How to Choose a Trucking School near Warrenville South Carolina
Congrats on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a trucking school near Warrenville SC. Perhaps it has always been your fantasy to hit the open highway while operating a big ole tractor trailer. Or possibly you have conducted some research and have discovered that an occupation as a truck driver offers excellent pay and flexible job opportunities. Whatever your reason is, it’s essential to receive the proper training by selecting the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are several variables that you’ll need to consider prior to making your ultimate selection. Location will undoubtedly be important, particularly if you have to commute from your Warrenville residence. The cost will also be important, but choosing a school based entirely on price is not the optimal way to guarantee you’ll receive the appropriate education. Just remember, your goal is to learn the skills and knowledge that will enable you to pass the CDL examinations and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that goal in mind, just how do you choose a truck driving school? That 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 CDL license you will eventually need.
Which CDL Will You Require?
To operate commercial vehicles lawfully within the United States and Warrenville SC, an operator needs to obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three classes of licenses that one can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the topic of this article is how to choose a truck driver school, we will discuss Class A and B licenses. What distinguishes 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). Below are short descriptions for the two 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 greater than 10,000 lbs. Several 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 operate 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 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 need endorsements to operate certain types 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 drive.
How to Evaluate a Truck Driving School
Once you have decided which CDL you want to pursue, you can start the undertaking of evaluating the Warrenville SC truck driver schools that you are looking at. As already discussed, cost and location will no doubt be your initial concerns. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they must not be your only concerns. Other issues, for instance the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are equally if not more important. So following are some additional points that you need to research while performing your due diligence before enrolling in, and particularly paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Not many truck driver schools in the Warrenville SC area are accredited because of the rigorous process and cost to the schools. However, certification is more prevalent and is provided by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not obligated to become certified, but there are certain advantages. Prospective students recognize that the training will be of the highest caliber, and that they will receive lots of driving time. For example, PTDI mandates 44 hours of real 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 curriculum and training will comply with the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One indicator to help determine the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in business. A negatively ranked or a fly by night school usually will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. On the other hand, even the best of Warrenville SC schools had to begin from their first day of training, so consider it as one of several qualifiers. You can also ask what the school’s track record is relating to successful licensing and employment of its graduates. If a school won’t share those stats, search elsewhere. The schools should also have relationships with regional and national trucking firms. Having numerous contacts not only points to an excellent reputation within the trade, but also bolsters their job placement program for students. It also wouldn’t hurt to contact the South Carolina licensing department to verify that the CDL trucker schools you are considering are in compliance.
How Effective is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools should be licensed in South Carolina and hire teachers that are experienced and trained. We will cover more about the instructors in the next segment. In addition, the student to instructor ratio should be no greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be obtaining the personalized attention they will need. This is particularly true regarding the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And watch out for any school that professes it can teach you to be a truck driver in a relatively short time period. Training to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully takes time. The majority of Warrenville SC schools offer training courses that run from three weeks to as long as two months, based on the license class or type of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Instructors? As previously mentioned, it’s important that the teachers are qualified to teach driving methods and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Although several states have minimum driving time prerequisites to be certified as an instructor, the more professional driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also important that the teachers keep current with industry developments or any new laws or changes in regulations. Evaluating instructors may be a bit more intuitive than other criteria, and perhaps the ideal approach is to pay a visit to the school and talk to the teachers face to face. You can also talk to a few of the students going through the training and ask if they are happy with the level of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
Sufficient Driving Time? Most importantly, a good trucking school will furnish lots of 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. Even though the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are essential training tools, they are no alternative for actual driving. The more instruction that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will be. And even though driving time differs among schools, a reasonable standard is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish no less than 44 hours of driving time. Contact the Warrenville SC schools you are considering and ask how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Independent or Captive ? It’s possible to obtain free or discounted training from some truck driving schools if you enter into an agreement to drive for a specified carrier for a defined period of time. This is what’s known as contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So instead of maintaining associations with many different trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only work with one company. The benefit is receiving less expensive or even free training by giving up the freedom to initially be a driver wherever you choose. Clearly contract training has the potential to reduce your income prospects when starting out. But for some it may be the ideal way to get affordable training. Just remember to ask if the Warrenville SC schools you are considering are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Is there CDL Testing Onsite? There are several states that will allow 3rd party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is allowed in South Carolina, ask if the schools you are reviewing are DMV certified to offer it. One advantage is that it is more accommodating than competing with graduates from other schools for test times at South Carolina testing facilities. It is moreover an indicator that the DMV considers the authorized schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Class Times Accessible? As formerly noted, CDL training is only about one to two months in length. With such a brief duration, it’s imperative that the Warrenville SC school you choose provides flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. For example, if you’re having a hard time learning a certain driving maneuver, then the teacher should be prepared to devote more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still employed while going to training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other responsibilities.
Is Job Placement Provided? The moment you have received your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be eager to begin your new career. Confirm that the schools you are looking at have job placement programs. Find out what their job placement rate is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, ask which local and national trucking companies their graduates are placed with for employment. If a school has a poor job placement rate or few Warrenville SC employers recruiting their grads, it may be a sign to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Truck driving schools are similar to colleges and other Warrenville SC area vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being offered. Find out if the schools you are evaluating have a financial aid department, or at a minimum someone who can help you get through the options and forms that must be submitted.
Enrolling in a Truck Driving School near Warrenville SC?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Warrenville South Carolina area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Warrenville, South Carolina
Warrenville is a census-designated place (CDP) in Aiken County, South Carolina, United States. The population was 1,233 at the 2010 census. It is located just south of Graniteville and is part of the Augusta, Georgia metropolitan area. Warrenville is located in historic Horse Creek Valley.
Population by Race: American Indian and Alaska native alone 11 (0.89%) Asian alone 3 (0.24%) Black or African American alone 66 (5.35%) Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific native alone 0 (0.0%) Some other race alone 50 (4.06%) Two or more races 45 (3.65%) White alone 1,058 (85.81%)
In 2008, there were talks about incorporating the villages of Warrenville, Graniteville, and Vaucluse; as a result, the towns approved a referendum to vote on whether or not to incorporate. If approved, the municipality would have had an area of around 20 square miles (52 km2). The referendum was defeated by a two-to-one margin in August 2008.
Choose the Best Trucking School Warrenville SC
Choosing the right truck driver school is a critical first step to launching your new vocation 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 vital to a new driver’s success. But first and foremost, you must get the proper training in order to operate a large commercial vehicle in a safe and professional manner. If you are lacking cash or financing, you may need to consider 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 choose an independent CDL school and have the option of driving for the trucking firm of your choice, or one of many affiliated with the school. It’s your decision. But no matter how you get your training, you will soon be part of a profession that helps our country move as a professional truck driver in Warrenville SC.
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