How to Select a Truck Driver School near Wrights Illinois
Congrats on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a trucking school near Wrights IL. Perhaps it has always been your ambition to hit the open highway while driving a big ole tractor trailer. Or maybe you have conducted some analysis and have found that an occupation as a truck driver provides excellent pay and flexible job opportunities. No matter what your reason is, it’s important to receive the proper training by selecting the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are several variables that you’ll need to consider prior to making your final choice. Location will no doubt be important, especially if you have to commute from your Wrights residence. The expense will also be of importance, but choosing a school based solely on price is not the optimal method to ensure you’ll receive the proper training. Just remember, 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 purpose in mind, just how do you pick a truck driving school? That is what we are going to cover in the remainder 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 Should You Get?
In order to operate commercial vehicles lawfully within the USA and Wrights IL, a driver must attain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 license classes that a driver can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the subject of this article is how to choose a truck driving school, we will highlight Class A and Class 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). Following are brief explanations of the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License is needed to drive 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 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 Commercial Drivers License is required 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 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 require endorsements to drive certain types of vehicles, for instance passenger or school buses. And a Class A licensee, with the appropriate needed endorsements, can operate any vehicle that a Class B licensee is qualified to drive.
How to Evaluate a CDL School
After you have decided which Commercial Drivers License you wish to obtain, you can start the process of researching the Wrights IL truck driver schools that you are considering. As already mentioned, location and cost will undoubtedly be your initial concerns. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they should not be your sole concerns. Other factors, for example the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are similarly or even more important. So below are some additional things that you need to research while performing your due diligence before choosing, and particularly paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Not many trucking schools in the Wrights IL area are accredited due to the demanding process and expense to the schools. However, certification is more commonplace and is offered by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not obligated to become certified, but there are a number of advantages. Potential students know that the training will be of the highest caliber, and that they will receive an ample amount of driving time. As an example, PTDI mandates 44 hours of actual 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 comply with the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One indicator to help measure the quality of a trucking school is how long it has been in operation. A negatively rated or a fly by night school typically will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. Having said that, even the best of Wrights IL schools had to start from their first day of training, so use it as one of several qualifiers. You can also ask what the school’s track record is concerning successful licensing and job placement of its graduating students. If a school won’t supply those numbers, look elsewhere. The schools should additionally have associations with regional and national trucking firms. Having numerous contacts not only points to a quality reputation within the industry, but also bolsters their job placement program for students. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to check with the Illinois licensing authority to verify that the CDL trucking schools you are researching are in good standing.
How Good is the Training? At a minimum, the schools should be licensed in Illinois and employ instructors that are experienced and trained. We will cover more about the instructors in the following section. Also, the student to instructor proportion should be no greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be obtaining the personalized attention they will need. This is especially true concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And look out for any school that insists it can teach you to be a truck driver in a comparatively short time frame. Learning to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer professionally takes time. Most Wrights IL schools provide training courses that run from 3 weeks to as long as 2 months, based on the license class or type of vehicle.
How Good are the Trainers? As already mentioned, it’s important that the instructors are qualified to teach driving techniques and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Although a number of states have minimum driving time criteria to qualify as a teacher, the more professional driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also crucial that the instructors keep up to date with industry advancements or any new laws or changes in regulations. Evaluating teachers may be a little more subjective than other standards, and perhaps the best method is to pay a visit to the school and talk to the teachers in person. You can also talk to some of the students completing the training and ask if they are happy with the level of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Plenty of Driving Time? Above all else, an excellent truck driver school will furnish plenty 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 driving a truck. While the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are essential training tools, they are no substitute for real driving. The more training that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will be. And even though driving time varies among schools, a reasonable standard is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Check with the Wrights IL schools you are researching and ask how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Captive or Independent ? It’s possible to get discounted or even free training from certain truck driver schools if you enter into an agreement to be a driver for a particular 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 relationships with many different 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 giving up the flexibility to initially work wherever you choose. Obviously contract training has the potential to limit your income prospects when starting out. But for some it may be the ideal way to get affordable training. Just make sure to inquire if the Wrights IL schools you are contemplating are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Provide Onsite CDL Testing? There are several states that will permit 3rd party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its grads. If onsite testing is allowed in Illinois, ask if the schools you are considering are DMV certified to offer it. One advantage is that it is more convenient than competing with graduates of competing schools for test times at Illinois testing facilities. It is moreover an indication that the DMV considers the approved schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Class Times Flexible? As previously noted, truck driver training is just 1 to 2 months long. With such a brief duration, it’s imperative that the Wrights IL school you select offers flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. For example, if you’re having a hard time learning a particular driving maneuver, then the instructor should be willing to dedicate 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 commitments.
Is Job Assistance Offered? The moment you have acquired your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be eager to begin your new career. Make sure that the schools you are considering have job assistance programs. Ask what their job placement ratio is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, find out which national and local trucking firms their graduates are referred to for employment. If a school has a lower job placement rate or few Wrights IL employers hiring their graduates, it might be a sign to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Truck driver schools are much like colleges and other Wrights IL area technical or vocational schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being offered. Ask if the schools you are evaluating have a financial assistance department, or at least someone who can help you get through the options and forms that need to be completed.
Enrolling in a Truck Driving School near Wrights IL?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Wrights Illinois area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
The Wright brothers, Orville (August 19, 1871 – January 30, 1948) and Wilbur (April 16, 1867 – May 30, 1912), were two American aviators, engineers, inventors, and aviation pioneers who are generally credited with inventing, building, and flying the world's first successful airplane. They made the first controlled, sustained flight of a powered, heavier-than-air aircraft on December 17, 1903, four miles south of Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. In 1904–05 the brothers developed their flying machine into the first practical fixed-wing aircraft. Although not the first to build experimental aircraft, the Wright brothers were the first to invent aircraft controls that made fixed-wing powered flight possible.
The brothers' fundamental breakthrough was their invention of three-axis control, which enabled the pilot to steer the aircraft effectively and to maintain its equilibrium. This method became and remains standard on fixed-wing aircraft of all kinds. From the beginning of their aeronautical work, the Wright brothers focused on developing a reliable method of pilot control as the key to solving "the flying problem". This approach differed significantly from other experimenters of the time who put more emphasis on developing powerful engines. Using a small homebuilt wind tunnel, the Wrights also collected more accurate data than any before, enabling them to design and build wings and propellers that were more efficient than any before. Their first U.S. patent, 821,393, did not claim invention of a flying machine, but rather, the invention of a system of aerodynamic control that manipulated a flying machine's surfaces.
They gained the mechanical skills essential for their success by working for years in their shop with printing presses, bicycles, motors, and other machinery. Their work with bicycles in particular influenced their belief that an unstable vehicle like a flying machine could be controlled and balanced with practice. From 1900 until their first powered flights in late 1903, they conducted extensive glider tests that also developed their skills as pilots. Their bicycle shop employee Charlie Taylor became an important part of the team, building their first airplane engine in close collaboration with the brothers.
Select the Best Truck Driver School Wrights IL
Picking the right trucking school is an important first step to starting your new vocation as a local or long distance truck driver. The skills taught at school will be those that forge a new career behind the wheel. There are several options available and understanding them is crucial to a new driver’s success. But first and foremost, you must obtain the necessary training in order to operate a large commercial vehicle in a safe and professional manner. If you are short on funds or financing, you might want to look into a captive school. You will pay a reduced or even no tuition by agreeing to drive for their contracted carrier. Or you can enroll in an independent truck driver school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking firm of your choice, or one of several affiliated with the school. It’s your decision. But no matter how you receive your training, you will in the near future be part of an industry that helps our country move as a professional truck driver in Wrights IL.
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