Become a Truck Driver | Truck Driving Schools Bradenton FL

How to Select a Truck Driving School near Bradenton Florida

Bradenton FL truck driving school campusCongrats on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a truck driving school near Bradenton FL. Perhaps it has always been your goal to hit the open road while operating a big ole tractor trailer. Or possibly you have conducted some analysis and have discovered that an occupation as a truck driver provides good wages and flexible job prospects. Whatever your reason is, it’s important to obtain the proper training by selecting the right CDL school in your area. When evaluating your options, there are several factors that you’ll want to think about prior to making your final selection. Location will certainly be an issue, especially if you need to commute from your Bradenton residence. The expense will also be of importance, but choosing a school based solely on price is not the ideal way to make sure you’ll get the appropriate training. Just remember, your goal is to master the knowledge and skills that will enable you to pass the CDL exams and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that purpose in mind, just how do you select a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to cover in the remainder of this article. But first, we are going to discuss a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will eventually need.

Which CDL Will You Need?

long haul tractor trailer in Bradenton FLTo operate commercial vehicles legally within the USA and Bradenton FL, an operator needs to attain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three classes of licenses that a driver can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the topic of this article is how to pick a truck driving school, we will focus on Class A and Class B licenses. What differentiates each class of CDL is the type of vehicle that the driver can operate together with the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Below are short summaries for the two classes.

Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License is required to drive any vehicle that has a GCWR of more than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of greater than 10,000 lbs. A few of the vehicles that operators may be able to drive with Class A licenses are:

  • Interstate or Intrastate Tractor Trailers
  • Trucks with Double or Triple Trailers
  • Tanker Trucks
  • Livestock Carriers
  • Class B and Class C Vehicles

Class B CDL. A Class B Commercial Drivers License is required to drive single vehicles having a GVWR of more than 26,000 lbs., or a GCWR of greater than 26,000 lbs. including a towed vehicle weighing up to 10,000 lbs. Some of the vehicles that operators may be qualified to drive with Class B licenses are:

  • Tractor Trailers
  • Dump Trucks
  • Cement Mixers
  • Large Buses
  • Class C Vehicles

Both Class A and Class B Commercial Drivers Licenses may also need endorsements to drive certain types of vehicles, for instance passenger or school buses. And a Class A licensee, with the appropriate needed endorsements, may operate any vehicle that a Class B license holder is qualified to operate.

How to Research a Truck Driver School

Questions to ask Bradenton FL truck driving schoolsOnce you have decided which Commercial Drivers License you wish to pursue, you can start the undertaking of evaluating the Bradenton FL trucking schools that you are considering. As earlier discussed, cost and location will no doubt be your primary concerns. But it can’t be stressed enough that they should not be your sole considerations. Other variables, such as the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are equally if not more important. So below are several additional factors that you should research while conducting your due diligence before enrolling in, and especially paying for, your truck driver training.

Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Very few trucking schools in the Bradenton FL area are accredited due to the stringent process and expense to the schools. However, certification is more prevalent and is offered by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not required to become certified, but there are certain advantages. Interested students know that the training will be of the highest caliber, and that they will be given plenty of driving time. As an example, PTDI calls for 44 hours of actual driving time, not simulations or ride-alongs. So if a school’s program is certified (the program, not the school is certified), students know that the training and curriculum will measure up to the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.

How Long in Business? One indicator to help determine the quality of a trucking school is how long it has been in operation. A negatively reviewed or a fly by night school typically will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. On the other hand, even the top Bradenton FL schools had to begin from their first day of training, so consider it as one of several qualifiers. You can also ask what the school’s track record is relating to successful licensing and job placement of its graduating students. If a school won’t share those numbers, search elsewhere. The schools should also have associations with regional and national trucking firms. Having a large number of contacts not only points to a superior reputation within the profession, but also boosts their job assistance program for students. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to check with the Florida licensing department to verify that the CDL trucking schools you are researching are in compliance.

How Good is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools should be licensed in Florida and employ teachers that are experienced and trained. We will discuss more about the instructors in the next segment. Also, the student to instructor proportion should not be greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be getting the personalized attention they will need. This is especially true regarding the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And watch out for any school that professes it can teach you to be a truck driver in a comparatively short period of time. Training to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer professionally requires time. Most Bradenton FL schools offer training programs that run from 3 weeks to as long as two months, based on the class of license or kind of vehicle.

How Experienced are the Instructors? As earlier stated, it’s imperative that the instructors are trained to teach driving techniques and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Although several states have minimum driving time criteria to be certified as an instructor, the more successful driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also crucial that the instructors stay up to date with industry developments or any new laws or changes in regulations. Evaluating instructors may be a bit more subjective than other criteria, and possibly the best method is to visit the school and speak with the instructors in person. You can also talk to a few of the students going through the training and find out if they are satisfied with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.

Adequate Driving Time? Above all else, a great truck driving school will furnish sufficient driving time to its students. Besides, isn’t that what it’s all about? Driving time is the real time spent behind the wheel driving a truck. While the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are essential training methods, they are no alternative for actual driving. The more instruction that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will become. And even though driving time can vary between schools, a good standard is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Get in touch with the Bradenton FL schools you are looking at and ask how much driving time they provide.

Are they Captive or Independent ? It’s possible to get discounted or even free training from certain truck driving schools if you make a commitment to drive for a particular carrier for a defined amount of time. This is referred to as contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So rather than maintaining affiliations with numerous trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only refer to one company. The benefit is receiving less expensive or even free training by surrendering the freedom to initially be a driver wherever you choose. Obviously contract training has the potential to limit your income prospects when beginning your new career. But for some it may be the best way to receive affordable training. Just make sure to inquire if the Bradenton FL schools you are considering are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.

Is there Onsite CDL Testing? There are some states that will permit 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driver schools for its students. If onsite testing is available in Florida, find out if the schools you are considering are DMV certified to provide it. One advantage is that it is more accommodating than competing with graduates from other schools for test times at Florida testing facilities. It is moreover an indicator that the DMV deems the authorized schools to be of a superior quality.

Are the Classes Accessible? As formerly noted, truck driving training is just one to two months long. With such a brief term, it’s essential that the Bradenton FL school you enroll in offers flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. For example, if you’re having a hard time learning a particular driving maneuver, then the teacher should be willing to commit more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still holding a job while attending training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other commitments.

Is Job Assistance Offered? As soon as you have acquired your CDL license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be impatient to begin your new profession. Confirm that the schools you are contemplating have job assistance programs. Ask what their job placement ratio is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, find out which local and national trucking companies their graduates are referred to for employment. If a school has a poor job placement rate or not many Bradenton FL employers recruiting their graduates, it might be a sign to search elsewhere.

Is Financial Assistance Provided? Truck driver schools are comparable to colleges and other Bradenton FL area vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being offered. Find out if the schools you are examining have a financial aid department, or at a minimum someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that must be completed.

Enrolling in a Truck Driving School near Bradenton FL?

If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Bradenton Florida area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.

Bradenton, Florida

Bradenton (/ˈbreɪdəntən/ BRAY-dən-tən) is a city in Manatee County, Florida, United States. The U.S. Census Bureau estimated the city's 2016 population to be 54,437.[5] Bradenton is a principal city of the North Port–Sarasota–Bradenton metropolitan statistical area, which had a 2017 estimated population of 702,281.[9] It is the county seat.[10]

The area that would become Bradenton (originally spelled "Braidentown" and then amended to "Bradentown") was explored in 1539 by the Spanish during the famous expedition led by Hernando De Soto. Bradenton was established in 1842.[2] The original town of Bradentown was incorporated in 1903.[11] The city took the name of Dr. Joseph Braden, whose nearby fort-like house was a refuge for early settlers during Seminole Indian attacks. The current city of Bradenton was formed in 1943, when the Florida legislature merged the cities of Manatee (incorporated in 1888) and Bradentown.[2][12]

According to the United States Census Bureau, Bradenton has a total area of 14.44 square miles (37.4 km2), of which 12.11 square miles (31.4 km2) is land and 2.33 square miles (6.0 km2) (16.14%) is water. Bradenton is located on US 41 between Tampa and Sarasota. The area is surrounded by waterways, both fresh and saltwater. Along the Gulf of Mexico and into Tampa Bay are over 20 miles (32 km) of Florida beaches, many of which are shaded by Australian pines. Bordered on the north by the Manatee River, Bradenton is located on the mainland and is separated from the outer barrier islands of Anna Maria Island and Longboat Key by the Intracoastal Waterway.

Select the Best Truck Driving School Bradenton FL

tractor trailer hauling construction materials in Bradenton FLChoosing the appropriate truck driving school is an important first step to beginning your new profession as a local or long distance truck driver. The skill sets taught at school will be those that shape a new career behind the wheel. There are a number of options offered and understanding them is critical to a new driver’s success. But first and foremost, you must obtain the proper training in order to drive a big commercial vehicle in a professional and safe fashion. If you are short on cash or financing, you may need to think about a captive school. You will pay a reduced or even no tuition by agreeing to drive for their contracted carrier. Or you can enroll in an independent truck driving school and have the option of driving for the trucking firm of your choice, or one of many affiliated with the school. It’s your decision. But no matter how you get your training, you will soon be entering a profession that helps America move as a professional trucker in Bradenton FL.

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