FAQs on Truck Driver Training and Heavy Equipment Operator Course

Illustration showing a person with lots of frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Our FAQs are grouped by type of course and in special sections for military service members and veterans, to make it simpler for you to find the answers you want to know.

Please look for the category relating to your question and click on one of the listed questions to see the answer.

If your question is not answered here, please call us at
(800) 488-7364, or email us at
inforequests@nationaltrainingschools.com, and we’ll be happy to give you an answer.

Answers to Questions Frequently Asked (FAQs) by Potential Students

FAQ for Military Service Members and Veterans

(NOTE: All Service Members must seek assistance from their local Education Center to ascertain service policy.)

Are you approved for the military spouse education program (MyCAA)?

Yes, most of National’s training programs are approved for the training of military spouses under the MyCAA program, including the Heavy Equipment Operators Program. If you are eligible for MyCAA benefits, you can use them to pay for your course. For more details, visit our website page on this by clicking here.

Are you approved for the training of veterans?

Yes, most of National’s training programs are approved for the training of veterans, including the Heavy Equipment Operators Program. If you are eligible to receive GI Bill benefits, you can use them to pay for your course. For more details, visit our website page on this by clicking here.

How do I enroll in a NTDS course and apply for Veterans Benefits?

Individuals who want to use their VA or GI Bill entitlement must enroll in an eligible course, provide a copy of their DD-214, and complete the VA 22-1990 (Application for Education Benefits). NTI will then submit your application for benefit payment.

I am a military veteran. Am I eligible for educational benefits?

For all G.I. Bill programs, your eligible educational benefits portion must be used within 10-15 years of your official discharge date. Eligible chapters are:

  • Chapter 33: Post  9-11 GI Bill
  • Chapter 30: Montgomery GI Bill,
  • Chapter 32: VEAP

And in cases where the Veterans Administration has counseled and approved them:

  • Chapter 31: Disabled Veterans
  • Chapter 35: Survivors’ and Dependents’ Educational Assistance.

Reimbursement benefit amounts vary from 55% to 100%, depending on which chapter of the GI Bill you are eligible for.

I will be separating from active duty within a year. What benefits am I eligible for?

All of National Training, Inc. programs are approved for GI Bill Educational Benefits through the VA. This includes Active Duty personnel who want to start training before they separate from the military, with either National Truck Driving School or National Training Earth Movers School.

FAQ for National Truck Driving School

Do you have any financial assistance plans available?

Some of the school’s best graduates were people who had limited financial means. NTDS offers convenient student loans. In many instances, we can direct our graduates to trucking companies that will actually reimburse your tuition costs.

How long is your course?

Depending on your qualifications and school acceptability, NTDS can have you road-ready and interviewing for jobs in as little as 4 weeks.  We have also designed two of our courses so you don’t have to quit your present job to start them!

How much do truck drivers earn?

According to the latest statistics available from the BLS, the average trucker salary was $38,200 annually, as of May, 2012.*

*Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, Heavy and Tractor-trailer Truck Drivers, on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/ooh/transportation-and-material-moving/heavy-and-tractor-trailer-truck-drivers.htm

I’ve always heard you must have one or two years of experience to be hired in the truck driving industry. Is that right?

No, this is not true. While many trucking companies do not like to hire complete novices, most of them are eager to hire graduates of an accredited, established truck-driving school like National Training.  We have immediate openings with many of the top companies in the country, such as Central Refrigerated Service Inc., JBS Transport, ComCar Industries, Covenant Transport, USA Truck, US Xpress, Werner Enterprises, Wil-Trans, and many others.

What are the qualifications needed for truck drivers?

To operate in interstate commerce, a driver must be at least 21 years of age, pass a rigid physical examination every two years, and submit to testing for drug and alcohol use, including unannounced random testing. Drivers of all trucks with gross-weight ratings of more than 26,000 pounds and drivers of vehicles carrying any quantity of hazardous materials that are required to display warning signs, must obtain a “Commercial Driver’s License (CDL)” by passing rigorous tests of their knowledge of safety regulations and their ability to drive these large trucks. Drug and alcohol convictions or combinations of various serious driving violations can draw temporary or even permanent loss of driving privileges.

What are trucking companies trying to do about the shortage of drivers?

The personnel offices of the trucking industry are busy creating new innovative approaches for attracting new drivers. Those qualified to enter the industry will most likely receive a reimbursement for all tuition and training costs. Such things as higher pay, better scheduling and, of course, ‘scouting the schools’ is also being done. These firms are starting to change schedules from the old long-haul trucker itinerary (requiring weeks away from home) to the new “relay system” where drivers are away from home for only a few nights a week.

In addition there is competition among truck manufacturers that will continue, as they all compete to produce the most luxurious truck. Naturally, these new modern, comfortable trucks will be sold to the trucking industry to help lure new drivers.

From what we have seen and heard, trucking firms are also offering special benefits, such as;

  • Home leave policies – More companies are making sure their professional truck drivers are home on weekends.   And about 80% of long-distance truckers now use up-to-date forms of communications to stay in touch, such as email, Skype, and VOIP phone calls.
  • Fancier trucks – An example: Drivers who have worked for Star Transportation in Nashville for 10 years can pick out their own trucks, complete with accessories.
What is the outlook for trucking jobs in the future for Professional Truck Drivers?

In a few words – EXCELLENT! There has never been a better time for new drivers to enter the industry.

According to the government agency that tracks labor growth, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of tractor-trailer professional truck drivers is projected to grow by nearly 200,000 jobs from 2012 to 2022.*

In 2010 there were 1.6 million tractor-trailer truck drivers employed in the United States.  Two years later, there were 1.7 million – that’s a growth of about 50,000 additional drivers per year. By 2020 we will need nearly 1.9 million tractor-trailer truck drivers. That’s an additional 20,000 truck drivers per year our country will need in order to handle the demand. 

Also keep in mind the projection above does not include the need to fill the spots left vacant because of drivers leaving the industry due to retirement, etc.

As the economy grows, the demand for goods will increase, and more professional truck drivers will be needed to keep supply chains moving. Trucks transport most of the freight in the United States, so as households and businesses increase their spending, the trucking industry will grow.

*Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, Heavy and Tractor-trailer Truck Drivers, on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/ooh/transportation-and-material-moving/heavy-and-tractor-trailer-truck-drivers.htm

Heavy Equipment Operator School FAQ

Do I have to have a driver’s license?

No, you do not.

Do you offer job placement assistance when I graduate?

Yes, we offer nationwide job placement assistance. Although, ethically we certainly cannot guarantee you a job – no one can, since your success is ultimately up to you. But we will do everything possible to assist you in your job search. We have an extensive list of employers that are eager to give our graduates an opportunity.  You will fill out a pre-hire application that will be circulated to employers you choose while you are in Resident Training.  We strive to place every graduate into an entry-level heavy equipment operator’s position.

How long is the course?

The training is in conducted in two phases.  The first phase is the “Distance Learning” portion.   You will complete these lessons at your own pace, and that may take from two to four months, depending on how much time you devote to the course each day.  The second phase of the training is called the “Resident Training” portion.  For this, you travel to our exclusive Training Grounds for a month (201 hours) of hands on training with ALL of the equipment.

How much do Equipment Operators Earn?

Earnings for construction equipment operators vary. However, as of May 2012 the average yearly earnings for a construction equipment operator were $40,980, or nearly $20 an hour.*

*Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, Construction Equipment Operators, on the Internet at: http://www.bls.gov/ooh/construction-and-extraction/construction-equipment-operators.htm#tab-5

How much does the school cost?

For the most current fees, please consult one of the following sources; the current Heavy Equipment Operators Course Catalog, or you can call an admissions counselor for the current tuition fees. (800-488-7364)

I have always heard that you must have at least a year or two of experience to be hired in the heavy equipment industry. Is this true?

No, it’s not true. With the completion of a training certificate from National, you will be afforded opportunities from contractors to “show your stuff.” The industry needs operators to replace the ones leaving and to fill the jobs required by the overwhelming increase in construction projects across the nation.  With the right mix of formal training, motivation, and integrity, no experience is required for entry-level jobs.

Is there a National Training Heavy Equipment Operators School near me?

Conducting this type of training is not a simple process.  The permits needed, licenses, environmental impact, and the enormous amount of land required to conduct this type of training, make it difficult to teach this type of training everywhere.  That is probably why heavy construction operator schools are not found in most communities. In fact the National Heavy Equipment Operators School has invested years of time and vast legal resources into obtaining the necessary environmental permits and approvals that are mandated by the Federal Government and the State of Florida. The resident training portion is conducted in sunny North Florida at our exclusive, 350-acre Training Grounds.

Is there an age limit for attending the training?

Yes, you must be 18 years old to attend our Heavy Equipment Operators School.

Is there lodging near the school?

Yes, National Training students receive preferred rates one affordable motels close to the school.  Costs vary, depending on your choice of single room or doubling up with another student.  There are married couple rates for those couples that are attending training together. We can say this, the rates you will find to be surprisingly affordable as they are structured for only our students.  In addition to this  motels, there are many more within a 15-mile radius of the Training Grounds.


904-272-4000  Ext  201

What is the outlook for jobs in the future for Heavy Equipment Operators?

Terrific!! Construction is expected to grow 19 percent from 2012 to 2022*, faster than the average for all occupations!  This is due in part because of the increased spending on the infrastructure to improve roads, bridges, water and sewer systems, and the electrical power grid.  In addition to the need for heavy equipment operators to repair and upgrade our infrastructure, these workers will be needed to keep up with the need for more houses, apartments, and other building projects, due to population growth.

Construction equipment operators held 409,700 jobs in 2012, with approximately 78,000 more operators needed by 2022 to keep up with the expected growth.*  In addition to the NEW job opportunities, heavy equipment operators will be needed to replace those leaving the industry.

The potential for employment in the construction industry is outstanding, to say the least.  The best opportunities will be available to heavy equipment operators who have the training and ability to operate MULTIPLE types of equipment.

*Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, Construction Equipment Operators, on the Internet at: http://www.bls.gov/ooh/construction-and-extraction/construction-equipment-operators.htm#tab-5

What type of equipment will I be training on?

Your training will include modern, late model:

  • Bulldozers
  • Excavators
  • Tractor/Loader-backhoes
  • Articulating loaders
  • Bobcat® Skid Steer Loaders
  • Compact Excavators.

National utilizes many and various brands and sizes of heavy equipment machines.  All of this equipment is owned, leased, or rented to insure that an adequate number of properly working machines are available for students.  Of course, we cannot guarantee that any one specific machine will be available due to maintenance intervals and natural equipment attrition.

Where do I go for Financial Assistance?

We have funding available through financial institutions that offer student loans, with approved credit, and if you qualify. If you are unemployed, check with your local employment office, since they have numerous programs for which you may be eligible.

If you are in the military, you should know that National Training is approved for the Military Spouse program – MyCAA.  We will assist you anyway possible to help you secure funding for the course.

Why is the course conducted in two phases, Distance Learning and Resident?

Our courses are designed with the busy new millennium student in mind.  We understand the constraints on your time. Because of this, our course is designed so you can complete the first half of the program in the best classroom available – your own home!

Our students love being able to study these lessons at their own pace, when they want and where they want. All education materials for this portion are available online via the Internet – you can even print them out, if you’d like. Because of this flexibility, you won’t need to quit your current job or change any of your activities when you begin the course. Upon completion of this distance education portion, you will then schedule the resident training portion to meet your needs and schedule.

Why is the School located in Florida?

There are many advantages to conducting our resident training in Florida. First, the weather is great most days of the year.  No snow days here!  Rains do not last long and it’s warm enough to wear shorts almost year round.  This all adds up to no student training down time!

Also, we want our students to totally enjoy their training experience. This objective cannot be accomplished through work alone.  A fair amount of recreation mixed with your hard work meets the enjoyment objective. Most of Florida’s greatest vacation attractions are located within a two- to three-hour drive of the school’s Training Grounds.  Weekend visits to St. Augustine, the nation’s oldest city, driving on the White Sands of Daytona Beach, and visiting Cape Canaveral, Disney World Theme Parks, Universal Studios, Sea World, Silver Springs, and World Golf Village are just a small sampling of the unique to Florida experiences awaiting you.  If you just enjoy simpler recreation, great fishing is just a step or two away from our front door.

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