CDL program at Big Bend Community College offers quick, intensive course for future truckers

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Guillermo Garza teaches CDL students

Photo by BBCC Public Affairs Office

By Richard Byrd of the Columbia Basin Herald

MOSES LAKE — The job market for people who have their Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) is red hot right now. CDL endorsements have become a commodity over the last couple of years and trucking companies are snatching up people who have the endorsement. Big Bend Community College’s Commercial Truck Driving Program can help people obtain their CDL and find a job in the process.

The program is five weeks long and runs Monday through Friday from about 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Since 2004, 343 students have enrolled in the program, 334 of whom went on to pass the state exam, a 97 percent success rate.

“Basically we do everything from learning the laws, rules and regulations. We learn all about shifting, double-clutching maneuvers, the backing maneuvers, pre-trip inspections,” BBCC CDL instructor Guillermo Garza explained. “I take them through a lot of hills, mountains, curves and through cities.”

Garza said if students pass the program they should have no problem with passing the state CDL exam. With so many trucking companies in search of drivers many of the companies are contacting BBCC directly and recruiting drivers who are in the program.

“It’s rare that a student doesn’t find a job as soon as they get out of class,” Garza remarked. “It’s not that we place them there, it’s just that we have so many companies giving us calls and we put them on our job board and the students are making the calls and getting hired right off the bat.”

Students are provided a hands-on learning environment and get to drive one of the college’s fleet of 10 trucks, which includes a Freightliner Columbia, Century’s, a FLD-120, a Classic XL and a Peterbilt 387. In addition, students get to learn about and practice with a variety of different flatbed, reefer, tanker and dry van trailers.

“For somebody who doesn’t have an education, or maybe even someone who is coming out of high school you can come into this program and by the time you are done, and if you pass the state test and find a job, you are looking at making anywhere from, depending on where you work, $45,000 to $70,000 right out of the gate,” Garza stated. “It’s a great career also.”

This article appeared in a special section of the CBH, published 8/28/18

For more information on the Big Bend CDL program. click HERE!

photo of CDL truck