How to Choose a CDL Driving School near Suches Georgia
Congrats on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a trucking school near Suches GA. Maybe it has always been your fantasy to hit the open road while driving a big ole tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have conducted some research and have found that an occupation as a truck driver provides good pay and flexible job prospects. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s essential to get the appropriate training by choosing the right CDL school in your area. When evaluating your options, there are a number of factors that you’ll want to think about before making your final choice. Location will undoubtedly be an issue, particularly if you need to commute from your Suches residence. The expense will also be important, but selecting a school based entirely on price is not the best way to make sure you’ll obtain the appropriate education. Don’t forget, your goal is to learn the knowledge and skills that will allow you to pass the CDL examinations and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that target 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 balance 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 lawfully within the USA and Suches GA, a driver needs to obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three license classes that a person 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 focus on Class A and Class B licenses. What differentiates 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 two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is required to drive any vehicle that has a GCWR of greater than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of greater than 10,000 lbs. Several 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. A few 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 CDLs may also need endorsements to operate specific kinds of vehicles, for example school or passenger buses. And a Class A licensee, with the appropriate needed endorsements, may operate any vehicle that a Class B license holder is qualified to drive.
How to Research a Truck Driver School
Once you have determined which CDL you wish to pursue, you can begin the undertaking of assessing the Suches GA truck driving schools that you are considering. As already mentioned, location and cost will undoubtedly be your primary considerations. But it can’t be stressed enough that they must not be your sole considerations. Other variables, including the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are equally if not more important. So below are a few more things that you should research while carrying out your due diligence before choosing, and particularly paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Not many truck driving schools in the Suches GA area are accredited because of the stringent process and expense 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 certain advantages. Interested students recognize that the training will be of the highest standard, and that they will receive plenty of driving time. As an 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 Operation? One clue to help assess the quality of a truck driver school is how long it has been in business. A poorly rated or a fly by night school usually will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. Having said that, even the top Suches GA schools had to begin from their opening day of training, so consider it as one of multiple qualifications. You can also find out what the school’s track record is regarding successful licensing and job placement of its graduating students. If a school won’t supply those stats, look elsewhere. The schools should additionally maintain relationships with regional and national trucking companies. Having numerous contacts not only confirms an excellent reputation within the industry, but also boosts their job assistance program for graduates. It also wouldn’t hurt to contact the Georgia licensing authority to make sure that the CDL trucking schools you are reviewing are in good standing.
How Good is the Training? At a minimum, the schools should be licensed in Georgia and hire instructors that are trained and experienced. We will talk more about the teachers in the following section. In addition, the student to instructor ratio should be no higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be obtaining the personalized attention 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 frame. Training to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer professionally requires time. Most Suches GA schools offer training programs that range from three weeks to as long as 2 months, based on the license class or kind of vehicle.
How Good are the Trainers? As previously stated, it’s important that the instructors are trained to teach driving methods and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Although a number of states have minimum driving time requirements to qualify as a teacher, the more successful driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also crucial that the teachers keep up to date with industry developments or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Evaluating teachers may be a little more intuitive than other criteria, and perhaps the ideal method is to pay a visit to the school and speak with 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 quality of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Sufficient Driving Time? Above all else, an excellent trucking school will provide sufficient 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. Although the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are essential training tools, they are no alternative for actual driving. The more instruction that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will become. Although driving time varies between schools, a good benchmark is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish no less than 44 hours of driving time. Check with the Suches GA schools you are considering and ask how much driving time they provide.
Are they Independent or Captive ? You can obtain discounted or even free training from certain truck driving schools if you make a commitment to drive for a specified carrier for a defined time period. This is referred to as contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So rather than maintaining associations with numerous trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only work with one company. The benefit is receiving free or less expensive training by surrendering the flexibility to initially be a driver wherever you have an opportunity. Naturally contract training has the potential to reduce your income opportunities when beginning your new career. But for many it may be the only way to get affordable training. Just make sure to find out if the Suches GA 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 graduates. If onsite testing is allowed in Georgia, find out if the schools you are looking at are DMV certified to provide it. One advantage is that it is more accommodating than contending with graduates from other schools for test times at Georgia testing centers. It is also an indicator that the DMV believes the authorized schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Class Times Accessible? As formerly mentioned, truck driving training is just one to two months in length. With such a brief term, it’s important that the Suches GA school you choose offers flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. For example, if you’re having difficulty learning a particular driving maneuver, then the instructor should be prepared to spend more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still holding a job while going to training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other responsibilities.
Is Job Assistance Offered? As soon as you have attained your CDL license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be anxious to start your new profession. Confirm that the schools you are looking at have job placement programs. Ask what their job placement ratio is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, ask which local and national trucking companies their graduates are placed with for employment. If a school has a lower job placement rate or few Suches GA employers hiring their grads, it might be a clue to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Truck driver schools are similar to colleges and other Suches GA area technical or vocational schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance 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 Suches GA?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Suches Georgia area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Suches is an Unincorporated community in Union County, Georgia, United States. With an elevation approaching 3,000 feet, Suches describes itself as "The Valley Above The Clouds"' and is one of the highest-elevation communities in the state. It is the birthplace of Arthur Woody, a forest ranger who was a key figure in the early history of Chattahoochee National Forest. Suches is approximately one mile from the Appalachian Trail (AT) as it passes through Woody Gap.
The local school is Woody Gap School, the smallest public school in the state of Georgia. The historical marker in front of the school lists it as the homestead of Joseph E. Brown, governor of Georgia during the Civil War. The current businesses in Suches include Two Wheels of Suches, High Valley Resort, Budget Propane, the general store, Mountain Property Limited (the local realtor), and the U.S. Post Office.
Pick the Ideal CDL School Suches GA
Selecting the ideal trucking school is a critical first step to starting your new profession 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 several options available and understanding them is critical if you are going to succeed as an operator. But first and foremost, you must get the proper training in order to operate a large commercial vehicle in a professional and safe manner. If you are lacking cash or financing, you may need to think about a captive school. You will pay a lower or in some cases no tuition by agreeing to drive for their contracted carrier. Or you can enroll in an independent trucking school and have the option of driving for the trucking firm of your choosing, or one of many affiliated with the school. It’s your choice. But regardless of how you receive your training, you will soon be part of a profession that helps our country move as a professional truck driver in Suches GA.
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