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Helpful Information About Potential Welding Careers & Trucking Jobs

  • Making it Through Your CDL Training

    Going back to school for continuing education midway through your career is never an easy decision, but it can provide benefits that will stay with you for the rest of your career in that industry. The same can get said for going back to CDL school to help you start a new career. The following are several tips to help you make the most of your CDL training as you start a new career and take part in training for your job as a truck driver...

    Have a Mind Open to Learning

    When you go back to school to get your CDL, it can be challenging, but it needs to get done with an open mind. You will learn lots of new things for the first time. While it might seem overwhelming, in the end, taking the information you learn to apply to your career is what will help you pass your CDL test.

    Be Coachable

    Being coachable means that you take the information that you learn and you use it to help you advance in your new career. Everything you get taught at ACI is to help prepare you for the road ahead (no pun intended) and to become a safe and cautious driver. Learn and improve your skills and you will become a better employee and a more hireable candidate.

    Come with Optimism & A Positive Attitude

    Coming in with a positive attitude and an open mind rather than being pessimistic and unopened to change will help you make the most out of the education. Everyone at Advanced Career Institute wants the very best for you and to see you succeed.

    Learn From Constructive Criticism

    Constructive criticism is part of any sort of learning and career training. When our teachers and mentors give you criticism, they never mean to insult or belittle you, but rather are there to teach you the industry standards and how to do your job more effectively. Take the critical thinking in the mindset that they want you to succeed and do whatever you can to help yourself learn the skills needed for the job.

    Avoid Putting Mentors/Instructors Down

    The instructors at the Advanced Career Institute care about you not only as a student who is paying to get an education but for you as an individual who wants to improve your life and make a better living. Returning that respect and working with our instructors will only help you be better at your new job. It will also help you have a better learning experience along the way.

    Believe In Yourself

    The amount of information you learn while in school training for your CDL can be very overwhelming. Taking in the information can seem challenging. Believe in yourself and your ability to understand what you are learning. You can remember this information and make a better life for yourself moving forward with trucking as your new career.   These are just some traits that will help you succeed in earning your Commercial Driver's License. ACI is here to help you get through the learning process that is part of becoming a full-time truck driver. For further assistance or to come in and speak to us, please contact us today.
  • What to Know About The DOT Exam

    There are a variety of steps to take in order to become a professional truck driver. One step is to pass the DOT Physical Exam. The DOT Physical Exam is an examination that all truck drivers must take and pass to get their Commercial Driver’s License. This exam determines if the driver meets certain health standards set by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) in order to be eligible to drive. Continue reading to learn more about the DOT Exam!

    What Is the DOT Exam?

    All truck drivers are required by law to pass the DOT Physical Exam before getting behind the wheel of a big rig. The FMCSA has set a variety of mental and physical health regulations that truckers must meet in order to fulfill the demands of a truck driving career. All professional truck drivers must hold an up-to-date physical certification at all times. Typically, drivers are required to get physicals every 1-2 years. It is important to meet the standards of the DOT physical to ensure both the truck driver’s safety on the road as well as the safety of other motorists. All candidates are asked to fill out all health questionnaires before they arrive at the office. If drivers have any of the following conditions they need to bring the following with them to the exam:
    • Drivers who have vision or hearing problems must bring either their glasses/contacts or hearing aids with them to the exam.
    • Potential drivers with diabetes must bring their most recent and comprehensive Hemoglobin A1C (HbA1C) results and blood sugar logs with them.
    • Drivers with heart-related issues must bring a letter from their cardiologist outlining the issues and limitations that the driver has as well as along with a note that they are safe to perform this kind of work.
    If a driver comes without these specific papers, yet has one of these conditions, the exam will not be able to be passed until the appropriate items are brought in.

    What Can I Expect During the DOT Exam?

    In addition to the necessary checks mentioned above, the DOT Physical Exam will also look for a variety of other conditions that a driving candidate may have. These will include the following:
    • General Appearance
    • Eyes (i.e., cataracts, glaucoma, muscular degeneration, etc.)
    • Ears (i.e., scarring of the tympanic membrane, perforated eardrums, etc.)
    • Mouth/Throat Exam (issues swallowing)
    • Heart (to detect problems)
    • Lungs & Chest
    • Abdominal Issues
    • Vascular Issues
    • Genito-Urinary Issues
    • Extremities
    • Possible Spinal Injuries
    • Neurological Issues
    These are just some of the issues that get looked at within the exam. The idea behind the DOT Physical Exam is to give prospective drivers a comprehensive physical to ensure that the driver is fit and healthy before beginning their driving career.

    What Happens if I Fail?

    A candidate will fail the exam if they have the following:
    • Cardiovascular/Respiratory Disease
    • High Blood Pressure (without medication)
    • Epilepsy
    • Diabetes
    • Nervous/Psychiatric Disorder
    • Poor Eyesight (without corrective lenses)
    • Loss of one/multiple limbs
    Candidates will also fail if they do not pass the alcohol or drug test that accompanies the rest of their physical. Failing the DOT Exam does not necessarily mean that you are incapable of driving a truck. If you have a condition that can be treated, consult your doctor for further treatment. If your condition has improved, consider taking the exam again. Additionally, the FMCSA offers exemptions for certain impairments. Refer to your doctor to see if you qualify. Are you considering a career as a professional truck driver? Advanced Career Institute offers hands-on training to earn your Class A CDL. ACI campuses are located in Merced, Fresno, Bakersfield, and Visalia. To learn more about truck driver training, head over to our Class A CDL Training Program!
  • student standing and welding

    Understanding Different Techniques in the Welding Field

    At Advanced Career Institute, we often get asked the difference between brazing and welding. And while most people have a basic understanding of what welding entails, the same cannot be said with brazing. Many people use the two terms interchangeably, while some have never even heard of the term brazing at all.

    Welding vs. Brazing

    Welding is the joining of two or more objects, usually comprised of metal, using heat to melt and fuse the parts together. Brazing is also used to join two or more objects together with heat. The difference from welding, however, is that the items are fused together by a filler material that is melted and flowed between them. Welding is typically used to form a stronger bond between the pieces being joined, while brazing is used to join two different types of materials.

    Welding and Brazing Techniques

    There are several welding and brazing techniques. Welding techniques include:
    • Shielded metal arc welding (SMAW): This is one of the simplest techniques and is used when an electrode forms an arc between it and the metals. SMAW can be used on uncleaned metal, saving time for the welder.
    • Gas metal arc welding: This method is similar to SMAW in that the source of heat is from an arc between the electrode and the metals. The difference is that a gas-shield protects against contaminants in the air. This method is used due to its fast welding times, however, the materials do need to be cleaned prior to work.
    • Gas tungsten arc welding: This technique uses tungsten rods to produce the arc. It is primarily used on thinner materials, or where aesthetics are concerned.
    Common brazing techniques include:
    • Torch brazing: This is the most common technique, and is used for smaller or specialized projects.
    • Furnace brazing: This is a semi-automatic process that is typically used to produce large quantities of brazed objects, usually in industrial settings.
    • Silver brazing: This method uses silver alloy for the filler. Silver brazing is often used in the tool and railway industry.

    Welding Training at Advanced Career Institute

    At Advanced Career Institute, students will learn both welding and brazing, preparing them for a wide variety of jobs upon completion of the program and earning of their certifications. If you're ready to begin your Welding Training, contact us today to learn more about our training programs.
  • bus driver standing in front of bus with children

    Discover if Bus Driving is Right for You

    In every city, there are bus drivers. The transportation of children via school buses has been popular since the 1930s, and continues to be a widely used medium of transportation. The demand for quality bus drivers is rising at a steady pace, especially in growing suburban areas. School bus transportation is safe, practical and economical for thousands of children to travel to and from school. Parents are busier than ever and having the school bus as a transportation option, is extremely valuable. With gas prices constantly shifting, more and more kids are traveling via bus to school every year. Here are 10 reasons why you should consider becoming a school bus driver:

    1. You Have Great People Skills.

    Having strong communication skills is a must for all bus drivers. A career as a bus driver means being around different types of people every day. This can include teachers, parents, school officials and of course, kids! Empathy and understanding is a must when it comes to helping anxious children or concerned parents. Being able to communicate and understand all types of personalities are important traits for successful bus drivers.

    2. You Enjoy Working with Kids.

    If you love kids, a career as a bus driver could be very rewarding. Having the ability to make the children feel comfortable is just as important as knowing how to drive the bus. The duties of a school bus driver aren't just confined to driving. You become an important and steady person in these young children's lives. Each day gives you the opportunities to get a child's day started off right and remind them that they are special and important.

    3. You Enjoy Driving.

    Controlling a large vehicle can seem intimidating to some, while others may love the idea. If the challenge of driving a larger bus on the road every day excites you, there are plenty of public schools out there eager to hire you as a bus driver.

    4. You Care about the Safety of Children.

    Fortunately, the number of school bus accidents per year is very small. This is because of careful drivers who make the safety of their passengers their top priority. Quality drivers make sure to monitor onboard conduct and see that the kids make it into their homes. They also enforce safe board and de-board procedures on a daily basis. The ability to balance concentration between the road and the onboard conduct of kids is a unique skill needed for the job. Putting the safety of children above all else is the most important aspect of the job.

    5. You're Calm Under Pressure.

    A lot goes on inside and outside of a school bus. Bus drivers face severe weather conditions, difficult children, and overwhelming road construction at any time on the road. Bullying, fighting, and even celebrations can get out of hand on the school bus. If you have a patient manner and are able to keep a clear head when unexpected issues come up, these situations may seem like less of a challenge.

    6. A Flexible Schedule is a Plus.

    A typical bus driver usually works early in the morning then late in the afternoon with a long break in-between. There is also the option of driving to and from field trips or other school activities for extra hours. A bus driving career could be the ideal solution if you're trying to avoid the ordinary 9 to 5 job.

    7. Looking for a Job with Benefits.

    More and more often, the term "work-life balance" is becoming an important factor in job searches. Certain benefits offered in your career are important in maintaining this balance. Public school bus drivers are usually employed by the county where the school is located. School systems show appreciation to their bus drivers by offering them bonuses. County benefits can include extended vacation days, health and life insurance, and retirement plans.

    8. No Interest in a Four-Year Degree.

    Starting a school bus career doesn’t require spending four years in college. Every driver must go through a training program and receive their CDL before employment. The program can be completed in as little as 8-weeks. Advanced Career Institute offers both day and evening training. No prior bus driving experience is needed in order to begin.

    9. Good Paying Job.

    A career in the bus driving industry can mean making up to $44,000 per year. Extra earning opportunities are usually available as well. There are also several opportunities to pick up extra hours, as well as receive employee benefits from the school. You will often see bus drivers pick up other positions within the school like substitute teaching.

    10. You Can't Afford Training.

    School bus drivers are essential employees with a very important job to accomplish. Many schools will cover their drivers’ official bus training programs to ensure top-quality employees. Besides general driving practices and vehicle maintenance, the training program teaches important safety rules and emergency procedures.   For more information about the requirements to become a school bus driver or to learn more about the Advanced Career Institute Bus Driver Training, check out our website. Bus driving is a rewarding career, so get started today but contacting ACI.
    *This blog was originally published in 2016 and has been updated according to industry standards.
  • orange background with podcast microphone

    Tools to Become a Better Driver

    In today's connected world, the amount of media content available specifically for truck drivers is incredible. Whether you're brand new to the industry or a trucking veteran, there is always a fresh blog, magazine, or forum to check out. Looking for some light reading? Give Trucking Truth or Trailer Talk a try. Wondering what other truckers are chatting about online? Join the 15.9k people participating in the r/Truckers Reddit community. But what about those long hours at the wheel when you can't stare at a computer or phone screen? That's the perfect time for podcasts to shine! Podcasts are the equivalent of radio on demand; audio content when and where you want it. Luckily for us, the explosion of podcasting in the past few years has given us plenty of listening options created by and for truckers. Here are 5 of our favorites:

    1. Ask the Trucker "LIVE" with Allen Smith

    An oldie but a goodie, Ask the Trucker "LIVE" has been around since 2008. Host Allen Smith focuses on driver health, careers, regulations, and important industry issues. Check out episodes like "The Effects of ELD Mandate on Trucker Health & Safety."

    2. The Lead Pedal Podcast for Truck Drivers

    Hosted by thirty-year transportation industry veteran Bruce Outridge, The Lead Pedal Podcast is a positive voice in the trucking industry with a focus on career information and interviews. Published every Tuesday and Thursday, you can also watch them record in their studio via their YouTube channel.

    3. Trucker Dump Podcast

    A self-described podcast "for truckers, potential truckers, and curious non-truckers," Trucker Dump shares fascinating stories from the road. Check out episodes like "Coping with Rookie Drivers" or "Winter Truck Driving Tips from An Alaskan Trucker."

    4. The Trucking Podcast

    Co-hosted by father and son duo Buck and Don Ballard, this podcast covers topics from the industry as well as all things vehicle-related. Give episodes "5 Fantastic Tow Vehicles That Will Turn Heads" or "The Best 401K For Owner Operators" a listen and hear for yourself!

    5. TalkCDL Trucking Podcast

    Hosted by truckers for truckers, TalkCDL covers topics like trucking laws, surveys, news, and interviews.  Check out episodes "Trucking Career is Better than a College Degree" or "Ruthann - Interview with Women in Trucking."   The above shows have literally hundreds of episodes available to binge listen to.  Many are available through multiple sources, such as iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play or even Spotify. Be entertained while staying in the know about your profession. Now get downloading! If you're ready to take the next step towards a career in the truck driving industry, the right training makes all the difference. Contact us and learn how ACI can help you reach your career goals. If you'd like more information on the Training Programs available at Advanced Career Institute, please visit our Training Programs.
    *This blog was originally published in 2015 and has been updated with new content.
  • 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.
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