The freight trucking industry is worth around $273.2 billion as of 2023. Trucking is the backbone of America, and there is always work in this industry. But you can’t get into this field without completing entry-level driver training (ELDT).
But what is ELDT, and why is it important? What will you learn if you complete this type of education? Keep reading to learn more about ELDT and why it’s important for your profession.
What You Need to Know About Entry-Level Driver Training
ELDT theory and behind-the-wheel training is a requirement to get a CDL license, which is necessary to legally drive a commercial vehicle. You cannot directly get a CDL license without taking and completing an ELDT course first.
This is true whether you want to get a Class A or Class B CDL. It is also necessary if you want to upgrade your Class B CDL to a Class A CDL. Additionally, you also need to go through this training to receive an endorsement for passenger vehicles, school buses, or hazardous material vehicles.
These regulations came into effect on February 7, 2022. If you already have an endorsement for the previously mentioned vehicles, there will be no need to get ELDT training because this training is not retroactive.
There are two types of ELDT courses you can take: a Class A or a Class B. These are necessary if you want to get a Class A CDL or Class B CDL, and you must pass these courses with at least an 80%.
If you fail, you will need to take the course again until you get a passing grade. The point of this training is to ensure that all truck drivers have a minimum level of training and education to help them to be safer on the road.
ELDT Helps Create Safe Drivers
ELDT training is important because reckless truck drivers can cause serious accidents. A single semi-truck can create a massive pileup on the highway if it crashes or swerves in the wrong direction. These trucks are also very heavy, hard to stop, and can roll over easily. Training truck drivers about these risks can minimize them; and the more that drivers know, the more safely they can drive.
You must take an ELDT course from an approved provider. There are some providers out there that may claim to offer real training, but it isn’t the real deal if the provider isn’t approved and authorized to teach by the FMCSA.
An approved ELDT provider will ensure that you learn all the most important aspects of driving and staying safe on the road.
ELDT training takes between 2-6 weeks to complete. This may sound like a long time to learn how to drive a truck, but this time is necessary for you to learn all the important details of how these vehicles work.
This is the average time it takes for a person to complete this training. Some students may complete the course faster if they can absorb and apply the knowledge quickly. The course may also take longer than 6 weeks for some who are slow to absorb the knowledge.
There are no minimum training hours required for an ELDT course. The main goal is to complete it and master the material.
What Else Should You Know About ELDT?
There are two main parts to ELDT training. The first part consists of classroom education, and the second part is behind-the-wheel training.
Many people think that the classroom training portion is not as important as the driving portion, but this is not true. The classroom portion is arguably just as important. This is because it will give you the resources to understand how trucks work and how you can properly operate them.
An ELDT theory (classroom) course is relatively inexpensive. Depending on what course you take, you may pay between $50 to a few hundred dollars. You can think of the course as a small investment with large payoffs.
You cannot go through behind-the-wheel training without first taking classroom training. The classroom training portion can be completed in a few days, but some people may finish it sooner or later.
Classroom courses are often done online. This is more convenient for most students because they can complete the courses from the comfort of their homes. The modules are designed to be straightforward, informative, and easy to navigate.
This part of the training mainly consists of reading and memorizing information. You may also have to watch educational videos on how various aspects of a truck function. You can then move on to the behind-the-wheel driving portion of the course once you finish the classroom portion.
This allows you to apply the knowledge you learned in the classroom to a real truck. Once you finish this second part of the training, it will be time to take a driving test. As long as you were paying attention during your training, you should be able to easily pass the test.
Get Entry-Level Driver Training
Entry-level driver training (ELDT) is an important part of becoming a professional trucker. You can’t get your CDL license without first going through this training which teaches you about the details of trucking and how to stay safe while on the road.
To learn more about this type of training and how it works, check out our options.