How to Pick a Trucking School near Westernville New York
Congrats on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a truck driving school near Westernville NY. Maybe it has always been your ambition to hit the open highway while operating a monster tractor trailer. Or maybe you have done some research and have found that a career as a truck driver offers good wages and flexible job prospects. No matter what your reason is, it’s imperative to obtain the proper training by selecting the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are a number of variables that you’ll want to examine prior to making your final selection. Location will undoubtedly be important, particularly if you have to commute from your Westernville home. The expense will also be important, but selecting a school based only on price is not the best means to ensure you’ll obtain the appropriate education. Don’t forget, your objective is to learn the skills and knowledge that will allow you to pass the CDL examinations and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that target in mind, just how do you pick a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to address 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 operate commercial vehicles lawfully within the USA and Westernville NY, an operator must 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 pick 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 for the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is required 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. Some 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 CDLs may also require endorsements to drive specific types of vehicles, for instance passenger or school buses. And a Class A licensee, with the appropriate needed endorsements, may operate any vehicle that a Class B license holder is qualified to drive.
How to Assess a Truck Driver School
Once you have decided which Commercial Drivers License you wish to obtain, you can begin the undertaking of evaluating the Westernville NY truck driver schools that you are looking at. As already discussed, location and cost will no doubt be your initial concerns. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they must not be your sole concerns. Other factors, including the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are equally if not more important. So below are some more things that you should research while carrying out your due diligence prior to selecting, and especially paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Very few trucking schools in the Westernville NY area are accredited due to the rigorous process and cost to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more common and is offered by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not required to become certified, but there are certain advantages. Prospective students know that the training will be of the highest standard, and that they will get plenty of driving time. As an example, PTDI calls for 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 measure up to the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One indicator to help evaluate the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in business. A negatively reviewed or a fly by night school typically will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the top Westernville NY schools had to start from their first day of training, so use it as one of multiple qualifications. You can also find out what the school’s history is regarding successful licensing and employment of its graduating students. If a school won’t share those stats, search elsewhere. The schools should additionally have relationships with local and national trucking firms. Having numerous contacts not only confirms a superior reputation within the profession, but also boosts their job placement program for graduates. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to check with the New York licensing authority to verify that the CDL trucking schools you are researching are in compliance.
How Effective is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools should be licensed in New York and employ teachers that are trained and experienced. We will discuss more about the teachers in the following section. In addition, 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 individual instruction 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 claims it can teach you to drive trucks in a relatively short period of time. Learning to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully requires time. Most Westernville NY schools offer training courses that run from 3 weeks to as long as 2 months, based on the license class or type of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Trainers? As already stated, it’s imperative that the teachers are qualified to teach driving techniques and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Even though a number of states have minimum driving time requirements to be certified as an instructor, the more professional driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also crucial that the teachers stay current with industry developments or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Assessing teachers may be a bit more subjective than other criteria, and possibly the best approach is to check out the school and talk to the instructors face to face. You can also talk to a few of the students completing the training and ask if they are satisfied with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
Sufficient Driving Time? Most importantly, a good truck driving 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 ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are essential training methods, they are no replacement for actual driving. The more training that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will become. Although driving time fluctuates between schools, a good benchmark is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Check with the Westernville NY schools you are researching and find out how much driving time they provide.
Are they Captive or Independent ? It’s possible to get discounted or even free training from certain trucking 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 a wide range of trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only refer to one company. The tradeoff is receiving free or less expensive training by giving up the freedom to initially work wherever you have an opportunity. Clearly contract training has the potential to reduce your income prospects when starting out. But for many it may be the ideal way to obtain affordable training. Just remember to ask if the Westernville NY schools you are contemplating are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Is there CDL Testing Onsite? There are some states that will permit 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driver schools for its students. If onsite testing is available in New York, 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 of other schools for test times at New York testing centers. It is moreover an indication that the DMV believes the authorized schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Classes Flexible? As earlier mentioned, CDL training is just one to two months in length. With such a brief duration, it’s essential that the Westernville NY school you enroll in provides flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. As an example, if you’re having a hard time learning a certain driving maneuver, then the teacher should be prepared to dedicate more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still holding a job while going to training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other commitments.
Is Job Placement Provided? Once you have attained your CDL license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be eager to start your new profession. Make sure that the schools you are contemplating have job placement programs. Ask what their job placement rate is and what average salary their graduates 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 Westernville NY employers recruiting their graduates, it might be a clue to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Truck driving schools are comparable to colleges and other Westernville NY area technical or vocational schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being offered. Find out if the schools you are examining have a financial assistance department, or at a minimum someone who can help you understand the options and forms that must be submitted.
Enrolling in a Truck Driving School near Westernville NY?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Westernville New York area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Westernville, New York
The Town of Western was formed from the Town of Steuben on March 10, 1797. Its 40,000 acres (160 km²) contain fertile soil and an abundant supply of water, including the Mohawk River, Lansing Kill, Big Brook, Stringer Brook, and other small streams. Westernville is the birthplace of Gen. Henry Halleck, one time Commander-in-Chief of the Union Armies. Westernville is also the birthplace of 9-time National NASCAR Modified Champion and 2012 NASCAR Hall of Fame Inductee Richie Evans.
Gustavus Swan, a supporter of Samuel F. B. Morse, the inventor of the first Telegraph System, worked closely with Morse to build and extend the telegraph lines across New York State. Swan constructed and resided in the Swan Homestead still located on Main Street in the upper village. The Swan home is on the walking tour of roughly 18 historic homes along Main Street in the village. A handout of the Tour is available from the Westerville Historical Society, from the Swan Home B&B or the Town Hall.
The list is also available during the Annual "Heritage Days", a special 3 day celebration on Main Street to honor past residents of historical note. The weekend consists of historical re-enactments and encampments. Also included are period craftsmen, cooking, military, costuming, a quilt show, musical events, fireworks, and refreshments. The weekend kicks off with fireworks on Friday evening and the event closes on Sunday afternoon.
Select the Ideal Truck Driving School Westernville NY
Selecting the appropriate 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 shape a new career behind the wheel. There are many options available and understanding them is vital if you are going to succeed as an operator. Most importantly, you must get the proper training in order to drive a large commercial vehicle in a safe and professional manner. If you are short on money or financing, you might want to think about 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 CDL school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking firm of your choice, or one of many associated with the school. It’s your decision. But no matter how you receive your training, you will soon be joining an industry that helps America move as a professional trucker in Westernville NY.
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