How to Find a Truck Driver School near Ware Shoals South Carolina
Congrats on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a trucking school near Ware Shoals SC. Perhaps it has always been your ambition to hit the open road while driving a big ole tractor trailer. Or maybe you have conducted some research and have discovered that an occupation as a truck driver offers good wages and flexible job opportunities. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s important to get the appropriate training by picking the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are certain factors that you’ll want to think about before making your final selection. Location will no doubt be important, particularly if you have to commute from your Ware Shoals home. The expense will also be of importance, but selecting a school based solely on price is not the ideal way to ensure you’ll obtain the right education. Just remember, your goal is to master the knowledge and skills that will enable you to pass the CDL examinations and become a qualified 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 remainder 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 Require?
In order to operate commercial vehicles lawfully within the USA and Ware Shoals SC, an operator needs to obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 classes of licenses that a driver can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the topic of this article is how to select a truck driving school, we will focus on Class A and B licenses. What differentiates each class of CDL is the kind 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 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 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 needed to drive single vehicles having a GVWR of more than 26,000 lbs., or a GCWR of greater than 26,000 lbs. including a towed vehicle weighing up to 10,000 lbs. A few 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 might also require endorsements to operate specific kinds of vehicles, such as school or passenger buses. And a Class A licensee, with the appropriate needed endorsements, may drive any vehicle that a Class B license holder is qualified to drive.
How to Research a Truck Driver School
When you have determined which Commercial Drivers License you would like to pursue, you can begin the undertaking of evaluating the Ware Shoals SC truck driving schools that you are considering. As previously discussed, location and cost will certainly be your initial considerations. But it can’t be stressed enough that they should not be your sole concerns. Other variables, for example the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are equally or even more important. So below are some more factors that you should research while carrying out your due diligence before selecting, and particularly paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Not many truck driver schools in the Ware Shoals SC area are accredited due to the stringent process and expense to the schools. However, certification is more typical and is offered 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. 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 measure up to the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One clue to help evaluate the quality of a truck driver school is how long it has been in operation. A poorly rated or a fly by night school usually will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the top Ware Shoals SC schools had to begin from their opening day of training, so consider it as one of multiple qualifiers. You can also find out what the school’s track record is relating to successful licensing and employment of its graduating students. If a school won’t share those stats, search elsewhere. The schools should also have relationships with regional and national trucking companies. Having numerous contacts not only points to a quality reputation within the profession, but also bolsters their job assistance program for students. It also wouldn’t hurt to check with the South Carolina licensing department to make sure that the CDL trucking schools you are researching are in compliance.
How Effective is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools must be licensed in South Carolina and employ teachers that are experienced and trained. We will talk more about the teachers in the next section. Also, the student to instructor ratio should be no higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, 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 watch out for any school that claims it can train you to drive trucks in a relatively short time period. Learning to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer professionally takes time. Most Ware Shoals SC schools provide training programs that range from 3 weeks to as long as 2 months, based on the class of license or kind of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Teachers? As earlier mentioned, it’s important that the teachers are qualified to teach driving methods and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Even though several states have minimum driving time criteria to be certified as a teacher, the more successful driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also important that the teachers keep up to date with industry developments or any new laws or changes in regulations. Evaluating instructors may be a bit more intuitive than other criteria, and possibly the ideal approach is to check out the school and speak with the instructors in person. You can also speak with some of the students completing the training and find out if they are satisfied with the level of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
Adequate Driving Time? Most importantly, an excellent truck driving school will provide plenty 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 driving a truck. Although the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are necessary training tools, they are no substitute for real driving. The more training that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will be. And even though driving time differs between schools, a good benchmark is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish at least 44 hours of driving time. Contact the Ware Shoals SC schools you are considering and ask how much driving time they provide.
Are they Independent or Captive ? It’s possible to receive free or discounted training from some truck driving schools if you make a commitment to be a driver for a specific carrier for a defined period of time. This is what’s known as contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So rather than maintaining relationships with a wide range of 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 giving up the flexibility to initially work wherever you choose. Obviously contract training has the potential to restrict your income prospects when beginning your new career. But for many it may be the only way to obtain affordable training. Just remember to ask if the Ware Shoals SC schools you are looking at are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Provide CDL Testing Onsite? There are several states that will permit third party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its students. If onsite testing is available in South Carolina, ask if the schools you are considering are DMV certified to provide it. One advantage is that it is more accommodating than battling with graduates from competing schools for test times at South Carolina testing locations. It is also an indication that the DMV views the authorized schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Classes Convenient? As previously mentioned, CDL training is just one to two months in length. With such a brief term, it’s essential that the Ware Shoals SC school you choose provides flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. For example, if you’re having difficulty learning a certain driving maneuver, then the instructor should be willing to dedicate more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still holding a job while attending training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other obligations.
Is Job Assistance Offered? The moment you have received your CDL license after graduating from trucking school, you will be anxious to begin your new profession. Confirm that the schools you are looking at have job assistance programs. Ask what their job placement percentage is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, ask which local and national trucking firms their graduates are placed with for hiring. If a school has a low job placement rate or not many Ware Shoals SC employers recruiting their grads, it may be a sign to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Trucking schools are similar to colleges and other Ware Shoals SC area technical or vocational schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being available. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have a financial aid department, or at a minimum someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that must be submitted.
Enrolling in a Truck Driving School near Ware Shoals SC?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Ware Shoals South Carolina area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Ware Shoals, South Carolina
The Greenwood County portion of Ware Shoals is part of the Greenwood Micropolitan Statistical Area, while the Laurens County portion is part of the Greenville–Mauldin–Easley Metropolitan Statistical Area.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 4.0 square miles (10.4 km2), of which 3.9 square miles (10.1 km2) is land and 0.12 square miles (0.3 km2), or 2.98%, is water.
As of the census of 2000, there were 2,363 people, 978 households, and 638 families residing in the town. The population density was 610.1 people per square mile (235.8/km²). There were 1,126 housing units at an average density of 290.7 per square mile (112.3/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 78.33% White, 20.10% African American, 0.04% Native American, 0.13% Asian, 0.21% from other races, and 1.18% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.38% of the population.
Pick the Best Truck Driver School Ware Shoals SC
Picking the right trucking school is an important first step to launching your new vocation as a local or long distance truck driver. The skills that you will learn 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 fashion. If you are lacking cash or financing, you may want to consider a captive school. You will pay a lower or in some cases no tuition in exchange for driving for their contracted carrier. Or you can enroll in an independent truck driving 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 choice. But regardless of how you get your training, you will soon be entering a profession that helps America move as a professional truck driver in Ware Shoals SC.
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