After serving in the military, many Veterans enter the trucking industry. Those who served in a transportation capacity have a unique advantage. Many already possess the experience and skill to transition smoothly into a civilian trucking career.
Some trucking companies are more military-friendly than others. We’re going to take a closer look at the best trucking companies for Veterans and how you can use your GI Bill to pay for training.
Veterans Trucking Statistics
Veterans make up a large proportion of truckers in the United States. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, at least one in ten truck drivers is a Veteran.
Veterans bring skill and experience to the table when they enter the trucking industry. Those with 88M motor transport operator experience know how to handle heavy-duty trucks and equipment, and some have maneuvered these vehicles in dangerous situations (e.g. combat).
Ultimately, Veterans tend to be safer drivers and hard workers. In fact, a 2016 study found that Veteran drivers:
Drove 98% more miles
Had 44% fewer accidents
Had 62% fewer voluntary terminations
With the country facing a shortage of truckers, Veterans are a natural fit for the industry. Trucking is a well-paying job that provides job security and access to great benefits. Military-friendly trucking companies often have special programs for Veterans that help them transition to a career faster and earn more starting pay.
But many Veterans wonder how they’ll cover the cost of training. Fortunately, they have a few options.
Can You Use Your GI Bill for Truck Driving School?
Yes, many trucking schools will allow you to use your GI Bill to pay for training. To find an accepted organization, you can use the Weams Institution Search.
Prime trucking has more than 1,100 Veteran drivers. The company offers many benefits for Veterans, including reduced training costs. Prime knows that military Veterans already have the experience and skill to enter the industry, especially those who served as a Military Transport Operator.
Those who served in the armed forces can use the Military Fast Track to enter the Prime Student Driver program at a reduced cost.
Prime also recognizes and honors Veterans with:
Complimentary truck decals.
Participation in Springfield, MO’s Veteran’s Day Parade.
Weekly recognition at Driver Safety Meetings.
Cards and letters through their Operation Gratitude program.
Prime supports Wreath Across America to honor fallen service members, and they host a Veteran’s Day service at their headquarters in Missouri.
TMC hires current and former Veterans in all of their units. In fact, more than 35% of their flatbed fleet consists of Veteran drivers. TMC honors service men and women who drive for them by placing a patriotic decal on their truck with their branch of service.
TMC has partnered with the “Hiring Our Heroes” program to hire 500 more Veterans.
The company’s Apprenticeship program is approved by the GI Bill, making it easy for Veterans to enroll. Veterans receive their tax-free benefits in addition to their earnings with TMC.
TMC has been an employee-owned company since 2013. The Employee Stock Ownership Plan allows eligible employees to become part owners at no cost to them.
US Xpress values the experience that service men and women gain in the military. The carrier, which is one of the largest trucking companies in the country, offers a Post-9/11 GI Bill Apprenticeship Program that allows Veterans to receive their benefits in addition to their pay from US Xpress. Drivers who are part of this program can earn up to $75,000 in their first year.
Qualifying Veterans can receive monthly payments from the V.A. for up to two years while receiving on-the-job training from US Xpress.
The Apprenticeship Program offers:
Newer trucks (average age of 18 months)
Full Ride Program
Up to $7,000 in tuition reimbursement for CDL training
Great benefits, including 401(k) match, medical and dental coverage
Guaranteed home time for annual training and weekend drill
Those who are not eligible for the GI Bill may qualify for the company’s Avanced Rate of Pay Program. Through this program, you’ll earn the same pay rate as a driver with two years of experience once you have earned your CDL. US Xpress will reimburse up to $7,000 of your CDL tuition costs.
If you don’t have your CDL A, you may qualify for the Military Skills Waiver, which would substitute your military driving experience for the skills portion of the CDL test. You must apply within one year of leaving active duty.
Us Xpress was recognized as a Military Friendly 2020 Bronze Employer and has partnered with Military.com, Military Friendly, Wreaths Across America and Operation Freedom Dogs.
Roehl, one of the leading trucking companies in the country, offers many opportunities for Veterans. The company helps Veterans earn their CDLs or transfer their military CDLs through the military service waiver.
Roehl also has a two-year apprenticeship program that helps Veterans to extend their GI Bill benefits. This program is approved by the U.S. Departments of Labor and Veterans Affairs.
If you don’t have your CDL A, Roehl will pay you to get one through their Get Your CDL program. They have been training new drivers for more than two decades. The company recently increased their pay for new drivers in all divisions, even for those who receive their training from elsewhere.
Drivers at Roehl enjoy many benefits, including the company’s Pet Passport Program and passenger policy.
Schneider is known for being one of the largest trucking employers of current and former service men and women. In fact, the company says that 15% of their drivers have military experience.
Veterans can fill out a pre-qualification profile to ensure they can receive their benefits and get started with their career with Schneider.
The company rewards Veterans for their service and commitment through:
Higher starting pay
1-year credit for driving experience if your service was not transportation-related
100% of your military time applied as a driving experience credit
Veterans working for Schneider are guaranteed home time for annual training and weekend drill without using their paid time off. If deployed for more than 18 months, you will receive differential pay and extended benefits.
The company also has a Military Apprenticeship Program that allows qualifying Veterans to receive an additional $1,431 per month during their first 12 months of employment. Their Apprenticeship Program is approved by the Department of Veterans Affairs. After filling out the appropriate paperwork, Schneider will work closely with the VA to ensure that you receive your maximum benefit.