About Our Programs
G.T.P. Graduated Training Program
If you want to learn how to drive a Class A truck/trailer combination, Class B truck, or a Class B Bus, Interstate Truck Driving School has a program that will fit your needs. We have short programs if you just want to take the CDL road test in order to get your CDL license. We have comprehensive programs if you want to learn how to drive a big rig and get a job with a major motor carrier. We also have a Class B Motor Coach Bus to assist you will obtaining your passenger endorsement. If you want to learn how to drive a truck or a bus, you have found the best CDL driving school in Minnesota and we invite you to learn more about us.
Bill Collins, the owner of Interstate Truck Driving School has been teaching people how to drive since 1976. His first job instructing was working with police officers helping them learn how to drive squad cars quickly and safely. He then went on to start his own driving school in 1983. Bill has also been driving trucks for 30 years. In 1998 he combined his experience to begin offering truck driver training.
Bill’s goal is to provide the best truck driver training possible with a focus on safe training with a flexible schedule to meet individual student needs and to get the training done as quickly as possible so people can get to WORK! We have recruiters from trucking companies visit our office every month looking for new drivers so our students have access to jobs right after graduation.
Now let’s be honest; driving truck for a living is not for everyone. It is more then just driving down the road. It is work. To make decent money you need to work some long hours. You have to pay attention to details and tasks at hand.
Driving truck is also very rewarding. Driving safely is an honorable and important job. You can make a decent income with great benefits.
You will also discover that driving a truck is an adventure. Some people work a lifetime just so they can travel when they retire. Why wait? Travel now and get paid for it.
The trucking industry does allow family to travel with. You can take your spouse along any time. With most companies you can take your kids along during summer vacation.
Technology also makes easier to stay in contact with your family when driving a truck over the road. You can make video calls home every day. You can have a spot locator so your family can track you across the country (this is voluntary of course, maybe you don’t want people to know where you are). You can send pictures home with your phone to show your family where you have been.
The big trucks are more comfortable then ever before. Most trucks have a small refrigerator so you can enjoy healthy meals. The trucks stops are a lot nicer. Some truck stops are like little cities with barbers, dentists, and a host of other services. If you like to travel, you will enjoy seeing all that this great country has to offer.
We have a passion for driving trucks and for truck driver training. Our training programs are different from all the other schools and we believe our training system is better than any other.
We get comments from former students every week. Here is a comment a student sent us after she got a job driving an 18-wheeler:
Thanks for believing in me and not letting me quit. Your staff was wonderful and very helpful. Keep up the great work! M.G. July 2008. Check additional comments in our News
Bill does not believe in giving people a bunch of B.S. in order to increase sales. Everyone at Interstate Truck Driving School is required to give customers straight and honest information. Driving Truck is a great job for many people but it is not for everybody and we recognize and respect that! We only want satisfied customers that can benefit from our training. We are confident that our satisfied customers will help our school grow in direct relationship to how good a job we are doing for our customers.
Our school is one of only three private truck driving schools in Minnesota. Interstate Truck Driving School has been around longer, we train more students every year, and we have a perfect DOT safety record. We have not had any DOT reportable collisions in the fifteen years we have been doing truck driver training and we intend to keep our record intact.
Everyone at Interstate Truck Driving School believes very strongly in two things:
1. We believe our training methods are better than any other school.
2. We believe in our students. It is our experience that anyone with the desire and commitment can succeed, provided they are given the proper support and guidance.
CHECK OUT OUR NEWS “Blog”. The Blog is updated to keep you informed about events at Interstate Truck Driving School and comments from recent grads. It will be worth your time to look at what other students have said about us.
We only hire full time instructors and provide them with the training and equipment to do their job properly. All of our trucks have dual controls while our competition does not. Maybe that is why our competition has had collisions with their students and we have avoided such problems.
Interstate Truck Driving School has a unique approach to truck driver training. We focus on helping our students pass the CDL road test at the beginning of the training program. We cannot guarantee you will pass your road test because state rules that regulate our industry prohibit such a guarantee but we will do everything in our power to help you pass.
Out of 2000 students that have taken one of our comprehensive programs, only one failed to get his license. Our results are so good we are willing to bet our passing rate is better than any other truck driving school in Minnesota. Every week we get customers that have taken training from different schools, failed their road test two or three times, and then they come to us for help. Customers that start with us focus on passing the road test right from the beginning so they will have their license long before they complete one of our comprehensive training programs.
Interstate Truck Driving School is different because we focus on passing the state road test in order to get the CDL right at the start of our training. If you have trouble with the road test we will concentrate on getting you the help you need to pass before we go on to the next phase of your training. We are the only school, public or private, that uses this two-phase approach to truck driver training. We firmly believe this is the BEST way to train new drivers.
The Federal Government regulates the CDL testing process and passing the road test can be stressful for many new truck drivers. The state of Minnesota has to adhere to Federal requirements and is periodically audited by the Feds. All of the Federal guidelines have sound merit but the Feds give the states the option to use examiners that do not have any truck driving experience. The Driver & Vehicle Services Division (DVS) of the Minnesota Department of Public Safety claims they do not have the funding to hire examiners with experience driving trucks so most of the state examiners do not have a CDL. DVS does not send them anywhere for any training outside of their own in house training staff. It is our opinion that the CDL testing done by the Minnesota Department of Public Safety is not consistently fair or safe as a result.
The staff at Interstate Truck Driving School has a good relationship with most of the exam staff (it is not their fault the management at DVS has inherited an under funded agency) and we work closely with them to make sure we know how to properly prepare you for the test. We have been successful working with DVS management to make a few changes to improve the test and we will continue to work with them to make the testing process as fair and consistent as possible as called for in the Federal Regulations. The U.S. Department of Transportation has announced some new regulations that we hope will improve the situation so we are optimistic about the future! If you want to look at the new rules click on this link - http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/rules-regulations/administration/rulemakings/rule-programs/rule_making_details.asp?year=2006&cat=final&ruleid=228
Bottom line is we work very hard at helping our customers learn what they need in order to pass the state CDL road test and we will do whatever it takes to provide you with quality training!
After our students have passed the road test and obtained their CDL license, THEN we teach them how to drive big trucks in the real world. We start out with a 6 speed transmission or a 7 speed non-synchronized transmission and work up to a 10 speed transmission. We also work with different size trailers, starting with 28 foot city trailers, then work up to 44 foot, 48 foot, and finally 53 foot over the road trailers. Check out our comprehensive programs for more details.
This approach to learning how to drive a truck is very effective. Each student is treated as an individual. Other schools expect everyone to learn at the same pace and we do not think that is the best way to learn something new. At the state college schools, students have to share a truck and in an 8-hour day they may only drive 1 or 2 hours at the most. There are days when state college students drive a truck on public roads without an instructor. At Interstate Truck Driving School you will have an instructor with you at all times out on the road.
Be suspicious of schools that will only tell you how many weeks the training program is without telling you how many hours you will actually drive a truck with an instructor. Truck Driving Schools all across the county have been using “smoke and mirrors” to get people to sign up for programs that are not what they were represented to be. You will know exactly what you will get when you sign up for one of our programs. And if we tell you that you get an hour of instruction that means one of our staff will spend 60 minutes with you one-on-one. Nothing less and maybe more. We will look you in the eye, give you straight answers, and then deliver everything we promise.
We have several different training programs available to meet different needs and levels of previous experience. If you already know which company you want to go to work for it is important for you to find out what level of training your prospective employer expects. Some trucking companies will not accept anything less than 160 hours of training in order to hire you. There are a limited number of companies that will hire you as soon as you get your CDL license and then provide you with additional training.
We offer job placement assistance to students that take our Professional Tractor Trailer Program (160 hour course). We work with several of the largest trucking companies in the country and they will pre-hire you before you start your training with us if you meet their qualifications. You need to have a good driving record to qualify. You will then have a job waiting for you when you finish your training. Keep in mind you will have to complete their orientation and meet all of their requirements in order to be employed.
We have Recruiters from several trucking companies visit with our students at our St. Paul office every week. We also stream those visits over the internet to our St. Cloud location. Check out our “News” section for updated information on the next scheduled Recruiter visit.
Beware of anyone that will “guarantee you a job”. Anyone that makes you a “guarantee” is handing you a line of “you know what”. If you have a good driving record, a good work history, nothing in your past that would make it difficult to become employed, physically capable, and complete our 160 hour course you don’t need somebody to help you find a job. There are hundreds of companies all over the country that will hire you. We will provide you with applications for several companies that recruit in this area but once you get into the industry you will find opportunities everywhere.
We are going to help you pass your road test at the beginning of your training and you do not need to commit to any long contract with us. We only want satisfied customers so, at any time, you can cancel any training that you have not already. We will provide you with a certificate for all training you have received and paid for without any restrictions.
We are a small family owned business with 10 full time staff members. We are licensed by the Minnesota Department of Public Safety and members of the Association of Professional Driving Instructors of Minnesota, the Driving School Association of America, and the Minnesota Trucking Association. Every one of our customers is important to us and we make every effort to serve your individual needs.
We offer free evaluations if you are not sure how much training you need. Truck driving is not for everyone and we will be very honest with you once we learn your goals and experience. Some of our students learn they do not want to become truck drivers but how else would they learn that unless they get behind the wheel of a big rig?
You can make a good living driving a truck but it is work that takes discipline, patience, and attention to details. If you enjoy the challenge of driving large vehicles, becoming a truck driver can be a great opportunity for you. You are welcome to stop by the office in South St. Paul or in St. Cloud and explore what we have to offer you. Our staff is available to assist you (and by appointment outside of office hours) from 7:30 am to 5:00 pm Monday through Thursday, 7:30 am to 3:30 pm on Friday’s and 8:30 am to 12:00 pm on Saturday .
To sum it all up, Interstate Truck Driving School is better because:
1. Our instructors are full time, not part time.
2. Our programs are more flexible than other schools.
3. You will get your training done faster than with other schools.
4. We have a better safety record than most other schools.
5. We focus on helping students pass the CDL road test at the beginning of their training.
6. Each student is treated as an individual and the training is personalized to accommodate each student’s needs.
Here is what we don’t do: We Do Not Offer Financing. Most truck driving schools jack up their price so they can finance people with bad credit. Those schools charge almost twice as much as we do and our training is better! Those schools are focused on getting as many customers as they can without regard to the debt their customers get themselves into.
Since there are already two schools in Minnesota that offer financing, we have made the decision to keep our prices down by not doing any financing. We can bill publicly funded agencies for your training if you are approved by them. If you are receiving unemployment benefits, chances are you are eligible for training paid for by the government. We work with the Minnesota Workforce Centers, HIRED, Easter Seals, Minnesota Teamsters Bureau, Dept of Veterans Affairs, and several other agencies.
If you are paying for the training yourself you will need to figure out a way to come up with the tuition. We do accept most credit cards. If you need to borrow the money from family or friends we suggest you fill out applications for a couple of the trucking companies we work with and get pre approved for a job before you ask people to help you out. We can also refer you to a bank that has financed some of our students.
All of the trucking companies we work with will reimburse you for the cost of your training. They will give you $100 to $150 tax free on a monthly basis when you work for them. There is a limit to how much they will reimburse a new driver and our 160 hour course is priced so you will get it all back. If you sign up for a $7,000.00 or $8,000.00 training program at another school you will have to pay for some of it out of your own pocket because most trucking companies will not reimburse that much.
We also encourage you to visit our facility and visit our competition. Check us out and then go check out the other schools. It will be worth your time to meet our staff if you are considering the 160 hour program. Darrell, Nichole, Josh, Tim, Pat, Chris, Scott, Ed, Martin, Chad and Bill would be happy to answer any questions you might have to help you with your decision. If you feel another school offers a better fit for your needs then you should sign up with them. If you like what you hear and see at our school we will welcome your business and we will get to work helping you along on your new career.
A personal note from Bill Collins, the owner of Interstate Truck Driving School:
The most difficult job I have as the owner of a truck driving school is to find good quality people to hire as instructors. It is easy to find truck drivers that have a lot of experience but that does not mean they would be good at helping people to learn how to drive trucks. I don’t want “Show and Tell” instructors that will demonstrate how well they can drive a truck and then expect you to duplicate their skills.
I only hire instructors that can identify the needs of our customers and then implement our training system to meet individual needs and learning styles. I am very proud of the staff I have right now. They are knowledgeable, but more importantly, each member of my staff really cares about people. They are committed to helping their students learn what they need, at their own pace. They are a great bunch of people and it is a pleasure to work with them.
I have invested in the best equipment for you to train in. With years of experience, I believe I have developed the very best training system for new drivers. Above all else, I have better driving instructors than any other school in the country. If you have any questions please email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I hope you decide to enroll with us, I promise you will not be disappointed!