How to Select a Truck Driving School near Vonore Tennessee
Congratulations on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a truck driving school near Vonore TN. Perhaps it has always been your fantasy to hit the open road while operating a monster tractor trailer. Or possibly you have conducted some research and have found that an occupation as a truck driver provides good pay and flexible job prospects. Whatever your reason is, it’s important to obtain the proper training by choosing the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are various variables that you’ll need to examine before making your final choice. Location will no doubt be important, especially if you need to commute from your Vonore residence. The expense will also be of importance, but picking a school based exclusively on price is not the optimal way to make sure you’ll obtain the proper education. Don’t forget, your goal is to learn the skills and knowledge that will enable you to pass the CDL exams and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that purpose in mind, just how do you pick a truck driving school? That is what we are going to cover in the balance of this article. But first, we are going to review a little bit about which CDL license you will ultimately need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Will You Need?
In order to drive commercial vehicles lawfully within the USA and Vonore TN, a driver must obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 classes of licenses that a driver can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the topic of this article is how to choose a truck driving school, we will highlight 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 explanations of the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License is needed 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 Commercial Drivers License is needed to operate single vehicles having a GVWR of greater than 26,000 lbs., or a GCWR of more than 26,000 lbs. including a towed vehicle weighing up to 10,000 lbs. Some 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 need endorsements to operate specific types of vehicles, for example passenger or school buses. And a Class A licensee, with the appropriate required endorsements, may operate any vehicle that a Class B license holder is qualified to operate.
How to Assess a Trucking School
When you have determined which Commercial Drivers License you would like to obtain, you can start the process of evaluating the Vonore TN truck driver schools that you are considering. As already mentioned, location and cost will certainly be your primary concerns. But it can’t be stressed enough that they must not be your sole considerations. Other factors, such as the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are similarly or even more important. So following are several additional points that you need to research while conducting your due diligence prior to choosing, and especially paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Not many truck driving schools in the Vonore TN 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 recognize that the training will be of the highest caliber, and that they will get an ample amount of driving time. As an example, PTDI mandates 44 hours of actual 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 curriculum and training will comply with the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One indicator to help determine the quality of a truck driver school is how long it has been in operation. A negatively reviewed or a fly by night school normally will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the top Vonore TN schools had to start from their opening day of training, so consider it as one of several qualifications. You can also find out what the school’s history is relating to successful licensing and job placement of its graduating students. If a school won’t share those stats, look elsewhere. The schools should also maintain relationships with local and national trucking firms. Having numerous contacts not only affirms a quality reputation within the trade, but also bolsters their job placement program for students. It also wouldn’t hurt to get in touch with the Tennessee licensing authority to verify that the CDL trucker schools you are reviewing are in good standing.
How Effective is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools must be licensed in Tennessee and hire teachers that are trained and experienced. We will discuss more about the instructors in the next segment. Also, the student to instructor proportion should be no higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be getting the individual attention they will need. This is particularly true regarding the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And be critical of any school that insists it can train you to drive trucks in a comparatively short time frame. Training to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully takes time. Most Vonore TN schools provide training programs that run from 3 weeks to as long as two months, based on the class of license or kind of vehicle.
How Good are the Instructors? As earlier mentioned, it’s essential that the teachers are trained to teach driving techniques and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Although several 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 stay current 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 visit the school and talk to the teachers face to face. You can also talk to a few of the students completing the training and ask if they are satisfied with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Adequate Driving Time? Above all else, a great trucking school will provide sufficient driving time to its students. Besides, isn’t that what it’s all about? Driving time is the actual time spent behind the wheel operating a truck. Although the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are important training methods, they are no alternative for real driving. The more instruction that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will be. And even though driving time varies between schools, a reasonable benchmark is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide no less than 44 hours of driving time. Check with the Vonore TN schools you are considering and ask how much driving time they provide.
Are they Captive or Independent ? You can get free or discounted training from a number of truck driving schools if you enter into an agreement to drive for a particular carrier for a defined time period. This is called contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So rather than maintaining affiliations with a wide range of trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only refer to one company. The benefit is receiving less expensive or even free training by surrendering the freedom to initially be a driver wherever you have an opportunity. Naturally contract training has the potential to restrict your income prospects when beginning your new career. But for some it may be the best way to receive affordable training. Just make sure to find out if the Vonore TN schools you are looking at are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Offer Onsite CDL Testing? There are some states that will permit third party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its grads. If onsite testing is available in Tennessee, find out if the schools you are reviewing are DMV certified to offer it. One benefit is that it is more accommodating than battling with graduates from competing schools for test times at Tennessee testing facilities. It is moreover an indicator that the DMV regards the approved schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Class Times Flexible? As previously mentioned, truck driving training is only about one to two months long. With such a short duration, it’s essential that the Vonore TN school you select provides flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. For example, if you’re having a hard time learning a particular driving maneuver, then the teacher should be willing 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 fit in working hours or other responsibilities.
Is Job Placement Provided? As soon as you have acquired your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be anxious to start your new career. Make sure that the schools you are contemplating have job placement programs. Ask what their job placement rate is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, find out which local and national trucking firms their graduates are placed with for employment. If a school has a poor job placement rate or few Vonore TN employers recruiting their grads, it may be a clue to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Truck driving schools are much like colleges and other Vonore TN area technical or vocational schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being offered. Ask if the schools you are evaluating have a financial assistance department, or at least someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that need to be completed.
Enrolling in a Truck Driving School near Vonore TN?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Vonore Tennessee area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Vonore is a town in Monroe and Blount counties, in the U.S. state of Tennessee. The population was 1,474 as of the 2010 census. The current mayor is Bob Lovingood. The city hall, library, community center, police department, and fire department are located on Church Street.
Vonore's location at the confluence of the Little Tennessee River and the Tellico River places it near the center of one of the richest archaeological regions in the southeastern United States. The now-submerged Icehouse Bottom site was occupied by Native Americans as early as 7500 B.C., and the now-submerged Rose Island was home to a significant Woodland period (c. 1000 B.C. – 1000 A.D.) settlement. A substantial Mississippian period (c. 1000–1600 A.D.) village was located at Toqua, immediately south of Vonore. There is some evidence that Toqua's Mississippian village was the village of "Tali", visited by the Hernando de Soto expedition in 1540.
By the time Euro-American explorers arrived in the area in the 18th century, the Overhill Cherokee had established several villages along the Little Tennessee. These villages included Tanasi, the name source for the state of Tennessee, and Chota, the "mother town" of the Overhills. Mialoquo, the home of the Cherokee chief Dragging Canoe, was located just north of the modern US-411 bridge. Tuskegee, which developed adjacent to Fort Loudoun, was the birthplace of Sequoyah, creator of the written Cherokee syllabary.
Choose the Right Truck Driving School Vonore TN
Choosing the right truck driving school is an essential first step to launching your new profession 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. Most importantly, you must get the appropriate training in order to drive a large commercial vehicle in a safe and professional fashion. If you are lacking money or financing, you may need to look into a captive school. You will pay a reduced or even no tuition by agreeing to drive for their contracted carrier. Or you can enroll in an independent truck driver school and have the option of driving for the trucking firm of your choosing, or one of several affiliated with the school. It’s your decision. But regardless of how you get your training, you will in the near future be part of an industry that helps our country move as a professional truck driver in Vonore TN.
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