How to Find a Trucking School near West Shokan New York
Congrats on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a CDL school near West Shokan NY. Maybe it has always been your fantasy to hit the open highway while operating a huge tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have done some research and have found that an occupation as a truck driver provides excellent pay and flexible work opportunities. No matter what your reason is, it’s important to obtain the proper training by picking the right CDL school in your area. When evaluating your options, there are several factors that you’ll want to think about prior to making your final selection. Location will certainly be important, especially if you have to commute from your West Shokan home. The cost will also be important, but choosing a school based exclusively on price is not the ideal way to ensure you’ll obtain the appropriate education. Just remember, 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 purpose 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 review a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will eventually need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Will You Need?
In order to operate commercial vehicles legally within the USA and West Shokan NY, an operator needs to get a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 license classes that a person can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the subject of this article is how to choose a truck driving school, we will focus on Class A and B licenses. What distinguishes each class of CDL is the type of vehicle that the driver can operate in addition to 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 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 CDL 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. 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 need endorsements to operate certain types of vehicles, for instance passenger or school buses. And a Class A licensee, with the proper required endorsements, may operate any vehicle that a Class B licensee is qualified to operate.
How to Evaluate a CDL School
As soon as you have determined which Commercial Drivers License you wish to pursue, you can begin the process of researching the West Shokan NY truck driving schools that you are looking at. As earlier mentioned, location and cost will certainly be your initial 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 equally if not more important. So following are a few additional factors that you should research while conducting your due diligence prior to choosing, and particularly paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Not many truck driving schools in the West Shokan NY area are accredited due to the demanding process and cost 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 a number of advantages. Prospective students recognize that the training will be of the highest caliber, and that they will be given plenty 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 meet the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One indicator to help determine the quality of a trucking school is how long it has been in operation. A poorly reviewed or a fly by night school normally will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. On the other hand, even the best of West Shokan NY schools had to begin from their opening day of training, so use 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 graduates. If a school won’t provide those numbers, search elsewhere. The schools should additionally have associations with local and national trucking companies. Having a large number of contacts not only affirms a superior reputation within the profession, but also boosts their job assistance program for students. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to contact the New York licensing authority to verify that the CDL trucking schools you are reviewing are in compliance.
How Effective is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools must be licensed in New York and employ instructors that are trained and experienced. We will discuss more about the instructors in the next section. Also, the student to instructor proportion should not be higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be receiving the personalized instruction they will need. This is especially true concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And be critical of any school that claims it can train you to drive trucks in a relatively short period of time. Training to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully takes time. Most West Shokan NY schools offer training courses that range from 3 weeks to as long as two months, depending on the class of license or kind of vehicle.
How Good are the Trainers? As earlier stated, it’s important that the instructors are qualified to teach driving techniques and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Although several states have minimum driving time criteria to qualify as a teacher, the more professional driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also important that the teachers keep up to date with industry advancements or any new laws or changes in regulations. Evaluating instructors may be a bit more subjective than other standards, and possibly the ideal method is to check out the school and speak with the instructors in person. You can also speak with some of the students going through the training and ask if they are satisfied with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Sufficient Driving Time? Above all else, a good truck driver school will provide ample driving time to its students. Besides, 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 substitute for real driving. The more instruction that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will be. And even though driving time differs among schools, a good benchmark is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide at least 44 hours of driving time. Check with the West Shokan NY schools you are looking at and find out how much driving time they provide.
Are they Captive or Independent ? You can obtain free or discounted training from a number of truck driver schools if you enter into an agreement to be a driver for a specified carrier for a defined amount of time. This is what’s known as contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So instead of maintaining affiliations with many different trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only refer to one company. The benefit is receiving free or less expensive training by surrendering 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 best way to obtain affordable training. Just remember to ask if the West Shokan NY schools you are considering are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Is there Onsite CDL Testing? There are a number of states that will allow 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its grads. If onsite testing is available in New York, ask if the schools you are reviewing are DMV certified to provide it. One advantage is that it is more accommodating than competing with graduates of competing schools for test times at New York testing locations. It is also an indication that the DMV regards the approved schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Classes Accessible? As formerly noted, CDL training is only about one to two months long. With such a brief duration, it’s important that the West Shokan NY school you choose provides 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 willing to commit more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still employed while attending training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other obligations.
Is Job Placement Offered? Once you have attained your commercial driver’s license after graduating from trucking school, you will be keen to start your new career. Confirm that the schools you are looking at have job assistance programs. Find out what their job placement ratio is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, find out which local and national trucking companies their graduates are placed with for hiring. If a school has a poor job placement rate or few West Shokan NY employers hiring their grads, it might be a sign to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Given? Truck driving schools are comparable to colleges and other West Shokan NY area trade or technical schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being available. Ask if the schools you are assessing have a financial assistance department, or at least someone who can help you get through the options and forms that must be completed.
Enrolling in a Truck Driving School near West Shokan NY?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the West Shokan New York area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
New York State Route 28A
New York State Route 28A (NY 28A) is an east–west state highway in Ulster County, New York, in the United States. It extends for nearly twenty miles (32 km) along the south side of Ashokan Reservoir in Catskill Park, serving as a southerly alternate route of NY 28 through the area. Many of the communities along its length, such as West Shokan and Olivebridge, are relocated versions of those condemned for the reservoir's construction. Near Olivebridge, NY 28A intersects NY 213, the only other state route that NY 28A intersects aside from its parent, NY 28.
NY 28A was built in the early 20th century during the Ashokan Reservoir's construction. The highway was built and subsequently maintained by New York City as the result of a 1909 court order, which mandated that the city maintain the reservoir perimeter roads in perpetuity. In the 1930 renumbering of state highways in New York, the portion of the southern loop road between Boiceville and Olivebridge became part of NY 213. The entire southern loop road was redesignated as NY 28A c. 1933. In the 1970s, New York City sought to transfer control of its upstate roads to the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT); however, as of 2013, no action had been taken.
Maintenance of NY 28A is split between the New York City Department of Transportation (NYCDOT) and Ulster County. NYCDOT maintenance begins at the western junction with NY 28 and ends at a point near Shady Lane, a local street near the eastern end of the reservoir in Hurley. The remaining 1.63 miles (2.62 km) of the highway is county-maintained and signed as part of County Route 50 (CR 50).
Choose the Best CDL School West Shokan NY
Picking the appropriate trucking school is a critical first step to starting your new vocation 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 to a new driver’s success. But first and foremost, you must get the appropriate training in order to drive a large commercial vehicle in a safe and professional manner. If you are short on cash or financing, you may want to look into a captive school. You will pay a reduced or even no tuition by agreeing to drive 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 associated with the school. It’s your choice. But regardless of how you get your training, you will in the near future be joining a profession that helps our country move as a professional trucker in West Shokan NY.
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