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Department of Transportation approves first Semi-Truck Driving: Class A CDL program at RAMS/Oelwein Center

Friday, June 3, 2022

NICC RAMS news imageOELWEIN, Iowa—The Northeast Iowa Community College Regional Academy for Math and Science (RAMS) / Oelwein Center will be offering a new Semi-Truck Driving: Class A CDL course this summer. The Department of Transportation has approved the program.

As a competency-based Entry-Level Driver Training (ELDT) program, it is designed to prepare community members for a career that offers freedom, stability and competitive pay. The training develops each driver’s skills in backing, turning and safe driving, on both rural and suburban roads. Training techniques including CDL simulator, Bumper-to-Bumper online coursework, classroom lecture and hands-on Behind-The-Wheel training.

The RAMS / Oelwein Center is offering two sessions of the CDL course: June 27-July 22 and July 25-Aug. 1. Each session meets Monday through Friday from 8 a.m.-5 p.m.

The course can be completed in four weeks, but students proficient in pre-trip inspection, range and road skills may complete CDL testing prior to the end date. Endorsement certifications for Hazardous Materials, Bus Driving and Tanker are available and will require additional training and testing.

“Northeast Iowa Community College is so excited to receive DOT approval and be able to offer the semi-truck driving course in Oelwein. We are hoping our efforts will help our local and area businesses address their truck driver shortages and supply chain challenges. We are thankful for the Oelwein School District’s continued support of our College, and the donated use of their student parking lot so that we can offer this course,” stated Terri Rubner, RAMS / Oelwein Center director.

Program cost is $4,000, plus additional costs for the required DOT physical and drug and alcohol screening. Tuition assistance is available if qualifications are met. Before registration, students will need to obtain a Commercial Learner’s Permit (CLP), which includes three tests taken at the Department of Transportation: General Knowledge, Air Brake and Combination Vehicle. Once that is complete, students must register with the FMCSA Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse and are required to pass and pay for the Department of Transportation physical and pre-employment drug/alcohol screening.

This program meets the Federal Motor Carrier Entry-Level Driver Training requirements from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and will prepare drivers for Class A CDL testing with Federal Department of Transportation (DOT) examiners. All commercial drivers, by federal law, must be able to “read and speak the English language sufficiently to converse with the general public, understand highway traffic signs and signals, respond to official inquiries and make entries on reports and records.” The College is an approved Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration training provider for Entry-Level Driver Training.