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Singleton graduates NETC as first Commercial Transportation Certificate holder

Tiffany SIngleton

Tiffany Singleton picked at her lunch watching 18-wheelers roll in and out of Stanely Tools wondering what sights their drivers saw traveling the countryside before dropping cargo in Cheraw.

Singleton, 34, of Wallace, enrolled at Northeastern Technical College's popular commercial driver's license program in January and sat on a waiting list. In March, her employer announced it was leaving Chesterfield County with her end date playing a game of chicken against a potential start date at NETC.

Singleton prayed.

How would she make ends meet?

What would she do next to pay the bills?
Time was ticking.

Singleton opened her Bible to Joshua 9:1: Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.

"When Stanley Tools let me go in June, I called 'Tec and Angelia (Nivens) answered the phone. She said I started class Monday," said Singleton, NETC's first Commercial Transportation Certificate holder. "My prayer was answered."

The Commercial Transportation Certificate can provide a route to trucking-related management and can be stacked with other certificates towards an Associate's Degree in General Technology – Transportation and Logistics. Students can receive the certification in addition to their commercial driver's license.

Students who add the Truck Driving 105 class along with earning their CDLs complete a certificate program, which is like pouring gravy on top of a biscuit, said NETC CDL Instructor Vern Chavis.

Truck Driving 105 focuses on the business aspect of truck driving introducing students to a world beyond the road and gives truck drivers a long-term edge advancing in the profession, Chavis said.

"Opportunities may open up for truck drivers who may not want to drive forever and work their way into warehouse management or shipping and receiving management," Chavis said.

Singleton's interest in truck trucking was piqued during her breaks; she knew a truck driver's pay was significantly more and she enjoyed travelling during her weekends delivering blood for the Red Cross logging in 10 to 12 hours a day driving to Charlotte or Richmond, Va.

While waiting for the in-person CDL class to begin, Singleton began online class Truck Driving 105: The Business of Truck Driving.

Commercial Driver's License holders can find jobs that keep them on the road locally, regionally, or long haul crossing the country, Chavis said.

"The average pay is around $70,000, a year," Chavis said. "One of our students made $140,000."

NETC boasts a 100 percent completion and license rate in its CDL program over the last two years.

"We have not had a student fail since I started teaching CDL classes in 2017 – some had to retest, but they did not fail," Chavis said. "We have an excellent program at Northeastern Technical College."

To receive a CDL, students must complete 50 hours of classroom time with 50 hours on range training including 32 hours of observations inside the truck and 16 hours driving, Chavis said.

After Singlton received her CDL's, she walked the stage Aug. 3 during a graduation ceremony on the Dillon campus as the first student to receive the Commercial Transportation Certificate.

Singleton's goal is to drive. She wants to save her money and buy her own truck.

Sitting behind the wheel of an 18-wheeler is a much different perspective than watching them on the road.

"When you're in the truck, you feel like you're taking up the whole road," Singleton said.

She recalls shifting gears being a challenge never driving a straight drive even in a personal vehicle – and turning is much different in a large vehicle.

"People in class poked fun at me for being cool, calm and collected, but I was one step closer to what I wanted to do," Singleton said.

For more information, call Northeastern Technical College at 800.921.7399 or visit online at

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