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How to become a driver trainer

Truck driver trainer shows a driving student how to work a driver simulator.

For some truck drivers, becoming a driver trainer is the next logical step in a driver’s career path. If you’re considering this rewarding step up in your career and the big income boost that can come with it, I’m excited to walk you through what you need to know.

I’ve been a driver trainer (called a training engineer, or TE, at Schneider) since 1993 in Schneider’s Tanker division, and I’ve trained nearly 400 new drivers during that time. While driving has always been in my blood, my passion for training comes from the love of helping others. If you share a similar passion, here’s how to become a driver trainer.

4 steps to become a driver trainer

1. Earn a safe driving record and professional reputation.

If you’re going to train other drivers how to drive well, you need to first prove you can drive well. Every trucking company or school has its own policies on experience, but at minimum you should be able to show six months of clean driving.

I started driving at Schneider in 1991, was asked to consider becoming a TE in 1992, spent a few months making sure I had the skills and knowledge to help new associates and started training in 1993.

A truck driver trainer teaches a student how to secure a load.

2. Analyze your reasons for wanting to become a driver trainer.

A driver trainer can earn over $10,000 more than an average solo driver, but money alone shouldn’t be the only reason to make the move. For truck drivers I talk to who are interested, I have them take my “high-five test”:

  • Do I have a passion for safety? – You need to care deeply about it and live it out.
  • Do I have the patience? – You need to understand different learning speeds and styles.
  • Can I work with multiple personalities? – You need to adjust your approach for each student.
  • Do I have the skills and knowledge? – You need to have the experience to train thoroughly.
  • Can I give and take constructive criticism? – You need to be good with feedback, both providing and receiving it.

If you answered yes to all these, then high five! You may be ready to become a driver trainer.

3. Ask about the opportunity and/or apply for the driver trainer job.

Each company may have a different process. At Schneider, you can talk to your driver leader or an Operations Support Representative (OSR) based out of your facility, and they can talk through the opportunity with you, including how often you may want to train (full-time and part-time options are available).

If there is a job posting for it, apply and accurately share your driving record and any additional teaching or training credentials.

A truck driver trainer demonstrates how to use the trailer landing gear.

4. Make the move into a truck driver trainer role.

Your company will help you progress into the trainer role, including providing a training class to prepare you for the training process. At Schneider, TEs typically run for about a week with a driver during his/her final stage of training. You can do this nearly every week or a minimum of one driver per quarter.

If you’ve completed all these steps, congratulations on becoming a truck driver trainer and giving new drivers a great first experience in the industry and with your company or school!

Frequently asked questions about becoming a driver trainer

How much do truck driver trainers make?

Many truck driver trainers can make $10,000 more than an average solo truck driver. At Schneider, TEs typically earn $70 per day above and beyond mileage/load/hourly pay. The more you train and the better you are at it, the more you can earn.

What is the next career step after driver trainer?

A truck driver instructor teaches new drivers in a classroom.

If you have a passion for training, you can continue to explore additional training roles as your career progresses, including moving to an instructor based out of one specific training facility and even eventually a training manager or other leadership position in the company or school.

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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Geoffrey Alleyne has been with Schneider since 1991, including as a training engineer since 1993 He originally fell in love with driving as a city bus driver in his home of Barbados. You’ll find Geoffrey at his happiest when he’s helping others be better drivers. When he’s not training new Schneider drivers on the ins and outs of truck driving or running difficult routes himself as a trusted, go-to driver, he’s deep-sea fishing for tuna, barracuda or swordfish.

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