How to Find a Trucking School near Swainsboro Georgia
Congratulations on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a CDL school near Swainsboro GA. Perhaps it has always been your goal to hit the open highway while operating a big ole tractor trailer. Or maybe you have done some research and have found that an occupation as a truck driver offers good wages and flexible job opportunities. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s imperative to obtain the appropriate training by enrolling in the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are various factors that you’ll want to consider before making your ultimate choice. Location will undoubtedly be an issue, particularly if you need to commute from your Swainsboro residence. The cost will also be of importance, but picking a school based only on price is not the best way to ensure you’ll receive the proper education. Just remember, your goal is to master the skills and knowledge that will allow you to pass the CDL examinations and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that target 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 rest of this article. But first, we are going to discuss a little bit about which CDL license you will ultimately need.
Which CDL Will You Require?
In order to operate commercial vehicles legally within the United States and Swainsboro GA, an operator must obtain 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 select 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 as well as the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Following are short descriptions for the 2 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 greater than 10,000 lbs. A few of the vehicles that drivers may be able to operate 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 operate 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. Several 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 drive specific types of vehicles, for example passenger or school buses. And a Class A license holder, with the appropriate needed endorsements, can operate any vehicle that a Class B licensee is authorized to operate.
How to Evaluate a Truck Driving School
As soon as you have determined which Commercial Drivers License you wish to pursue, you can begin the process of assessing the Swainsboro GA trucking schools that you are looking at. As previously discussed, cost and location will certainly be your primary concerns. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they should not be your sole concerns. Other issues, for example the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are equally or even more important. So following are some additional things that you need to research while performing your due diligence before enrolling in, and particularly paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Not many truck driving schools in the Swainsboro GA area are accredited because of the rigorous process and cost to the schools. However, certification is more common and is provided by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not obligated to become certified, but there are several advantages. Prospective students recognize that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will receive plenty of driving time. For example, PTDI requires 44 hours of actual driving time, not simulations or ride-alongs. So if a school’s course is certified (the course, not the school is certified), students know that the curriculum and training will comply with the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One indicator to help measure the quality of a truck driver school is how long it has been in operation. A poorly reviewed or a fly by night school normally will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. Having said that, even the best of Swainsboro GA schools had to begin from their opening day of training, so consider it as one of multiple qualifiers. You can also find out what the school’s history is regarding successful licensing and job placement of its graduating students. If a school won’t provide those numbers, search elsewhere. The schools should also have associations with regional and national trucking firms. Having numerous contacts not only points to a quality reputation within the industry, but also bolsters their job assistance program for students. It also wouldn’t hurt to check with the Georgia licensing department to confirm that the CDL trucker schools you are considering are in good standing.
How Good is the Training? At a minimum, the schools must be licensed in Georgia and employ teachers that are trained and experienced. We will discuss more about the teachers in the next section. Also, the student to instructor proportion should be no higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be receiving the individual 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 drive trucks in a relatively short period of time. Training to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully takes time. Most Swainsboro GA schools offer training programs that run from three weeks to as long as 2 months, depending on the license class or kind of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Instructors? As earlier mentioned, it’s imperative that the teachers are trained to teach driving techniques and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Although several states have minimum driving time requirements to qualify as an instructor, the more professional driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also vital that the instructors stay up to date with industry developments or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Assessing teachers might be a bit more subjective than other standards, and possibly the ideal approach is to pay a visit to the school and speak with the instructors face to face. You can also speak with some of the students completing the training and find out if they are satisfied with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Sufficient Driving Time? Most importantly, a great truck driver school will provide lots of driving time to its students. Besides, isn’t that what it’s all about? Driving time is the real time spent behind the wheel operating a truck. While the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are necessary training methods, they are no replacement for real driving. The more training that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will become. And even though driving time differs between schools, a good 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 Swainsboro GA schools you are looking at and ask how much driving time they provide.
Are they Independent or Captive ? You can get discounted or even free training from a number of truck driver schools if you make a commitment to drive for a specific 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 associations with a wide range of trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only refer to one company. The tradeoff is receiving free or less expensive training by giving up the freedom to initially work wherever you have an opportunity. Obviously contract training has the potential to restrict your income opportunities when beginning your new career. But for some it may be the only way to obtain affordable training. Just remember to find out if the Swainsboro GA 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 permit 3rd party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its grads. If onsite testing is allowed in Georgia, find out if the schools you are reviewing are DMV certified to offer it. One advantage is that it is more convenient than contending with graduates from competing schools for test times at Georgia testing facilities. It is moreover an indication that the DMV believes the authorized schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Classes Accessible? As earlier noted, CDL training is only about one to two months long. With such a short duration, it’s important that the Swainsboro GA 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 certain driving maneuver, then the teacher should be willing to devote 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 responsibilities.
Is Job Placement Provided? As soon as you have obtained your CDL license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be impatient to start your new profession. Confirm that the schools you are contemplating have job placement programs. Ask what their job placement percentage is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, ask which local and national trucking firms their graduates are referred to for hiring. If a school has a poor job placement rate or not many Swainsboro GA employers hiring their grads, it might be a sign to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Trucking schools are similar to colleges and other Swainsboro GA area trade or technical schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being available. Ask if the schools you are assessing have a financial aid department, or at a minimum someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that need to be completed.
Enrolling in a Truck Driving School near Swainsboro GA?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Swainsboro Georgia area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Swainsboro is located near the center of Emanuel County at 32°35'37" North, 82°19'56" West (32.593743, -82.332146).U.S. Route 80 passes through the center of the city, and U.S. Route 1 bypasses it to the west. US 80 leads east 36 miles (58 km) to Statesboro and west 36 miles (58 km) to Dublin, while US 1 leads north 62 miles (100 km) to Augusta and south 106 miles (171 km) to Waycross. Interstate 16 is 14 miles (23 km) south of Swainsboro via US 1.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 12.9 square miles (33.5 km2), of which 12.6 square miles (32.6 km2) is land and 0.35 square miles (0.9 km2), or 2.81%, is water.
As of the census of 2000, there were 6,943 people, 2,685 households, and 1,836 families residing in the city. The population density was 560.5 people per square mile (216.4/km²). There were 3,051 housing units at an average density of 246.3 per square mile (95.1/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 48.06% White, 49.68% African American, 0.14% Native American, 0.35% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 1.22% from other races, and 0.53% from two or more races. 2.03% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
Choose the Best Truck Driver School Swainsboro GA
Picking the right truck driving school is an important 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 mold a new career behind the wheel. There are several options available and understanding them is critical to a new driver’s success. Most importantly, you must get the appropriate training in order to drive a big commercial vehicle in a professional and safe manner. If you are lacking money or financing, you might need to look into a captive school. You will pay a reduced or in some cases no tuition in exchange for driving for their contracted carrier. Or you can enroll in an independent truck driving school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking firm of your choice, or one of many associated with the school. It’s your choice. But no matter how you get your training, you will in the near future be joining a profession that helps America move as a professional trucker in Swainsboro GA.
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