Training at Gaston College is provided through a partnership with Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute, Hudson, NC. CCC&TI started training drivers in 1990 with one truck and a few students. Today they have over 70 pieces of equipment and have graduated over 2,000 CDL drivers in the past 10 years. At present Gaston College offers only full-time day classes requiring 8.5 weeks to complete.

FAQ

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Frequently Asked Questions

Q:  Do I need a GED or high school diploma to enroll in the course?

  • No, but if you do not have a high school diploma or GED, you must pass a Reading Placement Test with a minimum 8th grade reading level or better to register.
  • Schedule the test by calling the appropriate Testing Center. If testing at any college other than CCC&TI, You must bring the official test results when registering.

Q:  Do you have financial assistance?

  • A scholarship fund may be available to assist students with tuition costs up to a maximum of $200.

Call 828-726-2386 for more information. For possible veterans’ benefits call 828-726-2714.
For job training programs that may apply (WIA, TAA) contact your local ESC or Job Link for eligibility.

Q:  What type of equipment will be used during training?

  • We have single axle day-cabs, tandem axle conventional sleeper tractors with 9 and 10 speed manual transmissions and 48 & 53 foot semi-trailers
  • Several trailers will be loaded during the road driving portion of the class.

Q: Do all class schedules include night driving?

  • All PTDI certified classes are required to have at least 1 hour driving at night. Night driving for the day class will be planned after normal scheduled hours.

Q:  Do you do job placement?

  • We work with many major carriers and local trucking companies that will hire our graduates.  Recruiters from these companies also visit our classes.

Q:  When should I have my DOT physical and DOT drug screen done?

  • A DOT physical and DOT drug screen should be completed no later than the first day of class.
  • Note: A Medical Card and Long Form Physical will be issued to you at the time you take the DOT Physical. The Medical card is good for a maximum of 2 years to a minimum of 3 months (1 year required to enroll). Make sure the card is filled out completely and accurately with no corrections made on the card.
  • NOTE: Please be aware that the drug screen is not part of the physical. You will need to request and pay for the drug screen separately. A positive result will cause you to be dropped from class.

Q:  Do I have to get my permit before I enroll in the class?

  • No, the first several days of class are spent in the classroom preparing you to get your permit, but you must have your permit before hour 135 of the class or you will be dropped.

Q: Do I have to do my final road test for my CDL at the DMV?

  • No, at the conclusion of the class, our third party testers will administer the CDL final test.

Q: Are all locations certified by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI)?

  • Classes at Caldwell Community College in Hudson, Catawba Valley Community College in Hickory, and Gaston College in Dallas are certified by PTDI.

Red Flags

Red Flags That May Hamper Employment

It’s true; companies are looking for qualified drivers. However insurance requirements, the security environment and the Comprehensive Safety Analysis (CSA) program from the FMCSA have required carriers to tighten their hiring criteria.

Companies today will conduct a thorough and detailed check on an applicant’s driving, criminal, and employment history using the Pre-employment Screening Program (PSP). Any red flag that gives reason for concern may cause that applicant to be passed over in favor of a more qualified one. Here are some red flags to consider.

  • Felonies & Misdemeanors: This is a huge issue with trucking companies. A felon is not allowed into Canada. If the trucking company runs Canada they probably can’t use you. With most felonies you won’t be able to get a Hazmat endorsement on your license. A Hazmat endorsement is required by many trucking companies. Some companies do not allow a felony in a lifetime, others it has to be 7-10 years old (based on completion of sentence). No major misdemeanor convictions in 7 years or minor in 3 years (based on completion of sentence).
  • Automatic Denial: Multiple felony convictions; child abuse, child neglect, child endangerment, sexual conduct with a child; sexual assault; domestic violence; sales, manufacturing or transportation of controlled substances; embezzlement; theft, robbery or burglary will probably eliminate you from most transportation jobs.
  • Drug & Alcohol Charges: Charges within the past five years are a bad mark on your record. Some companies require no DUI in a lifetime, others it must be 5-7 years old or if 2 convictions both need to be over 10 years old. Three or more DUI convictions may eliminate you all-together.
  • Traffic Violations: Most companies have a standard of no more than two moving violations in the past year and no more than 3 in 3 years. The following violations normally will not be allowed within the past 3 to 5 years: Refusal to take a chemical test, hit and run, leaving the scene of an accident, improper lane change, following too close, careless and reckless driving, speeding in excess of 15 mph, or open container.
  • Disqualifying issues: Other than the normal physical requirements there are two issues that seem to reoccur in almost every class that will keep someone from getting a Class A CDL Permit. (1) The student will have an old unpaid ticket from one of the 50 states that he thinks was forgotten. (These tickets only show up when applying for a CDL) or (2) the student has an eye problem (lazy eye) that only shows up during the eye test at DMV.
  • Employment Gaps: You must account for the last 10 years of employment.. This includes all contact information. Any gaps in employment for over 30 days must be accounted for. This includes unemployment and self-employment.
  • Health Concerns: There are many health problems that will eliminate you for driving over-the-road. These include vision problems (lazy eye, Amblyopia etc), hypertension (high blood pressure), insulin-dependent diabetes and physical handicaps.
  • Physical Qualifications: A driver must qualify as per part 391.41 of the FMCSR. All trucking companies as well as our truck driving school at CCC&TI require a minimum 12 month medical card.

Keep in mind that these are “basic requirements”. Disqualifying issues are far more detailed than listed above but this should emphasize the importance of keeping a clean record if you intend to be a professional driver.