Admissions at Southwest Truck Driver Training
At Southwest Truck Driver Training, we love to see new faces! As a student-first school, we want to make the admissions and enrollment process as transparent as possible.
On this page, you can learn the steps to applying for, interviewing with, and—we hope—joining us as a student at Southwest Truck Driver Training. Let's get this show on the road!
Admissions Requirements Checklist for Our CDL Programs
You need to meet some basic requirements to apply to Southwest Truck Driver Training. You must:
- Be at least 18 years old
- Have had a driver's license for at least one year
- Have a birth certificate or passport and Social Security card
- Be a US permanent resident or citizen
- Speak, read, and write English
- Pass a drug test
- Have an active, not suspended, driver's license and no breathalyzer in any vehicles registered to you
- Have an acceptable driving record
- Have a satisfactory criminal record
For more details about many of these requirements, such as what constitutes an acceptable driving record, please review our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) section below.
Most of our requirements are based on state and federal laws, including what the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requires of commercial drivers. If you’re ineligible based on these criteria, we want to let you know upfront. If you aren’t sure, or your situation has changed and you believe you may be eligible now, come talk to us!
Our Admissions Process: What to Expect
Since we're all on the same team at Southwest Truck Driver Training, we like to start our admissions process by meeting you in person as soon as possible.
This is the overview of the steps:
- Fill out a contact form or call us.
- Arrange an appointment with an admissions representative at your chosen Southwest Truck Driver Training location.
- Interview with the admissions representative at that location. At this interview, be ready to discuss your preferred class schedule (e.g., days, nights, or weekends). We’ll discuss with you how you plan to pay for school (our team can talk you through your financial aid options). This is one of the best times to ask any questions you have.
- Complete an enrollment form in person or via a follow-up email.
We know that trucking school is a significant investment and want 100% of the students who enroll at Southwest Truck Driver Training to be confident in their choice of school and prospective career. This matters so much to us that your family members are welcome to join you at your interview or during a follow-up meeting. In fact, we encourage it! Chances are your spouse, parents, or even children have questions about Southwest Truck Driver Training and trucking careers in general. We want to ensure your whole family is happy with your choice.
Once you've enrolled and have been accepted, you need to:
- Pass a DOT physical.
- Turn in a 39-month Motor Vehicle Record (MVR). The MVR must cover all states you've been licensed in over those months.
Let's wrap things up by answering common questions people have about enrolling at Southwest Truck Driver Training.
What programs does Southwest Truck Driver Training offer?
Is Southwest Truck Driver Training a registered ELDT provider?
Yes! Our program follows the rules set by the FMCSA's Entry Level Driver Training (ELDT) program. In fact, we made sure of this long before the rules took effect.
How do I pay for Southwest Truck Driver Training?
Our admissions reps will talk you through tuition payment options. If you are planning to pay out of pocket, you can use cash, credit, debit, check, or money order. For the many students who need financial aid, our knowledgeable team can help put together a financial aid package, which includes in-house financing options.
Depending on your financial aid needs—particularly if we need to use money from a government WIOA (Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act) program—it may take some time for the approval to come through. This is the case at any school that uses this kind of funding. We don't want to make any false promises, so we want you to be ready to wait for a few weeks if we need to dig into that program. In-house financing should be ready to go sooner.
Why Should I Pick Southwest Truck Driver Training School?
What sets Southwest Truck Driver Training apart is that we're a community. We get to know our students as people and keep a robust staff, so you can get the personalized attention you need.
Being an independent school, we aren't here to churn out future employees for ourselves. Instead, we're here to make sure you're successful wherever life takes you! And we offer lifelong career assistance, so if you're ready for a new path in trucking even 20 years from now, we're still here to help!
We also believe you're interviewing us as much as we're interviewing you. If either side thinks we're not the right school, we'll happily shake your hand and wish you well! (Please note our decision is never based on race, gender, age, sexuality, education, country of origin, income, or other similar factors. We truly have students of all backgrounds and walks of life, and we believe classroom diversity benefits all learners.)
Finally, having many military veterans on staff, we understand the unique needs of military members, veterans, and their families. So if you're in one of those categories, we're ready to serve you.
Why do I have to be 18 years old to apply for your CDL programs?
Federal law requires CDL holders to be at least 18.
What type of driver's license do I need before applying to Southwest Truck Driver Training?
You need a Class B, C, or D license to apply to the CDL programs at Southwest Truck Driver Training. A Class D license is a standard driver's license for non-commercial driving.
Why do I need to have a driver's license for at least a year before applying?
Practice makes perfect! More driving practice means you'll likely be safer on the road than those without this much experience.
Do I need all these types of identification to apply for a trucking program?
You need to give us your birth certificate or passport as well as a Social Security card because they prove you're a legal resident or citizen.
What if I am having trouble finding a copy of my documents?
Having trouble finding your birth certificate? Need a new passport or social security card?
There isn't a centralized agency where you can get your birth certificate. Instead, you likely need to visit your birth state's vital records website to get a copy. If you're from Arizona or Nevada, these sites are:
- Arizona Department of Health Services
- Department of Health and Human Services Nevada Division of Public and Behavioral Health
You can apply for a passport at a US Department of State-approved location. Post offices are the most common places in which to do this.
If you need a new Social Security card, head to the Social Security Administration website to find out where to start.
Permanent residents can't get these documents in the US. So, if you're a legal resident, you need to show us your proof of residency and ability to work.
Why do I need to be a permanent resident or US citizen to apply at Southwest Truck Driver Training?
Arizona requires CDL holders to have "authorized presence," meaning your presence in the United States is authorized by federal law. In Nevada, if you're trying to get your commercial learner’s permit (CLP), you must show that you're a citizen or permanent resident of the US.
Why do I need to speak, read, and write English?
The FMCSA says all interstate drivers must speak, read, and write English. Total fluency isn't required, but you have to be able to easily communicate with other drivers and contacts. In part because of this requirement, we only have classes in English.
We'll do our best to work with you, but if you're not sure you're ready to start with us, we recommend looking for resources to help you build that confidence. You may be able to find English language classes at community colleges, online, or at libraries, for instance.
What does the drug test look for?
CDL drug tests look for marijuana, cocaine, opiates, amphetamines, methamphetamine, and phencyclidine (PCP). The drug tests also show alcohol at 0.02% Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) or higher.
By law, truck drivers can't use marijuana at all, even if it's prescribed. If you have a marijuana prescription, talk to your doctor about safe ways to change medications. If you take a prescription amphetamine for focus reasons, you need to have your doctor confirm you get a waiver. Note that Southwest Truck Driver Training doesn't make the call about whether your prescription qualifies for a waiver.
What if my license is suspended or I have a breathalyzer? Can I still enroll?
If you can't legally drive a car, you can't legally drive a larger vehicle. So, we can't offer you placement at our school while your license is suspended. After that, decisions are made on a case-by-case basis. We aren't here to judge; we need to make sure you meet legal requirements.
Breathalyzers (also called ignition interlocks) monitor your blood alcohol level. When connected to a car, they require you to take a breath test whenever you want to start your car. They're installed in vehicles used by people ordered to use one after being convicted of a DUI. You can't be actively dealing with a DUI conviction when starting your CDL training.
In addition, if you want to get a CDL, don't agree to let someone who needs a breathalyzer use your car.
What is an “acceptable” driving record for enrollment?
Many folks have a speeding ticket on their driving record. However, you generally can't get your commercial learner’s permit (CLP) if you have too many or have major driving violations on your record, particularly if they're recent.
Driving incidents that could result in not being able to get a CLP include, but aren't limited to:
- Anything automatically resulting in the loss of your driver’s license
- Committing a felony while using a vehicle
- Drunk driving
- Fleeing an accident
- Having too many or severe accidents, particularly if you're at fault
- Several or severe roadside violations
- Repeated driving violations, even speeding tickets
- Vehicular manslaughter
What criminal offenses will stop me from getting a CLP or CDL?
A number of crimes, particularly those involving driving, could stop you from getting a CLP. These include, but aren't limited to:
- Being on parole (if it restricts driving)
- Drunk driving
- Felony while using a vehicle
- Having an active arrest warrant
- Human trafficking
- License suspension
- Motor vehicle misconduct
- Murder or attempted murder
- Negligent driving or recklessness resulting in death
- Vehicular manslaughter
Some convictions mean you can never get your CDL, period. For others, you may be able to plead your case with the state or wait a while for the infraction to leave your record. We don't get to make those decisions.