6 Trucking Schools in Montana

Thursday, Aug 2 2018 admin

highway in montana with mountainsMontana is one of the least populated states in the nation. It is also one of the states with the fewest trucking schools. In fact, only five schools offer some form of truck driver training in Montana. So what are you going to do if you want to go to trucking school in Montana? Start here and learn more about the truck driving schools here, as well as tips for choosing the best MT trucking school for you.

Trucking in Montana

Montana is a rural, rugged landscape primarily involved in agricultural or natural resources. Cattle ranchers, oil miners, and cereal grain farmers depend on truck drivers to keep their commodities moving along the supply chain. In Montana, you need to get a Class A CDL to be able to move any type of freight. More importantly, most of the trucking jobs in Montana involve some aspect of CDL endorsements. These endorsements include hazardous materials, tanker, and doubles/triples, which are required for many of the trucking jobs here. Truck drivers in Montana are also in a prime position to pick up loads throughout the Midwest and Great Plains.

Going to Trucking School

To get a CDL in Montana, consider trucking school. By graduating from a truck driver training program, you are able to earn more than just a commercial driver’s license. You get the green light for your trucking career that can earn you $50,000 in your first year behind the wheel. Plus, while Montana doesn’t have a lot of schools, there are also not a lot of trucking students.

That means when you are in trucking school you have a smaller instructor to student ratio. Fewer students per instructors mean you get ample one-on-one behind the wheel training time. You are able to learn the rules of the road and practice your hands-on skills more while still in school. This gives you greater confidence when going out on the road for the very first time on OTR trucking jobs.

Choosing a Trucking School in Montana

The first step in choosing a trucking school in Montana for your truck driver training is to consider your options for locations. Here is a list of the six trucking school locations in Montana:

  • Sage Truck Driving School in Missoula and Billings
  • The Legacy Corporation with Lew Grill in Billings
  • City College at Montana State University in Billings
  • Bitterroot College in Butte
  • Highlands College in Hamilton

You have three schools located in Billings, one in Missoula, one in Butte, and one in Hamilton. Billings in south-central Montana is the state’s biggest city, so you stand to find more potential trucking jobs here. Missoula is another large city in Montana, located in the western part of the state. Butte and Hamilton are both smaller towns on the western part of the state. If you are considering a school based on location, there is a clear dividing line between Billings trucking schools and those in Butte, Missoula, and Hamilton.

Another consideration is what type of trucking school you want to attend. If you want to enroll in a training program at a college, three out of five of the facilities are colleges. However, you also have Sage Truck Driving School, which is a national institute that has two locations in Montana. Some student truckers prefer to attend a professional driving school. For example, for trucking school students who are older and nontraditional, they may feel uncomfortable going to trucking school in a college campus environment. Also, a professional trucking school like Sage or the Legacy Corporation with Lew Grill is focused solely on truck driving.

Tips for Going to Trucking School

Before you select a trucking school in Montana, spend some time thinking about what you want to get out of training. Are you looking for a trucking school so you can earn a CDL? Do you already have a CDL but want to get refresher training and get back behind the wheel of a big rig? Have you worked in a trucking-related profession, such as on a loading dock or with dispatch? Are you coming into trucking after having a career as a diesel technician? Where you are at currently in your own career will determine the best type of trucking school in Montana to attend.

Now, focus on how much experience you have with big rigs, Class 8 trucks, tractor-trailers, etc. By the way, if you don’t know that those terms are all the same thing, then you are at the most basic level as a student driver. Some programs for student drivers in Montana will be fast-paced, short, and expedited. These are for students who have some experience with driving a big truck or who are naturally mechanically inclined.

Then you have classes for trucking students that run for eight or 16 weeks. These classes are more advanced, detailed, and comprehensive. While you might think an advanced class would be for student truckers with some experience, that is actually not the case. These thorough programs provide you with every bit of information you need. If you are clueless about what it’s like to be an OTR trucker, then the more in-depth trucking school programs in Montana are better suited for you.

Financial Considerations

Perhaps the biggest factor for which school to choose, for most trucking school students, is the cost. The more expensive the program, the more you can expect to gain from it. However, you need to read the fine print to make sure. Before you sign up for any trucking school program in Montana, read through the details about the total tuition and expenses involved. Also, find out if there are any financial aid options available at that school or program. Some programs may also have scholarships for trucking school students that come from sponsoring trucking companies.

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