How to Pick a CDL Training School near Westville Ohio
Congratulations on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a trucking school near Westville OH. Perhaps it has always been your goal to hit the open road while driving a huge tractor trailer. Or possibly you have conducted some research and have found that a career as a truck driver offers good income and flexible job prospects. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s important to obtain the proper training by picking the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are certain variables that you’ll want to consider prior to making your final selection. Location will no doubt be an issue, particularly if you need to commute from your Westville residence. The cost will also be important, but picking a school based entirely on price is not the ideal means to make certain you’ll receive the right training. Don’t forget, your objective is to master the knowledge and skills that will enable you to pass the CDL exams and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that goal in mind, just how do you choose a truck driving school? That is what we are going to address in the rest of this article. But first, we are going to discuss a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will eventually need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Should You Get?
In order to operate commercial vehicles lawfully within the United States and Westville OH, a driver must attain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three license classes that a person can qualify 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 discuss Class A and B licenses. What differentiates each class of CDL is the type of vehicle that the driver can operate together with the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Following are short summaries of the 2 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. Some 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 operate 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 drivers may be qualified to operate 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 drive certain types of vehicles, such as passenger or school buses. And a Class A license holder, with the proper needed endorsements, may operate any vehicle that a Class B licensee is authorized to drive.
How to Research a Truck Driving School
Once you have determined which CDL you want to pursue, you can start the process of researching the Westville OH truck driver schools that you are considering. As earlier mentioned, cost and location will certainly be your initial concerns. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they should not be your sole concerns. Other variables, for instance the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are equally or even more important. So following are some additional points that you should research while carrying out your due diligence prior to choosing, and particularly paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Very few truck driver schools in the Westville OH area are accredited due to the stringent process and expense 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 several advantages. Prospective students know that the training will be of the highest standard, 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 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 indicator to help measure 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. However, even the best of Westville OH schools had to start from their first day of training, so use it as one of several qualifiers. You can also find out what the school’s history is pertaining to successful licensing and job placement of its graduates. If a school won’t provide those stats, search elsewhere. The schools should also have associations with regional and national trucking firms. Having a large number of contacts not only affirms an excellent reputation within the industry, but also boosts their job assistance program for students. It also wouldn’t hurt to get in touch with the Ohio licensing authority to make sure that the CDL trucker schools you are reviewing are in good standing.
How Good is the Training? At a minimum, the schools should be licensed in Ohio and hire teachers that are trained and experienced. We will cover more about the teachers in the next segment. Also, the student to instructor ratio should be no higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be getting the personal attention they will need. This is particularly 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 drive trucks in a comparatively short time frame. Learning to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer professionally requires time. The majority of Westville OH schools provide training programs that run from three weeks to as long as two months, depending on the class of license or kind of vehicle.
How Good are the Trainers? As already mentioned, it’s important that the teachers are trained 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 professional driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also vital that the teachers keep current with industry advancements or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Evaluating teachers might be a bit more subjective than other criteria, and perhaps the best approach is to pay a visit to the school and talk to the instructors face to face. You can also talk to a few of the students completing the training and find out if they are happy with the level of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
Plenty of Driving Time? Most importantly, a great truck driver school will provide ample 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 important training methods, they are no replacement for actual driving. The more training that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will be. And even though driving time varies among schools, a reasonable benchmark is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish at least 44 hours of driving time. Check with the Westville OH schools you are researching and find out how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Independent or Captive ? You can obtain free or discounted training from some truck driving schools if you enter into an agreement to drive for a specific carrier for a defined period of time. This is referred to as contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So rather than maintaining relationships with numerous trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only work with one company. The tradeoff is receiving less expensive or even free training by giving up the freedom to initially be a driver wherever you have an opportunity. Obviously contract training has the potential to restrict your income opportunities when beginning your new career. But for many it may be the ideal way to obtain affordable training. Just be sure to ask if the Westville OH schools you are considering are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Is there CDL Testing Onsite? There are a number of states that will allow third party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is available in Ohio, 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 of competing schools for test times at Ohio testing locations. It is also an indicator that the DMV views the authorized schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Classes Convenient? As earlier mentioned, truck driver training is just one to two months in length. With such a brief term, it’s important that the Westville OH school you enroll in provides flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. For example, if you’re having a hard time learning a certain driving maneuver, then the teacher should be prepared to dedicate more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still working while going to training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other commitments.
Is Job Assistance Offered? As soon as you have obtained your commercial driver’s license after graduating from trucking school, you will be anxious to begin your new career. Confirm that the schools you are looking at have job placement programs. Ask what their job placement percentage 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 not many Westville OH employers hiring their graduates, it might be a clue to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Given? Truck driver schools are comparable to colleges and other Westville OH area vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being offered. Ask if the schools you are assessing have a financial aid department, or at a minimum someone who can help you understand the options and forms that need to be completed.
Enrolling in a Truck Driving School near Westville OH?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Westville Ohio area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Champaign County, Ohio
Champaign County is a county located in the U.S. state of Ohio. As of the 2010 census, the population was 40,097. Its county seat is Urbana. The county takes its name from the French word for "open level country".
As of the census of 2000, there were 38,890 people, 14,952 households, and 10,870 families residing in the county. The population density was 91 people per square mile (35/km²). There were 15,890 housing units at an average density of 37 per square mile (14/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 95.73% White, 2.30% Black or African American, 0.31% Native American, 0.25% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.31% from other races, and 1.08% from two or more races. 0.69% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 14,952 households out of which 34.00% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 59.70% were married couples living together, 9.20% had a female householder with no husband present, and 27.30% were non-families. 23.50% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.40% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.56 and the average family size was 3.01.
Pick the Right Trucking School Westville OH
Picking the ideal truck driver school is a critical first step to beginning your new vocation as a local or long distance truck driver. The skill sets taught at school will be those that mold a new career behind the wheel. There are several 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 professional and safe fashion. If you are lacking cash or financing, you may want to look into a captive school. You will pay a reduced or in some cases 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 many associated with the school. It’s your choice. But no matter how you obtain your training, you will soon be entering an industry that helps our country move as a professional trucker in Westville OH.
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