How to Find a Truck Driver School near Troy Virginia
Congratulations on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a trucking school near Troy VA. Maybe it has always been your ambition to hit the open highway while driving a monster tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have done some research and have discovered that a career as a truck driver offers good pay and flexible work prospects. Whatever your reason is, it’s important to get the appropriate training by enrolling in the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are various variables that you’ll want to examine prior to making your ultimate selection. Location will no doubt be important, particularly if you need to commute from your Troy residence. The expense will also be of importance, but choosing a school based only on price is not the optimal way to make certain you’ll receive the right education. Just remember, your objective 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 goal in mind, just how do you pick a truck driving school? That is what we are going to address in the rest of this article. But first, we are going to review a little bit about which CDL license you will eventually need.
Which CDL Should You Get?
To operate commercial vehicles legally within the United States and Troy VA, an operator needs to obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three classes of licenses that a person 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 address 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). Following are short explanations for the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License is needed to drive 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 required to operate single vehicles having a GVWR of more than 26,000 lbs., or a GCWR of more 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 Commercial Drivers Licenses might also need endorsements to operate specific kinds of vehicles, such as passenger or school buses. And a Class A licensee, with the appropriate needed endorsements, may drive any vehicle that a Class B licensee is authorized to drive.
How to Research a Truck Driver School
When you have decided which CDL you want to obtain, you can begin the undertaking of assessing the Troy VA truck driver schools that you are looking at. As earlier mentioned, cost and location will no doubt be your initial concerns. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they must not be your only concerns. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are similarly or even more important. So below are several additional things that you need to research while carrying out your due diligence before enrolling in, and particularly paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Not many truck driver schools in the Troy VA area are accredited because of the demanding process and expense 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 required to become certified, but there are a number of advantages. Potential students recognize that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will be given an ample amount of driving time. For example, PTDI calls for 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 curriculum and training will satisfy the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One clue to help assess the quality of a trucking school is how long it has been in business. A negatively reviewed 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 Troy VA schools had to begin from their first day of training, so use it as one of several qualifiers. You can also ask what the school’s track record is relating to successful licensing and employment of its graduating students. If a school won’t share those numbers, search elsewhere. The schools should also have relationships with local and national trucking firms. Having numerous contacts not only points to an excellent reputation within the profession, but also boosts their job assistance program for graduates. It also wouldn’t hurt to check with the Virginia licensing authority to verify that the CDL trucker schools you are considering are in good standing.
How Good is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools should be licensed in Virginia and employ instructors that are experienced and trained. We will cover more about the teachers in the next section. In addition, the student to instructor ratio should not be greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be receiving the personalized 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 insists it can teach you to be a truck driver in a comparatively short time period. Learning to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer professionally requires time. The majority of Troy VA schools provide training courses that range from three weeks to as long as two months, based on the license class or type of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Trainers? As earlier stated, it’s imperative that the teachers are qualified to teach driving techniques and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Even though a number of states have minimum driving time prerequisites to qualify as an instructor, the more successful driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also important that the teachers stay up to date with industry advancements or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Assessing instructors may be a bit more subjective than other criteria, and perhaps the ideal approach is to check out the school and talk to the teachers face to face. You can also speak with a few of the students completing the training and ask if they are satisfied with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
Plenty of Driving Time? Above all else, a great truck driver school will furnish ample 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 tools, they are no substitute for real driving. The more training that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will be. Although driving time can vary among schools, a reasonable benchmark is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide at least 44 hours of driving time. Check with the Troy VA schools you are researching and find out how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Independent or Captive ? You can receive discounted or even free training from certain 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 offer it are called captives. So rather than having affiliations with many different trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only work with one company. The tradeoff is receiving less expensive or even free training by giving up the flexibility to initially be a driver wherever you choose. Clearly contract training has the potential to limit your income opportunities when starting out. But for many it may be the ideal way to get affordable training. Just be sure to find out if the Troy VA schools you are looking at are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Provide Onsite CDL Testing? There are several states that will permit third party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is permitted in Virginia, ask if the schools you are looking at are DMV certified to offer it. One advantage is that it is more convenient than contending with graduates from competing schools for test times at Virginia testing facilities. It is moreover an indicator that the DMV regards the approved schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Class Times Flexible? As formerly mentioned, truck driver training is only about 1 to 2 months long. With such a brief term, it’s imperative that the Troy VA school you enroll in offers flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. For example, if you’re having difficulty learning a particular driving maneuver, then the instructor should be willing to commit more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still employed while going to training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other commitments.
Is Job Assistance Offered? Once you have received your CDL license after graduating from trucking school, you will be anxious to start your new profession. Verify that the schools you are reviewing have job assistance programs. Find out what their job placement percentage is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, ask which local and national trucking companies their graduates are placed with for hiring. If a school has a poor job placement rate or not many Troy VA employers hiring their graduates, it may be a clue to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Truck driving schools are similar to colleges and other Troy VA area vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being available. Ask if the schools you are reviewing 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 Troy VA?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Troy Virginia area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Troy Edward Baker (born April 1, 1976) is an American voice actor and musician known for portraying the lead characters in various video games. His best known performances are as Joel in The Last of Us, Kanji Tatsumi in Persona 4, Booker DeWitt in BioShock Infinite, The Joker in Batman: Arkham Origins, Batman in various video games, Revolver Ocelot in Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, Delsin Rowe in Infamous: Second Son, Samuel Drake in Uncharted 4: A Thief's End and Uncharted: The Lost Legacy, Rhys in Tales from the Borderlands, Pagan Min in Far Cry 4, Logan Thackeray in Guild Wars 2 and Yuri in Tales of Vesperia. He also voiced in a number of English adaptations of Japanese anime shows, including Basilisk, Trinity Blood, Fullmetal Alchemist, One Piece, Bleach and Naruto: Shippuden. He is also known for voicing Marvel Comics characters like Hawkeye and Loki in several animated features.
Before pursuing acting, Baker was the lead singer and rhythm guitarist for the indie-rock band Tripp Fontaine, which released the radio single "Burning Out" from their debut album Random Thoughts on a Paper Napkin in 2004. His first solo album, Sitting in the Fire, was released on October 14, 2014. On October 6, 2017, Baker and the backing band of Sitting in the Fire released a second album called Moving Around Bias under the new name Window to the Abbey.
Baker began his voice acting career doing radio commercials in Dallas. He was recruited by Chris Sabat to do voice-over work at Funimation for the English adaptation of the anime Case Closed. He then went on to work with anime such as Bleach, Dragon Ball Z, Fullmetal Alchemist, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, Naruto, Naruto: Shippuden, and One Piece. When he moved to Los Angeles, he began working on Marvel-based animated series where he provided the voice of various characters in The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes, and Hawkeye and Loki in Ultimate Spider-Man and Avengers Assemble.
Pick the Best CDL School Troy VA
Choosing the appropriate truck driver school is an essential first step to launching your new vocation as a local or long distance truck driver. The skill sets taught at school will be those that mold a new career behind the wheel. There are a number of options offered and understanding them is vital to a new driver’s success. Most importantly, you must obtain the proper training in order to drive a large commercial vehicle in a professional and safe manner. If you are short on funds or financing, you might need to consider a captive school. You will pay a reduced or in some cases no tuition in exchange for driving for their contracted carrier. Or you can choose an independent trucker school and have the option of driving for the trucking company of your choosing, or one of several associated with the school. It’s your decision. But regardless of how you get your training, you will in the near future be joining an industry that helps America move as a professional trucker in Troy VA.
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