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Become a Truck Driver | Truck Driving Schools Westport MA

How to Find a CDL Training School near Westport Massachusetts

Westport MA truck driving school campusCongrats on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a trucking school near Westport MA. Perhaps it has always been your dream to hit the open highway while driving a big ole tractor trailer. Or possibly you have done some research and have found that an occupation as a truck driver provides good income and flexible work opportunities. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s imperative to receive the appropriate training by picking the right CDL school in your area. When evaluating your options, there are certain variables that you’ll need to think about before making your final selection. Location will undoubtedly be important, particularly if you have to commute from your Westport home. The cost will also be of importance, but selecting a school based solely on price is not the optimal way to make certain you’ll receive the appropriate training. Just remember, your objective is to learn the skills and knowledge that will enable you to pass the CDL examinations and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that purpose in mind, just how do you select a truck driving school? That is what we are going to discuss in the remainder of this article. But first, we are going to review a little bit about which CDL license you will eventually need.

Which Commercial Drivers License Will You Require?

long haul tractor trailer in Westport MATo operate commercial vehicles legally within the United States and Westport MA, an operator must obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three license classes that a person can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the subject of this article is how to choose 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 as well as the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Below are brief descriptions of the 2 classes.

Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License is required to operate 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 Commercial Drivers License is required to operate 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 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 might also need endorsements to drive specific kinds of vehicles, such as passenger or school buses. And a Class A license holder, with the proper required endorsements, may operate any vehicle that a Class B licensee is authorized to operate.

How to Assess a CDL School

Questions to ask Westport MA truck driving schoolsOnce you have decided which CDL you wish to obtain, you can start the process of evaluating the Westport MA truck driving schools that you are looking at. As previously discussed, cost and location will no doubt be your initial considerations. But it can’t be stressed enough that they must not be your only considerations. Other issues, for example the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are equally or even more important. So below are several additional points that you should research while conducting your due diligence prior to selecting, and especially paying for, your truck driver training.

Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Not many trucking schools in the Westport MA area are accredited due to the rigorous 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 required to become certified, but there are certain advantages. Interested students know that the training will be of the highest standard, and that they will get lots of driving time. As an example, PTDI requires 44 hours of real driving time, not ride-alongs or simulations. So if a school’s course is certified (the course, not the school is certified), students know that the curriculum and training will satisfy the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.

How Long in Business? One clue to help assess the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in business. A poorly ranked or a fly by night school typically will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the best of Westport MA schools had to start from their first day of training, so use it as one of several qualifiers. You can also ask what the school’s history is concerning successful licensing and job placement of its graduates. If a school won’t share those stats, search elsewhere. The schools should also have associations with local and national trucking companies. Having a large number of contacts not only affirms a quality reputation within the industry, but also bolsters their job placement program for students. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to get in touch with the Massachusetts licensing authority to verify that the CDL trucking schools you are researching are in compliance.

How Good is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools must be licensed in Massachusetts and hire instructors that are trained and experienced. We will talk more about the teachers in the following section. Also, the student to instructor proportion should be no greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be getting the personalized attention they will need. This is especially true regarding the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And be critical of any school that insists it can teach you to drive trucks in a relatively short time frame. Learning to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer professionally takes time. Most Westport MA schools offer training courses that run from three weeks to as long as two months, depending on the class of license or kind of vehicle.

How Good are the Instructors? As earlier stated, it’s imperative that the teachers are trained to teach driving methods and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Even though several states have minimum driving time criteria to be certified as a teacher, the more successful driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also vital that the teachers stay current with industry developments or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Evaluating teachers may be a little more intuitive than other standards, and possibly the best approach is to pay a visit to the school and speak with the teachers in person. You can also speak with some of the students going through the training and ask if they are happy with the level of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.

Adequate Driving Time? Most importantly, a great trucking school will provide sufficient driving time to its students. After all, 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 alternative for actual driving. The more training that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will be. And even though driving time varies between schools, a good benchmark is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Get in touch with the Westport MA schools you are looking at and ask how much driving time they furnish.

Are they Captive or Independent ? It’s possible to receive free or discounted training from certain trucking schools if you enter into an agreement to drive for a specified carrier for a defined amount of time. This is referred to as contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So rather than 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 less expensive or even free training by surrendering the freedom to initially work wherever you have an opportunity. Clearly contract training has the potential to limit your income prospects when beginning your new career. But for many it may be the best way to receive affordable training. Just be sure to inquire if the Westport MA schools you are contemplating 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 driving schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is allowed in Massachusetts, find out if the schools you are looking at are DMV certified to provide it. One benefit is that it is more convenient than contending with graduates of competing schools for test times at Massachusetts testing facilities. It is moreover an indication that the DMV believes the approved schools to be of a superior quality.

Are the Class Times Accessible? As formerly noted, truck driver training is just 1 to 2 months in length. With such a brief duration, it’s essential that the Westport MA school you select provides flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. For example, if you’re having a hard time learning a particular driving maneuver, then the teacher should be willing to spend more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still employed while going to training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other responsibilities.

Is Job Assistance Offered? The moment you have received your CDL license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be eager to begin your new profession. Make sure that the schools you are contemplating 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 firms their graduates are placed with for hiring. If a school has a poor job placement rate or few Westport MA employers recruiting their graduates, it might be a clue to look elsewhere.

Is Financial Aid Given? Truck driving schools are similar to colleges and other Westport MA area vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being offered. Ask if the schools you are examining have a financial aid department, or at least someone who can help you understand the options and forms that need to be completed.

Enrolling in a Truck Driving School near Westport MA?

If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Westport Massachusetts area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.

Westport, Massachusetts

The village of North Westport lies in the town. Other named areas of the town are "Westport Point" with the dock on the Westport River where Main Road meets the river, "Central Village" with town offices, retail stores and businesses, "Head of Westport" at the head of the east branch of the river and the area referred to either as "Acoaxet" or "Westport Harbor," which is between the west branch of the river and Rhode Island. This area is actually cut off from the rest of Massachusetts by water and Rhode Island.

Westport, so named because it was the westernmost port in the Massachusetts Bay Colony, was first settled in 1670 as a part of the town of Dartmouth by members of the Sisson family. The river, and the land around it, was called "Coaksett" in the original deed; the name, now spelled "Acoaxet," lives on in the southwestern community along the western branch of the Westport River. Like many areas in the region, Westport was affected by King Philip's War, when the native Wampanoag population rebelled against the oppression of the English settlers. Several small mills were built along the Westport River, and in 1787, the town, along with the town of New Bedford, seceded from Dartmouth.

During the late 18th century, into the early 19th century, a Quaker businessman, sea captain, patriot, and abolitionist named Paul Cuffee and his wife settled in the town, on the banks of the Westport River where he launched a shipyard. Cuffee became one of the richest free blacks in the United States at the time, and helped the effort to try to emigrate black slaves to Sierra Leone in Africa.

Select the Ideal Trucking School Westport MA

tractor trailer hauling construction materials in Westport MAPicking the right truck driving school is an essential first step to beginning your new profession as a long distance or local truck driver. The skills taught at school will be those that mold a new career behind the wheel. There are several options offered and understanding them is crucial if you are going to succeed as an operator. Most importantly, you must receive the appropriate training in order to drive a large commercial vehicle in a professional and safe fashion. If you are lacking money or financing, you may want to look into 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 select an independent truck driving school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking firm of your choice, or one of several associated with the school. It’s your decision. But no matter how you receive your training, you will in the near future be entering a profession that helps America move as a professional trucker in Westport MA.

More Trucking Locations in Massachusetts

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