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Schneider’s CDL Apprenticeship Training – schedule, perks and more

A Schneider Training Instructor wearing a tan shirt and black pants stands in front of a classroom full of truck driving students who are seated and wearing neon safety vests.
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October 21, 2021

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

Schneider believes that getting your CDL and starting your truck driving career shouldn’t have to be expensive or difficult. That’s why we’ve created the CDL Apprenticeship Training (CAT) program.

This unique CDL training program allows new drivers to get paid, on-the-job truck driver training while they prepare to obtain their Class A license.

Overview of Schneider’s CAT program

Schneider’s CDL Apprenticeship Training (CAT) is a paid five-week training program that includes a mix of classroom, yard and in-cab training to ensure that new drivers are fully prepared to obtain their CDL and start their driving careers.

Before training can begin, new drivers must complete a few onboarding tasks like:

In addition to the above tasks, we also require that candidates taking part in the CAT program sign a contract agreeing that they will train and work with Schneider for the next nine months.

A truck driving student wearing a neon safety vest sits behind the wheel of a training simulator while a driver instructor wearing a tan shirt and neon safety vest watches over his shoulder.

Breakdown of CAT schedule for Van Truckload and Dedicated drivers

During the five-week Van Truckload and Dedicated CAT program, new drivers will spend about nine hours each day training while earning a daily pay rate with weekly paychecks.

Here is what you can expect when you take part in this program:

Week one

The first week of training is a time to learn the basics of truck driving. During this time Schneider’s CAT participants will:

  • Complete new driver tasks: Candidates will complete new hire paperwork and complete a Pre-Work Screen (if applicable).
  • Start classroom training: Beginning with textbook training, drivers will learn about DOT regulations and company policies.
  • Train on driving simulators: Drivers get to safely practice unique maneuvers and react to specific situations that may occur on the road.
  • Beginning truck training: Drivers will go out in the truck yard and get to know the ins and outs of the trucks and trailers they’ll be using every day.

Week two through four

Now that new drivers have learned the basics of truck driving through classroom and yard training, they transition to training that is similar to the orientation inexperienced drivers attend after graduating from truck driving school.

During these remaining weeks, drivers will:

  • Hit the road with a Training Engineer: Drivers can expect to drive about 80% of the time they are with Training Engineers.
A training engineer wearing a tan shirt, neon vest and dark pants instructs a driving student as he backs a white semi-truck hauling an orange trailer in the truck yard.

Week five

This is the final week of training for Van Truckload and Dedicated drivers. During this time, drivers will do the following:

  • Take the road test to obtain a CDL: Before candidates can hit the road on their own, they’ll need to earn their CDL.
  • Transition to an official Schneider driving job: Drivers will meet their driver leader, get their truck and start driving!

Breakdown of CAT schedule for Intermodal drivers

Due to the specialized nature of Intermodal driving, the Intermodal CAT program lasts six weeks instead of just five. However, just like the Van Truckload and Dedicated CAT programs, new drivers will still spend about nine hours each day training while also earning a daily pay rate with weekly paychecks.

Here is what you can expect when you take part in the Intermodal CAT program:

Weeks one through three

The first few weeks of training for Intermodal CAT candidates consist of learning the basics of Intermodal driving. This includes:

  • Completing new driver tasks: Candidates will complete new hire paperwork and complete a Pre-Work Screen (if applicable).
  • Starting classroom training: Beginning with textbook training, drivers will learn about DOT regulations and company policies in addition to Intermodal specific information.
  • Training on driving simulators: Drivers get to safely practice maneuvers and react to unique situations that may occur on the road.
  • Beginning truck training: Drivers will go out in the truck yard and get to know the ins and outs of the trucks and trailers they’ll be using every day.

End of week three

At the end of week three, candidates take a CDL road test in order to obtain their CDL. If they are successful, they move into the second half of the CAT program.

Weeks four through six

Once Intermodal CAT candidates have obtained their CDL, they’ll begin their specialized Intermodal training.

This specialized training includes:

  • Learning Intermodal specific information: This includes additional time spent in the classroom, yard and the truck.
  • Hitting the road with a Training Engineer: Drivers can expect to drive about 80% of the time they are with Training Engineers.

End of week five or six

  • Transition to an official Schneider driving job: Once Intermodal CAT candidates complete their specialized training, they’ll meet their driver leader, get their truck and start driving!

Where does training take place?

The CDL Apprenticeship Training (CAT) program is offered at a variety of Schneider facilities, including:

  • Charlotte, N.C.
  • Chicago, Ill.
  • Green Bay, Wis.
  • Indianapolis, Ind.
  • Wilmer, Texas.

Training locations vary based upon the line of business or account you intend to work with. Schneider also assists new drivers with arranging and paying for transportation to training facilities.

Additional benefits of Schneider’s CAT program

On top of receiving company-paid CDL training, Schneider CAT candidates can also expect to:

  • Train on state-of-the-art automated transmission trucks.
  • Drive with experienced Over-the-Road trainers.
  • Get more experience on the road before completing your CDL road test.
  • Receive two meals per day during classroom training.
  • Stay in single occupancy lodging provided by Schneider.

Want to take part in Schneider’s CDL Apprenticeship Training program?

Start your driving career off right at Schneider by applying for one of our many positions that offer CDL Apprenticeship Training. Search jobs near you and apply today.

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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