How to Find a Truck Driving School near Timberville Virginia
Congrats on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a trucking school near Timberville VA. Maybe it has always been your goal to hit the open highway while driving a monster tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have conducted some research and have found that a career as a truck driver provides excellent wages and flexible job opportunities. No matter what your reason is, it’s important to get the appropriate training by selecting the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are various variables that you’ll need to consider before making your final selection. Location will no doubt be important, particularly if you need to commute from your Timberville residence. The cost will also be important, but choosing a school based solely on price is not the best method to make sure you’ll get the appropriate education. Don’t forget, your objective is to learn the knowledge and skills that will allow you to pass the CDL examinations and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that purpose in mind, just how do you pick 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 discuss a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will eventually need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Will You Require?
In order to drive commercial vehicles legally within the USA and Timberville VA, a driver must attain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 license classes that a driver can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the topic of this article is how to pick a truck driving 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 brief descriptions of the two 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. A few 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 drive single vehicles having a GVWR of more than 26,000 lbs., or a GCWR of greater than 26,000 lbs. including a towed vehicle weighing up to 10,000 lbs. Several 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 might also need endorsements to operate specific kinds of vehicles, such as passenger or school buses. And a Class A license holder, with the proper needed endorsements, may drive any vehicle that a Class B licensee is authorized to operate.
How to Research a CDL School
When you have determined which CDL you would like to obtain, you can begin the process of assessing the Timberville VA truck driver schools that you are considering. As previously discussed, location and cost will undoubtedly be your primary concerns. But it can’t be stressed enough that they must not be your sole considerations. Other issues, such as 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 need to research while performing your due diligence prior to enrolling in, and especially paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Not many trucking schools in the Timberville VA area are accredited because of 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 a number of advantages. Prospective students recognize that the training will be of the highest standard, and that they will be given lots of driving time. For example, PTDI requires 44 hours of real driving time, not simulations or ride-alongs. So if a school’s program is certified (the program, not the school is certified), students know that the training and curriculum will meet the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One clue to help measure the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in operation. A negatively reviewed or a fly by night school usually will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. Having said that, even the best of Timberville VA schools had to begin from their first day of training, so use it as one of multiple qualifiers. You can also find out what the school’s history is regarding successful licensing and job placement of its graduating students. If a school won’t share those numbers, look elsewhere. The schools should additionally have associations with regional and national trucking firms. Having numerous contacts not only points to a quality reputation within the industry, but also boosts their job assistance program for graduates. It also wouldn’t hurt to contact the Virginia licensing department to confirm that the CDL trucking schools you are researching are in compliance.
How Good is the Training? At a minimum, the schools should be licensed in Virginia and employ instructors that are trained and experienced. We will cover more about the instructors in the following segment. Also, the student to instructor proportion should be no higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be receiving the personalized attention they will need. This is especially true regarding the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And look out for any school that professes it can teach you to be a truck driver in a comparatively short time frame. Training to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer professionally takes time. The majority of Timberville VA schools provide training courses that range from three weeks to as long as two months, based on the class of license or type of vehicle.
How Good are the Teachers? As previously mentioned, it’s important that the instructors are trained to teach driving methods and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Even though a number of states have minimum driving time prerequisites to qualify as an instructor, the more professional driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also important that the teachers keep current with industry advancements or any new laws or changes in regulations. Assessing instructors may be a bit more intuitive than other standards, and perhaps the best approach is to check out the school and speak with the instructors in person. You can also talk to some of the students completing the training and find out if they are happy with the level of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
How Much Driving Time? Most importantly, a great 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 driving a truck. Although the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are essential training methods, they are no alternative for actual driving. The more training that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will be. And even though driving time fluctuates among 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 Timberville VA schools you are looking at and ask how much driving time they provide.
Are they Captive or Independent ? You can receive discounted or even free training from certain truck driving 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 offer it are called captives. So instead of maintaining associations with numerous 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 surrendering the flexibility to initially work wherever you have an opportunity. Naturally contract training has the potential to reduce your income opportunities when starting out. But for some it may be the only way to get affordable training. Just be sure to find out if the Timberville VA schools you are considering are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Is there Onsite CDL Testing? There are some states that will allow 3rd party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is permitted in Virginia, find out if the schools you are considering are DMV certified to provide it. One benefit is that it is more accommodating than competing with graduates of other schools for test times at Virginia testing locations. It is also an indicator that the DMV believes the approved schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Classes Flexible? As formerly noted, truck driving training is just 1 to 2 months long. With such a short duration, it’s important that the Timberville 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 teacher should be prepared to devote more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still employed while attending training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other responsibilities.
Is Job Assistance Offered? As soon as you have received your CDL license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be impatient to start your new profession. Make sure that the schools you are looking at have job assistance programs. Find out what their job placement percentage is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, find out which national and local trucking companies their graduates are referred to for employment. If a school has a poor job placement rate or few Timberville VA employers recruiting their graduates, it may be a sign to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Truck driver schools are much like colleges and other Timberville VA area technical or vocational schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being available. Ask if the schools you are examining 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 Timberville VA?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Timberville Virginia area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Timberville is a town in Rockingham County, Virginia, United States. The population was 2,522 at the 2010 census, which was a significant increase from the 1,739 reported in the 2000 census. It is part of the Harrisonburg Metropolitan Statistical Area.
As of the census of 2000, 1,739 people, 735 households, and 465 families resided in the town. The population density was 1,968.1 per square mile (763.0/km²). There were 770 housing units at an average density of 871.5 per square mile (337.8/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 97.35% White, 0.17% African American, 0.12% Native American, 0.17% Asian, 1.21% from other races, and 0.98% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 4.31% of the population. 30% of Timberville's residents were German, 11% English, 8% Irish, 3% Mexican, and 2% Dutch. Scotch-Irish, Italians, Russians, Scottish, French, Swiss, Polish, French Canadians and Yugoslavians each constituted 1% of the population.
There were 735 households out of which 27.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 47.8% were married couples living together, 12.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 36.7% were non-families. 32.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 17.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.29 and the average family size was 2.89.
Choose the Ideal Truck Driving School Timberville VA
Choosing the ideal truck driving school is an essential first step to starting your new profession 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 several options available and understanding them is vital if you are going to succeed as an operator. But first and foremost, you must get the necessary training in order to operate a large commercial vehicle in a safe and professional fashion. If you are lacking cash or financing, you might want 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 select an independent CDL school and have the option of driving for the trucking firm of your choosing, or one of several affiliated with the school. It’s your decision. But regardless of how you get your training, you will in the near future be part of an industry that helps America move as a professional truck driver in Timberville VA.
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