How to Find a CDL Driving School near Stillmore Georgia
Congrats on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a CDL school near Stillmore GA. Maybe it has always been your ambition to hit the open road while driving a big ole tractor trailer. Or possibly you have conducted some research and have found that a career as a truck driver provides excellent income and flexible work opportunities. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s essential to get the proper training by selecting the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are a number of variables that you’ll need to think about prior to making your final selection. Location will no doubt be important, especially if you need to commute from your Stillmore home. The cost will also be of importance, but choosing a school based solely on price is not the optimal way to guarantee you’ll obtain the appropriate training. Just remember, your goal is to learn the knowledge and skills that will allow you to pass the CDL exams and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that target in mind, just how do you choose a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to discuss in the remainder of this article. But first, we are going to discuss a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will ultimately need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Should You Get?
In order to drive commercial vehicles lawfully within the USA and Stillmore GA, a driver must 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 subject of this article is how to pick a truck driving school, we will address Class A and B licenses. What differentiates each class of CDL is the kind of vehicle that the driver can operate as well as the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Below are brief explanations of the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is required to operate any vehicle that has a GCWR of more than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of more than 10,000 lbs. Some 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 required 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. A few 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 might also require endorsements to drive certain types of vehicles, such as school or passenger buses. And a Class A license holder, with the proper needed endorsements, may drive any vehicle that a Class B licensee is qualified to drive.
How to Research a CDL School
After you have determined which CDL you would like to pursue, you can start the undertaking of evaluating the Stillmore GA truck driver schools that you are considering. As already mentioned, cost and location will certainly be your initial considerations. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they must not be your sole considerations. Other variables, such as the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are equally if not more important. So below are several more factors that you should research while conducting your due diligence before enrolling in, and particularly paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Very few truck driving schools in the Stillmore GA area are accredited because of the rigorous process and expense to the schools. However, certification is more common and is offered by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not required to become certified, but there are several advantages. Interested students know that the training will be of the highest caliber, and that they will receive lots of driving time. For 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 comply with the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One indicator to help assess the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in business. A poorly rated or a fly by night school typically will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. On the other hand, even the top Stillmore GA schools had to start from their opening day of training, so consider it as one of multiple qualifications. You can also ask what the school’s track record is relating 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 firms. Having numerous contacts not only affirms an excellent reputation within the trade, but also boosts their job placement program for graduates. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to contact the Georgia licensing authority to make sure that the CDL trucker schools you are considering are in good standing.
How Good is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools must be licensed in Georgia and employ instructors that are trained and experienced. We will discuss more about the instructors in the next segment. Also, 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 individual attention 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 train you to drive trucks in a comparatively short period of time. Training to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully takes time. The majority of Stillmore GA schools offer training programs that range from three weeks to as long as 2 months, based on the license class or kind of vehicle.
How Good are the Teachers? As previously stated, it’s imperative that the instructors are qualified to teach driving methods and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Even though several states have minimum driving time criteria to qualify as a teacher, the more professional driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also crucial that the instructors stay current with industry developments or any new laws or changes in regulations. Assessing instructors might be a little more intuitive than other criteria, and perhaps the ideal method is to visit the school and speak with the instructors face to face. You can also talk to some of the students completing the training and ask if they are satisfied with the level of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
Sufficient Driving Time? Most importantly, an excellent truck driving school will furnish 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. Although the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are necessary training methods, they are no substitute for real driving. The more instruction that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will become. And even though driving time fluctuates between schools, a good benchmark is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Get in touch with the Stillmore GA schools you are looking at and find out how much driving time they provide.
Are they Independent or Captive ? It’s possible to obtain free or discounted training from a number of trucking schools if you enter into an agreement to be a driver for a specific carrier for a defined amount of time. This is referred to as contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So rather than having affiliations with a wide range of trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only work with one company. The benefit is receiving less expensive or even free training by giving up the freedom to initially be a driver wherever you have an opportunity. Naturally contract training has the potential to restrict your income opportunities when beginning your new career. But for some it may be the ideal way to obtain affordable training. Just be sure to ask if the Stillmore GA schools you are contemplating are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Offer CDL Testing Onsite? There are a number of states that will permit 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its grads. If onsite testing is allowed in Georgia, find out if the schools you are looking at are DMV certified to offer it. One benefit is that it is more accommodating than competing with graduates from competing schools for test times at Georgia testing facilities. It is also an indicator that the DMV believes the authorized schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Classes Accessible? As formerly noted, truck driver training is only about one to two months in length. With such a short term, it’s important that the Stillmore GA school you enroll in offers flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. As an example, if you’re having a hard time learning a certain driving maneuver, then the teacher should be prepared to commit more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still holding a job while going to training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other responsibilities.
Is Job Placement Offered? The moment you have received your CDL license after graduating from trucking school, you will be keen to start your new profession. Verify that the schools you are considering have job assistance programs. Find out what their job placement percentage is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, find out which national and local trucking companies their graduates are placed with for hiring. If a school has a low job placement rate or few Stillmore GA employers hiring their graduates, it may be a clue to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Truck driving schools are similar to colleges and other Stillmore GA area vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being available. Ask if the schools you are evaluating have a financial assistance department, or at a minimum someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that must be completed.
Enrolling in a Truck Driving School near Stillmore GA?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Stillmore Georgia area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Stillmore is located in southeastern Emanuel County at 32°26′28″N 82°12′53″W / 32.44111°N 82.21472°W / 32.44111; -82.21472 (32.441176, -82.214637).Georgia State Route 57 passes through the town, leading northwest 14 miles (23 km) to Swainsboro, the county seat, and southeast 5 miles (8 km) to Interstate 16 at Exit 98. Georgia State Route 192 crosses GA 57 in the center of Stillmore, leading northeast 11 miles (18 km) to Twin City and west 5 miles (8 km) to U.S. Route 1.
According to the United States Census Bureau, Stillmore has a total area of 3.2 square miles (8.3 km2), of which 3.1 square miles (8.0 km2) is land and 0.1 square miles (0.3 km2), or 3.39%, is water.
As of the census of 2000, there were 730 people, 220 households, and 159 families residing in the town. The population density was 229.8 people per square mile (88.6/km²). There were 253 housing units at an average density of 79.6 per square mile (30.7/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 35.07% White, 47.95% African American, 0.14% Native American, 1.23% Asian, 15.07% from other races, and 0.55% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 17.81% of the population.
Pick the Best Trucking School Stillmore GA
Selecting the right truck driver school is an important first step to starting your new profession as a long distance or local truck driver. The skill sets taught at school will be those that mold a new career behind the wheel. There are a number of options offered and understanding them is critical if you are going to succeed as an operator. Most importantly, you must obtain the appropriate training in order to drive a big commercial vehicle in a professional and safe manner. If you are short on cash or financing, you may need to think about 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 select an independent truck driving school and have the option of driving for the trucking company of your choice, or one of many affiliated with the school. It’s your decision. But regardless of how you obtain your training, you will in the near future be part of a profession that helps our country move as a professional trucker in Stillmore GA.
More Trucking Locations in Georgia