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What is a truck driver trainer? Job details and more

A Schneider bulk driver trainer supervising a student in the yard.

Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

For some truck drivers, becoming a driver trainer is the next logical step in their career path. Moving into a mentorship role like this can be very rewarding and come with a pay increase.

If you’re wondering, “what is a driver trainer?” keep reading to learn about what the job entails, what makes a good trainer and how to become one.

What is a truck driver trainer?

At Schneider, driver trainers provide training to existing drivers, evaluate essential driving skills and determine road readiness. The main objective of a driver trainer is to act as a safety advocate when training drivers. Driver trainers get home every night.

At other companies, a driver trainer may refer to someone who:

  • Works with new drivers in the classroom, yard and truck, going over the basics of driving and completing the onboarding process. At Schneider, this position is called a driver instructor. Driver instructors also get home every night.
  • Goes out on the road with one or more students for days or weeks at a time near the end of their training to get them acclimated to life on the road. At Schneider, this position is called a training engineer. Training engineers do not get home every night.

What are the duties of a driver trainer?

At Schneider, the responsibilities of a driver trainer include:

  • Acting as a commercial driving expert and resource to drivers and operations.
  • Providing hands-on training for drivers.
  • Hauling freight regularly and providing coverage for the training phone queue.
  • Navigating a variety of coaching and training calls effectively and efficiently.
  • Working with safety, training leadership and operations to solve issues identified during training and recommending next steps.
  • Maintaining and updating training records.
  • Helping new drivers adapt to the over-the-road lifestyle.
  • Providing support in other areas, including assisting with travel to offsite locations, conducting customer start-ups and interventions, repositioning equipment and performing truck inspections.

What makes a good truck driver trainer?

Some of the most important qualities of a good truck driver trainer include:

  • Knowledge of driving skills and regulations: Along with interpersonal skills, driver trainers must have the necessary technical skills and knowledge. Their experience must enable them to provide comprehensive training to students.
  • Patience: Driver trainers encounter students with different knowledge levels and styles of learning. They need to be patient and recognize that each person absorbs information differently.
  • The ability to give and take feedback: Constructive criticism is a crucial part of the learning process, so driver trainers must be comfortable both providing it to students and receiving it in their teaching.
  • The ability to work with multiple personalities: Driver trainers interact with a range of personalities. A good trainer can adjust their approach according to the student’s personality to ensure effective learning.
  • Passion for safety: Safety should be demonstrated in a driver trainer’s actions and teachings to instill the same values in their students.

How to become a driver trainer

The steps to become a driver trainer vary by company. See below for the requirements to become a driver trainer at Schneider, as an example.

1. Gain the necessary experience and qualifications.

To become a driver trainer at Schneider, you need to have the following:

  • A valid Class A CDL.
  • A DOT physical card.
  • A minimum of 12 months driving experience.
  • A clean driving record.

While prior instructing or training experience is preferred, it is not always a requirement. As long as you meet all the qualifications mentioned above, you may still be considered for the role.

2. Apply or ask about the opportunity.

At Schneider, you can talk to your driver leader about your interest in becoming a driver trainer, and they can discuss available opportunities.

If there is a driver trainer opportunity available, you will be required to apply for it and complete the interview process.

3. Make the move to your new role.

Schneider will provide the next steps for moving into a driver trainer role, including providing a training class to prepare you for the training process.

Start your journey to becoming a driver trainer

Whether you’re just starting and still need your CDL or you have decades of truck driving experience, Schneider can get you on the path to a rewarding career as a truck driver trainer. Explore our career paths and find where you can start.

About the author
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Schneider Guy loves the "Big Orange." He's passionate about the trucking industry and connecting people to rewarding careers within it. He's been the eyes and ears of our company since our founding in 1935, and he's excited to interact with prospective and current Schneider associates through "A Slice of Orange."

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