Pearl River Community College

Commercial Truck Driving

Program Information

Location(s) of Program: Poplarville Campus and Forrest County Center

Brief Description of Program: Commercial Truck Driving is an eight week (240 hours) instructional program that prepares individuals to drive trucks and other commercial vehicles. Instruction includes operating diesel powered vehicles, loading and unloading cargo, reporting delays or accidents on the road, verifying loads against shipping records, and maintaining necessary records. Applicants may earn a Certificate of Completion from either workforce training or college course credit options. Instruction is offered in various formats including Workforce Training, College Credit Program and two-week refresher courses.

Essential Requirements of a person in this career field: Most companies require their truck drivers to have a high school diploma or equivalent.

All long-haul truck drivers must have a commercial driver’s license (CDL). Qualifications for obtaining a CDL vary by state but generally include passing both a knowledge test and a driving test. States have the right to refuse to issue a CDL to anyone who has had a CDL suspended by another state. Drivers can get endorsements to their CDL that show their ability to drive a specialized type of vehicle.

Truck drivers transporting hazardous materials (HAZMAT) must have a hazardous materials endorsement (H). Getting this endorsement requires passing an additional knowledge test and a background check.

Program Requirements for Admission:

  • Commercial Truck Driving Program application
  • DOT Physical and Drug Screen
  • Class A Learner’s Permit (suggested but not required)
  • Valid Driver’s License
  • No more than two traffic violations in three years
  • No drug or violent crime in the last seven years

Instructor Contact Information for the Program:


Possible Careers in this Program: Heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers transport goods from one location to another. Most tractor-trailer drivers are long-haul drivers and operate trucks with a gross vehicle weight (GVW) capacity—that is, the combined weight of the vehicle, passengers, and cargo—exceeding 26,000 pounds. These drivers deliver goods over intercity routes, sometimes spanning several states.

What a student can expect from a career in this field: Heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers typically do the following:

  • Drive long distances
  • Report to a dispatcher any incidents encountered on the road
  • Follow all applicable traffic laws
  • Secure cargo for transport, using ropes, blocks, chains, or covers
  • Inspect their trailers before and after the trip, and record any defects they find
  • Maintain a log of their working hours, following all federal and state regulations
  • Report serious mechanical problems to the appropriate personnel
  • Keep their trucks and associated equipment clean and in good working order

Possible earnings of jobs in these career field: The median annual wage for heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers was $41,340 / 19.87 in May 2016.

Third Party Testing: Third Party Testing (601-403-1154 or 228-518-0309)
Pearl River Community College (PRCC) conducts third-party testing at the Poplarville Campus and Forrest County Woodall Technology Center. There is a $150 fee for the test and a 48 hour notice requirement to Department of Transportation by PRCC. Test takers may bring a truck and trailer or use a college owned truck for an additional $100 charge. Testers must possess a current Driver’s License, CDL Learner’s Permit and proof of registration and insurance. Study materials available.