MAYHEW — East Mississippi Community College’s Commercial Truck Driving course can be completed in half the time it used to take.
In the past, it would take students eight weeks to finish the program. Now, they can complete it in four weeks.
Offered at EMCC’s Golden Triangle campus, the course has been transferred from the Career Technical division to Workforce Services and students no longer have to take the ACCUPLACER or ACT tests.
“We will concentrate less on classroom work with textbooks and more on providing students the skills they will need on the road, such as driving and backing,” EMCC Commercial Truck Driving instructor Mark Dodson said.
EMCC Workforce Specialist Carey Butler said moving the Commercial Truck Driving program under the Workforce Services division makes sense.
“The program is a natural fit for our noncredit classes that are designed to provide students the skills they need as quickly as possible so they can begin work,” Butler said.
Classes for the four-week course will run Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Registration is under way now for the first class and there is still room for additional students. Dodson said it is important for students to register now even if they don’t plan to take the course right away.
“There are some things students will need to take care of before class begins, such as completing a WorkKeys certification, obtaining their learner’s permit for Commercial Driver’s License and filing an application for their CDL with the Department of Motor Vehicles,” Dodson said. “Students who plan to take the course can go ahead and get that out of the way so they can hit the ground running when the next course begins.”
To be accepted into the program, students will need a regular driver’s license and a high school diploma or equivalency.
The course includes use of an EMCC semi-truck by students when they take their Commercial Driver’s License road test. The students will be accompanied by Dodson during the exam.
The cost is $1,800 for the course. Tuition assistance is available for qualified students.
Students will get a lot of time behind the wheel during the four-week course and will learn skills such as parallel parking, straight-line backing, offset backing and alley backing. Students will also learn about safety, rules and regulations, driving practices, air brakes, hazardous materials and emergencies. The course includes vehicle inspections, coupling and uncoupling trailers and driving a tractor-trailer truck under varying road and climate conditions.
“And then, of course, we will have some road time and teach them how to drive a truck with a manual transmission,” Dodson said.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual pay for a truck driver in 2016 was $41,340. Dodson said the demand for both long-haul and local drivers is high.
For more information or to register for the course, email Dodson at email@example.com or call (662) 243-2686.