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The Extra Mile

Safety & Sustainability

8 Things to Know Before Enrolling into Yellow’s Driving Academy

The Yellow Team | May 12, 2023

    Yellow truck driving through the mountains

    Here are the most frequent questions applicants ask about earning a commercial driver’s license through Yellow. 


    In the past three years, Yellow has invested heavily in training a new generation of professional truck drivers.


    Recognizing a lingering shortage of truck drivers nationwide, we have opened 21 Driving Academies in 16 states, with more locations on the way. The training Yellow provides is among the best values in the industry – Driving Academy students work toward their commercial driver’s license (CDL) tuition-free, while also being paid as employees of Yellow. 


    In 2022, more than 1,000 people earned their CDLs through the Driving Academies and became Yellow drivers. 


    However, not everyone who joins the program graduates. Training to become a professional truck driver can be challenging and is not for everyone. Knowing what to expect before you enroll is key to having a successful experience. Below are the eight most common questions our recruiters are asked about the Driving Academies and the answers that they provide:


    1. What is the Driving Academy?


    Yellow’s Driving Academy is a four-week onsite training program to help students earn a Class A CDL and launch a career in professional truck driving. Upon graduating from the Academy, students will begin working as linehaul or city drivers for Yellow. Formed in 2021, the Driving Academy today has nationwide coverage, with 21 locations in 16 U.S. states.  


    2. Do I have to pay for the classes? 


    You do not pay for classes. In fact, once you enroll in the Driving Academy, Yellow pays you an hourly wage of $17.50. If you have to travel from home to attend classes at an academy location, the company will compensate you for any incidental costs (meals, lodging, car rentals, and more) that you incur during the training period.


    Many trucking companies require driving candidates to pay for their training out-of-pocket – an expense that can be as much as $7,000. Yellow is the only carrier that offers tuition-free CDL training while also paying students an hourly wage. Students who wish to enroll in the Driving Academy must enter into a Yellow Driving Academy Training Agreement with Yellow regarding the paid training opportunity. 


    “We truly are a one-of-a-kind program,” said Jessica Orzel, one of Yellow’s recruiters for the Driving Academy. “There’s no other training program in the industry that touches what we do with that.”


    3. How do I enroll? 


    There are a few steps to enrollment, but Yellow will provide a Driving Academy recruiter who will help you through the process. It all starts by calling our Driving Academy Hotline at (833) 475-8201 to apply.


    As part of the enrollment, you’ll need to:


    • Obtain a Class A CDL permit. 

    • Pass a Department of Transportation (DOT) physical examination and drug test. 

    • Complete a Transportation Security Administration (TSA) HAZMAT threat assessment.


    Once you’ve met these requirements and completed our pre-employment screening, you will begin your training at one of the Driving Academy sites. 


    The four weeks of training at the Driving Academies includes many hours behind the wheel.

    The four weeks of training at the Driving Academies includes many hours behind the wheel.

    4. Is there a Dock-to-Driver Program? 


    Yellow’s dock-to-driver program provides what we call CDL Apprentice-Local positions. These roles allow candidates to work at a local terminal as a part-time dock worker for roughly 30 days while they get their requirements to enroll in the Driving Academy. It’s a great way to earn some income while you prepare for CDL training, as well as become more familiar with how Yellow operates. 


    The amount of dock work you do before your Driving Academy enrollment can vary – your terminal manager may accelerate the period in dock operations if you are ready and an academy seat is available.


    5. Which Driving Academy location will I go to? 


    We do what we can to enroll candidates at Driving Academy locations that are close to home. With 21 academy locations nationwide, we have training sites in every region of the country.


    However, where you train will also depend on the availability of class seats at each location. If you do have to train at a Driving Academy that is far from where you live, Yellow will cover your travel and lodging costs during the Driving Academy training period. 

    U.S. map of the Driving Academy locations: Yellow has 21 Academies in 16 states.

    The Driving Academy locations: Yellow has 21 Academies in 16 states.

    6.     What happens after I graduate?


    After earning your CDL, you will return to your home terminal, where you’ll team up with a safety trainer for an additional 160 hours of on-the-job driving instruction. This training will provide lots of experience driving a tractor-trailer on the open road. After completing that training, you’ll begin your work as a linehaul or city driver out of your home terminal.


    Linehaul and city driving require similar skill levels but are very different driving roles at Yellow.


    “A local (city) position is home daily and more than likely will have you handling freight,” said Tina McNeal, who manages talent acquisition for Yellow’s Driver Trainer Program. “Linehaul is generally a no-touch freight position. A linehaul driver will drive at night and will most likely have some time away from home.”


    7.     Is there an employment commitment tied to the Driving Academy?


    Yes. Students who wish to enroll in the Driving Academy must enter into a Yellow Driving Academy Training Agreement with Yellow regarding the paid training opportunity. Terms of the agreement apply when driver requirements are met and Yellow offers you a position with driving responsibilities.


    8.     I have some driving experience. How long will my training take?


    Even if you have previous commercial driving experience, like holding a Class B CDL, you will still need to train for four weeks at the Driving Academy. The only exception may be for those students who have truck driving experience but are restricted from using a manual gear shift.


    As a student, your driving will be evaluated on a regular basis and your trainer will let you know when you are ready for testing. 

    Image of a woman truck driver: Yellow provides some of the best training, pay and benefits for drive

    Yellow provides some of the best training, pay and benefits for drivers in the trucking industry.

    Interested in Learning More?


    Becoming a truck driver provides a chance to launch a rewarding career that pays well and is in great demand across the country. For many people, like longtime Yellow professional driver Peggy Arnold, truck driving is a ticket to a stable, middle-class income. 


    Yellow provides some of the best-paying truck driving jobs in the industry, along with benefits that include 100% paid premiums for medical, dental and vision coverage, a 401(k) plan, and paid overtime, sick time and holidays.  


    To learn more about getting your driving career into the fast lane, visit our Driving Academy page. To learn about current job openings for drivers, check out our Careers page.  

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