How to Select a CDL Driving School near Tornado West Virginia
Congratulations on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a trucking school near Tornado WV. Perhaps it has always been your fantasy to hit the open highway while driving a huge tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have done some research and have found that a career as a truck driver provides good income and flexible work prospects. No matter what your reason is, it’s important to receive the proper training by choosing the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are various factors that you’ll want to examine prior to making your ultimate choice. Location will certainly be an issue, particularly if you need to commute from your Tornado home. The cost will also be of importance, but selecting a school based exclusively on price is not the best means to ensure you’ll receive the proper education. Don’t forget, your goal is to master the skills and knowledge that will enable you to pass the CDL examinations and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that purpose 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 Will You Need?
To operate commercial vehicles lawfully within the United States and Tornado WV, a driver needs to obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three classes of licenses that a person can qualify 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 B licenses. What distinguishes each class of CDL is the kind of vehicle that the driver can operate together with the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Below are short descriptions of the 2 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 greater than 10,000 lbs. Some 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. 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 kinds of vehicles, such as passenger or school buses. And a Class A license holder, with the proper needed endorsements, may drive any vehicle that a Class B licensee is authorized to operate.
How to Research a CDL School
Once you have determined which Commercial Drivers License you wish to obtain, you can begin the undertaking of assessing the Tornado WV truck driving schools that you are considering. As already discussed, location and cost will undoubtedly be your initial considerations. But it can’t be stressed enough that they must not be your sole concerns. Other factors, for instance the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are equally if not more important. So following are some more points that you need to research while carrying out your due diligence before enrolling in, and especially paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Not many trucking schools in the Tornado WV area are accredited due to the rigorous process and cost to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more prevalent and is provided by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not required to become certified, but there are certain advantages. Interested students recognize that the training will be of the highest caliber, and that they will get lots of driving time. For example, PTDI requires 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 training and curriculum will meet the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One indicator to help measure the quality of a truck driver school is how long it has been in business. A poorly rated or a fly by night school typically will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the best of Tornado WV schools had to begin from their opening day of training, so consider it as one of several qualifiers. You can also learn what the school’s track record is regarding successful licensing and employment of its graduating students. If a school won’t supply those numbers, search elsewhere. The schools should additionally have associations with regional and national trucking firms. Having numerous contacts not only affirms an excellent reputation within the trade, but also bolsters their job placement program for students. It also wouldn’t hurt to contact the West Virginia licensing authority to verify that the CDL trucker schools you are researching are in good standing.
How Effective is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools should be licensed in West Virginia and employ teachers that are trained and experienced. We will talk more about the instructors in the next section. Also, the student to instructor proportion 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 especially true regarding the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And watch out for any school that professes it can teach you to drive trucks in a comparatively short time period. Learning to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer professionally takes time. The majority of Tornado WV schools provide training programs that run from 3 weeks to as long as two months, depending on the class of license or kind of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Trainers? As previously stated, it’s essential that the instructors are qualified to teach driving methods and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Even though several states have minimum driving time criteria to qualify as a teacher, the more professional driving experience an instructor 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 little more subjective than other standards, and possibly the ideal method is to check out the school and talk to the instructors face to face. You can also speak with a few of the students completing the training and find out if they are satisfied with the level of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
How Much Driving Time? Most importantly, a great truck driving school will provide plenty of driving time to its students. After all, isn’t that what it’s all about? Driving time is the real time spent behind the wheel driving a truck. Even though the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are necessary training methods, they are no alternative for actual driving. The more instruction that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will be. And even though driving time fluctuates among schools, a reasonable standard is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide at least 44 hours of driving time. Get in touch with the Tornado WV schools you are considering and find out how much driving time they provide.
Are they Independent or Captive ? You can obtain discounted or even free training from some trucking schools if you enter into an agreement to be a driver for a specific carrier for a defined amount of time. This is referred to as contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So instead of having associations with numerous trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only refer to one company. The tradeoff is receiving free or less expensive training by surrendering the flexibility to initially be a driver wherever you have an opportunity. Clearly contract training has the potential to limit your income opportunities when starting out. But for many it may be the only way to obtain affordable training. Just remember to find out if the Tornado WV schools you are contemplating are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Is there Onsite CDL Testing? There are a number of states that will allow 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driver schools for its students. If onsite testing is permitted in West Virginia, find out if the schools you are looking at are DMV certified to provide it. One benefit is that it is more accommodating than competing with graduates of other schools for test times at West Virginia testing centers. It is moreover an indicator that the DMV deems the approved schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Classes Flexible? As formerly noted, CDL training is just 1 to 2 months long. With such a brief duration, it’s essential that the Tornado WV school you select provides flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. For example, if you’re having difficulty learning a certain driving maneuver, then the instructor should be willing to dedicate more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still working while going to training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other commitments.
Is Job Placement Provided? As soon as you have attained your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be eager to start your new career. Verify that the schools you are considering have job placement programs. Find out 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 hiring. If a school has a low job placement rate or not many Tornado WV employers hiring their graduates, it may be a clue to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Trucking schools are similar to colleges and other Tornado WV area technical or vocational schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being offered. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have a financial assistance department, or at least someone who can help you understand the options and forms that need to be completed.
Enrolling in a Truck Driving School near Tornado WV?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Tornado West Virginia area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Tornado, West Virginia
Tornado is a census-designated place (CDP) in Kanawha County, West Virginia, United States. Tornado is also known as Upper Falls, the U.S. Census Bureau's official name for the community. The United States Board on Geographic Names declared the community's official name to be Tornado in 2013 due to a request from the Kanawha County Commission, which determined that residents of the community supported the name Tornado over Upper Falls. It is also known as Andrews Heights, Big Bend and Upper Falls of Coal River.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the Upper Falls CDP has a total area of 17.2 square miles (44.49 km²), of which, 16.9 square miles (43.84 km²) is land and 0.2 square miles (0.644 km²) (1.45%) is water.
As of the Census of 2010, there were 3,701 people, 1,458 households, and 1,072 families residing in the community. The population density was 218.6 people per square mile (84.4/km²). There were 1,549 housing units at an average density of 91.7/sq mi (35.3/km²). The racial makeup of the community was 96.8% White, 1.1% African American, 0.4% American Indian and Alaska Natives, 0.3% Asian, 0.1% from other races, and 1.3% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.4% of the population.
Pick the Best CDL School Tornado WV
Selecting the appropriate trucking school is an essential first step to launching 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 if you are going to succeed as an operator. Most importantly, you must receive the necessary training in order to operate a large commercial vehicle in a professional and safe fashion. If you are lacking funds or financing, you might need to think about 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 choice, or one of several associated with the school. It’s your decision. But regardless of how you get your training, you will soon be joining an industry that helps our country move as a professional truck driver in Tornado WV.
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