How to Find a Trucking School near West Tisbury Massachusetts
Congratulations on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a CDL school near West Tisbury MA. Perhaps it has always been your ambition to hit the open road while driving a monster tractor trailer. Or possibly you have done some research and have discovered that a career as a truck driver provides good wages and flexible job opportunities. No matter what your reason is, it’s essential to receive the proper training by selecting the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are several factors that you’ll need to examine before making your final selection. Location will certainly be an issue, especially if you have to commute from your West Tisbury home. The cost will also be important, but picking a school based only on price is not the optimal method to ensure you’ll receive the proper training. Don’t forget, your objective is to master the skills and knowledge that will enable you to pass the CDL exams and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that target in mind, just how do you pick a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to discuss in the rest of this article. But first, we are going to review a little bit about which CDL license you will ultimately need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Will You Require?
In order to drive commercial vehicles lawfully within the United States and West Tisbury MA, an operator needs to attain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three 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 driving school, we will highlight Class A and Class 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). Following are short descriptions of the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License is needed 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 operators may be able to drive 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 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 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 Commercial Drivers Licenses might also need endorsements to operate specific kinds of vehicles, including passenger or school buses. And a Class A licensee, with the proper required endorsements, can operate any vehicle that a Class B license holder is authorized to operate.
How to Research a CDL School
After you have determined which CDL you would like to pursue, you can start the process of evaluating the West Tisbury MA trucking schools that you are considering. As earlier mentioned, cost and location will certainly be your primary considerations. But it can’t be stressed enough that they must not be your only concerns. Other factors, including the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are equally if not more important. So following are some additional factors that you need to research while carrying out your due diligence prior to selecting, and especially paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Not many trucking schools in the West Tisbury MA area are accredited because of the stringent process and expense to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more prevalent and is provided by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not required to become certified, but there are certain advantages. Interested students recognize that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will receive plenty of driving time. For example, PTDI mandates 44 hours of actual driving time, not simulations or ride-alongs. So if a school’s program is certified (the program, 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 Business? One clue 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 usually will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the best of West Tisbury MA schools had to start from their first day of training, so use it as one of multiple qualifications. You can also ask what the school’s history is concerning successful licensing and employment of its graduating students. If a school won’t share those numbers, search elsewhere. The schools should also maintain associations with regional and national trucking companies. Having a large number of contacts not only affirms a quality reputation within the industry, but also boosts their job placement program for students. It also wouldn’t hurt to get in touch with the Massachusetts licensing department to confirm that the CDL trucker schools you are researching are in good standing.
How Good is the Training? At a minimum, the schools should be licensed in Massachusetts and employ teachers that are trained and experienced. We will talk more about the instructors in the following 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 obtaining the individual instruction they will need. This is especially 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 be a truck driver in a relatively short period of time. Learning to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer professionally requires time. The majority of West Tisbury MA schools provide training programs that range from three weeks to as long as two months, based on the class of license or kind of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Teachers? As previously stated, it’s essential that the teachers are qualified to teach driving methods and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Even though a number of 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 crucial that the teachers keep up to date with industry developments or any new laws or changes in regulations. Evaluating teachers may be a bit more subjective than other criteria, 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 a few of the students completing the training and ask if they are happy with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
Plenty of Driving Time? Most importantly, a great truck driving school will provide sufficient driving time to its students. Besides, 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 alternative for actual driving. The more training that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will be. Although driving time differs between schools, a reasonable standard is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish no less than 44 hours of driving time. Contact the West Tisbury MA schools you are looking at and find out how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Independent or Captive ? You can obtain discounted or even free training from some truck driver schools if you make a commitment to be a driver for a specific carrier for a defined time period. This is referred to as contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So instead of maintaining associations with numerous trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only work with one company. The tradeoff is receiving free or less expensive training by giving up the flexibility to initially be a driver wherever you choose. Naturally contract training has the potential to limit your income prospects when starting out. But for many it may be the ideal way to obtain affordable training. Just be sure to inquire if the West Tisbury MA 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 allow 3rd party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its grads. If onsite testing is permitted in Massachusetts, ask if the schools you are looking at are DMV certified to offer it. One advantage is that it is more convenient than battling with graduates from competing schools for test times at Massachusetts testing locations. It is moreover an indication that the DMV regards the approved schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Classes Accessible? As earlier mentioned, CDL training is just 1 to 2 months in length. With such a short duration, it’s essential that the West Tisbury MA school you enroll in offers flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. As an example, if you’re having difficulty learning a particular driving maneuver, then the instructor should be willing to spend more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still working 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 start your new profession. Verify that the schools you are looking at have job placement programs. Find out what their job placement ratio is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, find out which national and local trucking firms their graduates are referred to for hiring. If a school has a poor job placement rate or not many West Tisbury MA employers hiring their graduates, it might be a clue to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Trucking schools are much like colleges and other West Tisbury MA area trade or technical schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being offered. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have a financial aid department, or at a minimum someone who can help you understand the options and forms that must be submitted.
Enrolling in a Truck Driving School near West Tisbury MA?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the West Tisbury Massachusetts area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
West Tisbury, Massachusetts
West Tisbury is a town located on Martha's Vineyard in Dukes County, Massachusetts, United States. The population was 2,740 at the 2010 census. Along with Chilmark and Aquinnah, West Tisbury forms "Up-Island" Martha's Vineyard.
West Tisbury was first settled by English settlers in 1669 as part of the town of Tisbury. The town was officially incorporated in 1892, the last town on Martha's Vineyard to be incorporated. Despite its separation from Tisbury, the original settlement of the town is still located in West Tisbury. Historically, it has been the agricultural heartland of the island. Up through the 1980s West Tisbury was one of the quickest growing communities on the island.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 41.8 square miles (108.2 km2), of which 25.0 square miles (64.8 km2) is land and 16.7 square miles (43.3 km2), or 40.06%, is water. West Tisbury ranks 123rd out of 351 communities in the Commonwealth in terms of land area, and is the second largest town (behind Edgartown) on the Vineyard. West Tisbury is bordered by Vineyard Sound to the northwest, Tisbury to the northeast, Edgartown to the east, the Atlantic Ocean to the south, and Chilmark to the west, and includes the regions known as Lambert's Cove and Makonikey. The town also shares a common corner with Oak Bluffs, where the two towns meet with Tisbury and Edgartown.
Pick the Best Truck Driving School West Tisbury MA
Choosing the ideal trucking school is a critical first step to launching your new occupation as a long distance or local truck driver. The skill sets 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 crucial to a new driver’s success. But first and foremost, you must get the appropriate training in order to drive a big commercial vehicle in a safe and professional manner. If you are lacking money or financing, you may want to look into a captive school. You will pay a lower or even no tuition by agreeing to drive for their contracted carrier. Or you can select an independent trucking school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking company of your choosing, or one of many associated with the school. It’s your choice. But regardless of how you obtain your training, you will in the near future be entering an industry that helps America move as a professional truck driver in West Tisbury MA.
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