How to Select a CDL Driving School near Sycamore Georgia
Congratulations on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a truck driving school near Sycamore GA. Perhaps it has always been your dream to hit the open road while operating a monster tractor trailer. Or possibly you have conducted some analysis and have discovered that an occupation as a truck driver provides good pay and flexible job prospects. No matter what your reason is, it’s important to get the appropriate training by picking the right CDL school in your area. When evaluating your options, there are various variables that you’ll want to consider prior to making your final selection. Location will no doubt be important, especially if you have to commute from your Sycamore home. The expense will also be important, but picking a school based entirely on price is not the optimal method to guarantee you’ll obtain the appropriate education. Just remember, your goal is to learn the skills and knowledge that will allow you to pass the CDL exams and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that purpose in mind, just how do you pick a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to cover in the rest 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?
In order to drive commercial vehicles lawfully within the United States and Sycamore GA, a driver must attain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three classes of licenses that one can apply 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 discuss Class A and Class B licenses. What distinguishes each class of CDL is the kind of vehicle that the driver can operate in addition to the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Below are short summaries of the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License is needed to operate any vehicle that has a GCWR of greater than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of more than 10,000 lbs. Several 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. A few 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 might also need endorsements to drive certain kinds of vehicles, for instance school or passenger buses. And a Class A license holder, with the appropriate needed endorsements, can operate any vehicle that a Class B license holder is qualified to operate.
How to Evaluate a CDL School
Once you have decided which Commercial Drivers License you would like to pursue, you can begin the process of assessing the Sycamore GA trucking schools that you are considering. As already discussed, cost and location will certainly be your primary concerns. But it can’t be stressed enough that they should not be your sole considerations. Other issues, for example the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are equally if not more important. So following are several more points that you need to research while conducting your due diligence before choosing, and especially paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Very few truck driver schools in the Sycamore GA area are accredited due to the demanding process and expense to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more prevalent and is offered by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not obligated to become certified, but there are certain advantages. Potential students know that the training will be of the highest caliber, and that they will be given plenty of driving time. For example, PTDI requires 44 hours of real 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 standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One indicator to help measure the quality of a trucking school is how long it has been in operation. A poorly reviewed or a fly by night school usually will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. Having said that, even the best of Sycamore GA schools had to start from their opening day of training, so use it as one of several qualifiers. You can also learn what the school’s track record is pertaining to successful licensing and job placement of its graduates. If a school won’t supply those stats, search elsewhere. The schools should additionally have relationships with local and national trucking firms. Having a large number of contacts not only points to a superior reputation within the industry, but also boosts their job placement program for students. It also wouldn’t hurt to check with the Georgia licensing department to make sure that the CDL trucker schools you are considering are in compliance.
How Effective is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools should be licensed in Georgia and hire instructors that are trained and experienced. We will discuss more about the teachers in the next section. In addition, the student to instructor ratio should be no greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be receiving the personalized attention they will need. This is especially true regarding the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And look out for any school that claims it can teach you to be a truck driver in a relatively short time frame. Training to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully takes time. The majority of Sycamore GA schools provide training programs that run from three weeks to as long as 2 months, depending on the license class or kind of vehicle.
How Good are the Instructors? As already stated, it’s essential that the teachers are trained to teach driving techniques and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Although a number of states have minimum driving time requirements to qualify as a teacher, the more successful driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also crucial that the teachers stay current with industry advancements or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Assessing instructors 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 a few of the students completing the training and ask if they are satisfied with the level of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Sufficient Driving Time? Above all else, a good truck driver school will provide 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 simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are necessary training methods, they are no substitute for real driving. The more training that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will become. Although driving time fluctuates among schools, a good standard is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide at least 44 hours of driving time. Get in touch with the Sycamore GA schools you are considering and ask how much driving time they provide.
Are they Independent or Captive ? It’s possible to receive free or discounted training from a number of trucking schools if you enter into an agreement to drive for a particular carrier for a defined period of time. This is what’s known as contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So instead of having associations with numerous trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only refer to one company. The tradeoff is receiving less expensive or even free training by giving up the flexibility to initially work wherever you choose. Clearly contract training has the potential to reduce your income opportunities when beginning your new career. But for many it may be the best way to obtain affordable training. Just be sure to find out if the Sycamore GA schools you are looking at are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Offer Onsite CDL Testing? There are several states that will permit 3rd party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is permitted in Georgia, find out if the schools you are looking at are DMV certified to provide it. One advantage is that it is more convenient than contending with graduates of competing schools for test times at Georgia testing locations. It is moreover an indicator that the DMV deems the authorized schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Classes Flexible? As formerly mentioned, CDL training is just 1 to 2 months in length. With such a short duration, it’s imperative that the Sycamore GA school you choose offers flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. For example, if you’re having difficulty learning a particular driving maneuver, then the teacher should be prepared to dedicate more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still holding a job while attending training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other obligations.
Is Job Placement Offered? As soon as you have attained your CDL license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be keen to start your new career. Verify that the schools you are considering have job placement programs. Find out what their job placement ratio 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 low job placement rate or not many Sycamore GA employers recruiting their grads, it may be a sign to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Trucking schools are similar to colleges and other Sycamore GA 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 evaluating have a financial assistance department, or at least someone who can help you get through the options and forms that need to be submitted.
Enrolling in a Truck Driving School near Sycamore GA?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Sycamore Georgia area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
As of the census of 2010, there were 711 people, 191 households, and 131 families residing in the city. The population density was 711 people per square mile (274.5/km²). There were 218 housing units at an average density of 218 per square mile (84.2/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 61.7% White, 35.9% African American, 0.6% American Indian and Alaska Native, 1.81% from other races, and 0% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.8% of the population.
There were 191 households out of which 29.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 52.9% were married couples living together, 10.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 31.4% were non-families. 23.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.61 and the average family size was 3.11.
In the city, the population was spread out with 21.2% under the age of 20, 11.4% from 10 to 24, 34.4% from 25 to 44, 22.4% from 45 to 64, and 10.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 33.3 years. For every 100 females, there were 189 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 214 males.
Select the Ideal Truck Driving School Sycamore GA
Selecting the appropriate truck driver school is a critical first step to launching your new occupation as a local or long distance truck driver. The skills 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 vital if you are going to succeed as an operator. But first and foremost, you must get the necessary training in order to operate a big commercial vehicle in a safe and professional manner. If you are lacking cash or financing, you might need to consider a captive school. You will pay a reduced or in some cases no tuition by agreeing to drive for their contracted carrier. Or you can enroll in an independent truck driver school and have the option of driving for the trucking firm of your choosing, or one of several associated with the school. It’s your decision. But regardless of how you get your training, you will in the near future be part of an industry that helps America move as a professional truck driver in Sycamore GA.
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