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Helpful Information About Potential Welding Careers & Trucking Jobs

  • 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!
  • Why Veterans Should Consider Truck Driving

    Veterans who are looking for a career after their time in the military have several different options to consider as they return to civilian life. One of those that they should consider carefully is the trucking industry. From military life to the trucking industry, there seems to be a seamless transition. There is a reason several veterans have chosen the trucking life and here's why.

    You Might Not Have To Take the Road Test:

    Veterans who worked in the service and have at least two (2) years of experience managing heavy military equipment and machinery, may not have to take their road test. This military exemption is also known as the "Military CDL Skills Test Waiver." If the veteran has operated such heavy machinery in the last year, they will be exempt from having to take the road part of the CDL test. This waiver is in place in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. This makes it one less "hurdle" that a veteran must clear to get on the road and can speed up the amount of time that it takes to start their new career.

    Truck Drivers & Military Personnel Share Similarities:

    Both military and professional truckers alike are relied upon to execute their jobs in a relatively independent manner once they are told what the expectations are. Both professions are expected to be punctual, reliable, and disciplined to get the job done at "whatever cost it takes". Many jobs in both professions are also done on a schedule and that schedule must be stuck to, making time management the key to the success. Considering the similarities between both jobs, the trucking industry is often a much easier transition for many veterans than a variety of other jobs would be, making the transition back to civilian life much smoother.

    Financial Assistance is Available for Education:

    Many veterans are eligible to receive financial assistance through the Advanced Career Institute. As an Active Duty or Military Veteran, you may be eligible for educational benefits through numerous GI Bill® programs. Funding programs are offered through the Veterans Administration for active service members, reservists, veterans, dependents, and spouses. At ACI, we provide veterans assistance through several bill and assistance programs. Check out our Veterans Assistance page for more information.

    Great Salaries & Full Benefits + Job Security:

    Many truck carriers are paying the upwards of $40,000+ for truck drivers beginning in their first year. Companies are offering full benefits including complete healthcare coverage, retirement benefits (many with an employee match), and vacation time. You will have job security as a truck driver is virtually guaranteed. There is a shortage of truck drivers and as consumer demand continues to increase, the number of drivers needed is projected to rise. This means that your job will not be going anywhere in the near in the foreseeable future.   If you are a veteran who is looking to obtain their CDL license and get into the truck driving industry, please feel free to contact us. All of us at Advanced Career Institute would feel honored to help you transition from military life to the trucking world. Let's get you started today!
  • "My Driver - My Safety Hero!"

    October 15th - 19th is National School Bus Safety Week. Considering that over 25 million children ride a school bus to and from school each day, this is a great time for everyone to be on the same page far as safety goes. Participants include parents, children, teachers, administrators, bus drivers, and school officials to come together to reinforce the basics of taking school bus safety seriously. Anyone else interested in partnering with their local schools to emphasize bus safety is also encouraged to join in. For 2018 the week's theme is "My Driver - My Safety Hero!" This is meant to commemorate the bus drivers who take safety precautions each day to help keep the children they drive to and from school as safe as possible. From enforcing safety walking to the bus stop to boarding, and exiting bus drivers are an important aspect in keeping students safe. This week seeks to give families way they can work with their children to help them abide by their bus driver's rules of conduct to keep them and their driver safe while on the road.

    What Are Some Ways to Help Keep My Child Safe on the School Bus?

    There are simple tasks that can be done to keep children safe while on their school buses each day. Many of them only take a moment and a little bit of thought to help keep children safe. The following are a few great tips to keep your child as safe as possible while using the school bus:
    • Keep every item in your child's backpack while entering and exiting the bus. Carrying loose items creates unneeded distractions.
    • Leave plenty of time to get to the bus stop so you are not running to chase or catch the bus.
    • If children are young, walk them to the bus stop in groups with several adults monitoring the group. This ensures that young children are safe and do not end up running out on the street or into danger by mistake.
    • Walk in crosswalks, not next to, near, or around them.
    • Always have children notify the driver if they drop or lose an item while entering or exiting the school bus. Stopping to try to pick the item up can be a very risky behavior.
    • Emphasize the importance of staying seated at all times when the bus is in transit.
    • Keep noise levels appropriate as to not provide unnecessary distractions for the driver while they are operating the vehicle.
    These are just a few tips to remind your children while they are on the school bus. School buses can be a wonderful way to help children get to and from school safely, but they need to be used correctly. For more information on school bus safety or how you can make a difference by becoming a school bus driver, contact Advanced Career Institute. ACI provides Class B CDL training to help prepare you to become a bus driver!
  • Trucking Options for Your Driving Career

    Once you've completed your truck driver training courses and earned your Commercial Driver's License (CDL), you still need to determine which type of driving position best suits your needs and lifestyle. Your skills are a very marketable commodity now, but it's important to understand and choose the right type of driving situation. There are three common types of truck driving options: local, regional, and over-the-road (OTR). Each one covers a specific area, and the salaries will vary accordingly.

    Local

    Local drivers are typically company drivers, which means they work for one specific company. They follow a regular route and stay within 250 miles of their home terminal.

    PROS

    • Home Time: Local drivers generally begin work in the morning and return home in the evening. There could be the occasional overnight load. Most drivers are off weekends and holidays.
    • Fewer Hours Behind the Wheel: Local drivers are able to move more frequently and stretch their muscles.

    CONS

    • Weekly Pay: Local drivers average between $500 and $700 weekly.
    • Loading and Unloading Freight: You may be required to physically load and unload the freight you're delivering as a local driver.
    • Long Working Hours: Even though you're home every night, many shifts begin as early as 4:00 a.m., and you may not return home until 6:00 p.m.

    Regional

    Regional drivers work within one specified area. For instance, Fresno drivers may have a regional route that covers a portion or all of California, Oregon, and Nevada. You may be on the road during the week and home weekends.

    PROS

    • Home Time: You will generally live in the same region in which you work so you will be home regularly.
    • Freedom: Regional drivers enjoy the freedom of the open road while still being able to stay somewhat close to home.
    • Salary: An average regional driver's annual salary is approximately $53,000 according to American Trucking Associations (ATA).
    • No Loading or Unloading Freight: Most regional drivers are not required to handle the freight they carry. The companies that send and receive the cargo typically have the staff to take care of moving the freight on and off the truck.

    CONS

    • Quick Turnaround: You may be required to deliver a load and immediately pick up another to return to your home area. That means that you will have longer hours behind the wheel with less time to stretch.
    • Salary: Some or all of your salary may depend on the loads you're carrying. In order to earn the best salary available in this category, you may need to fit in long runs.

    Over-The-Road (OTR)

    OTR drivers can cover the lower 48 states; however, the routes and loads you carry depend largely on the company you work for. Some companies may stay within a regional area, such as the western states, or they may require you to travel extensively from coast to coast.

    PROS

    • Salary: The average annual salary for an OTR driver based in Fresno, CA, is approximately $59,000 according to Indeed. That does not include bonuses and benefits. Salaries can also reach into the $80,000 range if you work as part of a team.
    • Travel: An OTR driver can enjoy the best of both worlds. You are able to travel and see the country while earning a living.
    • Paid Time Off: Jobs.net states that a driver is required to receive 34 hours off for every 70 hours worked. You are also limited by a maximum of 11 hours of driving per day. So, you may work 14 hours, which includes loading or unloading, so long as your actual drive time does not exceed 11 hours.
    • Freedom: As an OTR driver, you may also choose which time of day you prefer to drive.
    • No Freight Loading or Unloading: The companies that are on your delivery schedule will provide their own dedicated dock workers.

    CONS

    • Minimal Family Time: You may average one day home every two to three weeks.
    • Long Hours Behind the Wheel: This can make anyone very tired as well as sore from not being able to be up and moving throughout the day.
    Truck drivers with a CDL are currently enjoying a marketplace that offers a great deal of opportunity. Depending on your individual circumstances, you may choose to work as a local driver, cover a larger space on the regional circuit, or span the lower 48 states as an OTR driver. The sky's the limit. When you're ready to get serious about your new career as a truck driver, give Advanced Career Institute a call. We'll be happy to meet with you to discuss the available options and possibilities.
  • Comparing Great Welders Among the Rest

    Great welders have several things in common. These are some of the traits, qualities, characteristics, and skills that separate the great welders from the "good enough." Here are just a few that ACI feels stands above the others in determining great welders among others.

    Highly Trained

    The greatest welders attended premier welding schools like Advanced Career Institute in California. They receive the core theory, training and hands-on welding time necessary to pass the various American Welding Society tests and performance qualifications.

    Students of the Craft

    This means they applied and dedicated themselves to the diligent study, learning and practice of welding.

    Grounded in the Fundamentals

    You must know the basics of welding inside and out. A firm foundation in the fundamentals provide the stair steps needed to achieve the skill levels common in great welders. There's a reason algebra is not your first math course.

    Informed About the Industry

    Highly sought after welders keep up to date on the latest industry changes and regulations, especially safety.

    Subject Matter Experts

    Being the subject matter expert not only means you know about a great deal about welding. It also means you never stop learning.

    Superb Manual Dexterity

    Better known as "great hands" are common to "great welders." Hand skills and coordination are developed through proper training in technique and practice, practice, practice.

    Self-Motivation

    Welders often work alone. They are assigned a task or handed a set of blueprints and sent to accomplish the job. The self-motivated welder figures out the most efficient way to get the job done.   5 of the 7 characteristics for "great welders" are rooted in the school students attend and the training that school provides. It's evident that those who want to be superior welders need good training. Cutting edge training helps you achieve the skills common to the best welders in the industry. Advanced Career Institute welcomes and invites you to contact us to discuss your future.
  • National Truck Driver Appreciation Week 2018

    They're such a fixture on the interstate landscape that the faceless men and women who navigate those 18-wheeled ships are taken for granted. They go about their business every day blending in with the lanes of vehicles. Much like a caped crusader, these professional drivers are fulfilling a much-needed service. Just what is the impact these superheroes in disguise have on the American economy and lifestyle?

    Transportation of Goods

    According to the American Trucking Association (ATA), the trucking industry contributes to transporting more than $700 billion in revenue by logging over 450 billion miles annually. More than 80% of all goods moved in the United States are transported by truck. What are the commodities so vitally important to Americans?
    • Raw products from quarries, farms, and mines
    • Food and water supplies
    • Medical goods
    • Service station fuel
    • Waste removal
    • ATM cash supplies

    Employment

    Thanks to a growing global economy and e-commerce, the need for truckers to transport finished products to homes and retailers is steadily increasing. In fact, the ATA estimates that the employment rate for truckers will continue to climb by 3.4% a year through 2028.

    First Responders

    These unassuming champions of the road are often in a position of being first responders to accidents. Truckers may be able to react at the scene of an accident in those first few critical moments that can mean the difference between life and death. As road warriors, they're also in a unique position to recognize the signs of human trafficking and alert law enforcement.   While you may not see a caped crusader behind the wheel of one of those big rigs, these superheroes in disguise are present on the road every day contributing as vitally important members of society. For more information on how you can join this crucial profession, contact Advanced Career Institute.
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