IITR Trucking School

by Dlyrius
(Portland, OR)

I want to warn everyone that this post is going to be a long one, I will try to be as fair and objective as possible, but I refuse to sugar coat anything either. Lord knows, I am certainly no expert on the subject. My only interest is sharing my own personal experiences, observations, and opinions with those who are considering spending a lot of money attending an independent trucking school. Again, this is only my perspective, yours might be different. So please accept my apologies in advance for the length of this post.


Last May (2008) I attended IITR Trucking School, boasting to be one of the only *cough* "accredited" trucking schools in the nation. They have several locations in Oregon, and my campus was probably one of their largest being located in Clackamas, OR.

Now, before I really get going here let me say... I am far from stupid. I did (or thought I did), my homework before signing up. I looked them up on the internet, went to the campus in person and talked to their placement director. I even spoke to a former student. After all, I wanted to make an informed decision. But as usual, in hindsight, what I should have done was talk to alot more of their students (past and present). I honestly don't know if our training experiences were an exception or the norm for this type of business. Yes, I said business, not school. Don't get me wrong, I don't begrudge anyone the right to earn enough to cover costs and equipment while making a decent living. Yes, "its the American way", but after doing the math, (I used to be in banking), its hard not to wonder if its just another way to take advantage of the hopeful, but poor, unemployed folks who are just trying to better their own lives.

In all honesty, other than teaching us only the most basic of basics needed to obtain a CDL, when it came to actually providing what was promised, they "failed to deliver the load". The general class consensus was that they weren't in it to create competent safe drivers so much as they were in it to make a whole bunch of big bucks. So now the big question... how would I rate them overall.

On a scale from 1 to 10, I have to be honest and rate them a weak 5.5 out of 10. If it wasn't for the road instructors, it would be a 3 or less. But despite everything, I did manage to pass my pretrip exam and driving test and got my CDL. Now if I could just find a job ;)

Now for the "bucks", how much was training you ask, well it was ALOT!

I was extremely lucky enough learn about, and qualify for, a small government program that paid for everything. Most are not that fortunate. With one exception, everyone in my class had to borrow their tuition money. For the most part the average expense was in excess of $5,600.00 just to get to the point where we were ready to "test out".

Remember, that doesn't include added costs like meals, fuel to and from school, or paying a 2nd rent if you must stay in student housing.

I have no idea what you might get for your money, but this is what we got... We of course got our "driver" training, as well as, a Rand McNally Motor Carrier's Road Atlas, a FMC Safety Regulation pocketbook, a plastic ruler, a baseball cap, and a nifty light up pen that died a week after graduation. (It really was a cool pen, I was mad when it died.) We also got a coffee mug full of candy, and a 3x5 class picture. Yep, training covered everything, including giving us a head start on a junk food diet. *chuckle*

We had 3 sections of training to complete (classroom, yard, and driving). This was all crammed into 10 hour days over a period of 5 weeks. Their literature and website promised classes no larger than 18 students per class, we had 23 (not including 3 or 4 more that joined us from previous classes for the yard and driving sections of our training). Made me feel like a cow in a feed lot. Line up, and hurry and eat this information so we can send you out to slaughter and clean the barn for the next herd.

We were also told we had lifetime placement assistance. For me, it consisted of a 5 minute conversation where I stated I was interested in flatbedding, only to be handed a couple sheets of paper listing trucking companies (not one of which used flatbed trailers), and sent back to class. Frankly, I would have gotten more help from a phone book. Thank God for the internet.

Now let me take you through each section of their "accredited" training program.

1. Classroom: For the most part the classroom lessons were interesting and informative (With the exception of having to relive grade school memories while watching outdated filmstrips - err i mean dvds. They covered the basics like trip planning, reading a road atlas, dealing with HazMat, and filling out log books. Our instructor was knowledgeable, and a retired trucker herself. They had recruiters bring in lunch goodies to eat while they chatted about what they had to offer. Sounds normal enough huh?

Sadly, it dawned on me something wasn't quite right. During the classroom courses the guy next to me (who didn't speak english very well) was having trouble understanding the terminology. Concerned, I privately brought this to the instructors attention and explained that he was embarrassed to ask for help. Her response was, "It was nice of you to tell me about this, and I am sure that with your help he will do just fine". Uhh, WHAT?!? Wait a minute here...

Who was getting paid to do this? It wasn't my job or responsibility to help him, but after her dismissive response, it was only right to care enough about his ability to support his family and help him graduate. Which he did. (I was so proud :). But I guess the thousands of dollars he paid for classes didn't include being treated with a little courtesy and compassion by the staff.

2. Yard: Here is where things get more disturbing. The equipment in the yard was JUNK. Mirrors falling off, bare wires that shocked us, doors that would not close, missing vital parts, even leaking air systems. When we told the instructors about the problems we were told, and i quote "just pretend it works, or just pretend its there". I mean What The F***?

For most of us this was the first time we had been near these huge highway beasts. We needed to know when something isn't where it should be. We needed to know when something is and isn't working properly. Just how does one do that when the equipment you learned on doesn't work properly or is missing altogether?

I understand these are "training trucks" and it would be just stupid to abuse new trucks with newbies frying the clutches out of them. But come on, these trucks made the hideous wrecks I have seen coming out of Mexico look brand new.

We were here to learn how to back up, couple and uncouple trailers, slide axles, install snow chains, adjust brakes, and commit to memory the horrors of "The PreTrip Inspection!" At one point, I insisted that they allow a few of us to pretrip one of the road trucks we would actually be tested in so we would be familiar with what a road worthy truck actually was before being tested by the state.

We were also graded on each area, and if we failed the first time, we had to accept a grade of 70% regardless of how well you did the second time. This means if the guy before you backed up really crooked, too bad for you. They didn't bother to make the testing fair by making sure each test started with a truck parked in a consistent start position. There were also cases where the instructor was not paying attention while testing various students on the pretrip. Even though the students correctly identified and physically checked the equipment, because the instructor was spacing out and missed it, they were given a failing grade "for not doing it right". Yes, it was frustrating and to some a minor thing. But on the other hand, these kinds of inconsistencies had the potential to cause major problems down the line by adversely affecting our overall GPA. That lovely little number is used by some companies as part of their hiring criteria.

3. Driving. YAY! It was eye opening, scary, and way fun! After graduating, I learned that the Albany, OR campus had given each of their students 40hrs of driving time, while we got a total of 15. Because they had over crowded our classes, our time behind the wheel was greatly reduced to ensure everyone had a chance drive. While they did offer us the chance to request extra drive time, they also charged $100.00 per hour for it.

Now, the road instructors were great, and it took alot to rattle them to the point of raising their voices. While it was against IITR policy to teach us how to "float gears", overall they were helpful, and went out of their way to make sure we understood what they were trying to teach us. They treated our insecurities and fears with kindness and understanding. And even though we had to be quiet so whomever was driving could concentrate, they never failed to take the time to share stories and put our nerves at ease with a good laugh.

Sometimes they had to be very creative with their instructions. Calmly communicating using terms that were specifically individualized to fit the student's comprehension level while not sounding condescending. I can't say enough about them, and to this day, wish they had been our instructors from beginning to end.

So thats about it, and if you have managed to make it this far, I applaud you. I hope some of what I shared was helpful.

This is literally my very first visit to the website, and I'm not sure if this is the type of post our host had in mind when he requested input about trucking schools. To him I say, please don't hesitate to delete this if its not what you wanted. It won't hurt my feelings one bit. I just felt compelled to share my experiences with IITR with your readers, and being a female driver, I will be kind and resist the urge post in the "Women in Trucking" section :)

Catch ya on the flipside!

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Jan 03, 2016
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You Crack Me Up NEW
by: Dlyrius

Amusing you all seem to know me since I never gave this nickname out to anyone. I never complained when I was in class, excelled at my yard work (because I had prior experience), and I would never claim to be a banker. I worked in Credit Unions, much different animal.

As for washing out. sorry again folks, I was hired and drove for many years with an awesome company that treated their drivers like people, not a truck number.

And just so you know, I started in flatbeds.. NOT a driving job for the weak, so any comments you may have for not being one to handle the lifestyle, I was out living the road life before most of you even got in a truck for the first time.

Best of luck to you all though! It's still a tough road out there, and my hat is off to any of you who manage to make a good living, and keep your relationships together :)

Dec 24, 2015
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DLYRIUS NEW
by: Michael

I know the post by Dlyrius is old but I just saw this posting and I went to school with her and I have to laugh at what she wrote. I remember her because she used to be a banker and I remember all she did was bitch about EVERYTHING. I seriously doubt she lasted in the industry and as for my own experience, I had a great time at IITR and I remember they even went the extra mile to get DLYRIUS through and I doubt any other truck school would have. I know I wouldn't have taken her constant complaining...

Nov 23, 2014
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heh NEW
by: Dlyrius

I hate to tell you this, but it sounds to me like my original post may have helped your tiny class which is why you enjoyed your experience. I might also add that I am a very succcessful driver. I hope you have as much success as I did inspite of the crap class I had. Btw.. good luck with your first company trainer.. I could write a whole book about the fun I had *cough* As for expecting special treatment... pfftt.. I expected what I paid for and was promised only.. Which was limited class size, placement service etc... Overall, I guess what I paid for and received was my CDL.. end of story. Keep it rubber side down and enjoy your winter driving experience.. it's a hoot!

Nov 23, 2014
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heh NEW
by: Dlyrius

I hate to tell you this, but it sounds to me like my original post may have helped your tiny class which is why you enjoyed your experience. I might also add that I am a very succcessful driver. I hope you have as much success as I did inspite of the crap class I had.

Nov 11, 2014
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Women Truckers NEW
by: Anonymous

I attended IITR Truck school in Clackamas and had a great time there. The trucks were modern, good looking and loaded trailers. We did however have 2 women in our class and 1 of them reminds me of the banker posting here. She thought she should be treated differently and im sure she will not make it in the trucking industry. Even though she was a real pain in the @#%@#%@, the instructors still helped her out and so did Amanda the placement lady. They had way more job offers that graduates. There were 12 students in my class. Dave the owner for ever spoke to me a couple times and not only remembered my name, he seemed determined to help me in any way he could. he even loaned another student 50 dollars for gas. For me this was a GREAT school and a GREAY experience.

Jan 17, 2014
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Folow up. NEW
by: Anonymous

I just graduated from IITR and won't say what campus because I do want to be anonymous. Not because I have anything bad to say. But because you should know getting into this industry is hard. It costs money! It's hard. I do have to say the instructors were awesome. I realized the opportunity so I decided to go for it. In this economy you can have a minimum wage job or do this. I did get hired right out of school. Won't say who took me but I'm glad to have a job. And I did my own recruiting. Not saying they won't help in the future because they do offer lifetime job placement assistance. But it was up to me to find my first job. Follow up and follow through with it. I got no help from them. If your considering this as an option be prepared to sell some of your stuff, ask grandma for some money, take out a loan. Getting your CDL costs a lot. Nothing negative, just my experience, do your own research like I did. The training is top notch, the staff not so much.

Jul 14, 2011
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I REMEMBER DLYRIUS FROM MY CLASS
by: 2008 GRAD

I stumbled upon this page today and I about fell out of my chair when I saw the posting from DLYRIUS. I was in the same class she was and I remember her because she used to be a banker and I thought that was a strange career change from banker to trucker plus she was about 5 inches taller than I am and I'm 5'8. I pulled out my class picture and roster and I'm not sure about her math because there were 19 students in our class, not 23 like she said.

I thought the school was excellent and I just got my dream job after 2 years of OTR trucking and am now driving for Fred Meyer and I've already made 28K the first 6 months of 2011. I've stopped by the school many times since I graduated and it's always fun to visit. I also stopped by 2 of their other locations and the students were as happy as when I went.

As for "the banker", I do remember she struggled with her yard skills and I don't know if she got a driving job upon graduation but I would bet if she did, our industry likely washed her out within 6 months. It is not an industry for the weak.

I've also seen many other truck schools during my career and I can assure you none of them I've seen had as nice of road trucks as they have and I've heard horror stories from students who attended other truck schools. As for the yard trucks, yes they were older but what do you expect for backing skills.

For any of you thinking about a career in trucking, I would recommend you check out IITR but the real way to know the best school to choose is by checking out the others as well like I did. It was a no brainer for me when I chose IITR after I shopped. Hope this helps some of you.


Mar 25, 2011
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This school Delivered to my expectations
by: Nathaniel Jacobs

Hi. My name is nathan, and I recently graduated from IITR(March 18th 2011). I started in April and knew NOTHING about trucks or trucking or the components of a truck or the industry. We(my class) Had 15 guys in it and we were all very happy with the experience. We all joked around with each other, were encouraged to help each other out and to apply ourselves to the best of our abilities. NOW HERES SOMETHING THAT BOTHERS ME. In one of these posts. one talks about how there was a spanish speaking individual who was not understanding the coursework and they notified the instructor and the instructor apparently responded with if you help him im sure he would appreciate it. and at the same time, if you cant understand english. then why are you coming to and english speaking school. ITS A TRUCK DRIVING SCHOOL NOT A ENGLISH SCHOOL. I would be pissed if my instructors had to diviate from the classroom schedule to teach someone english RIGHT? So onto another point. They(iitr) do not claim to be the only(but one of few) accredited driving schools in the nation and the only in the NW. Another point. If you expect to go to a school and have the teachers teach you everything and get a diploma and have a job(well think again, and get the silver spoon outta your mouth). school is a tool and a wealth of knowledge. Its your responsibility to get the most info and training ut of it you can. Apply yourself. I have a felony,dui, from 12 years ago, not a very stable work history because of layoffs. I went to IITR and graduated on march the 18th 2011 And was assisted in getting a job by Amanda from Clackamas and have already been offered a job. I Start with SWIFT Transportation on april 5th 2011. Their one of the highest paying and one of the biggest trucking companies in the nation and their international. SO YOU CANT TELL ME THAT THEY DONT KNOW WHAT THEIR DOING! TO THE IITR STAFF, THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR A WONDERFUL EDUCATION AND I WILL RECOMMEND YOU TO ANYONE WANTING TO BECOME A PROFFESSIONAL DRIVER. NATHAN CL11-2

Feb 24, 2011
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After The Schooling
by: Dlyrius

Hi Anon,

I'm so sorry you had to learn that part of the lesson with a crappy road trainer. Your suggestion is a great one to go out with a driver prior to shelling out the enormous price for schooling, but even sometimes that doesn't help. I spent 7 months off and on out with a driver before I went to school, unfortunately he happened to work for a great company (one of the VERY VERY few). They were all about safety, and not the greed I have found in the industry since I started driving. Finding a reputable company (from a drivers point of view), to drive for is extremely difficult. Out of all the road trainers I had during my learning period, only ONE actually taught me anything and wasn't in it for the money... God if the driving public only knew who and what they were risking their lives driving next to out there *shudder*

Feb 24, 2011
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Where Do I Go Now??????
by: Anonymous

Well, first I am a woman and did not have the good fortune or direction to obtain help paying for my schooling. I pretty much agree with D's comment about the school. I think too much yard time and not enough Drive Time, everything else...DITTO. What they really, REALLY need to let people know before they sign on the dotted line, is what happens after school. Even if you do your homework and think you really know what goes on....Get on a truck, travel cross country and back with a so called trainer who is doing the job for the money only. They will say and do anything and constantly tell you "IT'S THE INDUSTRY" Well I guess the INDUSTRY starts way back when you sign up for school. ALSO!!!!! Be aware that one mistake, comment or a trainer who just thinks (not knows but thinks) you should be elsewhere can send your CAREER down the tube in an instant. TRAINERS for trucking companies see dollar signs just like the companies themselves and well....I could go on and on but what's the use....I guess I'll have to get another Career, once I find a job to pay off school for this CAREER. Thought I might be getting ahead but now I am deeper in debt, my LIFETIME JOB PLACEMENT....WELL! Good Luck and Beware. Ialso feel a little more honesty and a little less gimme, gimme, would go a long way...............

Feb 18, 2010
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to Jimmy
by: Anonymous

I was looking up this school and came across this posting...I do not agree with your attitude of schooling. If I spend any amount on attending I would like to see what is promised fulfilled! Lame excuses do not prompt me to want to attend where you instruct...If I want a truck and do not get treated with the respect I deserve I will go elsewhere...Not look at just the last picture that I got my truck. Experience to get that truck is what this was written about, duh. It is a justifiable acknowledgement to show that your are only as good as your word and service is still important factor in any business. Thanks for the insight of what to look for when taking a tour. I have learned that no matter how I would like to trust my hard earned money to give to someone for a so called better than best school that taking them for their word no longer exist.

Mar 25, 2009
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Trucking School Adventures
by: Hervy

Lol. Sounds like that's what you had Dylrius an adventure.

Really appreciate all the time you took to give us the information, especially since it wasn't all one sided. I would be interested in hear how others perceived the training there.

I was wondering if you at any point ever feel like you were treat differently for being a woman? Also, did you experience being treated differently out on the road as a trucker.

And yes please do post on women in trucking if their is a story to tell about that adventure.

Good luck on your career.

By the way my trucking school training costed about the same amount but you got a lot more freebies with yours.

Thanks,
Hervy

Mar 22, 2009
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A meeting of the minds.
by: Jimmy

Hi again Dlyrius. Glad you responded back to my response. Of course if I misunderstood any part of your post, I'll be glad to listen. I simply wanted to present the other side of the story. Not that anyone is right or wrong, but there are two sides to any story. We can discuss this here or you can e/mail me at "jimmyhere@thetruckermail.com"

One part of your post is true, that being crowded sessions. But sometimes, it's hard to get all the students to be able to start and stop the school at the same time. Some have daytime jobs etc, and the school might have to juggle and end up with an overcrowded class. So get back to me with your follow-up. Jimmy

Mar 22, 2009
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A little clarification
by: Dlyrius

Well Hi Jimmy!

It seems I did a poor job of communicating clearly on some points within my posting about IITR and my experiences with them. I edited and omitted a LOT for the sake of saving space on an already too long posting.

While there were many things we agree upon, there are others that will have to be a case of "agreeing to disagree" between us frankly because I doubt anyone but us would be interested in the discussion.

However, if you are interested, I would be more than happy to share everything in a more appropriate location. Perhaps email?

For now, I'm 10-10 on the side.

Mar 22, 2009
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What's with these truck driving schools?
by: Jimmy

Hello Dlyrius, thanks for the informative post. I have a few things to say. I am a retired trucker and a former driver trainer as well as an instructor at a driving school.

Before I defend the school, you did get what you went to school for, that being a CDL, right? Looks like your expectations were a little too high. A lot of newbies have high expectations and get a rude awakening when they get into the biz and decide it is not for them.

First off, you did the right thing by visiting the school, but missed an opportunity by not asking for a tour. You would have seen the classroom, the yard and the equipment. I know the feeling having to use 'junky' equipment. But you won't find any school with 'primo' equipment since it would get trashed. There are a lot of schools with various fees.

The school is not taking advantage of anyone. If a student wants to learn and is willing to pay, then why wouldn't the school teach him/her? Since this is America and we speak English, it is up to the student to learn English. I know California has the DMV test in about 8-10 different languages just to accommodate the many different nationalities that come here. And Dlyrius, I have to tell you, here in America, especially in the trucking business, we help people that need help. Period.

Please lose the attitude that helping someone is "not your responsibility" As an instructor, I saw many students with language barriers that wanted so badly to learn, and were helped by the other students, and it really touched my heart. And they all made it through, even if just barely. There will be times you are trying to back into a tight spot at a truck stop and someone will be walking across the lot and will stop and guide you in. Or maybe help you tarp a flatbed load on a windy day. Or install tire chains. EVEN THOUGH it's not their responsibility.

You mentioned the horrors of the pre-trip, you can blame the DMV since it is THEIR requirement, not the schools. You are right, you only get the basics at school to get your CDL. You'll get your experience on the road.

As an instructor, I could always tell who would succeed and who wouldn't. The late comers, the disinterested weren't destined to make it. And I apologize for the instructors that are poor examples. We had one who would read the paper while the students were practicing the pre-trip, or would stop by an Indian Casino for lunch and get in a little gambling while there. Do you think those students were getting their moneys worth?

Your situation reminds me of my new pick-up I recently purchased. The dealings with the management were not to my liking, and the figures were not to my liking, but the end result was that I got what I originally went there for, a new pick-up. Best of luck to you in the trucking biz. Words of wisdom from Jimmy


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