Northland Announces New Pilot/Escort Driver Certification Training

Northland Community & Technical College (NCTC) has announced that it will offer Pilot/Escort Driver Certification training on the Thief River Falls campus on Friday, April 25, 2014 at 9:00 a.m. NCTC is partnering with the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, Advanced Minnesota (Advanced), and Hennepin Technical College (HTC) to offer a training program designed to certify over-dimensional load pilot/escort vehicle operators to the standards set by the new law passed by the state of Minnesota in 2010 and adopted in late 2012.

"Our goal is to communicate the new industry rules and regulations and to present current pilot/escort driver best practices and guidelines relating to safety," said Erik Gohl, Industrial Safety Coordinator for HTC's Customized Training Services. He noted that Minnesota lawmakers deemed this a necessary law for public safety reasons. "Oversize loads are getting bigger and becoming more frequent on Minnesota highways. The qualification bar for pilot/escort drivers, including law enforcement personnel, has now been raised."

Essentially, if pilot/escort drivers want to continue to do business in the state of Minnesota they now have until January 2014 to become trained and certified by the Minnesota Department of Public Safety. It's the law. Their vehicles, in addition, will need to meet certain requirements. Peace officers performing pilot/escort duties will also now be required to undergo specific pilot/escort training before they can engage in those duties.

Justin Brevik, Equipment Services Manager for Perkins Specialized Transportation Contracting in Northfield, Minnesota noted, "As a trucking company that specializes in oversize load movements, we truly believe that if people are properly trained and certified to operate a pilot/escort vehicle, our roadways would be much safer. Moving large shipments is dangerous; the people that help move these loads must understand the required equipment, safety measures, and best practices."

Colonel Kevin P. Daly, Chief, Minnesota State Patrol, concurs with the importance of obtaining the new certification. Addressing future students of the certification course he stated, "Your job as a pilot/escort professional is essential to the safe transport of over-dimensional loads on Minnesota's highways. The importance of your role in this activity cannot be overemphasized."
The law specifically directs the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MNSCU) system, working in conjunction with the Minnesota State Patrol (MSP), to develop and conduct this training. MSP tasked two colleges in the system, Hennepin Technical College (HTC) and Advanced Minnesota to develop and teach the curriculum.

State law mandates the cost of civilian pilot/escort driver certification classes to be $180 per participant. Classes will last approximately eight hours. Advanced registration for the classes is required. Drivers will need to provide a current Minnesota driver record (no older than 30 days) with their registration.

To register for the class in Thief River Falls on April 25, 2014 from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, register online at Please contact Melanie Oakes at 218-793-2484 for additional information.

Northland Community and Technical College is a comprehensive college with campuses in Thief River Falls, MN and East Grand Forks, MN. NCTC also has an aerospace site in Thief River Falls, MN and a satellite site in Roseau, MN. NCTC offers certificates, diplomas, transfer courses, two-year AAS degrees in more than 60 areas of study, workforce training and education programs. NCTC is a member of Minnesota State, and is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association. NCTC is an affirmative action/equal opportunity employer & educator. Visit NCTC online at