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Helpful Information About Potential Welding Careers & Trucking Jobs

  • An image of a smiling woman sitting in the driver's seat of her red truck.

    Better Opportunities for Women Truck Drivers

    Women can be terrific truckers and many find success in the trucking industry. Still, the field of trucking has its challenges, which can be different for women than for men. Almost every trucker, man or woman, will agree they enjoy the freedom, the chance to visit new parts of the country and the amazing window-framed views that come with being a trucker. What's more, women in trucking can look forward to more and wider-open doors these days.

    Trucking Industry Working to Make Women Welcome

    More women are breaking through the "typical male trucker" stereotype these days. Also, more employers see the value of women behind the wheel. This new attitude of opportunity in trucking owes partly to the current, growing truck driver shortfall of nearly 50,000 due to Baby Boomer truckers retiring. Evidence that the world is ready for women truckers include the women-focused recruiting campaigns of trucking companies, (like Werner for example), and the interest groups and conventions that gather women in trucking, such as the Teamster Women. Chances are greater than ever these days that you won't be the only woman at the truck stop.

    How Women in Trucking Can Turn Challenges to Advantages

    Some of the things that women should be prepared to encounter when working as truck drivers include:
    • Safety challenges: Pay extra attention to where you're stopping and walking at night, whether at truck stops or in remote areas. Don't roll down your window for anyone other than police or someone you know. Focus on safe driving and your employers will value you for keeping yourself, along with their equipment and loads, safe.
    • Interpersonal issues: Women may face criticism from co-workers or loading dock personnel. Don’t be daunted by bad attitudes. Let respect received equal respect given. Ignore disrespect and laser-focus on the work, and your job at hand--and don’t let others blow your cool.
    • Staying connected to family and friends: Staying in touch is easier with today’s tech. Use Skype or Facetime to have video chats at stops. Send regular text updates (which help with safety concerns, too). Schedule time at home for work/life balance.
    If you’re up for the challenge of starting a trucking career as a woman, like one of our many successful ACI women graduates, we can help. Get more details on Truck Driver CDL Training Programs available at Advanced Career Institute. At ACI, we have the experience and commitment to help you achieve the goal of becoming a successful truck driver. Contact us today!
  • An image of truck stop restaurant and gas signs for OTR truck drivers.

    The Daily Trucking Job Routine

    OTR truck drivers live on the corner of freedom and responsibility. They have the freedom to travel the highways and explore new locations on a near daily basis. They also must obey the rules of the road, listen to their dispatchers, and deliver their loads on time. There are more rules of the road for truckers than for drivers of non-commercial vehicles. These include log books, weight limits, and lane restrictions. While they have the most spectacular window views and are never confined to a stationary desk, that freedom is carefully recorded and monitored. After picking up a heavy load, truckers head off to the scales to make sure that they're weight is within the correct limit and distributed properly. This is routine business. The same goes for carefully monitoring the hours you’ve spent driving and keeping your logbook up to date. These tedious chores ensure that you don’t end up sidelined when you slip through the chicken house and receive an unexpected inspection.

    Routine & Flexibility

    The average OTR truck driver will travel about 100,000 miles per year. They tend to sit behind the wheel for an average of 500 daily miles. Most company drivers have little control over where their next load will take them. They may rush to hit a tight deadline and then enjoy some downtime while waiting for their turn to unload. You could say they live on the corner of Hurry Up and Wait. It is critical, though, that drivers maintain the willingness to work hard and the flexibility to handle delays and unexpected circumstances. While trucking requires flexibility in scheduling, most drivers do establish routines that provide some sense of stability. For instance, they establish favorite truck stops in every region of the country. There’s nothing like a friendly face, warm cup of coffee, and hot shower when you’ve been on the road eating from your personal stash of snacks or at fast food restaurants for days. These routines often center around grooming, which is critical for an OTR truck driver. They don’t have direct access to showers but need to remain presentable when representing their company at delivery points. Identifying truck stops with clean showers, laundry facilities, television rooms, and other amenities is important.

    Modern Trucking

    The trucking life has changed considerably due to technological advancement. Drivers are no longer cut off from their loved ones or forced to talk via pay phone. They can now video chat with loved ones in their downtime. They can receive text messages, emails, and make phone calls from their trucks. This has created a more socially connected trucking world that is healthier for the OTR truck driver as well as those back home missing a truck driver. Connection and Solitude is just another corner on which many drivers now live. Interested in living the trucking lifestyle? Learn more about our Class A OTR truck driver training programs!
  • An image of two shipyard welders, kneeling down, dressing in safety gear, welding a section of the ship.

    A Day in the Life of a Shipyard Welder

    John is a qualified seven-year welder. He’s often asked, “What does a welder do?” Good question. His day begins at 5:30a.m. The routine includes a quick shower, assembling lunch, popping down aspirin for back pain, and heading out. As he's driving, he looks in the mirror at the burn next to his eye. "This is what happens when I get too close to the arc," he thinks to himself.

    Shipyard Welding

    Shipyards are loud and dangerous - no place for amateurs. Squealing metal, flying sparks and hot metal drops fill the job site where the massive ship is. He has his meeting with the boss to go over the agenda and read blueprints. The day consists of sophisticated grinding and metal cuttings.

    Proper Welding Gear Setup

    John straps on his safety gear, which takes 30 minutes. He puts the respirator snap tightly around his face. Next, he pulls the safety boots on followed by thick gloves, protective glasses, and the visor. Body protection is the most important safety step, as he has seen co-workers sustain injuries that could have been avoided: welder's flash, hearing loss, and inhaling toxic fumes. Next, he inspects and sets up his equipment. He's applying a 480-degree Celsius flame to thick, impenetrable metal. If he misses a step in the setup, it can lead to electrocution or burns. He also checks all cables for leaks and welding leads for nicks or frays. Everything looks good, so he assembles the equipment, and is ready to go.

    Welding Condition on a Ship

    Working on a ship is not easy. Deafening noise, toxic fumes, and enclosed spaces fill the ship that John has to crawl through with equipment. After welding for two hours, John needs a fifteen-minute break. If he doesn't take one, his muscles can become too stiff, thus, affecting his work. Back cramps, shoulder, neck, and leg pain are common issues caused by bad posture. However, it is hard to maintain good posture when working inside a ship's hull. John must stay alert and in proper position at all times to avoid any mistakes. If he uses the wrong angle with the flame, the weld won't penetrate. If air gets into the shielding gas, the metal can bubble up. The heating temperature must be spot on to avoid a broken weld. A 30,000-ton sea vessel cannot afford to have any defects. Finally, John completes his task on girder fifty feet up. Thanks to his safety harness, he is able to complete his job safely. His work for the day is done. He leaves feeling good, having successfully completed the day's work safely. He smiles, because he knows he is providing for his family. Do you want to work as a welder like John? By enrolling in one of our welding training programs at ACI, you will be on the fast track to starting a new welding career.
  • An image of a welder flame emitting blue light on a black background.

    3 Things Welders Need to Know to Survive

    The commercial use of metals in the construction of equipment, buildings, ships and airplanes has created terrific employment opportunities. Welders can earn good salaries because of their skills. Although welders can earn a lot of money, the job can be hazardous due to high temperatures, materials and work environments. For those on an arc welding path, always put safety first. Here are some welding safety tips to keep in mind.

    Electricity

    Arc and other forms of welding use high voltage electrical equipment. The power can range from 20 to 100 volts. Death can result from exposure to less than 50 volts under certain conditions. It’s imperative that you understand and respect electricity. Never work in a wet or damp space. These include puddles, ground water or even where someone spills a coffee. Never handle electrified materials without safety gloves. If you are holding an electrified tool or material and touch another conductor, this can complete an electrical circuit right through your body.

    Fire

    The heat of a welding arc can hit 10,000 degrees. Be certain that you are not working near any combustible materials. Keep in mind that the arc itself does not have to touch other materials to start a fire. The sheer heat can start a blaze. Also, arc spatter is like shooting off a Roman candle. Work at least 35 feet away from flammable materials.

    Safety Equipment

    Always wear a complete outfit of safety equipment that includes rated clothing, gloves, face shield, safety glasses, and hearing protection. In commercial settings, you are not only protecting yourself from your own work, but also from those around you. Here are some of the common injuries caused by poor safety gear.
    • Eye protection: Arc rays can cause what welders call “arc flash” that damages your eyesight. It can occur from other welders working to your side or even behind you. Also, small metal shards can become embedded in your eyes.
    • Rated Clothing: High UV radiation produced by arc rays can cause intense skin burns. Welding spatter can burn through inadequate gear. Cover up.
    • Ear Plugs: The high decibels from welding and metal gauging can damage your hearing.
    • Helmets: Accidents such as falling materials can occur in industrial setting. Protect your head.
    Welders enjoy a tremendous trade that has an excellent future. Always place safety as your highest priority and arc on! Learn more about welding techniques and safety tips through our welder training program. Check out our calendar to see when the next welding class starts.
  • An image of the 5 podcast logos with the words "New Year. New Favorite Podcasts." on a red background.

    How Truckers Can Stay Alert while on the Road

    Listening to podcasts is a great way to pass the time and keep you awake while on the road. In fact, podcasts for truck drivers are a real blessing. Just think - There was once a time when a truck driver had to be content with a handful of cassette tapes and whatever they could find on the radio. Now, you can listen to things you're actually interested in, all on your smartphone. With the new year comes a new list of favorite podcasts. Here are five of our favorite podcasts for truck drivers:

    TalkCDL

    This podcast was highly recommended by one of our students. TalkCDL is funny, entertaining, and endlessly useful for commercial drivers looking for a better way to navigate the field. Veteran drivers, like Ron Henderson, and callers from across the country weigh in on everything from how to deal with hard headed teammates to how to quit a job without burning your bridges. A must-listen for any professional truck driver.

    The Talk Of Shame

    The Talk of Shame is hosted by Streeter Seidell, a comedian on Saturday Night Live. It is one of the funniest podcasts out there if you like embarrassing stories. The Talk of Shame features real people telling the most humiliating stories they've ever had the misfortune of living through. Even though Streeter has taken a temporary break for producing more episodes, there are 49 past episodes to keep you entertained!

    Good Job, Brain!

    Staying awake can be hard when driving for long hours. A great way to stay alert is to play trivia. Good Job, Brain! will challenge you with surprising trivia questions and teach you weird news. If you're looking to mix up your podcast playlist, this would be a fun one to try.

    Gilbert Gottfried's Amazing Colossal Podcast

    Looking for a little comic relief while on the road? Gilbert will keep you laughing while his co-host, Frank Santopadre, interviews guests including Whoopi Goldberg, Bob "Super Dave" Einstein, John Amos, and Charlotte Rae. Some believe this is the best interview podcast on the web.

    The Dollop

    Do you love American history? The Dollop focuses on weird American history and facts, delivered with a healthy dose of humor. Hosts Dave and Gareth cover everything from Siamese Twins and exploding whales, to shoe theft and the Domino's Pizza Story. Kick off the year 2017 with these hilarious and educational podcasts! Looking for podcasts that are more specific to trucking? Check out our past recommendations here.
  • An image of a CDL training student sitting in the driver's seat of a semi truck, looking at the steering wheel and dashboard controls.

    The Benefits of Each Type of CDL License

    Looking for work in the white-collar world can be tough. You need top-notch education and training, which can be very expensive and time-consuming. Perhaps you’ve thought of making a major career change. Finding a new profession can be much easier in the blue-collar world. Professions in the blue-collar world that are always in need are those requiring people with CDL licenses. People with CDL licenses drive semis, school buses, and other labor-based vehicles. While you still need specific training, you’d be able to obtain your career goal in a much shorter time frame. If you already drive a car or truck, studying for a CDL license is relatively easy to do.

    What is a CDL License?

    A Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) serves several purposes. First and foremost, it lets prospective employers know you’re a qualified, professional driver. Drivers that hold CDL status must have good working knowledge of weight limits, vehicle size and vehicle control. Secondly, a CDL license endorses what you can drive and what weights you can tow. Endorsements for a CDL license are tested separately. There are also several categories of CDL licenses. The categories, or classes, of CDL licenses are A, B, and C. Classes A and B are broken down into commercial and non-commercial use. Class C licenses are broken down into commercial and basic use. What you can tow with the licenses is broken down into Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR). Motorcycle licenses are another form of CDL. Below is the information regarding commercial towing and driving information for the State of California:

    Commercial Class A CDL license holders can tow the following:

    [caption id="attachment_9933" align="alignright" width="198"]white semi tractor with trailor against white background Class A CDL training with full size tractor trailer combination vehicles.[/caption] - Single vehicles with a GVWR of 10,000 lbs. (semi tractor-trailers) - Trailer buses or more than one vehicle (tandem trailers). These types of vehicles need special endorsements. - Any vehicles that fall under the categories of Class B and/or C. You are able to drive vehicles that are: - Any legal combination of the vehicles listed in Class A - Vehicles of any type that are rated for Class B and/or C drivers

    Commercial Class B CDL license holders can tow the following:

    [caption id="attachment_9942" align="alignright" width="199"]plain white commercial bus on a white background Class B CDL training for bus drivers using both commercial buses and school buses.[/caption] - Single vehicles rated with a GVWR of 10,000 lbs. or less - Vehicles of any type that are rated for Class C drivers You are able to drive the following with a Class B license: - Single vehicles with a GVWR weighing 26,000 lbs. or more - 3-axle vehicles that weigh more than 6,000 lbs - A bus (except a trailer bus), or any farm labor vehicle. Endorsements are needed for these particular vehicles. - All vehicles that fall under Class C licensing Licensing regulations change periodically. You’ll need to check your State guidelines for the most up-to-date information.

    Who Can Benefit From a CDL License?

    Having a CDL license opens many doors for employment opportunities for both men and women. For individuals with families at home, there are many trucking companies with regional or local jobs that get their drivers home each night. Driving and towing certain weights isn’t difficult, as long as you follow the regulations regarding log books. Finding loads is handled for you by dispatchers with your company. Semi-driving is only one of many options for you if you obtain a CDL license. There are plenty of positions driving straight trucks or buses. Bus drivers can find work for schools or tour buses. Once you’ve made the decision to obtain a CDL license, companies that you work for may have programs available in order for you to add endorsements for specific jobs. Getting endorsements for additional weight limits or job types will require a little more time, but is well worth adding to your license. Sure, working a typical 9-to-5 job has its benefits. Having a CDL license has just as many - it also offers the perk of a daily change of scenery. For more information on how you can get your Class A or Class B CDL, call us at 1-877-649-9614 or fill out the form. We’ll answer any questions you have, and help you get your new career started today!