If you’re ready to train to become a professional driver, now is the time! Texarkana College’s new Professional Driving Academy is now accepting applications (download one now).
The Texarkana College Board of Trustees approved TC administration’s recommendation to establish a Professional Driving Academy at a regular meeting on Thursday, Feb. 27. The new driving academy will prepare students for the commercial driver’s license (CDL).
“TC is partnering with a highly reviewed company that provides CDL training as a partnership with other community colleges across the state,” said Ronda Dozier, Dean of Workforce & Continuing Education. “There is a need for short-term training to better accommodate the huge demand for truck drivers and other commercial drivers in various fields. We are pleased to be the first to offer this training to our community and to help prepare students to fill the void of skilled workers in this industry.”
Demand for professional drivers is rising. Economic Modeling Specialists International projects that specialized freight trucking jobs will increase by 19.3 percent in Texas and 15.7 percent nationwide by 2020. The Texas Workforce Commission estimates that in 2020, more than 3,300 workers will be needed to operate buses, delivery vehicles, heavy equipment, tractor-trailers and other light truck or specialty vehicles.
“In a short amount of time, a student in the Professional Driving Academy will be able to receive a credential that leads to a professional career that’s in high demand nationwide, pays well and provides benefits,” Dozier said.
Currently, average earnings for professional drivers statewide are $45,332, and average earnings nationwide are just over $47,000. The academy’s students will be prepared to take Department of Transportation exams, including the general knowledge, Class A and B, Combination Vehicle, and Air Brakes exams, after only five weeks of training.
The new professional driving training center will be located at the Texarkana College training site at TexAmericas Center in New Boston, Texas. The cost of the program per student will be $4,000 plus a non-refundable fee of $150 per student for background check, physical exam, drug screening and motor vehicle report. Students who complete the program can earn an intra-state CDL as early as age 18, meaning they can only drive in the state of Texas. Students 21 and up will be eligible to earn an inter-state CDL. For more information about the proposed Professional Driving Academy, contact Texarkana College Continuing Education at 903-823-3270.