How to Find a CDL Driving School near Stevenson Maryland
Congrats on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a trucking school near Stevenson MD. Perhaps it has always been your ambition to hit the open road while driving a huge tractor trailer. Or maybe you have done some research and have found that an occupation as a truck driver provides excellent pay and flexible work opportunities. No matter what your reason is, it’s important to get the proper training by selecting the right CDL school in your area. When evaluating your options, there are several variables that you’ll want to examine prior to making your final choice. Location will no doubt be an issue, especially if you need to commute from your Stevenson home. The cost will also be of importance, but selecting a school based only on price is not the best method to make sure you’ll get the right training. Don’t forget, your goal is to master the knowledge and skills that will allow 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 cover in the remainder of this article. But first, we are going to discuss a little bit about which CDL license you will ultimately need.
Which CDL Should You Get?
In order to drive commercial vehicles legally within the United States and Stevenson MD, an operator needs to get a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three license classes that one can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the subject of this article is how to select a truck driving school, we will address Class A and Class B licenses. What differentiates 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 descriptions 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 more than 10,000 lbs. Some 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 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 might also require endorsements to operate certain kinds of vehicles, for instance school or passenger buses. And a Class A license holder, with the appropriate required endorsements, may drive any vehicle that a Class B license holder is qualified to drive.
How to Assess a CDL School
When you have determined which CDL you wish to obtain, you can start the process of assessing the Stevenson MD truck driver schools that you are considering. As earlier mentioned, location and cost will no doubt be your primary concerns. But it can’t be stressed enough that they must not be your sole considerations. Other factors, such as the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are similarly if not more important. So below are several more 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 ? Very few truck driver schools in the Stevenson MD area are accredited because of the stringent process and expense to the schools. On the other hand, 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 get lots of driving time. As an example, PTDI calls for 44 hours of actual driving time, not simulations or ride-alongs. So if a school’s course is certified (the course, not the school is certified), students know that the training and curriculum will comply with the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One clue to help measure the quality of a trucking school is how long it has been in operation. A poorly rated or a fly by night school normally will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. Having said that, even the top Stevenson MD schools had to start from their opening day of training, so consider it as one of several qualifications. You can also ask what the school’s history is pertaining to successful licensing and employment of its graduates. If a school won’t share those stats, look elsewhere. The schools should also maintain relationships with local and national trucking companies. Having numerous contacts not only confirms an excellent reputation within the profession, but also bolsters their job assistance program for graduates. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to check with the Maryland licensing department to make sure that the CDL trucking schools you are researching are in compliance.
How Good is the Training? At a minimum, the schools must be licensed in Maryland and hire teachers that are trained and experienced. We will talk more about the instructors in the next section. Also, the student to instructor proportion should be no higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be receiving the personalized instruction they will need. This is especially true concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And be critical of any school that claims it can teach you to be a truck driver in a comparatively short period of time. Training to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully takes time. Most Stevenson MD schools provide training programs that run from 3 weeks to as long as 2 months, based on the license class or type of vehicle.
How Good 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. Although several states have minimum driving time criteria to be certified as an instructor, the more professional driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also vital that the instructors stay up to date with industry developments or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Assessing teachers might be a bit more subjective than other criteria, and perhaps the best approach is to visit the school and talk to the instructors face to face. You can also talk to a few of the students going through the training and find out if they are happy with the level of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
Plenty of Driving Time? Most importantly, a great truck driver school will furnish 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 ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are important training methods, they are no alternative for real driving. The more instruction that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will become. Although driving time fluctuates among schools, a reasonable benchmark is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Get in touch with the Stevenson MD schools you are considering and ask how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Captive or Independent ? It’s possible to receive discounted or even free training from some truck driving schools if you enter into an agreement to be a driver for a particular carrier for a defined amount of time. This is what’s known as contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So rather than having affiliations with numerous trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only work with one company. The tradeoff is receiving free or less expensive training by surrendering the freedom to initially work wherever you choose. Obviously contract training has the potential to restrict your income opportunities when beginning your new career. But for some it may be the ideal way to get affordable training. Just be sure to ask if the Stevenson MD schools you are contemplating are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Is there Onsite CDL Testing? There are a number of states that will permit 3rd party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is allowed in Maryland, find out if the schools you are reviewing are DMV certified to offer it. One benefit is that it is more convenient than battling with graduates from competing schools for test times at Maryland testing locations. It is moreover an indicator that the DMV views the approved schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Class Times Convenient? As formerly noted, truck driver training is only about one to two months long. With such a brief term, it’s imperative that the Stevenson MD 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 teacher should be willing to commit more time with you until you have it mastered. 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 commitments.
Is Job Assistance Offered? Once you have obtained your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be keen to start your new career. Make sure that the schools you are reviewing have job assistance programs. Find out what their job placement ratio is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, ask which national and local trucking firms their graduates are placed with for employment. If a school has a lower job placement rate or few Stevenson MD employers recruiting their graduates, it might be a clue to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Given? Truck driver schools are comparable to colleges and other Stevenson MD area vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being offered. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have a financial aid department, or at least someone who can help you understand the options and forms that must be completed.
Enrolling in a Truck Driving School near Stevenson MD?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Stevenson Maryland area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Stevenson Adonis (born 22 September 1977), best known as Adonis Stevenson, is a Haitian Canadian professional boxer. He has held the WBC and lineal light-heavyweight titles since 2013, and previously the Ring magazine light-heavyweight title from 2013 to 2015. Stevenson is particularly known for his exceptional punching power and fast hand speed, and was one of the last boxers trained by Emanuel Steward before his death.
Stevenson's known name is an inversion of his family name and given name. Born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Stevenson moved to Montreal, Quebec with his family when he was seven. By 14 years old, he was living on the streets and soon fell into a violent gang which drew him into a criminal lifestyle. In his early twenties, after a criminal trial in 1998 in Quebec, Stevenson served 18 months of a four-year prison sentence for managing prostitutes, assault, and issuing threats. While in prison, he also pleaded guilty to aggravated assault after putting a fellow inmate into a coma. After leaving prison in 2001, Stevenson vowed he would never return.
Stevenson became Quebec Middleweight champion in 2004, and best amateur fighter of the country in 2005–2006. He also grabbed the Canada national title in 2005 and 2006. Stevenson competed in the XVIII Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, Australia in 2006 and won the silver medal losing to local Australian Jarrod Fletcher in the final. It was also the only medal a Canadian boxer received at the games.
Pick the Right Truck Driving School Stevenson MD
Selecting the ideal trucking school is an important first step to beginning your new vocation as a long distance or local truck driver. The skills taught at school will be those that forge a new career behind the wheel. There are several options offered and understanding them is critical if you are going to succeed as an operator. Most importantly, you must obtain the necessary training in order to operate a big commercial vehicle in a safe and professional manner. If you are short on funds or financing, you might need to look into a captive school. You will pay a lower or in some cases no tuition in exchange for driving for their contracted carrier. Or you can select an independent trucking school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking company of your choosing, or one of many associated with the school. It’s your choice. But regardless of how you obtain your training, you will in the near future be entering a profession that helps America move as a professional truck driver in Stevenson MD.
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