How to Select a CDL Training School near Wolfcreek West Virginia
Congrats on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a truck driving school near Wolfcreek WV. 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 discovered that a career as a truck driver provides excellent wages and flexible job prospects. No matter what your reason is, it’s important to receive the appropriate training by selecting the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are certain variables that you’ll want to consider before making your ultimate choice. Location will undoubtedly be important, especially if you need to commute from your Wolfcreek residence. The expense will also be of importance, but picking a school based exclusively on price is not the ideal way to make certain you’ll get the appropriate education. Don’t forget, your objective is to learn the knowledge and skills that will allow you to pass the CDL examinations and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that objective in mind, just how do you decide on a truck driving school? That is what we are going to discuss in the rest of this article. But first, we are going to talk a little bit about which CDL license you will ultimately need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Should You Get?
To operate commercial vehicles lawfully within the United States and Wolfcreek WV, a driver must attain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three classes of licenses that one can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the subject of this article is how to pick a truck driver school, we will discuss Class A and 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). Following are short summaries for the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is needed to operate 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 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 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 drive certain kinds of vehicles, including school or passenger buses. And a Class A licensee, with the appropriate needed endorsements, can operate any vehicle that a Class B licensee is authorized to drive.
How to Research a Trucking School
As soon as you have decided which CDL you want to obtain, you can start the undertaking of researching the Wolfcreek WV truck driving schools that you are considering. As previously discussed, cost and location will no doubt be your primary considerations. But it can’t be stressed enough that they must not be your sole concerns. Other variables, for example the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are equally if not more important. So below are some additional points that you need to research while performing your due diligence prior to choosing, and particularly paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Not many truck driver schools in the Wolfcreek WV area are accredited because of the stringent process and cost to the schools. However, certification is more common and is offered by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not required to become certified, but there are certain advantages. Potential students recognize that the training will be of the highest caliber, 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 meet the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One clue to help measure the quality of a truck driver school is how long it has been in operation. A poorly ranked or a fly by night school normally will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the top Wolfcreek WV 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 regarding successful licensing and employment of its graduating students. If a school won’t provide those stats, look elsewhere. The schools should additionally maintain associations with regional and national trucking companies. Having numerous contacts not only points to an excellent reputation within the industry, but also bolsters their job placement program for graduates. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to contact the West Virginia licensing department to verify that the CDL trucking schools you are reviewing 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 discuss more about the teachers in the following segment. 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 obtaining the personal instruction they will need. This is particularly true regarding the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And be critical of any school that professes it can teach you to drive trucks in a relatively short time period. Learning to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer professionally takes time. The majority of Wolfcreek WV schools offer training courses that range from three weeks to as long as two months, based on the license class or kind of vehicle.
How Good are the Teachers? As earlier mentioned, it’s imperative that the teachers are qualified to teach driving methods and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Although a number of states have minimum driving time criteria to qualify as a teacher, the more successful driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also vital that the teachers keep current with industry advancements or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Evaluating instructors may be a bit more intuitive than other criteria, and perhaps the best approach is to pay a visit to the school and talk to the teachers in person. You can also speak with a few of the students completing the training and ask if they are happy with the level of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
How Much Driving Time? Most importantly, a great trucking school will furnish lots of 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 driving a truck. While the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are essential training methods, they are no alternative for real driving. The more instruction that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will become. Although driving time can vary among schools, a reasonable benchmark is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Check with the Wolfcreek WV schools you are considering and ask how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Captive or Independent ? You can obtain free or discounted training from certain truck driver schools if you enter into an agreement to drive for a specific carrier for a defined period of time. This is referred to as contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So instead of maintaining affiliations with a wide range of trucking lines that they can refer their students to, 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 restrict your income opportunities when beginning your new career. But for many it may be the only way to receive affordable training. Just remember to inquire if the Wolfcreek WV schools you are contemplating are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Provide CDL Testing Onsite? There are some states that will allow 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driver schools for its grads. If onsite testing is allowed in West Virginia, ask if the schools you are reviewing 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 West Virginia testing centers. It is moreover an indication that the DMV considers the authorized schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Classes Convenient? As previously mentioned, truck driving training is just one to two months in length. With such a short duration, it’s imperative that the Wolfcreek WV school you choose provides flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. As an example, if you’re having difficulty learning a particular driving maneuver, then the teacher should be willing to devote more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still working while attending training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other obligations.
Is Job Assistance Provided? The moment you have attained your commercial driver’s license after graduating from trucking school, you will be anxious to begin your new career. Verify that the schools you are looking at have job assistance programs. Ask what their job placement percentage is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, find out which local and national trucking companies their graduates are referred to for hiring. If a school has a low job placement rate or few Wolfcreek WV employers hiring their grads, it may be a sign to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Trucking schools are similar to colleges and other Wolfcreek WV area technical or vocational schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being offered. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have a financial assistance department, or at a minimum someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that need to be submitted.
Enrolling in a Truck Driving School near Wolfcreek WV?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Wolfcreek West Virginia area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Monroe County, West Virginia
Monroe County is a county in the U.S. state of West Virginia. As of the 2010 census, the population was 13,502. Its county seat is Union. Monroe County was created from Greenbrier County in 1799 and named for James Monroe who eventually became the fifth President of the United States.
Monroe County was the home of Andrew Summers Rowan of Spanish–American War fame, who is immortalized in Elbert Hubbard's classic A Message to Garcia. The county was also the site of the 1928 discovery of the 34.48 carat (6.896 g) Jones Diamond by Grover C. Jones and his son, William "Punch" Jones.
Monroe County was formed on January 14, 1799 from portions of Greenbrier County. It was named after James Monroe, a Virginia statesman and senator, and the future fifth President of the United States.
Pick the Best Truck Driving School Wolfcreek WV
Selecting the ideal truck driving school is a critical first step to beginning your new vocation as a local or long distance truck driver. The skill sets taught at school will be those that forge a new career behind the wheel. There are several options available and understanding them is critical to a new driver’s success. Most importantly, you must obtain the proper training in order to operate a big commercial vehicle in a professional and safe manner. If you are lacking money or financing, you may want to consider a captive school. You will pay a reduced or even no tuition by agreeing to drive 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 choosing, or one of several affiliated with the school. It’s your decision. But no matter how you obtain your training, you will soon be part of a profession that helps our country move as a professional trucker in Wolfcreek WV.
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