How to Select a Truck Driver School near Whitehouse Texas
Congratulations on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a truck driving school near Whitehouse TX. Perhaps it has always been your goal to hit the open highway while operating a big ole tractor trailer. Or maybe you have done some analysis and have discovered that an occupation as a truck driver provides good wages and flexible job prospects. No matter what your reason is, it’s imperative to get the proper training by selecting the right CDL school in your area. When evaluating your options, there are certain variables that you’ll need to examine prior to making your final choice. Location will certainly be an issue, especially if you need to commute from your Whitehouse home. The cost will also be important, but choosing a school based entirely on price is not the ideal way to make certain you’ll receive the right training. Just remember, your goal is to master the skills and knowledge that will enable you to pass the CDL examinations and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that purpose in mind, just how do you select a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to cover in the remainder of this article. But first, we are going to review a little bit about which CDL license you will eventually need.
Which CDL Should You Get?
In order to drive commercial vehicles legally within the USA and Whitehouse TX, an operator must attain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 classes of licenses that one can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the topic of this article is how to pick a truck driving school, we will highlight Class A and B licenses. What differentiates each class of CDL is the type of vehicle that the driver can operate as well as the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Following are short explanations of the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is required to drive any vehicle that has a GCWR of greater than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of more 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. 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 Commercial Drivers Licenses might also need endorsements to operate specific types of vehicles, such as passenger or school buses. And a Class A licensee, with the proper needed endorsements, can operate any vehicle that a Class B license holder is qualified to drive.
How to Evaluate a Trucking School
When you have determined which CDL you wish to pursue, you can begin the undertaking of researching the Whitehouse TX truck driving schools that you are looking at. As previously discussed, cost and location will certainly be your primary considerations. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they should not be your only concerns. Other issues, for example the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are similarly if not more important. So below are several more things that you need to research while performing your due diligence before selecting, and particularly paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Not many trucking schools in the Whitehouse TX area are accredited because of 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 several advantages. Interested students know that the training will be of the highest caliber, and that they will get plenty of driving time. For 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 fulfill the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One indicator to help assess the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in operation. A poorly reviewed or a fly by night school typically will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the best of Whitehouse TX schools had to begin from their opening day of training, so use it as one of multiple qualifications. You can also ask what the school’s track record is regarding successful licensing and job placement of its graduates. If a school won’t supply those stats, search elsewhere. The schools should also have relationships with regional and national trucking firms. Having numerous contacts not only points to a quality reputation within the trade, but also bolsters their job assistance program for students. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to contact the Texas licensing department to make sure that the CDL trucker schools you are considering are in compliance.
How Good is the Training? At a minimum, the schools must be licensed in Texas and employ teachers that are experienced and trained. We will cover more about the instructors in the next section. In addition, the student to instructor proportion should be no greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be receiving the personal attention 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 professes it can train you to drive trucks in a relatively short period of time. Learning to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully takes time. The majority of Whitehouse TX schools offer training courses that range from 3 weeks to as long as two months, based on the license class or type of vehicle.
How Good are the Teachers? As already stated, it’s important that the instructors are qualified to teach driving methods and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Although several states have minimum driving time prerequisites to be certified as an instructor, the more successful driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also vital that the instructors stay current with industry advancements or any new laws or changes in regulations. Assessing teachers may be a bit more intuitive than other standards, and perhaps the best method is to visit 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 ask if they are satisfied with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Adequate Driving Time? Most importantly, an excellent trucking school will furnish sufficient driving time to its students. After all, 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 methods, they are no substitute for actual driving. The more instruction that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will become. Although driving time differs among schools, a good benchmark is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Contact the Whitehouse TX schools you are researching and ask how much driving time they provide.
Are they Independent or Captive ? It’s possible to receive free or discounted training from a number of truck driver schools if you make a commitment to be a driver for a specified 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 maintaining affiliations with many different trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only work with one company. The tradeoff 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 restrict your income opportunities when beginning your new career. But for many it may be the best way to receive affordable training. Just make sure to find out if the Whitehouse TX schools you are looking at are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Provide Onsite CDL Testing? There are some states that will permit 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is permitted in Texas, find out 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 competing schools for test times at Texas testing locations. It is also an indicator that the DMV considers the authorized schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Classes Convenient? As earlier noted, truck driving training is just one to two months in length. With such a short term, it’s imperative that the Whitehouse TX school you select provides flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. As an example, if you’re having a hard time learning a particular driving maneuver, then the instructor should be willing to spend more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still working while going to training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other obligations.
Is Job Assistance Provided? The moment you have obtained your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be keen to begin your new profession. Make sure that the schools you are considering have job placement programs. Find out what their job placement ratio is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, find out which national and local trucking companies their graduates are placed with for employment. If a school has a lower job placement rate or few Whitehouse TX employers hiring their graduates, it may be a sign to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Trucking schools are similar to colleges and other Whitehouse TX area technical or vocational schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being available. Find out if the schools you are evaluating have a financial assistance department, or at a minimum someone who can help you understand the options and forms that need to be submitted.
Enrolling in a Truck Driving School near Whitehouse TX?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Whitehouse Texas area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Whitehouse is located at 32°13′24″N 95°13′3″W / 32.22333°N 95.21750°W / 32.22333; -95.21750 (32.223443, -95.217579). The city is bisected by State Highway 110 and Farm to Market Road 346. The city of Tyler, Texas is located approximately seven miles to the north, while the city of Troup, Texas lies roughly the same distance to the south.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area that exceeds 3.8 square miles (9.8 km²), all land. The city's extra territorial jurisdiction includes land surrounding Lake Tyler, a large water body used for drinking water and recreation by East Texas residents.
The climate in this area is characterized by hot, humid summers and generally mild to cool winters. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Whitehouse has a humid subtropical climate, abbreviated "Cfa" on climate maps.
Choose the Best Truck Driving School Whitehouse TX
Selecting the ideal trucking school is an essential 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 several options offered and understanding them is vital if you are going to succeed as an operator. Most importantly, you must receive the necessary training in order to operate a big commercial vehicle in a safe and professional fashion. If you are lacking funds or financing, you may need to consider a captive school. You will pay a lower or even no tuition by agreeing to drive for their contracted carrier. Or you can choose an independent CDL school and have the option of driving for the trucking company of your choosing, or one of many associated with the school. It’s your choice. But no matter how you get your training, you will in the near future be entering a profession that helps America move as a professional truck driver in Whitehouse TX.
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