How to Choose a Trucking School near West Union South Carolina
Congratulations on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a trucking school near West Union SC. Maybe it has always been your fantasy to hit the open road while driving a monster tractor trailer. Or possibly you have done some research and have discovered that an occupation as a truck driver offers good wages and flexible work prospects. Whatever your reason is, it’s important to receive the proper training by choosing the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are several factors that you’ll want to consider before making your ultimate choice. Location will certainly be an issue, especially if you need to commute from your West Union home. The expense will also be important, but picking a school based solely on price is not the optimal way to make sure you’ll receive the appropriate education. Just remember, your objective is to master the knowledge and skills 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 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 eventually need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Should You Get?
To operate commercial vehicles legally within the USA and West Union SC, an operator needs to attain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three license classes that a driver can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the subject of this article is how to pick a truck driving school, we will address 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 for 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 greater than 10,000 lbs. Several 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 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. Several 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 may also require endorsements to operate certain types of vehicles, for instance school or passenger buses. And a Class A license holder, with the proper required endorsements, can drive any vehicle that a Class B licensee is authorized to drive.
How to Evaluate a Truck Driver School
When you have determined which CDL you want to obtain, you can begin the undertaking of researching the West Union SC trucking schools that you are looking at. As already discussed, location and cost will undoubtedly be your initial considerations. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they must not be your sole concerns. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are similarly if not more important. So following are a few more points that you should research while conducting your due diligence before selecting, and particularly paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Very few truck driving schools in the West Union SC area are accredited due to the demanding process and expense to the schools. However, 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 several advantages. Potential students recognize that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will be given lots of driving time. For example, PTDI requires 44 hours of real driving time, not ride-alongs or simulations. So if a school’s course is certified (the course, not the school is certified), students know that the curriculum and training will meet the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One clue to help evaluate the quality of a truck driving 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. Having said that, even the top West Union SC schools had to start from their opening day of training, so consider it as one of several qualifications. You can also find out what the school’s track record is relating to successful licensing and employment of its graduating students. If a school won’t supply those numbers, look elsewhere. The schools should additionally maintain relationships with local and national trucking firms. Having a large number of contacts not only confirms a quality reputation within the profession, but also boosts their job assistance program for students. It also wouldn’t hurt to contact the South Carolina licensing authority to verify that the CDL trucker schools you are researching are in good standing.
How Good is the Training? At a minimum, the schools must be licensed in South Carolina and employ instructors that are trained and experienced. We will talk more about the teachers in the following segment. Also, the student to instructor proportion should be no higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be getting the individual instruction 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 claims it can teach you to drive trucks in a relatively short time period. Learning to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer professionally requires time. Most West Union SC schools provide training courses that run from three weeks to as long as two months, depending on the license class or kind of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Trainers? As already stated, it’s imperative that the teachers are qualified to teach driving methods 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 a teacher has the better. It’s also crucial that the instructors keep up to date with industry advancements or any new laws or changes in regulations. Assessing teachers might be a little more intuitive than other standards, and perhaps the best approach is to check out the school and talk to the teachers face to face. You can also speak with some of the students completing the training and find out if they are happy with the level of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Enough Driving Time? Most importantly, a great truck driving school will provide 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 driving a truck. Although the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are essential training tools, they are no replacement for actual driving. The more training 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 no less than 44 hours of driving time. Check with the West Union SC schools you are researching and find out how much driving time they provide.
Are they Captive or Independent ? It’s possible to receive discounted or even free training from some truck driver schools if you make a commitment to be a driver for a specific carrier for a defined period of time. This is what’s known as contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So rather than having affiliations with numerous trucking lines that they can refer their students to, 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. Clearly contract training has the potential to limit your income prospects when starting out. But for many it may be the only way to obtain affordable training. Just make sure to find out if the West Union SC schools you are contemplating are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Provide 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 available in South Carolina, ask if the schools you are reviewing are DMV certified to offer it. One benefit is that it is more accommodating than battling with graduates of other schools for test times at South Carolina testing facilities. It is moreover an indication that the DMV considers the approved schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Class Times Flexible? As formerly mentioned, truck driver training is only about one to two months long. With such a short term, it’s important that the West Union SC school you choose provides flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. For example, if you’re having a hard time learning a certain driving maneuver, then the instructor should be willing to devote 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 obligations.
Is Job Assistance Provided? Once you have obtained your CDL license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be keen to start your new career. Confirm that the schools you are reviewing have job placement programs. Ask what their job placement rate is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, ask which national and local trucking firms their graduates are referred to for employment. If a school has a poor job placement rate or few West Union SC employers recruiting their grads, it might be a sign to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Truck driving schools are much like colleges and other West Union SC area trade or technical schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being offered. Ask if the schools you are assessing have a financial assistance department, or at least someone who can help you get through the options and forms that must be submitted.
Enrolling in a Truck Driving School near West Union SC?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the West Union South Carolina area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
West Union, South Carolina
West Union is a town in Oconee County, South Carolina, United States. Although its name suggests that it is near Union, they are approximately four counties apart. The population was 297 at the 2000 census.
As of the census of 2000, there were 297 people, 134 households, and 79 families residing in the town. The population density was 386.2 people per square mile (148.9/km²). There were 145 housing units at an average density of 188.6 per square mile (72.7/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 87.54% White, 0.67% African American, 3.03% Native American, 7.74% from other races, and 1.01% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 15.82% of the population.
There were 134 households out of which 21.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 49.3% were married couples living together, 6.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 41.0% were non-families. 38.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 15.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.22 and the average family size was 2.95.
Select the Right Truck Driving School West Union SC
Choosing the right truck driver school is an important first step to starting your new profession as a long distance or local truck driver. The skills that you will learn at school will be those that shape a new career behind the wheel. There are several options offered and understanding them is vital to a new driver’s success. Most importantly, you must obtain the proper training in order to operate a large commercial vehicle in a safe and professional fashion. If you are lacking funds or financing, you may need 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 choose an independent truck driving school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking company of your choosing, or one of several affiliated with the school. It’s your decision. But no matter how you get your training, you will soon be entering a profession that helps our country move as a professional truck driver in West Union SC.
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