How to Decide on a Truck Driving School near Plainfield New Hampshire
Congratulations on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a truck driving school near Plainfield NH. Perhaps it has always been your fantasy to hit the open road 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 good pay and flexible job prospects. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s essential to receive the proper training by enrolling in the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are various factors that you’ll need to consider before making your ultimate selection. Location will no doubt be an issue, particularly if you have to commute from your Plainfield home. The expense will also be important, but picking a school based exclusively on price is not the optimal method to make certain you’ll get the right education. Just remember, your goal is to master the skills and knowledge that will allow you to pass the CDL examinations and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that purpose in mind, just how do you decide on a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to address in the balance of this article. But first, we are going to discuss a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will ultimately need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Will You Need?
To drive commercial vehicles lawfully within the USA and Plainfield NH, an operator needs to attain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 classes of licenses that a person can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the subject of this article is how to pick a truck driver school, we will focus on Class A and 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 explanations for the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is needed to drive any vehicle that has a GCWR of greater than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of more than 10,000 lbs. Some 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 greater 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 Commercial Drivers Licenses may also need endorsements to drive specific types of vehicles, including passenger or school buses. And a Class A licensee, with the appropriate required endorsements, may drive any vehicle that a Class B licensee is qualified to operate.
How to Assess a Truck Driving School
After you have decided which Commercial Drivers License you wish to obtain, you can start the process of assessing the Plainfield NH truck driver schools that you are considering. As previously mentioned, cost and location will no doubt be your primary considerations. But it can’t be stressed enough that they should not be your sole considerations. Other issues, for instance the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are equally if not more important. So below are some additional things that you need to research while carrying out your due diligence prior to selecting, and especially paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Not many trucking schools in the Plainfield NH area are accredited due to the demanding process and cost 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 a number of advantages. Prospective 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 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 meet the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One clue to help assess the quality of a truck driver school is how long it has been in operation. A negatively ranked or a fly by night school typically will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. Having said that, even the top Plainfield NH schools had to begin from their opening day of training, so use it as one of several qualifications. You can also learn what the school’s track record is relating to successful licensing and job placement of its graduating students. If a school won’t supply those stats, look elsewhere. The schools should additionally have relationships with local and national trucking companies. Having a large number of contacts not only confirms a quality reputation within the profession, but also bolsters their job assistance program for students. It also wouldn’t hurt to get in touch with the New Hampshire licensing department to make sure that the CDL trucking schools you are considering are in compliance.
How Effective is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools should be licensed in New Hampshire and employ instructors that are experienced and trained. We will cover more about the teachers in the following segment. 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 personal attention they will need. This is particularly true concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And be critical of any school that insists it can teach you to be a truck driver in a comparatively short time frame. Learning to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully requires time. Most Plainfield NH schools offer training courses that run from 3 weeks to as long as 2 months, depending on the license class or kind of vehicle.
How Good are the Teachers? As earlier stated, it’s important that the instructors are trained to teach driving methods and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Even though several states have minimum driving time requirements to qualify as a teacher, the more successful driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also crucial that the instructors stay current with industry advancements or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Evaluating instructors may be a bit more intuitive than other criteria, and perhaps the best method is to check out the school and speak with the instructors face to face. You can also speak with a few 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.
Enough Driving Time? Most importantly, a good 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. 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 receives behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will become. Although driving time varies between schools, a good standard is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Contact the Plainfield NH schools you are researching and ask how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Independent or Captive ? You can receive discounted or even free training from certain truck driving schools if you enter into an agreement to be a driver 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 relationships with many different 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 giving up the flexibility to initially work wherever you have an opportunity. Obviously 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 obtain affordable training. Just remember to inquire if the Plainfield NH 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 permit third party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its grads. If onsite testing is allowed in New Hampshire, ask if the schools you are reviewing are DMV certified to provide it. One benefit is that it is more convenient than contending with graduates from other schools for test times at New Hampshire testing facilities. It is moreover an indicator that the DMV deems the approved schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Class Times Convenient? As previously noted, truck driver training is just 1 to 2 months long. With such a short term, it’s imperative that the Plainfield NH school you select provides flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. As an example, if you’re having difficulty learning a certain driving maneuver, then the teacher should be willing to devote more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still holding a job while attending training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other commitments.
Is Job Assistance Provided? As soon as you have obtained your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be keen to begin your new career. Confirm that the schools you are looking at have job assistance programs. Find out what their job placement percentage is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, ask which national and local trucking firms their graduates are placed with for hiring. If a school has a lower job placement rate or not many Plainfield NH employers hiring their graduates, it may be a clue to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Trucking schools are comparable to colleges and other Plainfield NH area vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being offered. Find out if the schools you are evaluating have a financial assistance department, or at least someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that need to be submitted.
Enrolling in a Truck Driving School near Plainfield NH?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Plainfield New Hampshire area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Plainfield, New Hampshire
Plainfield is a town in Sullivan County, New Hampshire, United States. At the 2010 census, the town had a total population of 2,364. The town is home to the Helen Woodruff Smith Bird Sanctuary and Annie Duncan State Forest.
The village of Plainfield, where 205 people resided at the 2010 census, is defined as the Plainfield census-designated place (CDP) and is located in the western part of the town along New Hampshire Route 12A. Plainfield includes the village of Meriden, home to Kimball Union Academy, a private preparatory school.
The town was first settled by a group from Plainfield, Connecticut. It was one of the towns incorporated by Colonial Governor Benning Wentworth in 1761, at the beginning of the reign of King George III. A part of Plainfield known as "Meriden Parish", named for the farm of Massachusetts Governor Jonathan Belcher, became the site of Kimball Union Academy, built in 1813.
Select the Best CDL School Plainfield NH
Choosing the ideal trucking school is a critical first step to beginning your new occupation as a long distance or local truck driver. The skills taught at school will be those that mold a new career behind the wheel. There are many options available and understanding them is critical to a new driver’s success. But first and foremost, you must obtain the necessary training in order to operate a big commercial vehicle in a professional and safe manner. If you are lacking funds or financing, you may need to look into a captive school. You will pay a lower or even no tuition by agreeing to drive for their contracted carrier. Or you can select an independent trucker 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 choice. But regardless of how you obtain your training, you will in the near future be part of an industry that helps America move as a professional trucker in Plainfield NH.
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