Types of Freight

Truck drivers deliver a huge variety of goods and materials and are essential to our country’s economy. After you earn your commercial driver’s license (CDL), you can become a part of this important industry. One of the choices you will make after graduation is what type of truck driving job best fits your needs and desires. In addition to considering the route, you will also want to consider the different varieties of freight you can haul.

Here are some examples of different types of freight:

Food Items

Grocery stores and restaurants across the country rely on semi-trucks to deliver food items. This may include products that need to remain at a constant temperature, which you would transport using a refrigerated (reefer) truck. Certain bulk solids, such as grains, are moved using tanker trucks. Tankers also transport liquids and moving any liquid or gaseous material will require the “N” endorsement.

Construction Materials

Construction materials are often large and bulky which means they require unique methods of transport. Flatbed trucks, which have an open platform instead of an enclosed trailer, are often used to haul these items. Although you do not need any certifications beyond your CDL to drive a flatbed truck, skilled drivers are necessary to ensure safe transport. Flatbed truckers also usually handle loading and unloading. Because of the additional labor, flatbed freight may have a higher rate of pay.

Hazardous Materials

Hazardous materials (hazmat) include a variety of substances the Department of Transportation (DOT) classifies as potentially dangerous. Some examples include toxic chemicals, explosives, and flammable gases. Hauling hazardous freight requires an additional CDL endorsement and there are additional safety precautions you will need to take. Jobs involving hazmat frequently pay more per mile.

Other Consumer Goods

It is impossible to list everything that you can haul as a truck driver because tractor-trailers transport nearly any type of product you can think of. For items that do not require unique conditions to move safely, dry vans are common. These are traditional semi-trucks with an enclosed trailer. With such a huge variety of dry van jobs, you could haul many different types of freight during your career.

Choosing the Right CDL Job For You

After you earn your license, you can choose the type of freight you haul and the type of truck you drive. This can impact your typical day on the job. Some varieties of freight require more physical labor, such as any sort of flatbed trucking. Others, like dry van hauling, do not always require you to load and unload the truck yourself. Beyond deciding on which sorts of goods you will haul, you will also need to consider what type of route will work best for you.

We Can Help You Start Your Career

At HDS Truck Driving Institute (HDS truck driving school), we can help you make decisions about the type of CDL job you would like to pursue. Our job placement assistance team will consider your goals and help match you with trucking companies. We provide our students with a high-quality education that will continue to benefit them throughout their trucking career.

To learn more about how you can start hauling freight with a CDL, contact us today.

Why Truckers are More Essential Than Ever

Truckers are an essential part of our nation’s economy and supply chain. According to research by the American Trucking Associations, 70% of the freight in the United States is delivered by truck, which adds up to almost $800 billion in revenue each year. Without the trucking industry, our country would not be able to function. During the current COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic, truck drivers are even more important than ever. 

Here are some of the many ways commercial drivers help keep our country and economy moving: 

Medical Supplies

One of the many types of goods that trucks deliver is medical supplies. This includes masks, gloves, and other items that are essential in fighting the current pandemic. Truckers also transport prescription medications. Many of these need to be kept in specific conditions and delivered in a timely manner. If trucks stopped delivering freight, hospitals would run out of supplies within the first 24 hours and would start to deplete their oxygen reserves by the end of the first week. 

Food and Water

Semi-trucks deliver most all of the items you buy in grocery stores. From produce to canned food, drivers make sure that these items are available when you need them. If truckers were not on the road making deliveries, it would only take about 2-3 days for food shortages to begin. 

Clean water can also be transported by tanker trucks, so the trucking industry helps ensure that this resource is available. It would take about two weeks for the public to notice the effects of a water shortage in the event that the trucking industry stopped operating. 

Other Essential Goods

Nearly anything you can think of is delivered by semi-truck. Since such a large amount of freight travels this way, the trucking industry is an integral part of delivering toilet paper, cleaning supplies, and other essentials that people need. With so many stores running out of these items, truckers help make sure the shelves are restocked. 

Raw Materials for Manufacturing

Tractor-trailers haul more than just consumer goods. They bring raw materials to factories who use these to make essential items for a variety of industries. This means that trucking has a direct and indirect impact on what products are available to the public and specialized fields, such as the medical profession. 

Recognizing the Contributions of Truck Drivers

At HDS Truck Driving Institute, we want to recognize the contributions that truckers make to our society, both during this pandemic and on a day-to-day basis. Truck drivers are more essential than ever, so even during these uncertain times, American citizens can trust that they will be able to find the items they need. 

A Stable Career in the Trucking Industry

If you want to become a part of this vital industry, you can start by earning your commercial driver’s license (CDL). Even during a global pandemic, truck driving offers a stable career that you can count on. 

To learn more about becoming a trucker, contact us today.

What is Flatbed Truck Driving?

Once you earn your commercial driver’s license (CDL), there are a variety of trucking jobs that you might consider. Not only can you choose long-haul driving or a local/regional route, but you can also choose the type of vehicle you would prefer. One option is a flatbed truck.

Here are some facts about driving a flatbed truck: 

What is Flatbed Trucking?

Commercial vehicles that have a flat platform rather than an enclosed trailer are called flatbed trucks. The benefit of this type of truck is that it allows trucking companies to transport large or unusually-shaped freight. Because this type of trailer has an open deck, the driver must tie down cargo with chains or straps in order to ensure it is secure. A tarp may also be necessary to protect the goods and materials from damage during transit.

Pros and Cons of Flatbed Truck Driving

Every trucking job has its pros and cons, and flatbed freight is no different. To decide if driving a flatbed truck is right for you, it is important to consider your individual preferences and goals for your career. 

Pro: Higher Rate of Pay

One of the biggest benefits of flatbed truck driving is the higher pay. Flatbed and specialized drivers can make almost $13,000 more each year on average compared to those hauling dry goods in a traditional tractor-trailer. This is according to CDL 101.

Pro: Increased Driver Activity

Unlike many other types of truck drivers, flatbed drivers are responsible for securing and unloading freight as well as driving. Because of this, they are likely to get more on-the-job activity, which can lead to better health. This increase in physical labor may help you stay more active and fit on the road and as long as you follow safety protocols, it can be a safe and rewarding career.

Pro: Greater Variety of Jobs

If you want to see more of the country and experience more variety, then flatbed routes may be for you. These routes may be more varied than local or regional dry van or refrigerated hauls.

Con: Increased Potential Risks

Flatbed trucking may be more dangerous when compared to other types of driving. Failure to properly secure freight can lead to injury if it were to break loose. Securing cargo may also bring the risk of falling or otherwise injuring yourself. If you carefully follow safety regulations, you can greatly reduce the dangers that come with driving a flatbed truck.

Con: More Physically Demanding

The physical nature of flatbed trucking can take its toll. While it keeps you more active, it is also a potential downside to the job. Securing and unloading freight isn’t for everyone.

Con: Increased Time

When you drive a refrigerated truck or dry van, you are not usually responsible for loading and unloading the vehicle. This is not the same for flatbed trucking. The driver of a flatbed truck is responsible for securing freight and unloading it once they reach their destination. This can increase the time that it takes to complete a run compared to other types of truck driving jobs. 

Let Us Prepare You for a Trucking Career

If you are considering flatbed trucking or any other type of CDL job, HDS Truck Driving Institute (HDS truck driving school) is here to help. Our training program can help you earn your CDL and is the first step to a rewarding career in the truck driving industry.

Contact us today for more information about training to drive a flatbed truck.

Why Trucking is One of the Best Jobs for Veterans

Transitioning from the military into civilian life can be challenging. You have a unique and valuable skill set, but many civilian companies don’t recognize this. One-third of veterans in the United States are currently underemployed, meaning that they are working jobs where they are overqualified and underpaid. If you are anxious about your transition out of active service, you may want to consider a career in trucking. Truck drivers are in high demand and this is a great job for veterans because it is a good match with your skillset.

Here are just a few of the many benefits of becoming a trucker after military service:

Job Security

Job security in the trucking industry is unparalleled and the demand for truckers continues to rise. In fact, statistics estimate a 5% growth in the next 10 years. There are 1.3 million trucking companies out there looking to hire you, so you know if you choose to become a truck driver there will always be a job available. In addition, you will be getting the pay you deserve: truck drivers can earn more than $65,000 a year.*

One of the benefits of this kind of job security is that once a company hires you, there is a possibility of staying with them  for a longer period of time. Applying for jobs as a veteran can be frustrating. You need to translate your military skills into terms civilians can understand. Oftentimes you get passed over for the job because of stereotypes or overqualification. When you become a trucker, you don’t have to worry about going through this challenging application process over and over again. 


As a veteran, you understand the value of service. You took pride in serving your country as a member of the armed forces, so you may want a job that allows you to continue to contribute to your country. It can be a struggle to find a career focused on service where you also get great pay and benefits. If this appeals to you, truck driving could be a great choice. 

American truck drivers transport 70% of United States freight. Without truck drivers, the country’s economy would not be able to function. Drivers help keep grocery stores stocked, vital machinery running, and so much more. When you work as a trucker you know you are making a difference in the daily lives of your fellow Americans. 

Quick and Easy Transition

When you are transitioning out of active duty military service, you want the process to be as quick and simple as possible. Traditional corporate jobs require a lot of changes to adapt to this new environment. With truck driving, the transition process is simple.

The trucking industry values your military service and will work with the skills you have already developed. The training to become a trucker is also quick and easy. You can get a commercial driver’s license (CDL) in as little as four weeks with our accelerated program

Funding Your Training

Military veterans have access to a wide range of funding opportunities to make CDL school more affordable. If you choose to attend HDS Truck Driving Institute (HDS truck driving school), we can help you determine which options are available to you. 

Truck Driver Education for Veterans

HDS truck driving school was selected for the 2019-2020 GI Jobs Military Friendly School list and is approved by the Arizona State Approving Agency to provide training to veterans. We have helped many veterans transition into rewarding civilian careers as truck drivers. Our instructors and programs are nationally recognized and we strive to give each student valuable skills and knowledge they can use for the rest of their career. 

Contact us today to learn more about training to become a truck driver after serving in the military.

*Professional truck drivers earn a mean annual wage of $43,680. The top 10% of truck drivers make more than $65,260 per year according to the 2018 Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Requirements for an Arizona CDL

A commercial driver’s license (CDL) replaces your standard driver’s license and allows you to drive a commercial motor vehicle (CMV). In order to earn your license, you will need to meet certain criteria. These include some requirements that are standardized across states and others that are specific for getting an Arizona CDL.

If you want to earn your license and start a truck driving career, here is what you need to know: 

When You Need a CDL (Federal Regulations)

The federal government, specifically the Department of Transportation (DOT) and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), determines when individuals need to possess a CDL. This applies in Arizona and across the country. There are different types of CDLs. At HDS Truck Driving Institute (HDS truck driving school) our programs can help you earn a Class A or a Class B license. 

A Class A CDL is necessary to drive a CMV with a gross combination weight rating (GCWR) or gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 26,001 pounds or more with a towing capacity of over 10,000 pounds. A Class B CDL is required to drive a CMV with a GCWR or GVWR of 26,001 pounds or more which has a towing capacity of less than 10,000 pounds. 

Earning an Arizona CDL

In order to earn your CDL in Arizona, you must meet federal and state requirements. 

Federal CDL Requirements

To get a commercial license, you must be at least 21 years old to drive across state lines. For intrastate travel, the age requirement is 18 years old. You will need to pass a background check and can be temporarily or permanently disqualified if you have certain offenses on your record. The FMCSA lists these offenses and the length of time you will be unable to hold a CDL for each offense on their website

Arizona CDL Requirements

Arizona follows national standards and the requirements to obtain your license in Arizona are similar to the requirements in other states. You must first obtain your commercial learner’s permit (CLP) by passing a knowledge test. This exam covers important safety information related to driving a CMV. To get your CDL after earning your CLP, you must pass a skills test driving a vehicle of the class that you intend to operate. 

All commercial drivers in the State of Arizona must keep a Medical Examiner Certificate on file with the Motor Vehicle Department (MVD). You will need to complete a DOT physical every 24 months to keep your license. In some cases, the doctor will require you to be examined more frequently. This ensures you meet health requirements set by the DOT for commercial drivers. 

Obtaining your Arizona CDL also requires proof of residency. You will need to provide two documents showing a valid Arizona address. The MVD has a full list of acceptable documents in their CDL manual. You must also prove that you are a United States citizen or a legal permanent resident. Documents that establish your citizen status are also listed in the CDL manual. 

Earn Your CDL With HDS

When you earn your CDL by attending HDS truck driving school, we do more than ensure you meet the minimum requirements. We give you valuable tools and knowledge to help you start your trucking career. 

Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you obtain your Arizona CDL.

Class A CDL vs. Class B CDL

A commercial driver’s license (CDL) is required to operate a commercial motor vehicle (CMV). Earning this license is the first step to becoming a truck driver. There is more than one type of license and it is important to understand which class you will need. At HDS Truck Driving Institute (HDS truck driving school) our training programs allow you to earn a Class A CDL or a Class B CDL. 

Class A CDL

A Class A CDL is the most common type of commercial driver’s license. It is also more universal than a Class B license as it allows you to drive almost any type of CMV. You will need a Class A CDL to operate a CMV with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 26,001 pounds or more and a towing capacity of more than 10,000 pounds. 

CMVs that you can drive with a Class A license include:

  • Tractor-Trailers: A tractor-trailer is a large truck that pulls an attached semi-trailer. Tractor-trailer and semi-truck are often used interchangeably, but a semi-truck technically refers only to the front portion of the vehicle, not the attached trailer. 
  • Flatbed Trucks: A flatbed truck has a front portion that looks similar to the front of a tractor-trailer. However, instead of an enclosed trailer, it has a flat and level area on the back with no walls or enclosure. Freight must be properly secured in order to transport it using a flatbed truck. 
  • Tank Vehicles: A tank vehicle or tank truck transports liquid, gas, or dry bulk loads. You will also need a tanker endorsement to drive one of these CMVs.

Class B CDL

A Class B CDL allows you to drive a CMV with a GVWR of 26,001 pounds or more that tows a vehicle weighing less than 10,000 pounds. The towing capacity is the biggest difference between the Class A and Class B licenses. 

With a Class B CDL, you can drive most straight trucks (which have a mounted body rather than an attached trailer), dump trucks, or box trucks. With appropriate qualifications, you can drive a bus. You may also be able to drive some smaller tractor-trailers. 

Which CDL Do You Need?

A Class A CDL is generally the best choice if you are interested in a long-term career in trucking. Class A CDL jobs usually pay more and you have a larger range of opportunities with this type of license. However, earning a Class B CDL can be a good choice if you know the type of trucking job you want only requires a Class B license.

HDS truck driving school offers CDL training for both types of licenses. Our advisors can help you determine which program is best for your needs. 

CDL Endorsements

Endorsements are additional certifications that you can add to your CDL. These can help you qualify for more diverse jobs within the trucking industry. In addition to knowing what type of CDL you will need, you should also determine whether your preferred jobs require endorsements. At HDS truck driving school, you can earn endorsements for hazardous materials, tankers, and doubles/triples. 

Earn Your CDL at HDS

You can earn a Class A or Class B license at HDS truck driving school. We help prepare you for your CDL exam and give you the skills you need to succeed as a truck driver. 

Contact us today to learn more about our Class A or Class B CDL training programs.

Reasons to Add a Hazmat Endorsement to Your CDL

At HDS Truck Driving Institute (HDS truck driving school), we offer a variety of programs that allow you to earn your commercial driver’s license (CDL). In addition to helping you prepare for and pass the written and skills tests, our Class A CDL Training Program provides three endorsements, including hazardous materials, also known as hazmat. This endorsement demonstrates your ability to safely transport toxic chemicals, explosives, flammable gases, or other materials that the Department of Transportation (DOT) classifies as hazardous. 

Adding a hazardous materials endorsement to your CDL can benefit you in many ways:

Get Better Pay for Transporting Hazmat

Most truck driving jobs pay per mile. The amount you make will depend on your experience, the type of goods you are hauling, and whether or not your trucking company offers other bonuses or incentives. Transporting hazardous materials can earn you more money per mile. This is because of the additional safety considerations that must be addressed when transporting this type of freight. As a result, having your hazmat endorsement may help you land a higher-paying trucking job. 

Qualify for More Trucking Jobs

Once you earn your CDL, you will be able to start looking for jobs in the trucking industry. Adding a hazmat endorsement may give you more options for your employment. CDL endorsements show potential employers your commitment to safety and make you a more attractive candidate. The hazmat endorsement also allows you to drive for companies who transport these potentially dangerous materials. When you attend HDS truck driving school, we offer job placement assistance. Our team can help you find jobs where you can use your hazmat endorsement to earn more money.

Combine Hazmat and Tanker Endorsements

For some truck driving jobs, a combination of endorsements may be required. Hazmat and tanker endorsements are often earned at the same time and this combination is considered an X endorsement. This may be required for jobs transporting dangerous gases or liquids. Much like the hazmat endorsement alone, it can increase your pay as a truck driver. At HDS truck driving school, you can earn both the hazmat and tanker endorsements. 

Additional Requirements

Before you begin the process of earning your hazmat endorsement, you should be aware that this endorsement has additional requirements beyond what you need to get a CDL alone. The Transportation Safety Administration (TSA) regulates who can and cannot earn a hazmat endorsement and you will need to complete a full background check in addition to passing the written test. If you are interested in attending HDS truck driving school, we can help you understand these requirements and determine if you qualify. 

Earn Your Hazmat Endorsement With HDS

At HDS, we pride ourselves on preparing our students for rewarding careers in the trucking industry. Our classes include a combination of classroom learning and hands-on training and are taught by highly-skilled and experienced instructors. Not only will you earn your CDL, but you can also receive hazmat, tanker, and doubles/triples endorsements when you complete our Class A CDL Training Program. 

Contact us today to learn more about our CDL school and how you can earn your hazmat endorsement.