How to Select a Trucking School near Wimauma Florida
Congratulations on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a trucking school near Wimauma FL. Maybe it has always been your fantasy to hit the open road while driving a huge tractor trailer. Or possibly you have done some research and have discovered that a career as a truck driver provides excellent income and flexible job opportunities. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s essential to obtain the proper training by enrolling in the right CDL school in your area. When evaluating your options, there are several factors that you’ll want to consider prior to making your ultimate selection. Location will certainly be an issue, particularly if you have to commute from your Wimauma home. The expense will also be important, but picking a school based entirely on price is not the best way to guarantee you’ll get the right training. Just remember, your objective is to master the skills and knowledge that will enable you to pass the CDL examinations and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that goal in mind, just how do you pick a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to address in the remainder of this article. But first, we are going to review a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will eventually need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Should You Get?
To operate commercial vehicles legally within the USA and Wimauma FL, an operator must attain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three 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 pick a truck driver school, we will discuss 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 descriptions for the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License is needed 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 needed to drive single vehicles having a GVWR of greater 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 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 CDLs may also need endorsements to drive specific kinds of vehicles, for example passenger or school buses. And a Class A license holder, with the appropriate needed endorsements, can drive any vehicle that a Class B license holder is authorized to operate.
How to Research a Truck Driving School
When you have decided which CDL you wish to obtain, you can begin the undertaking of evaluating the Wimauma FL truck driving schools that you are considering. As already mentioned, location and cost will undoubtedly be your initial considerations. But it can’t be stressed enough that they should not be your only considerations. Other factors, including the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are similarly if not more important. So following are some more things 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 truck driving schools in the Wimauma FL area are accredited due to the stringent process and expense to the schools. However, 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 quality, and that they will receive plenty of driving time. As an example, PTDI mandates 44 hours of real driving time, not ride-alongs or simulations. So if a school’s program is certified (the program, not the school is certified), students know that the curriculum and training will fulfill the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One clue to help assess the quality of a truck driver school is how long it has been in business. A negatively rated or a fly by night school usually will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. Having said that, even the top Wimauma FL schools had to begin from their opening day of training, so use it as one of several qualifications. You can also find out what the school’s history is pertaining to successful licensing and employment of its graduates. If a school won’t provide those stats, look elsewhere. The schools should also maintain relationships with local and national trucking companies. Having numerous contacts not only confirms a superior reputation within the industry, but also bolsters their job placement program for graduates. It also wouldn’t hurt to contact the Florida licensing department to confirm that the CDL trucker schools you are researching are in compliance.
How Effective is the Training? At a minimum, the schools must be licensed in Florida and hire instructors that are trained and experienced. We will cover more about the instructors in the next segment. In addition, the student to instructor ratio should be no higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be getting the personal attention they will need. This is especially true concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And look out for any school that claims it can train you to drive trucks in a comparatively short period of time. Learning to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer professionally requires time. Most Wimauma FL schools provide training programs that run from three weeks to as long as two months, based on the license class or kind of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Teachers? As already mentioned, it’s essential that the instructors are qualified to teach driving techniques and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Although a number of states have minimum driving time criteria to be certified as an instructor, the more professional driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also crucial that the instructors keep current with industry advancements or any new laws or changes in regulations. Evaluating teachers might be a little more intuitive than other criteria, and possibly the ideal approach is to visit the school and speak with the teachers face to face. You can also speak with some of the students completing the training and find out if they are happy with the level of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Plenty of Driving Time? Above all else, an excellent truck driver school will furnish plenty of 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 ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are necessary training methods, they are no replacement for actual driving. The more instruction that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will become. Although driving time varies among schools, a reasonable benchmark is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish no less than 44 hours of driving time. Contact the Wimauma FL schools you are researching and find out how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Independent or Captive ? It’s possible to get free or discounted training from certain truck driving schools if you make a commitment to be a driver for a specific carrier for a defined time period. This is what’s known as contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So instead of maintaining affiliations with many different trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only refer to one company. The benefit is receiving free or less expensive training by giving up the freedom to initially be a driver wherever you choose. Naturally contract training has the potential to restrict your income prospects when beginning your new career. But for many it may be the only way to obtain affordable training. Just be sure to ask if the Wimauma FL schools you are considering are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Is there CDL Testing Onsite? There are a number of states that will allow 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driver schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is permitted in Florida, ask if the schools you are reviewing are DMV certified to provide it. One advantage is that it is more convenient than contending with graduates of other schools for test times at Florida testing locations. It is also an indication that the DMV deems the authorized schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Classes Accessible? As previously noted, truck driver training is only about 1 to 2 months in length. With such a short duration, it’s important that the Wimauma FL school you choose provides flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. For example, if you’re having difficulty learning a particular driving maneuver, then the instructor should be willing to dedicate more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still holding a job while going to training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other commitments.
Is Job Assistance Provided? As soon as you have received your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be eager to start your new career. Confirm that the schools you are reviewing have job placement programs. Find out what their job placement percentage is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, ask which local and national trucking companies their graduates are placed with for hiring. If a school has a poor job placement rate or few Wimauma FL employers recruiting their grads, it might be a sign to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Trucking schools are comparable to colleges and other Wimauma FL area vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being offered. Find out if the schools you are evaluating have a financial aid department, or at a minimum someone who can help you understand the options and forms that need to be submitted.
Enrolling in a Truck Driving School near Wimauma FL?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Wimauma Florida area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Wimauma was founded by Captain C.H. Davis in 1902. It was located on a 55-mile (89 km) railroad route that was built south from Durant to Manatee County and into Sarasota, with construction starting in 1895. It was first incorporated in 1902 as the United States & West Indies Railroad and Steamship Company. It became the Florida West Shore Railway on May 9, 1903, before being merged into the Seaboard Air Line Railroad in 1909. In 1902, Capt. Davis helped to build the railroad connecting Turkey Creek and Bradenton. He decided to found a town at the halfway point, opening a post office there on October 24, 1902. Davis named the town by taking the first letters of the names of his three daughters, Wilma, Maude, and Mary. The town had the railroad tracks as the eastern boundary and was centered on Lake Tiger, now called Lake Wimauma. A railroad depot was constructed in 1903. The town was officially incorporated in 1925 as the county's fourth municipality, but the city government ceased to function some time in the 1930s. In 1993 this fact was rediscovered, but it was concluded that the incorporation was no longer valid after about 60 years without a city government. The railroad depot in Wimauma served as a passenger stop until 1968. The railroad tracks were removed in 1984 and the station had already been razed years before that. Currently, Wimauma is the site of the Church of God (Cleveland, TN) Camp Ground and conference center.
Wimauma is bordered to the north by Balm, to the west by Sun City Center, and to the south by Manatee County. U.S. Route 301 forms part of the western border of the community, leading north 19 miles (31 km) to the Brandon–Tampa area and southwest 24 miles (39 km) to Bradenton. Florida State Road 674 runs through the center of Wimauma, leading east 9 miles (14 km) to Fort Lonesome and west through Sun City Center 9 miles to Ruskin.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the Wimauma CDP has a total area of 25.3 square miles (65.5 km2), of which 25.0 square miles (64.8 km2) land and 0.2 square miles (0.6 km2), or 0.99%, are water.
Select the Best CDL School Wimauma FL
Choosing the right trucking school is an essential first step to launching your new profession as a local or long distance truck driver. The skill sets that you will learn at school will be those that forge a new career behind the wheel. There are a number of options available and understanding them is critical to a new driver’s success. Most importantly, you must receive the necessary training in order to operate a large commercial vehicle in a safe and professional manner. If you are short on money or financing, you might need 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 select an independent truck driving school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking company of your choosing, or one of many affiliated with the school. It’s your choice. But regardless of how you obtain your training, you will in the near future be joining an industry that helps our country move as a professional trucker in Wimauma FL.
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