How to Choose a Truck Driving School near Terry West Virginia
Congrats on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a trucking school near Terry WV. Maybe it has always been your dream to hit the open road while driving a huge tractor trailer. Or maybe you have conducted some analysis and have discovered that a career as a truck driver provides excellent income and flexible work prospects. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s important to receive the appropriate training by selecting the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are certain factors that you’ll need to think about prior to making your final selection. Location will no doubt be an issue, especially if you have to commute from your Terry residence. The cost will also be important, but choosing a school based solely on price is not the optimal method to guarantee you’ll get the proper education. Don’t forget, your goal is to learn the knowledge and skills 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 decide on a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to address in the remainder of this article. But first, we are going to discuss a little bit about which CDL license you will eventually need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Will You Require?
In order to operate commercial vehicles legally within the United States and Terry WV, an operator must obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 license classes that a driver can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the subject of this article is how to choose a truck driver school, we will address Class A and Class 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 summaries for the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License is needed to drive any vehicle that has a GCWR of greater than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of more than 10,000 lbs. Some 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 required to operate 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. A few 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 specific types of vehicles, for instance school or passenger buses. And a Class A license holder, with the proper needed endorsements, can operate any vehicle that a Class B license holder is authorized to operate.
How to Assess a Trucking School
Once you have determined which Commercial Drivers License you wish to pursue, you can begin the process of assessing the Terry WV truck driving schools that you are looking at. As already discussed, cost and location will undoubtedly be your initial considerations. But it can’t be stressed enough that they must not be your only concerns. Other variables, for instance the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are similarly or even more important. So below are some more things that you should research while carrying out your due diligence prior to enrolling in, and especially paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Very few truck driver schools in the Terry WV area are accredited due to the rigorous process and cost to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more prevalent and is offered by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not obligated to become certified, but there are a number of advantages. Interested students know that the training will be of the highest standard, and that they will get an ample amount of driving time. For example, PTDI mandates 44 hours of actual 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 training and curriculum will comply with the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One indicator to help measure the quality of a truck driver school is how long it has been in operation. A negatively reviewed or a fly by night school usually will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. Having said that, even the top Terry WV schools had to begin from their opening day of training, so consider it as one of several qualifiers. You can also find out what the school’s track record is concerning successful licensing and employment of its graduating students. If a school won’t provide those numbers, look elsewhere. The schools should also have associations with local and national trucking firms. Having a large number of contacts not only points to a quality reputation within the trade, but also bolsters their job placement program for graduates. It also wouldn’t hurt to get in touch with the West Virginia licensing department to verify that the CDL trucking schools you are considering are in compliance.
How Good is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools must be licensed in West Virginia and hire teachers that are trained and experienced. We will talk more about the teachers in the next section. In addition, the student to instructor ratio should be no greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be receiving the personalized 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 claims it can train you to drive trucks in a relatively short period of time. Training to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully takes time. Most Terry WV schools offer training courses that run from 3 weeks to as long as two months, based on the class of license or type of vehicle.
How Good are the Instructors? As earlier stated, it’s imperative that the teachers are qualified to teach driving methods and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Although a number of states have minimum driving time criteria to qualify as a teacher, the more professional driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also important that the instructors stay current with industry developments or any new laws or changes in regulations. Assessing instructors might be a little more subjective than other standards, and possibly the best method is to pay a visit to the school and talk to the instructors in person. You can also speak with some of the students going through the training and find out if they are satisfied with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Enough Driving Time? Most importantly, an excellent truck driving school will furnish sufficient 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. While the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are essential training methods, they are no replacement for real driving. The more training that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will become. And even though driving time differs among schools, a reasonable standard is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide no less than 44 hours of driving time. Get in touch with the Terry WV schools you are looking at and ask how much driving time they provide.
Are they Independent or Captive ? It’s possible to receive free or discounted training from some truck driving schools if you enter into an agreement to drive 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 refer to one company. The benefit is receiving free or less expensive training by surrendering the flexibility to initially be a driver wherever you have an opportunity. Naturally contract training has the potential to restrict your income opportunities when beginning your new career. But for many it may be the ideal way to receive affordable training. Just be sure to ask if the Terry WV schools you are considering are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Provide CDL Testing Onsite? There are several states that will permit 3rd party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its students. If onsite testing is permitted in West Virginia, ask if the schools you are reviewing are DMV certified to provide it. One benefit is that it is more accommodating than battling with graduates of competing schools for test times at West Virginia testing locations. It is moreover an indication that the DMV believes the authorized schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Classes Accessible? As earlier mentioned, CDL training is just one to two months long. With such a brief duration, it’s important that the Terry WV school you select offers flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. As an example, if you’re having difficulty learning a certain driving maneuver, then the instructor 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 accommodate working hours or other obligations.
Is Job Placement Offered? Once you have attained your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be impatient to start your new profession. Confirm that the schools you are contemplating have job placement programs. Ask what their job placement rate is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, find out which national and local trucking companies their graduates are placed with for hiring. If a school has a poor job placement rate or not many Terry WV employers hiring their graduates, it may be a clue to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Trucking schools are comparable to colleges and other Terry WV area trade or technical schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being offered. Find out if the schools you are assessing have a financial assistance department, or at least someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that need to be completed.
Enrolling in a Truck Driving School near Terry WV?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Terry West Virginia area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
John James "Jimbo" Fisher Jr. (born October 9, 1965) is an American college football coach and former player. He is the head coach at Texas A&M University. Previously, Fisher was the head coach at Florida State University.
As a senior at Samford University, Fisher was the 1987 NCAA Division III National Player of the Year. From 2000 until 2006 he was the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Louisiana State University (LSU). From 2007 to 2009 he was offensive coordinator, quarterbacks coach and, beginning in 2007, head coach-in-waiting for the Florida State Seminoles. Bobby Bowden, Florida State's head coach of 37 years, retired after the team's appearance in its 28th consecutive bowl game on January 1, 2010. Fisher succeeded Bowden in 2010 and served as Florida State's head coach for eight seasons before resigning to accept the head coaching position at Texas A&M.
Born in Clarksburg, West Virginia, Fisher attended North View Junior High School and Liberty High School before going to Salem College (now Salem International University) in Salem, West Virginia where he played quarterback under head coach Terry Bowden from 1985 to 1986. When Bowden left for Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama, Fisher transferred with him to play his final season for the Bulldogs where he was named Division III National Player of the Year. Fisher still holds multiple school records at Samford.
Choose the Best CDL School Terry WV
Choosing the right trucking school is an essential first step to beginning your new occupation as a long distance or local 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 vital if you are going to succeed as an operator. But first and foremost, you must receive the appropriate training in order to drive a big commercial vehicle in a professional and safe fashion. If you are short on cash or financing, you might need to think about a captive school. You will pay a reduced or in some cases no tuition in exchange for driving for their contracted carrier. Or you can select an independent truck driver school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking company of your choosing, or one of many affiliated with the school. It’s your choice. But regardless of how you receive your training, you will soon be entering a profession that helps America move as a professional truck driver in Terry WV.
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