How to Choose a Truck Driver School near Wingate North Carolina
Congrats on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a trucking school near Wingate NC. Perhaps it has always been your dream to hit the open highway while operating a monster tractor trailer. Or maybe you have done some analysis and have discovered that an occupation as a truck driver provides good income and flexible work prospects. Whatever your reason is, it’s imperative to obtain the proper training by choosing the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are certain variables that you’ll need to examine prior to making your ultimate selection. Location will no doubt be important, particularly if you have to commute from your Wingate residence. The expense will also be of importance, but selecting a school based only on price is not the ideal way to guarantee you’ll receive the proper education. Just remember, your goal is to master the skills and knowledge that will allow you to pass the CDL exams and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that purpose in mind, just how do you select a truck driving school? That is what we are going to address in the rest 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 Should You Get?
In order to operate commercial vehicles legally within the USA and Wingate NC, a driver must get a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three classes of licenses that one can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the topic of this article is how to select a truck driver school, we will highlight Class A and Class B licenses. What distinguishes 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 summaries for the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is required to drive any vehicle that has a GCWR of more than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of more 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 CDL 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 may also need endorsements to operate specific types of vehicles, including school or passenger buses. And a Class A license holder, with the appropriate needed endorsements, can drive any vehicle that a Class B licensee is authorized to drive.
How to Evaluate a Truck Driving School
After you have determined which Commercial Drivers License you wish to pursue, you can start the process of researching the Wingate NC truck driver schools that you are looking at. As earlier mentioned, location and cost will no doubt be your primary concerns. But it can’t be stressed enough that they should not be your sole concerns. Other variables, including the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are similarly or even more important. So below are several additional points that you should research while carrying out your due diligence before enrolling in, and particularly paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Not many truck driver schools in the Wingate NC area are accredited because of the rigorous 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 obligated to become certified, but there are certain advantages. Potential students know that the training will be of the highest caliber, and that they will receive lots of driving time. As an example, PTDI calls for 44 hours of real 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 training and curriculum will meet the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One clue to help assess the quality of a truck driver 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. Having said that, even the best of Wingate NC schools had to begin from their first day of training, so use it as one of multiple qualifiers. You can also find out what the school’s history is regarding successful licensing and job placement of its graduating students. If a school won’t supply those stats, look elsewhere. The schools should also maintain associations with regional and national trucking firms. Having a large number of contacts not only points to an excellent reputation within the trade, but also boosts their job assistance program for students. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to contact the North Carolina licensing authority to verify that the CDL trucker schools you are researching are in compliance.
How Effective is the Training? At a minimum, the schools must be licensed in North Carolina and employ instructors that are trained and experienced. We will cover more about the instructors in the next section. Also, the student to instructor proportion should not be greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be getting the individual attention they will need. This is especially true concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And look out for any school that professes it can train you to be a truck driver in a relatively short period of time. Training to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully requires time. The majority of Wingate NC schools provide training programs that range from three weeks to as long as 2 months, based on the class of license or type of vehicle.
How Good are the Trainers? As previously stated, it’s essential that the teachers are qualified to teach driving techniques and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Although a number of states have minimum driving time criteria to qualify as an instructor, the more successful driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also important that the instructors keep current with industry advancements or any new laws or changes in regulations. 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 talk to the teachers in person. You can also talk to 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.
Adequate Driving Time? Above all else, a great truck driving school will provide 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 operating a truck. Even though the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are necessary training methods, they are no substitute for real driving. The more training that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will be. And even though driving time can vary among schools, a reasonable benchmark is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Contact the Wingate NC schools you are considering and find out how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Independent or Captive ? It’s possible to get discounted or even free training from some trucking schools if you enter into an agreement to be a driver for a specific carrier for a defined amount of time. This is called contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So rather than having affiliations with a wide range of 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 surrendering the flexibility to initially work wherever you have an opportunity. Obviously 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 get affordable training. Just be sure to inquire if the Wingate NC schools you are looking at are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Provide Onsite CDL Testing? There are a number of states that will allow 3rd party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its students. If onsite testing is available in North Carolina, find out if the schools you are looking at are DMV certified to offer it. One benefit is that it is more convenient than battling with graduates of competing schools for test times at North Carolina testing centers. It is also an indication that the DMV believes the approved schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Classes Flexible? As earlier mentioned, CDL training is only about 1 to 2 months in length. With such a brief duration, it’s important that the Wingate NC school you select provides flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. For example, if you’re having difficulty learning a particular driving maneuver, then the teacher should be prepared to commit more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still working while going to training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other commitments.
Is Job Assistance Offered? The moment you have attained your CDL license after graduating from trucking school, you will be keen to start your new profession. Verify that the schools you are reviewing have job assistance programs. Ask what their job placement percentage is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, find out which national and local trucking firms their graduates are placed with for hiring. If a school has a poor job placement rate or few Wingate NC employers hiring their graduates, it might be a sign to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Truck driving schools are comparable to colleges and other Wingate NC area technical or vocational schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being offered. Find out if the schools you are examining have a financial assistance 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 Wingate NC?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Wingate North Carolina area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Wingate University is an American "Judeo-Christian" university based over three campuses in Wingate, Charlotte, and Hendersonville, North Carolina. It was founded in 1896 and is affiliated with the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina.
In 1896, Wingate University began as 'The Wingate School,' a primary and secondary institution founded by the Baptist Associations of Union County, North Carolina and Chesterfield County, South Carolina in response to a dearth of locally-available public schools. The School took its name from Dr. Washington M. Wingate, sometime president of Wake Forest College, and continued to offer a primary and secondary education until the proliferation of public schools in the early 20th century.
In 1923, The Wingate School began offering the first two years of a baccalaureate education and became Wingate Junior College. The years leading to World War II were difficult for the institution. Though it began receiving financial support from The Baptist State Convention of North Carolina soon after becoming a college, this support was withdrawn during The Great Depression. It was also during this period, in 1932, that the college's administration building was destroyed by fire. The college survived, however, as a result of the work of its administration, faculty, and supporters as well as the post-WWII college enrollment boom. The Baptist State Convention resumed financial support in 1949, and Charles Cannon, a local businessman and philanthropist, began making substantial donations to the college beginning in the 1950s.
Pick the Best Truck Driving School Wingate NC
Choosing the appropriate truck driving school is a critical first step to launching your new vocation as a long distance or local truck driver. The skill sets taught at school will be those that forge 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 get the proper training in order to operate a large commercial vehicle in a safe and professional manner. If you are short on cash or financing, you may want to think about a captive school. You will pay a lower or in some cases no tuition by agreeing to drive for their contracted carrier. Or you can enroll in an independent CDL school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking firm of your choosing, or one of many associated with the school. It’s your choice. But regardless of how you receive your training, you will soon be part of a profession that helps America move as a professional truck driver in Wingate NC.
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