How to Find a Truck Driving School near Unionville Michigan
Congratulations on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a CDL school near Unionville MI. Perhaps it has always been your goal to hit the open road while operating a monster tractor trailer. Or maybe you have done some research and have discovered that an occupation as a truck driver offers excellent income and flexible work prospects. Whatever your reason is, it’s essential to obtain the proper training by enrolling in the right CDL school in your area. When evaluating your options, there are a number of factors that you’ll need to examine prior to making your final selection. Location will no doubt be important, particularly if you have to commute from your Unionville residence. The expense will also be of importance, but picking a school based solely on price is not the ideal way to guarantee you’ll get the right education. Don’t forget, your objective is to learn the knowledge and skills that will allow you to pass the CDL exams and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that objective in mind, just how do you choose a truck driving school? That is what we are going to discuss in the balance of this article. But first, we are going to review a little bit about which CDL license you will ultimately need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Should You Get?
To drive commercial vehicles lawfully within the United States and Unionville MI, an operator must obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 license classes that a person can apply 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 discuss Class A and B licenses. What differentiates 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). Following are short descriptions of the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is required to operate any vehicle that has a GCWR of greater than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of more 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 required to drive single vehicles having a GVWR of more 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 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 may also need endorsements to drive certain kinds of vehicles, for instance passenger or school buses. And a Class A license holder, with the appropriate needed endorsements, can drive any vehicle that a Class B licensee is qualified to operate.
How to Assess a Truck Driving School
Once you have decided which CDL you would like to pursue, you can begin the undertaking of assessing the Unionville MI truck driving schools that you are looking at. As earlier mentioned, cost and location will no doubt be your initial considerations. But it can’t be stressed enough that they must not be your sole concerns. Other issues, for instance the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are similarly if not more important. So following are several additional factors that you should research while carrying out your due diligence before selecting, and especially paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Not many trucking schools in the Unionville MI area are accredited due to the rigorous process and cost to the schools. However, certification is more prevalent and is offered by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not required to become certified, but there are a number of advantages. Prospective students recognize that the training will be of the highest standard, and that they will get 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 program is certified (the program, 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 Business? 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 normally will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the best of Unionville MI 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 history is relating to successful licensing and job placement of its graduates. If a school won’t provide those stats, search elsewhere. The schools should also have relationships with regional and national trucking firms. Having a large number of contacts not only points to a quality 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 Michigan licensing department to confirm that the CDL trucker schools you are considering are in compliance.
How Effective is the Training? At a minimum, the schools must be licensed in Michigan and hire teachers that are trained and experienced. We will discuss more about the teachers in the next section. Also, the student to instructor ratio should not be higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be obtaining the personal instruction 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 insists it can train you to be a truck driver in a relatively short time period. Training to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully requires time. The majority of Unionville MI schools provide training programs that run from 3 weeks to as long as two months, based on the license class or type of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Teachers? As already stated, it’s imperative that the teachers are trained to teach driving methods and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Although a number of states have minimum driving time prerequisites to qualify as an instructor, the more professional driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also vital that the instructors stay up to date with industry advancements or any new laws or changes in regulations. Evaluating instructors may be a little more subjective than other criteria, and perhaps the ideal approach is to check out the school and talk to the teachers face to face. You can also speak with some of the students going through the training and find out if they are satisfied with the level of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
How Much Driving Time? Above all else, a good truck driving school will furnish sufficient driving time to its students. After all, 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 important 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 become. Although driving time differs between schools, a good benchmark is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Contact the Unionville MI schools you are considering and ask how much driving time they provide.
Are they Independent or Captive ? It’s possible to get discounted or even free training from a number of trucking schools if you enter into an agreement to drive for a specific carrier for a defined amount of time. This is called contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So instead of having affiliations with many different trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only refer to one company. The benefit is receiving less expensive or even free training by surrendering the flexibility 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 some it may be the best way to obtain affordable training. Just make sure to ask if the Unionville MI schools you are considering are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Is there CDL Testing Onsite? There are several states that will allow third party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is allowed in Michigan, ask if the schools you are looking at 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 Michigan testing locations. It is moreover an indication that the DMV views the approved schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Classes Accessible? As earlier noted, truck driver training is just one to two months long. With such a short term, it’s essential that the Unionville MI school you choose offers flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. As an example, if you’re having difficulty learning a particular driving maneuver, then the instructor should be prepared 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 needs to be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other responsibilities.
Is Job Placement Offered? The moment you have received your CDL license after graduating from trucking school, you will be keen to begin your new profession. Confirm that the schools you are looking at have job assistance programs. Find out 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 placed with for employment. If a school has a low job placement rate or few Unionville MI employers recruiting their graduates, it might be a sign to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Given? Truck driver schools are comparable to colleges and other Unionville MI area vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being available. Find out if the schools you are assessing have a financial aid department, or at a minimum someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that need to be completed.
Enrolling in a Truck Driving School near Unionville MI?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Unionville Michigan area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
As of the census of 2010, there were 508 people, 218 households, and 154 families residing in the village. The population density was 540.4 inhabitants per square mile (208.6/km2). There were 236 housing units at an average density of 251.1 per square mile (97.0/km2). The racial makeup of the village was 97.6% White, 0.2% Asian, 0.8% from other races, and 1.4% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.0% of the population.
There were 218 households of which 26.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 57.8% were married couples living together, 9.2% had a female householder with no husband present, 3.7% had a male householder with no wife present, and 29.4% were non-families. 27.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.33 and the average family size was 2.81.
The median age in the village was 43.6 years. 20.9% of residents were under the age of 18; 6.4% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 24.6% were from 25 to 44; 31% were from 45 to 64; and 17.1% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the village was 49.2% male and 50.8% female.
Choose the Best Truck Driver School Unionville MI
Selecting the appropriate truck driving school is a critical first step to starting your new profession 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 many options available and understanding them is vital to a new driver’s success. But first and foremost, you must obtain the proper training in order to operate a big commercial vehicle in a safe and professional fashion. If you are lacking funds or financing, you might want to look into 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 select an independent CDL school and have the option of driving for the trucking company of your choosing, or one of several associated with the school. It’s your decision. But no matter how you receive your training, you will in the near future be joining an industry that helps our country move as a professional trucker in Unionville MI.
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