answer for delays, the freedom of OTR is similar to being your own boss. As long as shipments arrive on time and in good condition, oversight is moderate to minimal.

    Job Security

    Local trucking drivers may find little work as the industry continues to expand into more national carriers. However, an OTR driver is free to go find work. Carriers are in constant need for new drivers, and in a tight labor market, that need becomes urgent. In a recent poll of large carriers, 76 percent said they were looking for new drivers.

    Rising Income

    An increasing amount of freight to be moved is adding to the need for qualified drivers. This also means that drivers are negotiating larger incomes as demand for their services becomes urgent. OTR drivers travel many miles, and more miles equals better benefits and more money earned.   While OTR truck driving does require commitment, the benefits can far exceed personal sacrifice in most cases. It is worthwhile to do a self-assessment of your wants, needs, and abilities to determine if a career on the open road is desirable and beneficial. If you are looking to enter trucking and still need that CDL, contact Advanced Career Institute and see how we can get you started in this high demand industry.
  • student using the truck driving simulator

    A New Addition to CDL Training

    Trucking schools have turned to new technology! Advanced Career Institute's Fresno Campus has added a trucking simulator to help their drivers learn to drive before hitting the road. This trucking simulator allows students to get the general feel and experience of driving behind the wheel of a "big-rig" before they set foot inside a real truck. This new technology has become a great resource to add to our CDL training.

    What Do Trucking Simulators Do?

    Trucking simulators allow students to experience what it's like to drive a "big rig" truck without even leaving the classroom! Our simulator is complete with the steering system and on-screen display to learn the basic skills of truck driving. Skills learned within a simulator include:
    • backing
    • sightline views from the driver's seat
    • how the clutch works
    • driving in various weather conditions (i.e. ice, snow, sleet, freezing rain, rain, wind, etc.)
    Once these skills (and many others like them) are learned, the student will be much more prepared to take on driving in an actual truck. Students will then commence the "road training" portion of their program, which further reviews the basic driving skills needed to pass their CDL test.

    Truck Simulators - Part of Our Curriculum:

    Trucking simulators have become a core part of our driver training program here at our Fresno Campus. It has become an effective tool in teaching our drivers the basics of operating a truck before getting behind the wheel of a truck for the first time. This new technology of truck simulators provides students with a diverse set of scenarios a trucker may see while driving. This can also help increase a student's chances of passing their CDL test the first time. Simulators are a tool that we are excited to continue to use at ACI. Our goal is to continue to provide the best possible training for each student. As technologies continue to advance, these simulators become more lifelike and give students a better experience of learning to drive a truck.

    Come By & Visit Our Training Center:

    If you are interested in seeing what our driving simulator looks like and the kind of technology we invest here at the Advanced Career Institute, please feel free to stop by. We are happy to show you our simulator as well as discuss your truck driver training options. For further assistance, please feel free to contact us. We look forward to seeing and meeting you soon!
  • women in welders uniform with blowtorch

    Why Women Should Consider the Welding Industry

    It's time to break the cliche that welding should be left to the boys. The images of a grungy, sweaty work area and the soot-covered welder emerging from a haze of welding fumes are completely outdated. The reality is that more women have been joining the industry in recent years, and the numbers are expected to rise over the next decade. Let's explore some of the reasons more women should consider joining the industry:

    Welding Requires Training, Not a College Degree

    The benefits here are two-fold: You can get to work in about 9 months & you won't be saddled down with impossibly-high college debt to start. Welding is a skill that is hands-on and your technique is what you are judged upon. Even if you're not great at the beginning of your training, by the end, with practice, you will get the hang of it.

    The Salary-Scale Can Go as High as a Doctor or Lawyer

    Most administrative workers make around $36,000 per year, while the lowest-level welders earn an average of $41,000 per year. Already looking better, right? Well, there's more: Opportunity for travel and amazing workplaces are another perk. Why stay stuck in an office when you can be welding a boat by the sea? Those who are daring enough to go to some pretty hazardous places can make over $100,000 per year. Not many jobs give you the ability to work for a few months out of the year and take the rest off to enjoy life!

    More Choices, More Opportunity

    Even if a daring life of welding isn't your cup of tea, there's still an unlimited opportunity for a highly rewarding career. Welders are needed in every industry, which offers more choice than almost any other profession. That's not to mention the option for you to become your own boss, open your own shop and support more women in your community.   Are you ready to make the change from that dead-end job to a world of exciting opportunity? Consider our Welding Training options at Advanced Career Insitute. With three different welding locations throughout the San Joaquin Valley, we're ready to help you ready your dreams. Contact us today!
  • 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.
  • Helpful CDL Study Habits

    Congratulations! You made it through trucking school and are now on the final leg of your journey towards a rewarding career. Do not run out of steam just yet! The written portion of your CDL exam is crucial. Let's take a look at 5 must-know tips to pass your written CDL exam the first time.

    Practice Makes Perfect

    The best way to physically and mentally prepare for the written exam is to take practice exams. This will give you a feel for the real deal. Start out by taking the practice exams as "open book" tests. Work your way up to giving yourself a time limit. Finally, before the big day, take a practice exam as if it is the real thing without notes or help of any kind. This will help you to gauge how well you actually know the material.

    Understand Instead of Memorize

    Memorizing is an extremely useful tool, and will certainly help you to a certain extent on the written exam. However, the key to being fully prepared is to understand the material and not just memorize it. The reason for this is if you truly understand the material. No matter how the question is asked on the exam, you will arrive at the correct answer. If you only memorize the material, an alternate wording on the exam can very well throw you and lead to an incorrect answer.

    Real World Applications

    For concepts, you are having difficulty with, come up with real-world scenarios. By doing so, instead of just being words on a page or random facts, you can create an association between the information and how it applies to the real world. Real world applications make the information more relevant to your life.

    Utilize Study Strategies

    Do not be afraid to utilize study strategies for the material you struggle with. Common examples of study strategies include flashcards, songs, rhymes, a phrase, or just about anything else that you can create an association with that will help you remember and understand the material come test time.

    Be Fresh and Alert

    Last but not least, the night before the exam is not the night to stay up late watching a movie or hanging with your buddies. Go to bed at a decent hour and get a good night's sleep. Eat a filling breakfast on the morning of the exam. A good night's sleep and a good breakfast will ensure you are fresh and alert to take your exam.   There is no substitute for hard work and putting in the time to make your dreams come true. Following these 5 tips will ensure you are well prepared for your written CDL exam and on your way to a fulfilling career. Contact us today for more information on our CDL training program!
    *This blog was originally written in 2015 and has been updated according to industry standards.
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