How to Find a Truck Driving School near Weston Massachusetts
Congratulations on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a truck driving school near Weston MA. Maybe it has always been your ambition to hit the open road while driving a monster tractor trailer. Or maybe you have done some research and have discovered that an occupation as a truck driver offers excellent income and flexible work opportunities. Whatever your reason is, it’s essential to get the proper training by enrolling in the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are certain variables that you’ll want to consider prior to making your final choice. Location will certainly be an issue, especially if you need to commute from your Weston home. The cost will also be of importance, but choosing a school based solely on price is not the best method to ensure you’ll obtain the right training. Don’t forget, 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 objective in mind, just how do you decide on a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to address in the balance of this article. But first, we are going to discuss a little bit about which CDL license you will ultimately need.
Which CDL Should You Get?
To drive commercial vehicles lawfully within the United States and Weston MA, a driver needs to get a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three license classes that a person can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the subject of this article is how to select a truck driving school, we will address Class A and B licenses. What distinguishes each class of CDL is the type of vehicle that the driver can operate together with 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 drive 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 required to drive single vehicles having a GVWR of greater 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 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 may also require endorsements to operate certain kinds of vehicles, such as school or passenger buses. And a Class A licensee, with the proper needed endorsements, may operate any vehicle that a Class B license holder is qualified to operate.
How to Assess a Truck Driving School
After you have determined which CDL you want to pursue, you can begin the undertaking of researching the Weston MA truck driving schools that you are considering. As already mentioned, location and cost will undoubtedly be your primary concerns. But it can’t be stressed enough that they should not be your sole considerations. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are similarly or even more important. So below are some additional points that you should research while conducting your due diligence prior to enrolling in, and particularly paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Not many trucking schools in the Weston MA area are accredited due to the stringent 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 obligated to become certified, but there are certain advantages. Interested students recognize that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will be given lots of driving time. For example, PTDI mandates 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 measure up to the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One indicator to help determine the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in business. 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 best of Weston MA 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 relating to successful licensing and job placement of its graduates. If a school won’t share those stats, look elsewhere. The schools should also maintain associations with local and national trucking firms. Having a large number of contacts not only points to a quality reputation within the profession, but also boosts their job placement program for graduates. It also wouldn’t hurt to get in touch with the Massachusetts licensing department to verify 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 Massachusetts and hire teachers that are experienced and trained. We will discuss more about the instructors in the following segment. Also, the student to instructor proportion should not be greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be obtaining the personal 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 relatively short time frame. Learning to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully takes time. The majority of Weston MA schools provide training programs that run from three weeks to as long as two months, based 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 drivers and instructors. Even though 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 current with industry advancements or any new laws or changes in regulations. Assessing teachers might be a bit more intuitive than other standards, and perhaps the ideal approach is to check out the school and speak with the instructors face to face. You can also speak with some 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.
How Much Driving Time? Above all else, an excellent trucking school will furnish sufficient driving time to its students. After all, isn’t that what it’s all about? Driving time is the real time spent behind the wheel driving a truck. Although the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are necessary training tools, they are no replacement for real driving. The more training that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will be. And even though driving time can vary between schools, a good benchmark is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide no less than 44 hours of driving time. Contact the Weston MA schools you are considering and find out how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Captive or Independent ? You can receive free or discounted training from some trucking schools if you make a commitment to drive for a particular carrier for a defined period of time. This is what’s known as contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So rather than maintaining associations with numerous trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only refer to one company. The benefit is receiving less expensive or even free training by giving up the freedom to initially work wherever you choose. Clearly contract training has the potential to reduce 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 find out if the Weston MA schools you are contemplating are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Provide Onsite CDL Testing? There are several states that will permit 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its students. If onsite testing is permitted in Massachusetts, ask if the schools you are considering are DMV certified to offer it. One advantage is that it is more accommodating than contending with graduates from competing schools for test times at Massachusetts testing locations. It is also an indication that the DMV views the approved schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Class Times Accessible? As earlier mentioned, truck driver training is only about 1 to 2 months long. With such a short duration, it’s essential that the Weston MA school you select provides flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. For example, if you’re having difficulty learning a particular driving maneuver, then the instructor should be willing to dedicate more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still employed while going to training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other obligations.
Is Job Placement Offered? As soon as you have received your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be eager to begin your new career. Confirm that the schools you are looking at have job assistance programs. Ask what their job placement percentage is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, find out which national and local trucking firms their graduates are placed with for employment. If a school has a poor job placement rate or few Weston MA employers hiring their grads, it might be a clue to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Available? Truck driving schools are comparable to colleges and other Weston MA area vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being available. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have a financial aid department, or at least someone who can help you understand the options and forms that must be completed.
Enrolling in a Truck Driving School near Weston MA?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Weston Massachusetts area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Weston was incorporated in 1713, and protection of the town's historic resources is driven by the Weston Historical Commission and Weston Historical Society. The town has one Local Historic District, 10 National Register Districts, 26 Historic Areas, and seven houses individually listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
In the town’s 2014 Community Livability Survey, 97 percent of respondents rated Weston an excellent or good place to live. Among the survey's eight "facets of community livability," four of them—education, natural environment, safety, and community engagement—were rated higher than national benchmarks.
Weston's predominance as a residential community is reflected in its population density, which is among the lowest of Boston's suburbs near or within Route 128. More than 2,000 acres, or 18 percent of the town's total acreage, have been preserved as parks, fields, wetlands, and forests, with 90 miles of trails for hiking, horseback riding, and cross-country skiing. Thirty-seven scenic roads, as defined by Massachusetts law, maintain the town's aesthetic value and historical significance, affording Weston a semi-rural ambiance.
Pick the Right Trucking School Weston MA
Selecting the right truck driving school is a critical 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 shape a new career behind the wheel. There are many options offered and understanding them is vital if you are going to succeed as an operator. But first and foremost, you must receive the necessary training in order to operate a large commercial vehicle in a safe and professional manner. If you are lacking cash or financing, you might want to consider a captive school. You will pay a reduced or even no tuition by agreeing to drive for their contracted carrier. Or you can select an independent CDL school and have the option of driving for the trucking company of your choice, or one of several affiliated with the school. It’s your choice. But regardless of how you obtain your training, you will in the near future be entering a profession that helps our country move as a professional trucker in Weston MA.
More Trucking Locations in Massachusetts
Business Results 1 - 10 of 151