How to Decide on a Truck Driving School near Kenton Delaware
Congratulations on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a truck driving school near Kenton DE. Perhaps it has always been your dream to hit the open road while operating a monster tractor trailer. Or maybe you have conducted some research and have discovered that an occupation as a truck driver offers excellent pay and flexible work prospects. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s important to obtain the proper training by enrolling in the right CDL school in your area. When evaluating your options, there are a number of factors that you’ll need to examine before making your ultimate choice. Location will certainly be an issue, particularly if you need to commute from your Kenton residence. The cost will also be important, but choosing a school based exclusively on price is not the ideal means to ensure you’ll get the right education. Just remember, your objective is to learn the knowledge and skills that will enable you to pass the CDL exams and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that purpose in mind, just how do you select a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to discuss in the remainder 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?
In order to drive commercial vehicles legally within the USA and Kenton DE, a driver must obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 classes of licenses that a driver can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the subject of this article is how to select a truck driver school, we will focus on Class A and Class B licenses. What distinguishes 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 two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is required 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 required to drive single vehicles having a GVWR of more than 26,000 lbs., or a GCWR of greater 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 CDLs may also require endorsements to operate specific types of vehicles, such as school or passenger buses. And a Class A licensee, with the proper required endorsements, may operate any vehicle that a Class B licensee is authorized to drive.
How to Research a Truck Driving School
When you have determined which CDL you would like to obtain, you can begin the undertaking of evaluating the Kenton DE trucking schools that you are considering. As previously discussed, cost and location will certainly be your primary concerns. But it can’t be stressed enough that they should not be your only concerns. Other issues, such as the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are similarly or even more important. So following are some additional factors that you should research while performing your due diligence before enrolling in, and especially paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Very few truck driving schools in the Kenton DE area are accredited because of the rigorous process and cost to the schools. However, 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 several advantages. Interested students know that the training will be of the highest caliber, and that they will be given lots of driving time. For example, PTDI calls for 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 curriculum and training will satisfy the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One indicator to help determine the quality of a trucking school is how long it has been in operation. A negatively ranked or a fly by night school usually will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. Having said that, even the top Kenton DE schools had to start from their opening day of training, so consider it as one of multiple qualifiers. You can also ask what the school’s history is pertaining to successful licensing and employment of its graduating students. If a school won’t provide those numbers, look elsewhere. The schools should also have associations with regional and national trucking companies. Having a large number of contacts not only points to a quality reputation within the profession, but also boosts their job placement program for students. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to check with the Delaware licensing authority to verify that the CDL trucker schools you are considering are in good standing.
How Effective is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools should be licensed in Delaware and hire teachers that are trained and experienced. We will talk more about the instructors in the following segment. In addition, the student to instructor proportion should not be greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be getting the personalized attention 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 train you to be a truck driver in a relatively short period of time. Learning to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer professionally takes time. The majority of Kenton DE schools provide training courses that range from 3 weeks to as long as 2 months, depending on the class of license or kind of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Instructors? As previously mentioned, it’s imperative that the teachers are trained to teach driving methods and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Even though a number of states have minimum driving time requirements to be certified as a teacher, the more professional driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also vital that the teachers stay up to date with industry developments or any new laws or changes in regulations. Evaluating teachers might be a little more intuitive than other criteria, and possibly the ideal method is to pay a visit to the school and talk to the teachers in person. You can also speak with some of the students going through the training and find out if they are happy with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
How Much Driving Time? Most importantly, an excellent trucking school will provide lots of 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. Even though the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are essential training methods, they are no substitute for actual driving. The more training that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will be. And even though driving time can vary between 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 Kenton DE schools you are considering and ask how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Independent or Captive ? It’s possible to receive 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 period of time. This is referred to as contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So instead of maintaining relationships with a wide range of trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only work with one company. The tradeoff is receiving free or less expensive training by surrendering the freedom to initially work wherever you have an opportunity. Obviously contract training has the potential to restrict your income opportunities when starting out. But for some it may be the only way to obtain affordable training. Just remember to inquire if the Kenton DE schools you are looking at are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Is there Onsite CDL Testing? There are several states that will permit 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driver schools for its grads. If onsite testing is permitted in Delaware, find out if the schools you are considering are DMV certified to provide it. One benefit is that it is more convenient than contending with graduates from other schools for test times at Delaware testing locations. It is moreover an indication that the DMV believes the authorized schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Class Times Convenient? As earlier mentioned, truck driver training is just 1 to 2 months long. With such a brief term, it’s essential that the Kenton DE school you select offers 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 instructor should be prepared to commit more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still employed while going to training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other responsibilities.
Is Job Assistance Provided? The moment you have acquired your commercial driver’s license after graduating from trucking school, you will be impatient to begin your new profession. Make sure that the schools you are contemplating have job placement programs. Ask what their job placement rate 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 few Kenton DE employers recruiting their graduates, it might be a sign to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Given? Truck driving schools are similar to colleges and other Kenton DE area vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being available. Find out if the schools you are assessing 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 Kenton DE?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Kenton Delaware area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
The Village of Kenton is a crossroads community located at the intersection of Route 42 and Route 300 in Kenton Hundred, Delaware. The village dates from the last decade of the 18th century, but did not achieve its peak until the last half of the 19th century when the Delaware and Maryland Railroad line was put through from Clayton to Maryland.
Kenton was first laid out in 1796 by Philip Lewis who had begun to acquire property in the area five years before in 1791. The community was first known as Georgetown, then as Lewis Crossroads and finally, in 1806, by the name of Kenton.
The Kenton Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1983. Other sites at or near Kenton on the National Register of Historic Places are the: George Arnold House, Aspendale, Thomas Attix House, J. F. Betz House, Benjamin Blackiston House, W. D. Burrows House, Scene of Cheyney Clow's Rebellion, Clark-Pratt House, Cooper House, Thomas Davis House, N. C. Downs House, T.H. Denny House, Green Mansion House (Kenton, Delaware), Robert Hill House, Hoffecker-Lockwood House, Alfred L. Hudson House, Kenton Post Office, Thomas Lamb Farm, Thomas Lamb House, Jefferson Lewis House, Delaplane McDaniel House, Poinsett House, Somerville, William Stevens House, James Williams House, and Wright-Carry House.
Choose the Ideal Truck Driving School Kenton DE
Selecting the appropriate truck driver school is an important first step to launching your new vocation as a long distance or local truck driver. The skill sets taught at school will be those that forge a new career behind the wheel. There are many options available and understanding them is critical to a new driver’s success. But first and foremost, you must receive the proper training in order to drive a big commercial vehicle in a safe and professional manner. If you are short on cash or financing, you might want to consider a captive school. You will pay a lower or even no tuition in exchange for driving for their contracted carrier. Or you can enroll in an independent CDL school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking company of your choice, or one of many affiliated with the school. It’s your decision. But no matter how you get your training, you will soon be entering a profession that helps America move as a professional trucker in Kenton DE.
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