How to Pick a CDL Driving School near West Valley New York
Congratulations on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a trucking school near West Valley NY. Perhaps it has always been your dream to hit the open road while driving a monster tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have conducted some analysis and have discovered that an occupation as a truck driver provides good wages and flexible work opportunities. Whatever your reason is, it’s essential to receive the appropriate training by enrolling in the right CDL school in your area. When evaluating your options, there are a number of variables that you’ll want to think about prior to making your final selection. Location will no doubt be an issue, especially if you have to commute from your West Valley residence. The cost will also be of importance, but selecting a school based entirely on price is not the optimal method to make sure you’ll get the appropriate training. Don’t forget, your objective is to master the knowledge and skills that will allow you to pass the CDL exams and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that target in mind, just how do you decide on a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to cover in the balance of this article. But first, we are going to talk a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will ultimately need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Should You Get?
In order to drive commercial vehicles lawfully within the United States and West Valley NY, a driver needs to get a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 license classes that a person can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the subject of this article is how to choose a truck driving school, we will address 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 explanations of the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is needed to operate any vehicle that has a GCWR of more 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. Some 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 might also need endorsements to operate specific types of vehicles, for example passenger or school buses. And a Class A licensee, with the appropriate needed endorsements, may drive any vehicle that a Class B licensee is authorized to drive.
How to Research a Trucking School
As soon as you have determined which CDL you wish to obtain, you can start the process of researching the West Valley NY truck driving schools that you are looking at. As earlier discussed, cost and location will no doubt be your primary concerns. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they should not be your sole considerations. Other variables, such as the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are equally if not more important. So below are some additional things that you need to research while carrying out your due diligence before enrolling in, and especially paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Very few trucking schools in the West Valley NY area are accredited due to the stringent process and cost to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more prevalent and is offered by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not obligated to become certified, but there are a number of advantages. Potential students know that the training will be of the highest standard, and that they will receive an ample amount of driving time. As an example, PTDI mandates 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 training and curriculum will measure up to 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 operation. A negatively reviewed or a fly by night school usually will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. On the other hand, even the best of West Valley NY schools had to begin from their opening day of training, so consider it as one of several qualifications. You can also find out what the school’s track record is pertaining to successful licensing and employment of its graduating students. If a school won’t provide those numbers, search elsewhere. The schools should also maintain associations with local and national trucking companies. Having numerous contacts not only confirms a quality reputation within the industry, but also boosts their job assistance program for students. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to get in touch with the New York licensing authority to confirm that the CDL trucker schools you are considering are in good standing.
How Good is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools should be licensed in New York and hire instructors that are experienced and trained. We will cover more about the teachers in the following segment. In addition, the student to instructor ratio should not be greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be getting the personalized instruction 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 period of time. Learning to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully takes time. The majority of West Valley NY schools provide training programs that run from three weeks to as long as two months, depending on the license class or type of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Teachers? As previously mentioned, 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 prerequisites to be certified as a teacher, the more professional driving experience a teacher 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. Assessing teachers may be a bit more intuitive than other standards, and possibly the ideal method is to check out the school and speak with the teachers in person. You can also talk to a few 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? Most importantly, an excellent truck driving school will provide lots of 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 simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are important training methods, they are no replacement 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 varies among schools, a reasonable standard is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Check with the West Valley NY schools you are considering and find out how much driving time they provide.
Are they Independent or Captive ? It’s possible to obtain free or discounted training from some truck driving schools if you make a commitment to be a driver for a particular carrier for a defined time period. This is what’s known as contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So rather than maintaining relationships with many different trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only work with one company. The tradeoff is receiving less expensive or even free training by giving up the freedom to initially work wherever you choose. Naturally contract training has the potential to limit your income opportunities when starting out. But for many it may be the best way to get affordable training. Just make sure to find out if the West Valley NY schools you are looking at are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Offer Onsite CDL Testing? There are a number of states that will allow third party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its grads. If onsite testing is available in New York, ask if the schools you are looking at are DMV certified to provide it. One benefit is that it is more convenient than battling with graduates of competing schools for test times at New York testing centers. It is also an indicator that the DMV deems the authorized schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Class Times Accessible? As earlier noted, CDL training is just 1 to 2 months long. With such a brief duration, it’s important that the West Valley NY school you select provides flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. For example, if you’re having a hard time learning a certain driving maneuver, then the teacher should be willing to dedicate more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still working while attending training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other responsibilities.
Is Job Assistance Offered? The moment you have acquired your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be keen to begin your new career. Make sure that the schools you are reviewing have job assistance programs. Ask what their job placement percentage is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, ask which national and local trucking firms their graduates are placed with for hiring. If a school has a low job placement rate or few West Valley NY employers hiring their graduates, it might be a clue to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Truck driving schools are comparable to colleges and other West Valley 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 reviewing have a financial aid department, or at least someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that must be submitted.
Enrolling in a Truck Driving School near West Valley NY?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the West Valley New York area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
West Valley, New York
Located at the intersection of Cattaraugus County Route 53 and State Route 240/County Route 32, the hamlet is home to West Valley Central School and the West Valley Demonstration Project, a nuclear cleanup facility. Because of the presence of a school district, a telephone exchange (716-942), and a post office located in (and named after) the hamlet, many people mistake West Valley to be the name of an actual town or village. However, it does not have any autonomous government separate from the town of Ashford.
This webliography covers web sites that will inform individuals about the history of the town and businesses and community organizations within. In addition, because of the interrelatedness and the geographical closeness of the communities in this area the webliography contains information about places around the area that would be of interest to people who want to find out more.
Select the Right Trucking School West Valley NY
Picking the right trucking school is an important first step to beginning your new profession as a long distance or local truck driver. The skill sets taught at school will be those that shape a new career behind the wheel. There are several options available and understanding them is vital to a new driver’s success. Most importantly, you must obtain the appropriate training in order to operate a big commercial vehicle in a safe and professional manner. If you are lacking cash or financing, you might need 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 enroll in an independent truck driver school and have the option of driving for the trucking firm of your choice, or one of several associated with the school. It’s your decision. But regardless of how you obtain your training, you will in the near future be part of a profession that helps America move as a professional truck driver in West Valley NY.
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