How to Pick a CDL Driving School near Troy Tennessee
Congratulations on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a trucking school near Troy TN. Maybe it has always been your ambition to hit the open highway while driving a huge tractor trailer. Or maybe you have conducted some analysis and have discovered that a career as a truck driver offers good wages and flexible job opportunities. Whatever your reason is, it’s imperative to get the proper training by choosing the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are certain factors that you’ll need to consider before making your ultimate selection. Location will no doubt be important, particularly if you have to commute from your Troy residence. The cost will also be of importance, but picking a school based entirely on price is not the ideal means to make sure you’ll obtain the appropriate education. 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 pick a truck driving school? That is what we are going to address in the balance 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 Will You Require?
In order to drive commercial vehicles lawfully within the United States and Troy TN, a driver must attain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 license classes 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 differentiates 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 explanations of the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License 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. 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 greater than 26,000 lbs., or a GCWR of greater 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 require endorsements to drive certain types of vehicles, including passenger or school buses. And a Class A licensee, with the proper required endorsements, may operate any vehicle that a Class B licensee is qualified to operate.
How to Evaluate a Truck Driving School
As soon as you have decided which CDL you want to obtain, you can begin the process of assessing the Troy TN truck driving schools that you are looking at. As already discussed, location and cost will no doubt be your initial concerns. But it can’t be stressed enough that they must 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 below are some more points that you should research while conducting your due diligence prior to selecting, and particularly paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Not many truck driver schools in the Troy TN area are accredited due to the stringent process and cost to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more commonplace and is provided by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not obligated to become certified, but there are a number of advantages. Interested students recognize that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will be given an ample amount of driving time. As an example, PTDI requires 44 hours of actual 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 training and curriculum will measure up to the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One clue to help measure the quality of a truck driver 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. However, even the top Troy TN schools had to begin from their opening day of training, so use it as one of multiple qualifiers. You can also find out what the school’s history is pertaining to successful licensing and job placement of its graduating students. If a school won’t supply those stats, search elsewhere. The schools should additionally maintain associations with local and national trucking companies. Having a large number of contacts not only confirms a superior reputation within the industry, but also boosts their job assistance program for graduates. It also wouldn’t hurt to check with the Tennessee licensing authority to confirm that the CDL trucking schools you are researching are in compliance.
How Effective is the Training? At a minimum, the schools must be licensed in Tennessee and employ teachers that are trained and experienced. We will cover more about the instructors in the following segment. Also, the student to instructor proportion should not be higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be receiving the individual instruction they will need. This is particularly true regarding 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 relatively short time frame. Training to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully requires time. The majority of Troy TN schools offer 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 Teachers? As already stated, it’s essential that the instructors are qualified 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 an instructor, the more successful driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also crucial that the teachers keep up to date with industry advancements or any new laws or changes in regulations. Evaluating instructors might be a bit more intuitive than other criteria, and perhaps the best approach is to visit the school and speak with the teachers in person. You can also talk to some of the students going through the training and find out if they are satisfied with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
Adequate Driving Time? Above all else, an excellent truck driving school will provide plenty of driving time to its students. After all, isn’t that what it’s all about? Driving time is the actual time spent behind the wheel operating a truck. While the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are essential training methods, they are no alternative for actual driving. The more instruction that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will become. And even though driving time can vary between schools, a reasonable standard is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish no less than 44 hours of driving time. Get in touch with the Troy TN schools you are looking at and find out how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Independent or Captive ? You can get free or discounted training from certain truck driver schools if you make a commitment to be a driver for a specified carrier for a defined amount of time. This is called contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So instead of having relationships with many different trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only work with one company. The benefit is receiving free or less expensive training by giving up the freedom to initially work wherever you have an opportunity. Naturally contract training has the potential to limit your income prospects when starting out. But for many it may be the ideal way to get affordable training. Just remember to find out if the Troy TN schools you are contemplating are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Provide CDL Testing Onsite? There are some states that will allow third party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is available in Tennessee, 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 from competing schools for test times at Tennessee testing locations. It is also an indicator that the DMV considers the approved schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Classes Flexible? As previously mentioned, truck driving training is just one to two months long. With such a short duration, it’s essential that the Troy TN school you choose provides flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. As an example, if you’re having a hard time learning a particular driving maneuver, then the instructor should be prepared to devote more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still employed while attending training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other responsibilities.
Is Job Placement Offered? Once you have obtained your CDL license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be anxious to begin your new profession. Confirm that the schools you are contemplating have job placement programs. Ask what their job placement percentage is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, ask which national and local trucking companies their graduates are referred to for hiring. If a school has a poor job placement rate or few Troy TN employers hiring their graduates, it may be a sign to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Trucking schools are comparable to colleges and other Troy TN area technical or vocational schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being available. Find out 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 must be submitted.
Enrolling in a Truck Driving School near Troy TN?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Troy Tennessee area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Troy was founded in 1825 as the original county seat of Obion County. Frontiersman Davy Crockett was in attendance when the town was platted. Troy remained the county seat until 1890, when it was moved to Union City following a contentious legal dispute.
As of the census of 2000, there were 1,273 people, 533 households, and 367 families residing in the town. The population density was 896.7 people per square mile (346.1/km²). There were 576 housing units at an average density of 405.7 per square mile (156.6/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 98.35% White, 1.26% African American, 0.16% from other races, and 0.24% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.26% of the population.
There were 533 households out of which 30.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 55.5% were married couples living together, 10.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 31.1% were non-families. 28.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.39 and the average family size was 2.89.
Choose the Best Truck Driver School Troy TN
Selecting the ideal truck driver school is an important first step to starting your new vocation as a long distance or local truck driver. The skills that you will learn at school will be those that forge a new career behind the wheel. There are a number of options available and understanding them is crucial if you are going to succeed as an operator. Most importantly, you must receive the proper training in order to operate a big commercial vehicle in a safe and professional fashion. If you are short on cash or financing, you might need to look into a captive school. You will pay a lower or even no tuition in exchange for driving for their contracted carrier. Or you can select an independent trucker 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 no matter how you obtain your training, you will in the near future be joining a profession that helps America move as a professional trucker in Troy TN.
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