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Become a Truck Driver | Truck Driving Schools Whitsett TX

How to Decide on a CDL Training School near Whitsett Texas

Whitsett TX truck driving school campusCongrats on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a trucking school near Whitsett TX. Maybe it has always been your dream to hit the open highway while operating a monster tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have conducted some research and have discovered that an occupation as a truck driver offers good income and flexible work prospects. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s essential to receive the proper training by selecting the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are certain variables that you’ll need to think about prior to making your ultimate choice. Location will certainly be an issue, particularly if you need to commute from your Whitsett home. The cost will also be of importance, but picking a school based exclusively on price is not the best method to make sure you’ll get the right education. Just remember, 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 goal in mind, just how do you choose a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to address in the balance of this article. But first, we are going to talk a little bit about which CDL license you will eventually need.

Which CDL Will You Need?

long haul tractor trailer in Whitsett TXIn order to operate commercial vehicles legally within the USA and Whitsett TX, a driver must obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three classes of licenses that a driver can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the topic of this article is how to select a truck driver school, we will discuss Class A and Class B licenses. What distinguishes 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 short explanations of the two classes.

Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is needed to drive any vehicle that has a GCWR of greater than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of greater 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 Commercial Drivers License is needed to operate 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. Some 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 Commercial Drivers Licenses might also require endorsements to operate certain types of vehicles, for instance passenger or school buses. And a Class A licensee, with the proper required endorsements, may drive any vehicle that a Class B licensee is qualified to drive.

How to Evaluate a Truck Driver School

Questions to ask Whitsett TX truck driving schoolsAs soon as you have decided which CDL you would like to pursue, you can start the process of assessing the Whitsett TX trucking schools that you are looking at. As previously discussed, 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 factors, for example the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are equally if not more important. So below are several more factors that you should research while performing your due diligence prior to selecting, and especially paying for, your truck driving training.

Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Very few truck driver schools in the Whitsett TX area are accredited because of the demanding process and cost to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more common and is provided by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not obligated to become certified, but there are several advantages. Interested students know that the training will be of the highest caliber, and that they will be given lots of driving time. For example, PTDI mandates 44 hours of actual driving time, not simulations or ride-alongs. So if a school’s course is certified (the course, not the school is certified), students know that the training and curriculum will fulfill the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.

How Long in Business? One clue to help evaluate the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in operation. A negatively rated or a fly by night school typically will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. Having said that, even the top Whitsett TX 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 history is concerning successful licensing and employment of its graduating students. If a school won’t share those numbers, look elsewhere. The schools should also maintain relationships with local and national trucking companies. Having numerous contacts not only affirms an excellent reputation within the profession, but also bolsters their job assistance program for students. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to get in touch with the Texas licensing department to confirm that the CDL trucking schools you are considering are in good standing.

How Effective is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools should be licensed in Texas and hire teachers that are trained and experienced. We will talk more about the instructors in the following section. In addition, the student to instructor ratio should not be greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be receiving the individual instruction they will need. This is especially true concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And be critical of any school that professes it can teach you to be a truck driver in a relatively short time frame. Training to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully takes time. Most Whitsett TX schools provide training programs that range from three weeks to as long as two months, depending on the class of license or kind of vehicle.

How Experienced are the Instructors? As earlier stated, it’s imperative that the instructors are trained to teach driving techniques and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Even though a number of states have minimum driving time requirements to qualify as an instructor, the more professional driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also important that the teachers stay current with industry advancements or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Assessing instructors might be a little more subjective than other criteria, and possibly the best approach is to pay a visit to the school and talk to the teachers in person. You can also speak with some of the students completing the training and find out if they are satisfied with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.

How Much Driving Time? Above all else, a good 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 operating a truck. Although the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are important training methods, they are no replacement for actual driving. The more training that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will become. Although driving time fluctuates among schools, a good standard is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Contact the Whitsett TX schools you are researching and ask how much driving time they furnish.

Are they Captive or Independent ? It’s possible to receive free or discounted training from certain trucking schools if you enter into an agreement to drive for a specified carrier for a defined period of time. This is referred to as contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So instead of having relationships with numerous trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only work with one company. The tradeoff is receiving free or less expensive training by surrendering the flexibility to initially work wherever you have an opportunity. Clearly contract training has the potential to reduce your income opportunities when starting out. But for many it may be the ideal way to obtain affordable training. Just make sure to find out if the Whitsett TX schools you are contemplating are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.

Provide Onsite CDL Testing? There are a number of states that will permit 3rd party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is permitted in Texas, ask if the schools you are reviewing are DMV certified to provide it. One advantage is that it is more convenient than competing with graduates from competing schools for test times at Texas testing locations. It is moreover an indicator that the DMV considers the authorized schools to be of a superior quality.

Are the Class Times Convenient? As earlier noted, CDL training is only about one to two months long. With such a brief duration, it’s important that the Whitsett TX school you choose 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 have it mastered. And if you’re still holding a job while going to training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to accommodate 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 anxious to start your new career. Confirm that the schools you are considering have job assistance programs. Ask what their job placement percentage is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, ask which national and local trucking firms their graduates are placed with for employment. If a school has a lower job placement rate or not many Whitsett TX employers hiring their grads, it may be a sign to search elsewhere.

Is Financial Assistance Available? Trucking schools are comparable to colleges and other Whitsett TX area vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance 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 completed.

Enrolling in a Truck Driving School near Whitsett TX?

If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Whitsett Texas area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.

U.S. Route 281 Alternate (Texas)

Alternate U.S. Highway 281 (Alt. US 281) is a spur of the U.S. Highway System. The highway serves the small communities of Whitsett and Campbellton, about 45 miles (72 km) southeast of San Antonio in the state of Texas.

Alt. US 281 begins at an interchange with Interstate 37/US 281 (I-37/US 281) about six miles (9.7 km) southeast of Whitsett. The highway enters the town and crosses Farm to Market Road 99 (FM 99) before leaving. Just north of Whitsett, the highway turns from a northwest direction, to a more northward one. The highway passes by many farms before entering Atoscasa County. After the intersection with FM 1099, the highway enters Campbellton. The highway runs concurrently with FM 791 in the town, which ends just north of the city limits. About a mile to the north of here, the highway crosses FM 140. Alt. US 281 reaches its northern terminus with I-37/US 281 about 2 1⁄2 miles (4.0 km) north of Campbellton.

The highway was created in 1986 when US 281 was re-rerouted a few miles to the east onto Interstate 37. The old alignment of US 281 through Whitsett and Campbellton was then resigned as Alt. US 281.[citation needed]

Choose the Best Truck Driver School Whitsett TX

tractor trailer hauling construction materials in Whitsett TXSelecting the appropriate truck driver school is a critical first step to starting your new vocation as a long distance or local truck driver. The skills taught at school will be those that mold a new career behind the wheel. There are many options available and understanding them is critical to a new driver’s success. Most importantly, you must obtain the necessary training in order to drive a large commercial vehicle in a professional and safe manner. If you are short on cash or financing, you may want to think about a captive school. You will pay a reduced or even no tuition in exchange for driving for their contracted carrier. Or you can choose an independent truck driving school and have the option of driving for the trucking firm of your choice, or one of several affiliated with the school. It’s your decision. But no matter how you get your training, you will soon be joining an industry that helps our country move as a professional truck driver in Whitsett TX.

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