How to Find a Truck Driver School near Tariff West Virginia
Congrats on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a CDL school near Tariff WV. Perhaps it has always been your goal to hit the open road while driving a big ole tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have done some research and have found that an occupation as a truck driver offers excellent wages and flexible job opportunities. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s essential to get the appropriate training by selecting the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are several factors that you’ll need to consider prior to making your ultimate choice. Location will undoubtedly be important, particularly if you have to commute from your Tariff home. The cost will also be of importance, but choosing a school based only on price is not the optimal way to make sure you’ll get the appropriate education. Just remember, your goal is to learn the knowledge and skills that will allow you to pass the CDL exams and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that objective in mind, just how do you choose a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to discuss in the rest of this article. But first, we are going to discuss a little bit about which CDL license you will eventually need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Will You Require?
In order to drive commercial vehicles legally within the United States and Tariff WV, an operator must attain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 license classes 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 address Class A and Class B licenses. What distinguishes each class of CDL is the kind of vehicle that the driver can operate in addition to the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Below are brief explanations for the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License is required to drive 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 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 needed to drive 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. Several 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 kinds of vehicles, for instance school or passenger buses. And a Class A licensee, with the appropriate needed endorsements, can operate any vehicle that a Class B licensee is qualified to operate.
How to Research a Trucking School
Once you have determined which Commercial Drivers License you would like to obtain, you can start the process of assessing the Tariff WV truck driving schools that you are considering. As earlier mentioned, cost and location will no doubt be your initial concerns. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they should not be your sole considerations. Other factors, for example the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are similarly or even more important. So below are a few additional things that you should research while carrying out your due diligence before selecting, and especially paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Very few truck driving schools in the Tariff WV area are accredited because of the rigorous process and expense to the schools. However, 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. Prospective students know that the training will be of the highest standard, and that they will get 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 comply with the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One indicator to help evaluate the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in operation. A poorly reviewed or a fly by night school usually will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the top Tariff WV schools had to begin from their first day of training, so use it as one of several qualifiers. You can also learn what the school’s track record is concerning successful licensing and job placement of its graduates. If a school won’t provide those stats, search elsewhere. The schools should additionally have relationships with local and national trucking firms. Having numerous contacts not only points to a superior reputation within the profession, but also boosts their job assistance program for graduates. It also wouldn’t hurt to get in touch with the West Virginia licensing authority to make sure that the CDL trucker schools you are considering are in compliance.
How Effective is the Training? At a minimum, the schools should be licensed in West Virginia 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 be no higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be receiving the personal 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 claims it can train you to drive trucks in a relatively short period of time. Learning to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer professionally requires time. Most Tariff WV schools provide training programs that range from 3 weeks to as long as 2 months, depending on the license class or type of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Trainers? As earlier mentioned, it’s essential that the teachers are trained to teach driving methods and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Even though several states have minimum driving time prerequisites to be certified as a teacher, the more successful driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also crucial that the teachers keep current with industry advancements or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Assessing teachers may be a bit more subjective than other criteria, and perhaps the best approach is to check out the school and speak with the instructors face to face. You can also talk to a few of the students going through the training and find out if they are happy with the level of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Adequate Driving Time? Above all else, a great trucking school will furnish ample driving time to its students. Besides, isn’t that what it’s all about? Driving time is the actual time spent behind the wheel driving a truck. While the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are necessary training tools, they are no substitute for actual driving. The more training that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will become. And even though driving time differs among schools, a reasonable benchmark is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish no less than 44 hours of driving time. Get in touch with the Tariff WV schools you are considering and find out how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Independent or Captive ? It’s possible to obtain free or discounted training from a number of truck driving schools if you make a commitment to drive for a specified carrier for a defined amount of time. This is called contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So rather than having associations with a wide range of trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only refer to one company. The benefit is receiving free or less expensive training by giving up the flexibility to initially be a driver wherever you choose. Clearly contract training has the potential to limit your income prospects when beginning your new career. But for many it may be the best way to get affordable training. Just make sure to ask if the Tariff WV schools you are contemplating are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Is there Onsite CDL Testing? There are several states that will allow third party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its students. If onsite testing is available in West Virginia, ask if the schools you are looking at are DMV certified to offer it. One benefit is that it is more convenient than competing with graduates from other schools for test times at West Virginia testing centers. It is also an indication that the DMV views the authorized schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Classes Convenient? As formerly noted, CDL training is just 1 to 2 months in length. With such a short term, it’s imperative that the Tariff WV school you enroll in offers 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 spend more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still holding a job while attending training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other obligations.
Is Job Assistance Provided? As soon as you have acquired your commercial driver’s license after graduating from trucking school, you will be keen to start your new profession. Make sure that the schools you are looking at have job assistance programs. Find out what their job placement rate is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, find out which national and local trucking companies their graduates are referred to for hiring. If a school has a low job placement rate or few Tariff WV employers recruiting their grads, it may be a clue to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Trucking schools are similar to colleges and other Tariff WV area vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being offered. Ask if the schools you are examining have a financial assistance department, or at least someone who can help you get through the options and forms that need to be submitted.
Enrolling in a Truck Driving School near Tariff WV?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Tariff West Virginia area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
John E. Kenna
Kenna was born near Colemouth, Virginia, in Kanawha County (now St. Albans, West Virginia) and lived his early life at Upper Falls, where his father was lockmaster and owned a sawmill. He had little education, and at the age of 16 he served in the "Iron Brigade" with General Joseph O. Shelby in the Confederate States Army and was wounded. After returning home, he read law and was admitted to the bar in 1870. He became very active in the emerging Democratic Party of West Virginia.
He rose from prosecuting attorney of Kanawha County in 1872 to Justice pro tempore of the county circuit in 1875, and to the United States House of Representatives in 1876. While in the House he championed railroad legislation and crusaded for aid for slack-water navigation to help the coal, timber, and salt industries in his state. These activities earned him a seat in the United States Senate in 1883, where he continued fighting for his two causes.
Kenna became Democratic minority leader and emerged as a powerful and controversial speaker on the issue of the independence of the executive branch of the government. He forcefully defended President Grover Cleveland on several issues and indicted the Senate Republican majority for failure to pass tariff reforms. His brilliant career was cut short with his sudden death at the age of 44 on January 11, 1893.
Choose the Right CDL School Tariff WV
Selecting the right trucking school is a critical first step to starting your new vocation 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 crucial to a new driver’s success. But first and foremost, you must get the necessary training in order to drive a large commercial vehicle in a safe and professional fashion. If you are lacking funds or financing, you might need to consider a captive school. You will pay a reduced or in some cases no tuition by agreeing to drive for their contracted carrier. Or you can select an independent trucking school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking firm of your choosing, or one of several associated with the school. It’s your decision. But no matter how you obtain your training, you will in the near future be entering an industry that helps America move as a professional trucker in Tariff WV.
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