How to Select a Trucking School near Stockbridge Vermont
Congratulations on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a CDL school near Stockbridge VT. Maybe it has always been your dream to hit the open highway while driving a monster tractor trailer. Or maybe you have conducted some analysis and have found that a career as a truck driver provides good wages and flexible work prospects. No matter what your reason is, it’s imperative to get the appropriate training by enrolling in the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are several factors that you’ll want to consider prior to making your final selection. Location will certainly be important, particularly if you need to commute from your Stockbridge residence. The cost will also be of importance, but picking a school based exclusively on price is not the best means to ensure you’ll obtain the appropriate training. Just remember, your goal is to learn the knowledge and skills that will enable you to pass the CDL exams 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 talk a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will ultimately need.
Which CDL Will You Need?
In order to operate commercial vehicles lawfully within the USA and Stockbridge VT, a driver needs to get a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three license classes that a driver can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the topic of this article is how to pick 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 in addition to 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 Commercial Drivers License is needed to drive any vehicle that has a GCWR of greater than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of more 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 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 Commercial Drivers Licenses might also require endorsements to drive specific types of vehicles, such as passenger or school buses. And a Class A license holder, with the proper needed endorsements, can drive any vehicle that a Class B licensee is qualified to operate.
How to Evaluate a Truck Driving School
Once you have decided which CDL you wish to pursue, you can start the undertaking of evaluating the Stockbridge VT truck driving schools that you are looking at. As already mentioned, cost and location will certainly be your primary concerns. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they should not be your only considerations. Other issues, for instance the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are equally or even more important. So following are several more things that you need to research while conducting your due diligence prior to choosing, and especially paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Very few truck driver schools in the Stockbridge VT area are accredited because of 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. Interested students recognize that the training will be of the highest standard, and that they will be given plenty of driving time. For example, PTDI requires 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 training and curriculum will measure up to the very high standards 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 business. A negatively rated or a fly by night school usually will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. Having said that, even the best of Stockbridge VT schools had to begin from their first day of training, so use it as one of multiple qualifications. You can also learn what the school’s history is concerning successful licensing and employment of its graduates. If a school won’t provide those stats, look elsewhere. The schools should additionally maintain relationships with regional and national trucking firms. Having a large number of contacts not only confirms an excellent reputation within the profession, but also boosts their job assistance program for students. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to check with the Vermont licensing authority to confirm that the CDL trucking schools you are considering are in compliance.
How Effective is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools should be licensed in Vermont and hire instructors that are trained and experienced. We will talk more about the teachers in the next section. Also, 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 personal instruction 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 teach you to be a truck driver in a comparatively short time frame. Learning to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer professionally takes time. Most Stockbridge VT schools provide training programs that run from 3 weeks to as long as two months, based on the class of license or type of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Teachers? As earlier mentioned, it’s important that the teachers are qualified to teach driving techniques and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Although a number of states have minimum driving time prerequisites to be certified as a teacher, the more successful driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also important that the instructors keep up to date with industry advancements or any new laws or changes in regulations. Evaluating instructors may be a bit more intuitive than other criteria, and perhaps the best method is to visit the school and talk to the instructors in person. You can also speak with a few 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.
Adequate Driving Time? Above all else, a good truck driving 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 operating a truck. Even though the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are essential training methods, they are no substitute 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 can vary between schools, a reasonable benchmark is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Check with the Stockbridge VT schools you are researching and ask how much driving time they provide.
Are they Captive or Independent ? You can obtain discounted or even free training from some truck driving schools if you make a commitment to be a driver for a specified carrier for a defined amount of time. This is referred to as contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So rather than maintaining affiliations with numerous trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only work with one company. The benefit is receiving less expensive or even free training by giving up the freedom to initially be a driver 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 only way to obtain affordable training. Just be sure to inquire if the Stockbridge VT schools you are considering are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Offer Onsite CDL Testing? There are some states that will allow third party CDL testing onsite of truck driver schools for its students. If onsite testing is available in Vermont, ask if the schools you are considering are DMV certified to offer it. One advantage is that it is more convenient than contending with graduates of competing schools for test times at Vermont testing centers. It is moreover an indication that the DMV regards the approved schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Class Times Flexible? As earlier noted, truck driving training is just one to two months long. With such a short duration, it’s imperative that the Stockbridge VT school you choose provides flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. As an example, if you’re having difficulty learning a certain driving maneuver, then the teacher should be prepared to commit more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still employed while attending training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other obligations.
Is Job Placement Offered? The moment you have obtained your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be keen to start your new career. Confirm that the schools you are contemplating have job assistance programs. Find out what their job placement ratio is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, ask which national and local trucking companies their graduates are placed with for hiring. If a school has a lower job placement rate or not many Stockbridge VT employers recruiting their grads, it might be a sign to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Truck driver schools are much like colleges and other Stockbridge VT area trade or technical schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being offered. Ask if the schools you are assessing 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 Stockbridge VT?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Stockbridge Vermont area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Stockbridge is a town in Berkshire County in western Massachusetts, United States. It is part of the Pittsfield, Massachusetts, Metropolitan Statistical Area. The population was 1,947 at the 2010 census. A year-round resort area, Stockbridge is home to the Norman Rockwell Museum, the Austen Riggs Center (a noted psychiatric treatment center), and Chesterwood, home and studio of sculptor Daniel Chester French.
Stockbridge was first settled by English missionaries in 1734, who established it as a mission for the Mahican Indian tribe known as the Stockbridge Indians. The township was set aside for the tribe by English colonists as a reward for their assistance against the French in the French and Indian Wars. The Reverend John Sergeant from Newark, New Jersey, was their missionary. Sergeant was succeeded in this post by Jonathan Edwards, a notable Christian theologian associated with the First Great Awakening.
Although the Massachusetts General Court had assured the Stockbridge Indians that their land would never be sold, the agreement was rescinded. Despite the aid by the tribe during the Revolutionary War, the state forced their relocation to the west, first to New York State, then to Wisconsin. The village was taken over by British-American settlers.
Choose the Best Truck Driving School Stockbridge VT
Picking the appropriate trucking school is an essential first step to starting your new profession as a local or long distance truck driver. The skill sets that you will learn at school will be those that shape a new career behind the wheel. There are several options available and understanding them is critical to a new driver’s success. But first and foremost, you must obtain the appropriate training in order to operate a big commercial vehicle in a professional and safe manner. If you are lacking money or financing, you might need to think about a captive school. You will pay a lower or even no tuition by agreeing to drive for their contracted carrier. Or you can choose an independent truck driver school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking company of your choosing, or one of many associated with the school. It’s your decision. But regardless of how you obtain your training, you will in the near future be part of a profession that helps America move as a professional truck driver in Stockbridge VT.
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