Booming Trucking Industry Means Boom in Driver Training

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CORPUS CHRISTI -- There's a good chance most the stuff you use everyday got to you by arriving on a truck.

That's why in this uncertain economy, the trucking industry is booming right now and Del Mar College is staying busy training drivers to hit the road.

Starting a career in the trucking industry is an option many job searchers are considering.

After just one week looking for work, Bill Lowery found there are three main industries in high demand. "Doctors, nurses and truck drivers," he told us.

So, after a coast guard career, followed by government contracting, he's now got a new title; student. "Its been a long time since i've been a student," Lowery said.

After 3 weeks of intense training, the likelihood is, he'll have a job. The oil and gas industry in our area is always searching for drivers.

"A lot of times, students have something lined up before they're even finished," Program Director John Rojas told us.

Although the course is short, it's intense, 10 hours a day, 6 days a week.

Believe it or not, they trusted me to take a crash course and drive the truck with students on board.

"Keep the clutch in as deep as you can and then there it is in 1st," explained Instructor Eduardo Saenz as he directed me step by step.

He wasn't nervous, but I was. I actually drove an 18 wheeler across the parking lot with students observing me from inside the truck. Talk about nerve wracking.

There are 4 students assigned per truck, that way, 3 are observing, while one's actually learning hands-on.

Once I parked the truck, they all clapped. I'm not really sure if the students were clapping because I did well or because they survived the wild ride, but, Lowery is definitely pleased with the class and his potential for work after graduation.

"You've got the refineries, all kinds of possibilities, live stock, so you name it, there's stuff around here to haul," Lowery told us.

Because the business is booming, so is the demand for classes and that's creating yet another job opportunity.

"I'm looking for instructors right now," said Rojas, "all they have to do is have 5 years experience driving."

Classes open about every two weeks and they fill up fast. Retired military are able to use their gi bill to pay 100% of the course if they're eligible. The Texas Workforce Commission will also help fund the course for eligible students. The 3 week class costs $3500. Brand new graduates have the potential to earn $40,000 a year. For more information on Del Mar's Truck and Bus Driver Training Program, click here.