How to Select a Trucking School near York Harbor Maine
Congratulations on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a trucking school near York Harbor ME. Perhaps it has always been your dream to hit the open highway while operating a monster tractor trailer. Or possibly you have conducted some analysis and have found that a career as a truck driver offers excellent wages and flexible work prospects. Whatever your reason is, it’s essential to receive the proper training by picking the right CDL school in your area. When evaluating your options, there are several factors that you’ll need to examine prior to making your ultimate selection. Location will undoubtedly be an issue, particularly if you have to commute from your York Harbor residence. The cost will also be important, but picking a school based entirely on price is not the optimal method to make certain you’ll receive the appropriate education. Don’t forget, your objective is to learn the knowledge and skills that will enable you to pass the CDL exams and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that objective in mind, just how do you decide on a truck driving school? That is what we are going to address in the rest of this article. But first, we are going to discuss a little bit about which CDL license you will eventually need.
Which CDL Should You Get?
In order to drive commercial vehicles lawfully within the USA and York Harbor ME, a driver must get a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 classes of licenses that a driver can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the subject of this article is how to select a truck driver school, we will highlight Class A and Class B licenses. What distinguishes 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). Below are short descriptions of the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is needed to drive any vehicle that has a GCWR of greater 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 CDL 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. 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 CDLs may also need endorsements to drive specific types of vehicles, for instance passenger or school buses. And a Class A license holder, with the appropriate required endorsements, can drive any vehicle that a Class B licensee is authorized to drive.
How to Assess a Trucking School
As soon as you have determined which Commercial Drivers License you would like to pursue, you can start the undertaking of researching the York Harbor ME trucking schools that you are looking at. As already discussed, location and cost will undoubtedly be your primary concerns. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they should not be your sole considerations. Other factors, for example the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are similarly if not more important. So following are several additional points that you need to research while carrying out your due diligence prior to choosing, and especially paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Not many trucking schools in the York Harbor ME area are accredited because of the demanding process and expense to the schools. However, certification is more common and is provided by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not required to become certified, but there are several advantages. Potential students know that the training will be of the highest standard, and that they will be given an ample amount of driving time. For example, PTDI calls for 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 training and curriculum will fulfill the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One indicator to help evaluate the quality of a truck driver school is how long it has been in operation. A negatively ranked or a fly by night school typically will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the top York Harbor ME schools had to start from their opening day of training, so use it as one of multiple qualifiers. You can also find out what the school’s history is relating to successful licensing and employment of its graduating students. If a school won’t provide those numbers, search elsewhere. The schools should additionally have associations with regional and national trucking companies. Having numerous contacts not only points to a quality reputation within the profession, but also boosts their job placement program for students. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to check with the Maine licensing department to confirm that the CDL trucker schools you are reviewing are in good standing.
How Good is the Training? At a minimum, the schools must be licensed in Maine and hire instructors that are trained and experienced. We will cover 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 greater, then students will not be obtaining the personal instruction they will need. This is particularly true regarding 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 time period. Training to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer professionally takes time. Most York Harbor ME schools offer training courses that range from three weeks to as long as 2 months, based on the license class or type of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Teachers? As already mentioned, it’s important that the teachers are trained to teach driving methods and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Even though several states have minimum driving time requirements to be certified as a teacher, the more professional driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also important that the instructors stay up to date with industry advancements or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Assessing teachers might be a little more subjective than other standards, and perhaps the best method is to check out the school and talk to the instructors face to face. You can also talk to some of the students completing the training and find out if they are satisfied with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
How Much Driving Time? Most importantly, a great 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 real time spent behind the wheel operating a truck. While the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators 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. And even though driving time differs between schools, a reasonable standard is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Contact the York Harbor ME schools you are researching and find out how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Captive or Independent ? It’s possible to receive free or discounted training from some truck driver schools if you enter into an agreement to drive for a specific carrier for a defined period of time. This is called contract training, and the schools that provide 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 work with one company. The tradeoff 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 limit your income opportunities when beginning your new career. But for some it may be the ideal way to obtain affordable training. Just remember to ask if the York Harbor ME schools you are considering are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Offer Onsite CDL Testing? There are some states that will permit 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driver schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is available in Maine, find out if the schools you are considering are DMV certified to offer it. One benefit is that it is more convenient than contending with graduates from competing schools for test times at Maine testing facilities. It is moreover an indication that the DMV believes the authorized schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Class Times Accessible? As formerly mentioned, truck driver training is only about one to two months in length. With such a short duration, it’s important that the York Harbor ME school you enroll in offers flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. As an example, if you’re having a hard time learning a certain driving maneuver, then the teacher should be willing to spend more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still employed while going to training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other commitments.
Is Job Assistance Offered? Once you have obtained your CDL license after graduating from truck driver 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 percentage is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, find out which local and national trucking companies their graduates are placed with for employment. If a school has a poor job placement rate or not many York Harbor ME employers hiring their graduates, it might be a sign to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Given? Trucking schools are comparable to colleges and other York Harbor ME 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 assessing have a financial aid department, or at a minimum someone who can help you understand the options and forms that must be completed.
Enrolling in a Truck Driving School near York Harbor ME?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the York Harbor Maine area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
York Harbor, Maine
York Harbor is a census-designated place (CDP) in the town of York in York County, Maine, United States. The population was 3,033 at the 2010 census. York Harbor is a distinguished former Gilded Age summer colony noted for its resort architecture. It is part of the Portland–South Portland–Biddeford, Maine Metropolitan Statistical Area.
York was a prosperous seaport in the 18th century. Its harbor, then known as Lower Town, was lined with wharves and warehouses to which upriver settlers brought their goods for trade and shipping. The tongue of land at the mouth of the York River was called Gallows Point, where criminals at Old York Gaol in York Village were hanged. At high tide the tongue became an island, from which a ferry licensed in 1652 crossed to Seabury.
During the American Revolution, fishermen and their families abandoned the Isles of Shoals off the coast and floated their homes to the Lower Town waterfront, where they were rebuilt. They hauled their boats at Lobster Cove and dried their catch on fish flakes, after which the tongue would be named Stage Neck. In 1807, President Thomas Jefferson's embargo crippled local mercantile trade, and by the Civil War, Stage Neck had deteriorated into a ramshackle slum.
Pick the Ideal Truck Driving School York Harbor ME
Selecting the ideal trucking school is an important first step to launching your new profession as a long distance or local truck driver. The skills that you will learn at school will be those that mold a new career behind the wheel. There are many options available and understanding them is critical if you are going to succeed as an operator. But first and foremost, you must receive the appropriate training in order to drive a large commercial vehicle in a professional and safe manner. If you are lacking cash or financing, you might want to look into 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 enroll in an independent trucker school and have the option of driving for the trucking firm of your choosing, or one of several affiliated with the school. It’s your decision. But regardless of how you receive your training, you will in the near future be part of a profession that helps our country move as a professional trucker in York Harbor ME.
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