You are not too old. I think the average age of truck drivers is 56. Concentrate on finding the company to work for. There is a huge difference between some companies and others. You wouldn’t pick a wife based on which reception hall had the cheaper price when that is only one day of the rest of your life. Think of finding the right shoes for you. An expensive pair that doesn’t fit is worse than another pair that does fit. The fit on YOU is the difference between a tough year and an interesting year.
Once you know the company that best fits you, then decide how to get the license, what school to attend. If you want the least hassle for the driver because of the freight look for a dry van company. The trailer is just a shell with freight inside. It’s not refrigerated. It’s just a box on wheels. All you have to do with those is open and close doors and slide the rear wheels for weight distribution. Refrigerated freight has the most hassles, IMO. The customers get many, many trucks per day. So they treat you like the DMV treats everyone.They also have the most problem with their freight and reject some or all of it if the condition is not exactly what they want. Once it’s rejected you and your company have to deal with disposing of the freight. You are paid per mile, not often by the hour. If you do get hourly pay, it’s usually after you donate a couple of hours first.
Obviously you are right in the neighborhood of Prime, Inc. Almost no trucking company will care about your age as long as you can pass the DOT medical exam. While Prime probably has the most organized and well-planned training for new drivers, the period you ride with a trainer is among the longest in the industry. For some of us riding with the trainer, 2 dudes living in the space the size of an apartment bathroom, is difficult. With Prime you stay out at least one month at a time before you get home time. As a trainee you will go to a hotel/home if/when your trainer gets home time. IMO almost every newbie vastly underestimates the value of getting home and doesn’t quite understand it’s not like that one long car trip you took that was so much fun. In 20 plus years I’ve never worked for a company that routinely kept me away from home for more than a week. You don’t have to stay away from home for months unless you really want to. When picking a company think along the lines of “can I stay with this company and these conditions for a full year?” A lot of younger newbies seem to think they can get their 1 year of initial experience by working a 4-6 companies. Doing anything like that severely restricts which companyies will hire you and none of those companies are paying high cents per mile CPM and handing out easy trips. That’s a recipe for a downward spiral in pay and conditions.
DO NOT WORK FOR CR ENGLAND, no matter what. I think they paid Google so EVERY newbie gets that company on every search. If you don’t like sharing a truck with one person, imagine sharing with 2 other people for weeks, besides the low pay.
The YouTube videos and the ads make it seem like mostly what you do every day is look at beautiful scenery and see America. It’s more like you visit America’s industrial parks and fight traffic and hunt for truck parking over and over and over. After a short while the location where you are doing that is just a name on your paperwork except for the exceptionally beautiful places.
Find THE company for you, then decide about paying for school, letting the company provide “free training” or paying for school and letting your employer re-pay your school through their Tuition Reimbursement. Some companies only do TR if you have a loan. Sometimes they will pay TR even if you have paid cash out of pocket. Get the details from the company before you assume anything about TR. EVERY CDL school will find someone to loan you money for their school.