How to Select a CDL Driving School near Rocky Hill Connecticut
Congratulations on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a CDL school near Rocky Hill CT. Maybe it has always been your fantasy to hit the open highway while driving a huge tractor trailer. Or possibly you have conducted some research and have found that an occupation as a truck driver offers excellent wages and flexible job prospects. Whatever your reason is, it’s important to receive the appropriate training by choosing the right CDL school in your area. When evaluating your options, there are several factors that you’ll need to examine prior to making your final selection. Location will no doubt be an issue, especially if you have to commute from your Rocky Hill residence. The cost will also be important, but choosing a school based solely on price is not the best way to ensure you’ll receive the proper training. Don’t forget, your objective is to learn the knowledge and skills that will allow you to pass the CDL examinations and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that objective in mind, just how do you choose a truck driving school? That is what we are going to discuss in the balance of this article. But first, we are going to talk a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will ultimately need.
Which CDL Will You Require?
In order to operate commercial vehicles legally within the United States and Rocky Hill CT, a driver needs to attain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 classes of licenses that a person can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the topic of this article is how to choose a truck driving school, we will focus on Class A and Class B licenses. What distinguishes 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 brief explanations of the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is required to drive any vehicle that has a GCWR of greater than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of greater than 10,000 lbs. Some 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 CDL is required to operate 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 might also require endorsements to operate specific types of vehicles, for instance passenger or school buses. And a Class A license holder, with the appropriate needed endorsements, may drive any vehicle that a Class B licensee is qualified to operate.
How to Assess a Trucking School
When you have determined which Commercial Drivers License you want to pursue, you can start the process of researching the Rocky Hill CT truck driving schools that you are considering. As earlier mentioned, location and cost will undoubtedly be your primary concerns. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they should not be your sole concerns. Other factors, including the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are equally if not more important. So below are several additional points that you should research while conducting your due diligence before enrolling in, and especially paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Very few trucking schools in the Rocky Hill CT area are accredited because of the demanding process and cost to the schools. However, certification is more commonplace and is offered by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not required to become certified, but there are a number of advantages. Prospective students know that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will be given an ample amount of driving time. For example, PTDI calls for 44 hours of actual driving time, not ride-alongs or simulations. So if a school’s course is certified (the course, not the school is certified), students know that the training and curriculum will fulfill the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One indicator to help measure the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in business. A negatively rated or a fly by night school typically will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. Having said that, even the top Rocky Hill CT schools had to begin from their first day of training, so consider it as one of multiple qualifiers. You can also ask what the school’s history is pertaining to successful licensing and job placement of its graduating students. If a school won’t share those numbers, look elsewhere. The schools should additionally maintain associations with regional and national trucking companies. Having a large number of contacts not only points to a superior reputation within the industry, but also boosts their job placement program for graduates. It also wouldn’t hurt to get in touch with the Connecticut licensing department to make sure that the CDL trucker schools you are considering are in good standing.
How Effective is the Training? At a minimum, the schools must be licensed in Connecticut and hire instructors that are experienced and trained. We will cover more about the teachers in the following section. Also, the student to instructor ratio should not be greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be obtaining the personalized attention they will need. This is particularly true concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And look out for any school that insists it can teach you to be a truck driver in a relatively short period of time. Training to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully requires time. Most Rocky Hill CT schools offer training programs that run from 3 weeks to as long as two months, based on the license class or kind of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Trainers? As previously stated, it’s essential that the teachers are qualified to teach driving methods and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Although several states have minimum driving time prerequisites to be certified as an instructor, the more professional driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also important that the instructors stay current with industry advancements or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Assessing instructors may be a bit more intuitive than other standards, and possibly the best approach is to visit the school and talk to the teachers face to face. You can also speak with a few of the students completing the training and find out if they are satisfied with the level of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
How Much Driving Time? Most importantly, a great truck driver school will provide ample driving time to its students. Besides, isn’t that what it’s all about? Driving time is the actual time spent behind the wheel driving a truck. Although the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are necessary training tools, they are no alternative for real driving. The more training that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will become. And even though driving time can vary among schools, a reasonable benchmark is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide no less than 44 hours of driving time. Contact the Rocky Hill CT schools you are considering and ask how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Captive or Independent ? It’s possible to receive discounted or even free training from a number of truck driving schools if you enter into an agreement to be a driver for a specified carrier for a defined amount of time. This is called contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So instead of having affiliations with many different trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only work with one company. The benefit is receiving free or less expensive training by surrendering the freedom to initially work wherever you choose. Obviously contract training has the potential to reduce your income prospects when starting out. But for many it may be the best way to obtain affordable training. Just remember to find out if the Rocky Hill CT schools you are contemplating are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Offer CDL Testing Onsite? There are some states that will permit 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driver schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is allowed in Connecticut, ask if the schools you are considering are DMV certified to provide it. One advantage is that it is more convenient than battling with graduates of other schools for test times at Connecticut testing centers. It is moreover an indicator that the DMV believes the authorized schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Classes Accessible? As formerly mentioned, CDL training is just 1 to 2 months in length. With such a brief term, it’s imperative that the Rocky Hill CT school you choose offers flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. As an example, if you’re having a hard time learning a particular driving maneuver, then the teacher should be prepared to devote more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still employed while attending training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other commitments.
Is Job Placement Provided? Once you have acquired your CDL license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be anxious to begin your new career. Make sure that the schools you are considering have job placement programs. Find out what their job placement rate is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, find out which local and national trucking firms their graduates are placed with for hiring. If a school has a poor job placement rate or few Rocky Hill CT employers hiring their graduates, it may be a sign to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Given? Trucking schools are comparable to colleges and other Rocky Hill CT area trade or technical schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being offered. Find out if the schools you are assessing have a financial aid department, or at least someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that must be submitted.
Enrolling in a Truck Driving School near Rocky Hill CT?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Rocky Hill Connecticut area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Rocky Hill, Connecticut
Rocky Hill is a town in Hartford County, Connecticut, United States. The population was 19,709 at the 2010 census. Rocky Hill was part of Wethersfield, the neighboring town to the north, until it was independently incorporated in 1843.
In 2007, Rocky Hill was named #35 in Money magazine's "Best Places to Live Top 100", citing easy commuting to Hartford, local job availability, strong schools, and a central location between New York City and Boston.
Rocky Hill is the home of one of the largest dinosaur track sites in North America, Dinosaur State Park. Rocky Hill also was once the headquarters of Ames Department Stores, which ceased business operations in 2002.
Pick the Ideal Truck Driving School Rocky Hill CT
Picking the appropriate truck driver school is an essential first step to starting your new occupation as a local or long distance truck driver. The skill sets that you will learn at school will be those that mold a new career behind the wheel. There are many options offered and understanding them is vital to a new driver’s success. Most importantly, you must receive the proper training in order to drive a large commercial vehicle in a safe and professional fashion. If you are lacking funds or financing, you may want to look into a captive school. You will pay a lower or even no tuition by agreeing to drive for their contracted carrier. Or you can enroll in an independent trucking school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking company of your choosing, or one of several affiliated with the school. It’s your decision. But no matter how you receive your training, you will soon be entering a profession that helps our country move as a professional truck driver in Rocky Hill CT.
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