How to Pick a CDL Driving School near Lewes Delaware
Congrats on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a trucking school near Lewes DE. Perhaps it has always been your fantasy to hit the open road while driving a big ole tractor trailer. Or maybe you have done some analysis and have discovered that an occupation as a truck driver provides good wages and flexible job opportunities. Whatever your reason is, it’s imperative to obtain the proper training by enrolling in the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are various variables that you’ll need to examine before making your ultimate selection. Location will undoubtedly be important, particularly if you need to commute from your Lewes residence. The expense will also be of importance, but selecting a school based entirely on price is not the optimal method to guarantee you’ll obtain the appropriate education. Don’t forget, your goal is to master the skills and knowledge that will allow you to pass the CDL examinations and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that goal in mind, just how do you choose a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to cover in the rest of this article. But first, we are going to talk a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will eventually need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Will You Need?
To operate commercial vehicles lawfully within the USA and Lewes DE, an operator needs to get a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three license classes that one can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the subject of this article is how to select a truck driver 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 as well as the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Below are brief descriptions of the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License is needed to operate 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 operators may be able to drive 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 Commercial Drivers License is needed to operate single vehicles having a GVWR of greater 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 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 may also need endorsements to drive certain types of vehicles, for example passenger or school buses. And a Class A licensee, with the proper needed endorsements, may drive any vehicle that a Class B license holder is qualified to drive.
How to Research a CDL School
After you have determined which Commercial Drivers License you wish to obtain, you can begin the process of evaluating the Lewes DE truck driving schools that you are considering. As already mentioned, location and cost will certainly be your primary concerns. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they must not be your sole considerations. Other factors, for instance the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are similarly if not more important. So following are some more points that you need to research while carrying out your due diligence prior to choosing, and particularly paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Very few truck driving schools in the Lewes DE area are accredited due to the rigorous process and cost to the schools. However, certification is more common and is provided by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not obligated to become certified, but there are certain advantages. Interested students recognize that the training will be of the highest standard, and that they will receive lots of driving time. As an example, PTDI mandates 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 training and curriculum will measure up to the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One indicator to help measure the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in operation. A poorly rated 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 Lewes DE schools had to start from their opening day of training, so consider it as one of multiple qualifiers. You can also learn what the school’s track record is relating to successful licensing and job placement of its graduates. If a school won’t supply those stats, look 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 trade, but also bolsters their job assistance program for students. It also wouldn’t hurt to check with the Delaware licensing department to make sure that the CDL trucking schools you are reviewing are in compliance.
How Effective is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools must be licensed in Delaware and hire teachers that are experienced and trained. We will discuss more about the instructors in the following section. In addition, the student to instructor ratio should not be higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be receiving the personalized instruction they will need. This is particularly true concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And be critical of any school that claims it can train you to drive trucks in a comparatively short period of time. Learning to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer professionally takes time. The majority of Lewes DE schools provide training programs that range from 3 weeks to as long as two months, based on the license class or kind of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Teachers? As earlier stated, it’s imperative that the instructors are qualified to teach driving methods and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Even though a number of states have minimum driving time requirements to be certified as an instructor, the more professional driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also crucial that the teachers stay up to date with industry developments or any new laws or changes in regulations. Assessing instructors may be a bit more intuitive than other criteria, and perhaps the best method is to visit the school and talk to the instructors face to face. You can also talk to a few of the students completing the training and ask if they are happy with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Plenty of Driving Time? Most importantly, a great trucking school will furnish lots of driving time to its students. Besides, isn’t that what it’s all about? Driving time is the real time spent behind the wheel operating a truck. Even though the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are essential training methods, they are no replacement for actual driving. The more training that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will become. 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 furnish at least 44 hours of driving time. Check with the Lewes DE schools you are researching and find out how much driving time they provide.
Are they Independent or Captive ? It’s possible to obtain free or discounted training from a number of trucking schools if you enter into an agreement to be a driver for a specific carrier for a defined period of time. This is called contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So instead of maintaining affiliations with numerous trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only refer to one company. The tradeoff is receiving less expensive or even free training by giving up the freedom to initially be a driver wherever you have an opportunity. Naturally 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 remember to find out if the Lewes DE schools you are contemplating are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Is there CDL Testing Onsite? There are a number of states that will allow 3rd party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is allowed in Delaware, ask if the schools you are reviewing 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 Delaware testing locations. It is also an indication that the DMV regards the authorized schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Classes Accessible? As formerly mentioned, truck driving training is only about 1 to 2 months in length. With such a short duration, it’s essential that the Lewes DE school you choose offers flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. 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 holding a job while attending training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other responsibilities.
Is Job Placement Provided? As soon as you have obtained your CDL license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be eager to start your new profession. Make sure that the schools you are considering have job placement programs. Ask what their job placement ratio is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, find out which national and local trucking companies their graduates are referred to for employment. If a school has a low job placement rate or not many Lewes DE employers hiring their grads, it may be a clue to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Available? Truck driving schools are much like colleges and other Lewes DE area vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being offered. Find out if the schools you are evaluating have a financial aid 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 Lewes DE?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Lewes Delaware area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Lewes (/ˈluːɪs/ LOO-iss) is an incorporated city on the Delaware Bay in eastern Sussex County, Delaware. According to the 2010 census, the population is 2,747. Along with neighboring Rehoboth Beach, Lewes is one of the principal cities of Delaware's rapidly growing Cape Region. The city lies within the Salisbury, Maryland–Delaware Metropolitan Statistical Area. Lewes proudly claims to be "The First Town in The First State."
Lewes was the site of the first European settlement in Delaware, a whaling and trading post that Dutch settlers founded on June 3, 1631 and named Zwaanendael (Swan Valley). The colony had a short existence, as a local tribe of Lenape Native Americans wiped out the 32 settlers in 1632.
The area remained rather neglected by the Dutch until, under the threat of annexation from the English colony of Maryland, the city of Amsterdam made a grant of land at the Hoernkills (the area around Cape Henlopen, near the current town of Lewes) to a group of Mennonites for settlement in 1662. A total of 35 men were to be included in the settlement, led by a Pieter Cornelisz Plockhoy of Zierikzee and funded by a sizable loan from the city to get them established. The settlement was established in 1663, but the timing of the settlement was terrible: In 1664, the English wrested New Netherland from the Dutch, and they had the settlement destroyed with British reports indicating that “not even a nail” was left there.
Pick the Ideal Truck Driver School Lewes DE
Choosing the ideal truck driving school is an important first step to launching your new occupation as a local or long distance truck driver. The skills that you will learn at school will be those that forge a new career behind the wheel. There are a number of options offered and understanding them is critical 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 lacking cash or financing, you might need to think about 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 truck driver school and have the option of driving for the trucking company of your choosing, or one of several affiliated with the school. It’s your decision. But regardless of how you obtain your training, you will soon be joining a profession that helps America move as a professional trucker in Lewes DE.
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