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Business, Public Services, & Technologies Division, Portsmouth


Technologies ~



In 1978, the trucking industry expressed a need for better-qualified drivers, so the Virginia Highway Users Association assisted Tidewater Community College (TCC) in setting guidelines in order to train students to become professional drivers. The TCC Truck Driver Training Program gives students the opportunity to obtain the skills necessary for a successful, well-paid career in the trucking industry. Upon entering our program, students should have knowledge of standard shift vehicle and clutch operation.

Our program is an intense eight weeks of combined classroom instruction (30%) and practical training (70%). We offer both day and evening classes which meets Monday through Friday at our Suffolk site on College Drive.

TCC does not guarantee nor assist students with employment upon completion of the program. However, at graduation, there are company recruiters that provide students with valuable information.

Please read the entire packet. If you need further information or have questions regarding the informational packet, use the "point of contact" information.



Peggy Manuelito, Administrative Assistant

Truck Driver Training Program

120 Campus Drive

Portsmouth, VA 23701

Phone:  (757) 822-2428

Fax:  (757) 822-2926




Tuition costs, based on 16 semester credits, are as follows (tuition may increase without notice):

                                                $ 2,498.75     (Virginia Residents)                         
                                                $ 5,612.35     (Out-of-State Resident)      
                                                $ 2,786.75     (Military Contract Rate)      



  1. Students must submit a Tidewater Community College Application for Admission which can be found online at or at any TCC campus.
Students are required to submit an official TCC Application for Admission. Once the application is submitted, the college will issue a 7-digit “Emplid” and an email address ( The Emplid number and email are required for any business with Tidewater Community College.

If a student does not have a high school diploma or a GED, the student is required to take a placement test. For testing information, contact the Assessment Center at (757) 822-2194.

  1. Payment/financial aid arrangements must be made before you register. Classes are filled on a first-come, first-served basis.

This course is available to veterans who qualify under the GI Bill of Rights. Students who plan to use their VA educational benefits should contact the Veterans Affairs office at (757) 822-2197. Financial aid is also available to qualifying applicants. The FAFSA application can be found on the TCC website at or contact the Financial Aid office at (757) 822-2215. The student must be enrolled in an eligible curriculum (221.279.02 Trucking Program, this is a 16-credit course) for financial aid  purposes. Be sure to list Tidewater Community College as a school choice on your FAFSA. TCC code  is 003712. Please check and use your email to keep track of your financial aid. See a counselor or financial aid advisor if you have questions. FINANCIAL AID IS THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE STUDENT! 

  1. Please complete steps 1 and 2 before registering for the Trucking Program. Class schedule is found on the last page. On registration day, bring your student ID# and a form of payment to the Portsmouth campus, 120 Campus Drive. The Trucking office is located in building C, room 117C. The Portsmouth campus is the only TCC campus that offers the Truck Driving Training Program.            


  • A DMV report showing at least seven years of driving history

    The college reserves the right to reject any applicant whose driving record is judged unacceptable or who has a criminal record. The trucking industry indicates that drivers with the following offenses are not hired by many trucking companies: 
                ~ Alcohol-related convictions; a DUI/DWI on your driving record
                ~ Drug-related convictions (most companies)
                ~ Any conviction of a felony (most companies)


  • Virginia Driver's License (a copy)

    If there are any discrepancies regarding your driver's license, you will be immediately dropped from the program.


  • A Department of Transportation (DOT) substance abuse screening (drug test) is required in accordance with the Federal Regulation 382.103

    A Department of  Transportation substance abuse screening (drug test) should be taken within 30 days before classes begin.

    While obtaining the drug test, keep in mind that STUDENTS ARE NOT TO HANDLE THE RESULTS! Results should be sent directly to Peggy Manuelito from the facility. If results are brought in by the student, they will NOT be accepted and the student will be dropped from the program.

    Tidewater Community College Truck Drive Training Program drug testing requires a one-time negative results only! If the result comes in "dilute negative/dilute specimen" or "positive," the student will be dropped from the program. However, student may come back to the program at the next class session with a negative result.

    If you are unclear about Tidewater Community College's policy regarding drug and alcohol, please refer to the Student Handbook 2013-14, which can be found at


  • A Department of Transportation (DOT) Medical Examination Report (physical examination) and a Medical Examiner’s Certificate (wallet size).

    Physicals are good for two years. However, any health conditions stated on your physical form could shorten the expiration date. It should be noted that some medical conditions such as a history of heart trouble, diabetes, mental illness or serious back injury, could affect being admitted to the program. Also, it could drawback for hiring.

    The following information is provided to assist students in locating a testing facility. TCC would like for students to choose one of these facilities to provide quick and accurate results so they can start class on time. However, you are NOT required to use these facilities but students must choose a testing facility that is accordance with the Department of Transportation procedures and provide the proper DOT forms. 

  • Patient Choice Ghent

    957 E. West 21st Street

    Norfolk, VA 23517

    (757) 622-8358


    Now Care I

    6632 Indian River Road

    Virginia Beach, VA  23464

    Phone: 757-424-4300

    Open: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday – Friday

    9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Saturday & Sunday



    Sentara Obici Occupational Medicine

    (BelleHarbour Location)

    3920-A Bridge Road, #100

    Suffolk, VA  23435

    (757) 983-0080

    8 a.m. – 5 p.m., Monday - Friday


    Bon Secours OccuMed

    4300 Portsmouth Blvd, Suite 220

    Chesapeake, VA 23321

    (757) 465-4000

    8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., Monday - Friday

    Walk-In or Appointment


If any circumstances cause this paperwork to be delayed the student will not be allowed to start class. If a problem is discovered after the class has begun, the student will be withdrawn immediately. If the withdrawal occurs after the second day of class, only a partial refund will be forthcoming.


All required paperwork (including drug test results) must be turned in TWO WEEKS prior to the start of class. Failure to comply will result in forfeiture of your space in the class. It is your responsibility to contact the trucking office at 822-2428 to report any problems encountered while obtaining the required documents. All the required paperwork is an out-of-pocket expense for the student.







The cost of the Tractor Trailer Driver Handbook/Workbook, Driver's Daily Log, Hazardous Materials, and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations is approximately $65. As of July 2013, students are required to purchase a DOT safety vest, yellow in color. Textbooks and safety vests are available on the Portsmouth campus at the distribution bookstore from 9:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m., Monday through Thursday. If you have any questions regarding the safety vest, please contact the Trucking office at 822-2428. Students can also purchase safety vests at Barnes & Noble in the MacArthur Mall (Norfolk). Students are responsible for purchasing the textbooks and vest before the first day of class. Used books may also be available.


Students should be able to read and understand the Department of Transportation (DOT) Manual. Although there are no special educational requirements for admission to the program, students must have an understanding of basic mathematics, reading, and writing skills.


The course includes DOT rules and regulations, defensive driving, maintenance, hazardous material, backing the tractor/trailer (9 exercises), and over-the-road and city driving. The 280 hours of instruction are broken down to 120 hours of classroom and personal instruction, and 160 hours of practical application. 


During the first week of class, students will review the Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) Commercial Driver’s License manual. At the end of the week, DMV comes to the school to test students for their CDL learner’s permit. PLEASE NOTE:  If you can’t obtain your CDL learner’s permit by the beginning of the second week of class, you will NOT be able to continue the program


Throughout the next seven weeks, each student receives three evaluations: a 9-day evaluation, a mid-term evaluation, and a final evaluation. In order to receive a certificate, passing grade in the following courses must be received: 

TRK 101 – DOT Safety Rules and Regulations (2 credits)
TRK 102 – Preventive Maintenance for Truck Drivers (1 credit)
TRK 103 – Tractor Trailer Driving (9 credits)
TRK 110 – Survey of the Trucking Industry (3 credits)
SDV 106 – Preparation for Employment (1 credit)

If a student is unable to pass any portion of the program, they may return to retake the class. However, upon returning they must pay for the class(es) they are retaking and will have to submit a DOT drug test taken within 30 days before classes begin.




There are as many as 200,000 job openings nationwide for long haul truckers, according to David Heller, director of safety and policy for the Truckload Carriers Association.


The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that employment for truck drivers will increase by 9 percent between 2008 and 2018, which is as fast as the average for all occupations.


Employment opportunities for truck drivers largely depend on the state of the economy, so drivers will find better prospects with industries that are generally recession-proof, such as grocery stores. There will be steep competition for job openings that offer the highest wages and most flexible schedules.

The outlook for the trucking industry is excellent. There is a shortage of drivers in general and long distance drivers in particular.


Job turnover is high for truckers. At the same time, as the economy stages a gradual recovery, more new positions are becoming available.

No one should enter the trucking industry without being prepared to sacrifice some home time. Even local drivers may put in over 10 hours a day.

Most good paying local and short haul companies prefer at least a year experience Over-the-Road (OTR), thus demonstrating reliability and skill of prospective drivers. The OTR industry will give an out-of-school new driver a training period with an experienced Driver Trainer to get them started (period of four weeks or more). Local and short haul usually do not have this extra training.

While solo driving companies (one driver in the truck versus a team operation) often allow a rider in the truck, smaller children are normally not allowed to ride.

The trucking industry offers above average incomes and good benefits to qualified drivers. Truck driving could be for you:

  • if you like to travel
  • if you like to meet new people
  • if you like to earn a good income

Trucking can be good work, and even highly lucrative, but it will never be an easy choice. Truckers can gross up to $300,000 per year. After paying for fuel, insurance, truck payments and maintenance they can clear as much as $150,000 in take-home pay, as long as they spend most of their time on the highway, living in their customized sleeper.

A rule of thumb:  If you and your family cannot invest one year of your life with an OTR company, trucking may not be for you.


There are three types of trucking:

1.   Local

A common type of trucking is local truck driving. Local truck drivers are an important part of individual communities, as they assist in keeping the economy strong. These truck drivers deliver, pickup and occasionally sell items in one localized area. Some local truck drivers may obtain special licenses and certifications to qualify for transporting specialized vehicles, hazardous materials and oversized loads, which increases a driver's earning potential. Local trucking jobs are ideal for a driver who may not want to be away from family for long periods of time or a driver who prefers to work in an area of familiarity.


2.  Over-the-Road (OTR) 

In the trucking industry, almost every new driver begins their career as an OTR (over-the-road) truck driver. They won’t have the typical "9-to-5" job, and won’t get paid by the hour. They’ll work on your own schedule and get paid by the mile, which is much better for them!

The first year as an over-the-road driver is very important to their new professional truck driving career. They’ll learn a lot about the trucking industry and become skilled at all aspects of truck driving. Most importantly, they’ll be getting the experience needed to build their career as a professional truck driver.

As a new OTR truck driver, they’ll be driving to different places every day. This is called an irregular route, and it means they’ll go anywhere and everywhere. They’ll see the country, enjoy the freedom of the open road, and get a lot of time behind the wheel, which means they’ll make more money! And remember, drivers are important to employers, so employers will work with them to get time off when they need it.

When drivers get on the road, they find that long-haul lifestyle isn’t easy, living for weeks at a time in the cramped confines of the back of the truck.

The OTR industry will usually give a driver one full day off for every week (seven days) away from home. This makes trucking a lifestyle, not just a career change.

3.  Short Haul

Short haul drivers normally drive trips of 100 miles or less and have a regular route and schedule daily. They drive from their home base and usually have several deliveries within a single trip, after which they return to their base.

A normal short haul driver's shift is between 8 to 10 hours. Although most trucks have ergonomically designed cabs, good ventilation, and climate control, driving for long hours, lifting, loading and unloading, and walking can be physically demanding. Drivers are exposed to outside weather conditions, along with the noise and fumes of other vehicles when they step out to deliver the merchandise to the client. One benefit enjoyed by short haul drivers, however, is that they get to return to their home at day's end.

A short haul truck driver transports combined freight from several customers in a single truckload. An example of short haul truck driving is a package delivery service. Generally, short haul truck driver's routes run between terminals, allowing them to be away from home for a short period of time, generally no more than one to two days. A driver with long haul experience is an ideal candidate for short haul driving. Compared to other types of truck driving, short haul driving jobs typically offer higher pay along with better health benefits.