How to Pick a Trucking School near York Maine
Congrats on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a trucking school near York ME. Maybe it has always been your fantasy to hit the open highway while driving a monster tractor trailer. Or maybe you have done some research and have discovered that an occupation as a truck driver offers good wages and flexible work prospects. No matter what your reason is, it’s important to get the appropriate training by selecting the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are certain factors that you’ll want to examine before making your final choice. Location will undoubtedly be important, particularly if you need to commute from your York home. The expense will also be important, but choosing a school based only on price is not the optimal way to guarantee you’ll get the appropriate education. Just remember, your goal is to master the knowledge and skills that will enable you to pass the CDL exams and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that goal in mind, just how do you decide on a truck driving school? That is what we are going to address in the rest of this article. But first, we are going to discuss a little bit about which CDL license you will ultimately need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Should You Get?
In order to drive commercial vehicles lawfully within the United States and York ME, an operator must attain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 license classes that a person can qualify 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 highlight 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). Below are brief descriptions for the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License is needed to operate any vehicle that has a GCWR of greater 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 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. 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 Commercial Drivers Licenses might also need endorsements to drive specific kinds of vehicles, such as passenger or school buses. And a Class A license holder, with the appropriate needed endorsements, may drive any vehicle that a Class B licensee is qualified to operate.
How to Research a CDL School
Once you have determined which CDL you want to pursue, you can begin the undertaking of researching the York ME truck driving schools that you are looking at. As earlier discussed, cost and location will no doubt be your initial concerns. But it can’t be stressed enough that they should not be your only concerns. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are similarly or even more important. So below are a few additional factors that you need to research while carrying out your due diligence before selecting, and especially paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Not many trucking schools in the York ME area are accredited due to the stringent process and expense 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 several advantages. Interested students recognize that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will be given plenty of driving time. As an example, PTDI requires 44 hours of real driving time, not simulations or ride-alongs. So if a school’s program is certified (the program, not the school is certified), students know that the curriculum and training will fulfill the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One clue to help evaluate the quality of a truck driver school is how long it has been in business. A poorly reviewed or a fly by night school normally will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. On the other hand, even the top York ME schools had to start from their opening day of training, so use it as one of several qualifiers. You can also find out what the school’s track record is concerning successful licensing and employment of its graduates. If a school won’t supply those numbers, search elsewhere. The schools should additionally maintain associations with regional and national trucking firms. Having numerous contacts not only affirms a superior reputation within the profession, but also bolsters their job placement program for students. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to check with the Maine licensing department to make sure that the CDL trucking schools you are researching are in good standing.
How Effective is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools must be licensed in Maine and hire instructors that are trained and experienced. We will talk more about the instructors in the next segment. Also, the student to instructor proportion should be no higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be receiving the individual attention they will need. This is particularly true regarding the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And look out for any school that professes it can teach you to drive trucks in a comparatively short period of time. Training to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully requires time. Most York ME schools offer training courses that run from three weeks to as long as two months, based on the class of license or type of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Teachers? As already stated, it’s important that the instructors are qualified to teach driving methods and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Even though several states have minimum driving time requirements to be certified as an instructor, the more successful driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also crucial that the instructors keep up to date with industry developments or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Evaluating instructors might be a bit more subjective than other criteria, and perhaps the ideal method is to visit the school and speak with the teachers face to face. You can also speak with some of the students completing the training and find out if they are satisfied with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
Enough Driving Time? Most importantly, a great trucking school will furnish ample driving time to its students. Besides, isn’t that what it’s all about? Driving time is the actual time spent behind the wheel operating a truck. Although the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are essential training methods, they are no substitute for real driving. The more instruction that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will become. And even though driving time can vary among schools, a reasonable standard is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide no less than 44 hours of driving time. Contact the York ME schools you are considering and find out how much driving time they provide.
Are they Captive or Independent ? It’s possible to receive discounted or even free training from some truck driver schools if you make a commitment to drive for a specific carrier for a defined time period. This is referred to as contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So instead of having affiliations with many different 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 surrendering the freedom to initially work wherever you choose. Naturally contract training has the potential to reduce your income opportunities when starting out. But for some it may be the only way to get affordable training. Just make sure to ask if the York ME schools you are contemplating are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Offer CDL Testing Onsite? There are a number of states that will allow 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driver schools for its students. If onsite testing is permitted in Maine, find out if the schools you are looking at are DMV certified to provide it. One advantage is that it is more accommodating than battling with graduates of other schools for test times at Maine testing locations. It is also an indication that the DMV deems the authorized schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Classes Accessible? As earlier mentioned, truck driver training is only about one to two months in length. With such a short term, it’s important that the York ME school you choose provides flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. For example, if you’re having a hard time learning a particular driving maneuver, then the instructor should be willing to devote more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still employed while going to training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other commitments.
Is Job Assistance Offered? As soon as you have attained your CDL license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be eager to begin your new profession. Confirm that the schools you are reviewing have job assistance programs. Find out 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 not many York ME employers recruiting their graduates, it might be a clue to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Truck driver schools are much like colleges and other York ME area vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being available. Ask if the schools you are assessing have a financial aid department, or at a minimum someone who can help you get through the options and forms that need to be submitted.
Enrolling in a Truck Driving School near York ME?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the York Maine area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
York is a town in York County, Maine, United States, near the southern tip of the state. The population in the 2010 census was 12,529. Situated beside the Atlantic Ocean on the Gulf of Maine, York is a well-known summer resort town. It is home to three 18-hole golf clubs, four sandy beaches, and Mount Agamenticus. It includes the villages of York Village, York Harbor, York Beach and Cape Neddick.
First settled by Europeans in 1624, the plantation was originally called Agamenticus, the Abenaki term for the York River. In 1638, settlers changed the name to Bristol after Bristol, England, from which they had immigrated. Envisioning a great city arising from the wilderness, Sir Ferdinando Gorges, lord proprietor of Maine under the Plymouth patent, named the capital of his province Gorgeana. In 1642, by charter of King Charles I, Gorgeana became the first incorporated city in America.
Following Gorges' death, the Massachusetts Bay Company claimed his dominion. In 1652, York, Massachusetts, was incorporated from a portion of Gorgeana, making it the second oldest town in Maine after Kittery, incorporated two years earlier. It was named for York, England. But control of the region was contested between New England and New France, which incited Native Americans to attack English settlements throughout the French and Indian Wars.
Pick the Best Trucking School York ME
Selecting the appropriate truck driver school is an essential first step to launching your new vocation as a long distance or local truck driver. The skill sets that you will learn at school will be those that shape a new career behind the wheel. There are many options offered and understanding them is critical to a new driver’s success. But first and foremost, you must obtain the appropriate training in order to operate a big commercial vehicle in a professional and safe manner. If you are lacking cash or financing, you might want to consider a captive school. You will pay a reduced or in some cases no tuition by agreeing to drive for their contracted carrier. Or you can enroll in an independent truck driving school and have the option of driving for the trucking firm of your choice, or one of many associated with the school. It’s your decision. But regardless of how you receive your training, you will in the near future be part of an industry that helps America move as a professional trucker in York ME.
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