PIQUA — Just a few miles off of Interstate 75 is one of the region’s only CDL truck driver training schools.
Driver’s Edge CDL Training Academy, located at 7450 Union-Shelby Road in Piqua, has been open almost a year and is consistently filling up its classes with those looking for a stable and profitable career.
“Our business is booming,” Kimberly Kegley, owner of Driver’s Edge CDL Training Academy, said. They recently partnered with Continental Express in Sidney, Kegley said, to get their employees their CDL certification.
Driver’s Edge CDL Training Academy is licensed through Ohio Department of Public Safety, and their curriculum meets Ohio Department of Public Safety regulations. It is also one of the only driver training schools specifically aimed at CDL certification in the area, as the closest schools similar to Driver’s Edge are located in Hamilton, Columbus, and Cincinnati.
“We keep our class sizes small,” Kegley said. She explained that there are about eight students per class and the classes last four weeks.
Driver’s Edge CDL Training Academy’s instructors have 25 or more years of CDL training and commercial driving experience and are hands-on with students.
“We’re real personable with our students,” Kegley said.
Driver’s Edge CDL Training Academy’s site features a concrete pad for onsite training, such as for learning backing maneuvers, and instructors also take students out on the road. They also teach defensive driving and safe driving techniques.
“The majority of our students will have a job before they graduate,” Kegley said. Truck drivers will earn a salary of $45,000 to $50,000 within their first year on the job.
Kegley knows the benefits of having a truck driving career herself after her experience as a owner-operator truck driver and later running a test site in Springfield before opening Driver’s Edge CDL Training Academy.
“I really enjoyed being a driver,” Kegley said, noting particularly the experience of getting to be out on the “open road” and “you get to make a good living.”
Kegley added that not all truck driving jobs will have drivers traveling far, explaining that there are many opportunities available.
“You can get your CDL and have a local job,” Kegley said. “It’s a field that’s not going to go anywhere … You can make a lucrative income by being a driver.”
Classes are open to all adults, with students ranging from 18-year-olds to 65-year-olds. While both men and women can apply, Kegley said that the fact that she is woman running the school has made other female students “feel more relaxed” in what may seem like a male-dominated field.
Tuition costs $5,800 per student for the four-week program. Financial assistance is available, according to Driver’s Edge CDL Training Academy’s website. For more information, call (937) 778-3796 or visit driversedgellc.com.
Reach Sam Wildow at firstname.lastname@example.org or (937) 451-3336