Category Archives: Virginia

Become a Truck Driver | Truck Driving Schools Troutville VA

How to Decide on a CDL Driving School near Troutville Virginia

Troutville VA truck driving school campusCongratulations on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a trucking school near Troutville VA. Maybe it has always been your ambition to hit the open road while operating a monster tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have done some research and have discovered that a career as a truck driver offers good wages and flexible work prospects. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s imperative to get the proper training by selecting the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are several factors that you’ll need to consider prior to making your final selection. Location will no doubt be important, particularly if you have to commute from your Troutville home. The cost will also be important, but choosing a school based exclusively on price is not the ideal method to guarantee you’ll obtain the appropriate training. Don’t forget, your objective is to learn the skills and knowledge that will enable you to pass the CDL exams and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that target in mind, just how do you select 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 commercial driver’s license you will ultimately need.

Which Commercial Drivers License Will You Need?

long haul tractor trailer in Troutville VATo operate commercial vehicles lawfully within the United States and Troutville VA, a driver needs to obtain 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 address Class A and B licenses. What differentiates each class of CDL is the type of vehicle that the driver can operate in addition to the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Following are brief descriptions of the 2 classes.

Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License 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 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 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 Commercial Drivers Licenses may also require endorsements to operate certain kinds of vehicles, such as passenger or school buses. And a Class A licensee, with the proper required endorsements, can drive any vehicle that a Class B licensee is authorized to operate.

How to Assess a CDL School

Questions to ask Troutville VA truck driving schoolsWhen you have determined which CDL you want to obtain, you can start the process of evaluating the Troutville VA truck driver schools that you are looking at. As already mentioned, cost and location will certainly be your primary considerations. But it can’t be stressed enough that they should not be your only concerns. Other factors, for example the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are similarly if not more important. So following are a few additional factors that you should research while carrying out your due diligence prior to enrolling in, and particularly paying for, your truck driving training.

Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Very few trucking schools in the Troutville VA area are accredited due to the rigorous process and cost to the schools. However, certification is more typical and is provided by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not required to become certified, but there are certain advantages. Potential students recognize that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will be given plenty of driving time. For example, PTDI mandates 44 hours of real 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 training and curriculum will satisfy the very high standards set by PTDI.

How Long in Business? One clue to help assess the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in operation. A poorly ranked or a fly by night school typically will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the best of Troutville VA schools had to begin from their opening day of training, so consider it as one of several qualifiers. You can also learn what the school’s history is concerning successful licensing and job placement of its graduating students. If a school won’t provide those numbers, search elsewhere. The schools should also maintain associations with regional and national trucking firms. Having a large number of contacts not only affirms a superior reputation within the trade, but also bolsters their job assistance program for graduates. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to get in touch with the Virginia licensing authority to confirm that the CDL trucker schools you are reviewing are in good standing.

How Effective is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools must be licensed in Virginia and hire instructors that are experienced and trained. We will talk more about the instructors in the next section. Also, the student to instructor ratio should be no greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be obtaining the personal instruction they will need. This is especially true concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And watch out for any school that insists it can teach you to be a truck driver in a comparatively short period of time. Learning to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer professionally takes time. Most Troutville VA schools offer training programs that run from 3 weeks to as long as 2 months, depending on the class of license or type of vehicle.

How Experienced are the Trainers? As earlier stated, it’s important that the instructors are qualified to teach driving techniques and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Even though several 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 keep up to date with industry developments or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Assessing teachers may be a little more subjective than other criteria, and perhaps the best approach is to check out the school and speak with the instructors face to face. You can also speak with some of the students completing the training and find out if they are satisfied with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.

Enough Driving Time? Most importantly, a great truck driving school will furnish plenty 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 driving a truck. Even though the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are necessary training methods, they are no substitute for actual driving. The more training that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will be. Although driving time varies between schools, a reasonable benchmark is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Check with the Troutville VA schools you are considering and find out 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 be a driver for a particular carrier for a defined amount of time. This is referred to as contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So instead of having relationships with many different trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only refer to one company. The tradeoff is receiving less expensive or even free training by giving up the flexibility to initially be a driver wherever you choose. Obviously contract training has the potential to reduce your income opportunities when starting out. But for some it may be the ideal way to obtain affordable training. Just remember to ask if the Troutville VA schools you are considering are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.

Offer CDL Testing Onsite? There are a number of states that will allow 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its grads. If onsite testing is allowed in Virginia, 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 competing schools for test times at Virginia testing locations. It is moreover an indicator that the DMV regards the authorized schools to be of a higher quality.

Are the Class Times Flexible? As previously noted, truck driving training is just 1 to 2 months in length. With such a short term, it’s essential that the Troutville VA school you enroll in offers flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. As an example, if you’re having difficulty 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 holding a job while attending training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other commitments.

Is Job Placement Offered? Once you have obtained your CDL license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be anxious to begin your new profession. Make sure that the schools you are looking at have job assistance programs. Find out what their job placement rate is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, ask which national and local trucking companies their graduates are placed with for hiring. If a school has a lower job placement rate or not many Troutville VA employers recruiting their graduates, it might be a clue to look elsewhere.

Is Financial Aid Provided? Truck driver schools are comparable to colleges and other Troutville VA area trade or technical schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being available. Find out if the schools you are evaluating have a financial aid department, or at least someone who can help you get through the options and forms that need to be completed.

Enrolling in a Truck Driving School near Troutville VA?

If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Troutville Virginia area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.

Troutville, Virginia

The railroad reached this location in 1881, and a station was built, but the area had no name. As three nearby houses were occupied by the brothers John, Jim, and George Trout, the area was called Troutsville. It became an important shipping center in the 1890s. In 1895, Troutsville was a thriving town with an active shipping point, farming, canneries, packing houses and factories. The name of the town was later changed to Troutville.

As of the census[1] of 2010, there were 431 people, 194 households, and 126 families residing in the town. The population density was 478.9 people per square mile (187.4/km2). There were 226 housing units at an average density of 251.1 per square mile (98.3/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 94.9% White, 1.2% African American, 0.2% Native American, 0.2% Asian, 0.9% from other races, and 2.6% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.6% of the population.

There were 194 households out of which 25.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 49.5% were married couples living together, 12.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 35.1% were non-families. 29.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 8.8% 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 2.74.

Pick the Ideal Truck Driving School Troutville VA

tractor trailer hauling construction materials in Troutville VAChoosing the right truck driving school is an essential first step to beginning your new profession as a local or long distance truck driver. The skill sets taught at school will be those that shape a new career behind the wheel. There are a number of options offered and understanding them is critical if you are going to succeed as an operator. But first and foremost, you must obtain the necessary training in order to operate a big commercial vehicle in a safe and professional manner. If you are lacking funds or financing, you may want to think about a captive school. You will pay a reduced or even no tuition by agreeing to drive for their contracted carrier. Or you can enroll in an independent trucker school and have the option of driving for the trucking firm of your choice, or one of several associated with the school. It’s your choice. But no matter how you obtain your training, you will in the near future be joining a profession that helps our country move as a professional trucker in Troutville VA.

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