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By Rebecca Jefferis Williamson

(Photos courtesy of Advanced Training Systems) 

Dec. 18, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) Women faced with sudden job loss from the pandemic may consider going to truck driving school to repurpose their life and source of income.

ECM interviewed CEO John Kearney of Advanced Training Systems via email for his insights and tips on pursing a career in truck driving.

ECM: What are the costs and/or scholarships for the training?

Kearney: Costs vary depending on school, public or private.  Costs are the same for men and women. Women should contact the Women in Trucking Association to learn what the possibilities are and how women in trucking is really a growing field.  Some high schools have a driver training program, and the cost is very low because students take the driver training program as part of their regular school program.  Many trucking schools that have training programs will train the student without cost unless they quit soon after the training.  Costs for many of the programs can run from $4,000 to just under $7,000.  I suggest that individuals interested in driving contact local schools, trucking companies and the workforce agencies in their area to determine the local possibilities.  Workforce will often help with the cost of the training.  

ECM: Are there any age restrictions?

Kearney: States allow intrastate driving at 18 leaving lots of opportunities for jobs with major carriers as well as local delivery services.

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Agency (FMCSA) does not allow driving across state lines or hauling product used in interstate commerce until they are 21.  This is a great place for a person to get a local job with the delivery services like Amazon, UPS and FedEx.

ECM: Do minor traffic tickets prohibit attending the school?

Kearney: No.

ECM:  How long does the training take?

 Kearney: The training period depends on the program you select.  It could be from 3 to 6 weeks or longer.  

ECM: How do they finance the trucks they will need after graduation from training?

Kearney: Trucks are normally provided by the employer and many drivers never buy a truck because the employer continues to give the drivers a current truck to drive.  A driver may choose to buy his or her own truck after becoming seasoned as a driver and in some instances start a fleet of trucks.  This is where most trucking companies started.  Some trucking companies will sell and finance a truck for a driver as well.

ECM: How much time away from family is required?

Kearney: Some employers get their drivers home every day, some every week, some every three weeks.  All carriers are trying to minimize time away from home.

ECM:  What is your perspective on remote learning if they take their school-age children along on trips?

Kearney: This is a tough one.  I am not aware of a company that allows school age children on trips as a regular lifestyle.

ECM:  Are COVID19 safety measures used during training?

Kearney: ATS simulators and ATS Pre-Trip app allow for social distancing during training.  Simulation and other measures allow for distancing during the training process.

ECM:  What is the average length  in days that a route lasts?

 Kearney: There is no average because there are so many different routes and contracts available to a driver.  Home daily is the objective of many drivers but that is not possibly sure.

ECM:  What tips and highlights would you give to a student before taking the training?

 Kearney: Be sure you and your family are prepared for life on the road.  Some are more suited than others.  Military life calls for some separation, large construction companies call separation when traveling to complete a project and children are school age and can’t move.  There are many careers that require some separation just do some research before deciding and be prepared.  It is a good paying career and can lead to logistic management positions, if a person is so inclined.

Remember that there will always be a need for freight to move and there will always be a demand for drivers.

ECM: What trucking schools are in or near San Diego’s East County?

Kearney: ATS doesn’t have any schools in San Diego County but we have a training facility in Vista.  Patterson High School has our simulators in California and Advanced Career Institute has our simulators.  Many high schools are starting to develop programs and the first one and a leader in the field is Patterson.  This is a great field for young people to start with training in high school and work within the state until they are 21.  At 21 they can move to operating throughout the country.  We can help high schools get in touch with schools that have the program so they can look into it.

Visit: for more information.

Santee is home to Western Truck School. Visit for more information. Additionally, Escondido is home to America Truck Driving School. Visit: for details. Google truck driving schools in the County of San Diego for more companies that may suit you.

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