How to Choose a CDL Training School near Woodleaf North Carolina
Congratulations on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a truck driving school near Woodleaf NC. Maybe it has always been your fantasy to hit the open road while operating a monster tractor trailer. Or maybe you have done some research and have found that an occupation as a truck driver provides good pay and flexible job opportunities. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s imperative to obtain the proper training by enrolling in the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are various variables that you’ll need to think about prior to making your ultimate selection. Location will undoubtedly be an issue, especially if you need to commute from your Woodleaf residence. The cost will also be of importance, but selecting a school based only on price is not the optimal way to make certain you’ll receive the appropriate education. Just remember, your objective is to learn the knowledge and skills that will allow you to pass the CDL examinations and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that goal in mind, just how do you pick a truck driving school? That is what we are going to discuss in the rest of this article. But first, we are going to discuss a little bit about which CDL license you will eventually need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Will You Need?
In order to drive commercial vehicles lawfully within the United States and Woodleaf NC, a driver must obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 classes of licenses that one can apply 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 Class B licenses. What differentiates 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). Following are brief 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 more than 10,000 lbs. Several 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. A few 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 types of vehicles, such as passenger or school buses. And a Class A licensee, with the proper required endorsements, may drive any vehicle that a Class B license holder is authorized to operate.
How to Evaluate a Truck Driving School
When you have decided which Commercial Drivers License you want to pursue, you can begin the process of evaluating the Woodleaf NC truck driving schools that you are looking at. As previously mentioned, location and cost will undoubtedly be your initial concerns. But it can’t be stressed enough that they must not be your only concerns. Other issues, for instance the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are similarly or even more important. So following are a few additional factors that you need to research while performing your due diligence prior to choosing, and especially paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Very few truck driver schools in the Woodleaf NC area are accredited because of the demanding process and expense to the schools. However, 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. Interested students know that the training will be of the highest standard, and that they will receive plenty 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 Operation? One clue to help assess the quality of a trucking school is how long it has been in business. A poorly reviewed or a fly by night school typically will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. On the other hand, even the top Woodleaf NC schools had to begin from their opening day of training, so use it as one of several qualifications. You can also find out what the school’s history is concerning successful licensing and employment of its graduates. If a school won’t supply those stats, search elsewhere. The schools should also maintain relationships with regional and national trucking companies. Having a large number of contacts not only affirms an excellent reputation within the trade, but also boosts their job placement program for graduates. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to get in touch with the North Carolina licensing authority to confirm that the CDL trucking schools you are reviewing are in compliance.
How Good is the Training? At a minimum, the schools should be licensed in North Carolina and employ instructors that are trained and experienced. We will discuss more about the instructors in the next section. In addition, the student to instructor ratio should not be greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be getting the individual instruction they will need. This is particularly true regarding the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And watch out for any school that insists it can teach you to drive trucks in a relatively short time period. Learning to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer professionally takes time. The majority of Woodleaf NC schools offer training programs that range from 3 weeks to as long as two months, depending on the license class or kind of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Instructors? As earlier mentioned, it’s important that the teachers are trained to teach driving techniques and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Even though several states have minimum driving time prerequisites to qualify as a teacher, the more professional driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also vital that the teachers keep up to date with industry advancements or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Evaluating instructors may be a little more intuitive than other standards, and possibly the ideal approach is to check out the school and talk to the instructors face to face. You can also speak with a few of the students completing the training and find out if they are happy with the level of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Plenty of Driving Time? Most importantly, a good trucking school will furnish lots of driving time to its students. Besides, isn’t that what it’s all about? Driving time is the real time spent behind the wheel operating a truck. While the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are essential 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 become. Although driving time varies 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 Woodleaf NC schools you are looking at and ask how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Independent or Captive ? You can receive discounted or even free training from certain truck driver schools if you enter into an agreement to drive for a particular carrier for a defined amount of time. This is referred to as contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So rather than maintaining affiliations with many different trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only refer to one company. The tradeoff is receiving less expensive or even free training by giving up the freedom to initially work wherever you have an opportunity. Clearly contract training has the potential to limit your income opportunities when starting out. But for some it may be the only way to get affordable training. Just make sure to inquire if the Woodleaf NC schools you are looking at are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Offer CDL Testing Onsite? There are some states that will permit third party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is available in North Carolina, ask if the schools you are reviewing are DMV certified to provide it. One benefit is that it is more accommodating than battling with graduates from competing schools for test times at North Carolina testing facilities. It is also an indication that the DMV views the authorized schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Classes Flexible? As earlier noted, truck driving training is just 1 to 2 months long. With such a brief term, it’s imperative that the Woodleaf NC school you choose provides flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. As an example, if you’re having a hard time learning a particular driving maneuver, then the teacher should be willing to spend more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still working while attending training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other responsibilities.
Is Job Placement Provided? The moment you have attained your commercial driver’s license after graduating from trucking school, you will be keen to begin your new career. Confirm that the schools you are reviewing have job placement programs. Ask what their job placement ratio is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, ask which local and national trucking firms their graduates are placed with for employment. If a school has a lower job placement rate or not many Woodleaf NC employers recruiting their grads, it may be a clue to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Given? Truck driver schools are similar to colleges and other Woodleaf NC area trade or technical schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being offered. Find out if the schools you are examining have a financial aid department, or at a minimum someone who can help you get through the options and forms that need to be submitted.
Enrolling in a Truck Driving School near Woodleaf NC?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Woodleaf North Carolina area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
St. Andrew's Episcopal Church
Select the Best Truck Driver School Woodleaf NC
Selecting the appropriate trucking school is a critical first step to beginning your new vocation as a local or long distance truck driver. The skill sets that you will learn at school will be those that forge a new career behind the wheel. There are several options available and understanding them is critical to a new driver’s success. But first and foremost, you must get the appropriate training in order to operate a large commercial vehicle in a safe and professional manner. If you are lacking funds or financing, you may need to think about a captive school. You will pay a lower 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 company of your choice, or one of several associated with the school. It’s your decision. But no matter how you obtain your training, you will soon be part of a profession that helps our country move as a professional trucker in Woodleaf NC.
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