How to Decide on a Trucking School near Houston Delaware
Congrats on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a CDL school near Houston DE. Perhaps it has always been your ambition to hit the open road while operating a huge tractor trailer. Or possibly you have conducted some research and have found that a career as a truck driver offers excellent income and flexible job prospects. No matter what your reason is, it’s essential to get the proper training by enrolling in the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are certain factors that you’ll want to think about prior to making your final choice. Location will undoubtedly be important, especially if you need to commute from your Houston home. The expense will also be of importance, but picking a school based exclusively on price is not the optimal means to make certain you’ll receive the proper education. Don’t forget, your goal is to learn the skills and knowledge that will enable you to pass the CDL exams and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that goal in mind, just how do you select a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to discuss in the balance of this article. But first, we are going to discuss a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will eventually need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Should You Get?
In order to drive commercial vehicles lawfully within the USA and Houston DE, a driver needs to attain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 license classes that one can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the topic of this article is how to select a truck driving school, we will address Class A and 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 for the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is required to operate any vehicle that has a GCWR of greater than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of more 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 needed to drive single vehicles having a GVWR of more than 26,000 lbs., or a GCWR of more than 26,000 lbs. including a towed vehicle weighing up to 10,000 lbs. Some of the vehicles that drivers may be qualified to operate 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 require endorsements to operate specific kinds of vehicles, for example passenger or school buses. And a Class A license holder, with the appropriate needed endorsements, may operate any vehicle that a Class B license holder is authorized to operate.
How to Assess a CDL School
As soon as you have determined which Commercial Drivers License you wish to pursue, you can begin the process of researching the Houston DE truck driving schools that you are considering. As already mentioned, location and cost will undoubtedly be your primary concerns. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they must not be your only concerns. Other factors, for example the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are equally if not more important. So below are some additional points that you should research while carrying out your due diligence prior to selecting, and especially paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Very few trucking schools in the Houston DE area are accredited due to the stringent process and cost to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more typical and is offered by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not obligated to become certified, but there are certain advantages. Prospective 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 comply with the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One clue to help evaluate the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in operation. A negatively rated or a fly by night school usually will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. Having said that, even the best of Houston DE schools had to begin from their first day of training, so consider it as one of multiple qualifiers. You can also learn what the school’s track record is regarding successful licensing and employment of its graduates. If a school won’t share those stats, search elsewhere. The schools should also maintain associations with local and national trucking firms. Having numerous contacts not only points to a quality reputation within the trade, but also bolsters their job assistance program for graduates. It also wouldn’t hurt to contact the Delaware licensing authority to make sure that the CDL trucker schools you are researching are in compliance.
How Good is the Training? At a minimum, the schools must be licensed in Delaware and hire teachers that are trained and experienced. We will talk more about the teachers in the following segment. In addition, the student to instructor ratio should be no higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be obtaining the personal instruction they will need. This is particularly true concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And watch out for any school that professes it can teach you to drive trucks in a comparatively short time frame. Training to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully requires time. The majority of Houston DE schools provide training programs that range from three weeks to as long as two months, depending on the class of license or type of vehicle.
How Good are the Teachers? As earlier mentioned, it’s imperative that the teachers are qualified to teach driving techniques and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Even though several states have minimum driving time criteria to qualify as an instructor, the more professional driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also important that the teachers keep current with industry advancements or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Assessing teachers may be a little more intuitive than other standards, and possibly the ideal method is to pay a visit to the school and speak with the instructors in person. You can also speak with some of the students completing the training and ask if they are happy with the level of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
How Much Driving Time? Above all else, an excellent truck driving school will provide sufficient driving time to its students. Besides, isn’t that what it’s all about? Driving time is the actual time spent behind the wheel operating a truck. Although the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are necessary training methods, they are no alternative for real driving. The more instruction that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will be. And even though driving time differs among schools, a reasonable standard is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide no less than 44 hours of driving time. Contact the Houston DE schools you are considering and find out how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Independent or Captive ? You can receive free or discounted training from some truck driver schools if you make a commitment to drive for a particular carrier for a defined period of time. This is what’s known 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 work with one company. The benefit is receiving free or less expensive training by giving up the flexibility to initially work wherever you have an opportunity. Obviously contract training has the potential to reduce your income prospects when beginning your new career. But for some it may be the best way to get affordable training. Just be sure to find out if the Houston DE schools you are contemplating are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Offer Onsite CDL Testing? There are a number of states that will allow 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its students. If onsite testing is allowed in Delaware, find out if the schools you are considering are DMV certified to offer it. One benefit is that it is more convenient than competing with graduates from other schools for test times at Delaware testing facilities. It is moreover an indicator that the DMV views the approved schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Class Times Accessible? As earlier noted, CDL training is just one to two months long. With such a brief term, it’s essential that the Houston DE school you enroll in provides flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. As an example, if you’re having difficulty 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 employed while going to training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other obligations.
Is Job Assistance Offered? As soon as you have attained your commercial driver’s license after graduating from trucking school, you will be impatient to begin your new career. Confirm that the schools you are reviewing have job placement programs. Find out what their job placement ratio is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, find out which national and local trucking firms their graduates are referred to for hiring. If a school has a lower job placement rate or few Houston DE employers hiring their graduates, it might be a sign to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Available? Truck driver schools are similar to colleges and other Houston DE 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 assessing have a financial assistance department, or at least someone who can help you get through the options and forms that need to be completed.
Enrolling in a Truck Driving School near Houston DE?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Houston Delaware area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Whitney Elizabeth Houston (August 9, 1963 – February 11, 2012) was an American singer and actress. She was cited as the most awarded female artist of all time by Guinness World Records and remains one of the best-selling music artists of all time with 200 million records sold worldwide. She released seven studio albums and two soundtrack albums, all of which have been certified diamond, multi-platinum, platinum, or gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). Houston's crossover appeal on the popular music charts—as well as her prominence on MTV, starting with her video for "How Will I Know"—influenced several African-American women artists who followed in her footsteps.
Houston began singing in church as a child and became a background vocalist while in high school. With the guidance of Arista Records chairman Clive Davis, she signed to the label at the age of 19. Her first two studio albums, Whitney Houston (1985) and Whitney (1987), both reached number one on the Billboard 200 in the United States and became two of the world's best-selling albums of all time. She became the only artist to have seven consecutive number-one singles on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, from "Saving All My Love for You" in 1985 to "Where Do Broken Hearts Go" in 1988.
Houston made her screen acting debut in the romantic thriller film The Bodyguard (1992). She recorded seven songs for the film's soundtrack, including "I Will Always Love You", which received the Grammy Award for Record of the Year and became the best-selling single by a woman in music history. The soundtrack album received the Grammy Award for Album of the Year and remains the world's best-selling soundtrack album of all time. Houston made other high-profile film appearances, including Waiting to Exhale (1995) and The Preacher's Wife (1996). The theme song "Exhale (Shoop Shoop)" became her eleventh and final number-one single on the Hot 100 chart, while her Preacher Wife soundtrack became the best-selling gospel album in history.
Select the Ideal CDL School Houston DE
Selecting the ideal truck driving school is a critical first step to beginning your new vocation as a local or long distance truck driver. The skills taught at school will be those that shape a new career behind the wheel. There are a number of options available and understanding them is crucial if you are going to succeed as an operator. Most importantly, you must obtain the proper training in order to operate a big commercial vehicle in a safe and professional fashion. If you are lacking money or financing, you might need to think about a captive school. You will pay a lower or in some cases no tuition in exchange for driving for their contracted carrier. Or you can select an independent CDL school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking company of your choice, or one of several affiliated with the school. It’s your decision. But no matter how you get your training, you will in the near future be part of an industry that helps our country move as a professional trucker in Houston DE.
More Trucking Locations in Delaware