Great Lakes Truck Driving School
If you’re looking to obtain your CDL license and you live in (or near) the state of Ohio, you have the luxury of choosing between many different truck driving schools and training centers. All of them offer various programs, facilities, and financial aid packages. One of the most prominent truck driving schools in the Ohio area is Great Lakes Truck Driving School.
But, how do you know if this school is the right choice for you? To help you make this decision, we will try to break down everything they have to offer in terms of different programs, financial aid packages, and employment opportunities.
History and Accreditations
Established in 2008, Great Lakes Truck Driving School has since become one of the leading CDL training providers in the state of Ohio. It is situated in Columbia Station, a township 30 minutes from downtown Cleveland and has a training facility that covers over 10 acres, along with a 9,000-square-foot building which houses classrooms, offices, and student break areas.
In July 2009, the school added a Heavy Equipment Training Division, and in February 2012 it became accredited by the International Association of Drilling Contractors, which made it eligible to provide its students with IADC Rig Pass Cards.
This truck driving school offers several programs to its prospective students. Each program has both theoretical and practical classes to help you master vehicle handling and rules of the road.
CDL Skills Training Program
A five-week, 200-hour program. Upon completion, you receive a Class A CDL license.
CDL Skills/Heavy Equipment Training Program
A ten-week, 360-hour program. This program also provides you a Class A CDL license, but you are eligible to operate an excavator, backhoe, bulldozer, front end loader, and skid steer.
Advanced CDL Skills/Heavy Equipment Program
An 11-week, 400-hour program. Upon completion, you receive the same license as with the CDL Skills/Heavy Equipment Training.
Premier Driver Development Program, Option 1
A 15-week, 600-hour program. It provides you with a Class A CDL license, along with aerial work platform and rough terrain forklift training and oilfield safety certifications. This program also includes a 7-week externship in a trucking company.
Premier Driver Development Program, Option 2
A 15-week, 600-hour program. Upon completion, you receive the same license as with the CDL skills/heavy equipment training program, along with aerial work platform and rough terrain forklift training and oilfield safety certifications.
Many aspiring truck drivers decided to start a new career while still working full time, so it can be hard to attend regular week classes during work hours. If this is your situation, don’t worry – in addition to regular day classes, you can also enroll for night and weekend classes, so you can easily synchronize your training schedule with your work responsibilities. Experienced instructors are in charge of all programs, making sure you get the best education and practical advice for your money.
Tuition, Fees, and Financial Aid
Tuition and fees vary from program to program, and there are grants and loans available for all training. Here are tuitions for all programs:
- CDL Skills Training Program – $5,645
- CDL Skills / Heavy Equipment Training Program – $9,995
- CDL Skills / Heavy Equipment for the Drilling Industry – $11,490
- Premier Driver Development Program – Option 1 – $9,995
- Premier Driver Development Program – Option 2 – $21,000
There are several training grants, revolving, subsidized, and unsubsidized loans that can cover a significant percentage of your tuition, or even the full amount. The school is also approved for GI Bill® Benefits for Eligible Veterans which can cover the full tuition for all of the above programs.
If you’re enchanted by this school’s training facilities and staff that you decided to relocate from another state or city, you can stay at a nearby Extended Stay America in North Olmsted. The hotel is just a 10-minute drive away from school and each room has a fully equipped kitchen with microwave, refrigerator, and stove. You’ll also have wireless internet, on-site laundry, and dining and cooking utensils.
The hotel is located near a Wal-Mart, Great Northern Mall, and many restaurants and grocery stores. The school will pay for your stay, so you don’t have to worry about those expenses.
Great Lakes Driving School also offers plenty of customized training for employers and municipalities that are aiming to educate their employees or officials on certain safety compliances and vehicle operation. Here are some of the most popular training:
- Defensive driving
- Pre-trip inspection
- Hazmat & hazwoper
- Rules & regulations/log books
- Asbestos safety
- Scaffold safety
- Fall protection
- First aid/CPR/AED
- Risk management
- Equipment operation (excavator, backhoe, bulldozer, front end loader, skid steer)
Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) training may prove especially useful if your company requires these safety compliances, as good schools that provide these training can be hard to find. All of these courses can be done both at the schools’ training facilities and at your company’s site.
In addition to providing you with necessary theoretical and practical knowledge, Great Lakes Truck Driving School is also dedicated to helping you advance in your career. They do this by having local and national recruiters on site, holding job fairs (which are open to graduates as well), and organizing one-on-one placements and job boards.
Throughout your training at this school, you will also be taught how to put together a good job application. The staff will also help you hone your interview skills and learn more about the hiring criteria and employment application process.
Recruiters from different companies also visit the school and conduct interviews, so it’s not unusual that a trainee receives a job offer or an interview even before completing the course.
Opportunities for Veterans
The school has been included in the Military Friendly Schools List four times in a row. This list features 20% of universities, colleges, and trade schools that are devoted in their work towards welcoming veterans on their campuses and helping them reach their academic potential.
The school is also approved by the state approving agency of Ohio for the training of veterans. More than half of the instructional staff are U.S. Army veterans themselves, so you can be sure you’re in good hands and talking to people who are devoted to helping you build on your military experience.
Furthermore, some of the companies the school works with prefer veterans and actively seek employees for Service Member and Military Veteran programs.
One thing that really separates this school from many others in this area is the heavy equipment training. Their heavy equipment training area is made to look like a real construction site so students can learn things like topography readings, laying pipe, trenching, loading dump trucks, grading techniques, and more.
Facilities of this quality can be quite hard to find, so if you’re interested in pursuing a kind of career which would require you to operate vehicles like bulldozers and excavators, definitely give this school a look.