How to Pick a Trucking School Thomasville Georgia
Congratulations on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a CDL school near Thomasville GA. Maybe it has always been your ambition to hit the open road while driving a big ole tractor trailer. Or possibly you have conducted some analysis and have discovered that an occupation as a truck driver provides good pay and flexible work opportunities. No matter what your reason is, it’s essential to obtain the proper training by choosing the right CDL school in your area. When evaluating your options, there are certain factors that you’ll need to consider prior to making your final selection. Location will undoubtedly be important, particularly if you have to commute from your Thomasville home. The expense will also be of importance, but choosing a school based exclusively on price is not the optimal method to ensure you’ll receive the right education. Just remember, your objective is to master the skills and knowledge that will allow you to pass the CDL examinations and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that goal in mind, just how do you select a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to discuss in the balance of this article. But first, we are going to discuss a little bit about which CDL license you will ultimately need.
Which CDL Should You Get?
To drive commercial vehicles lawfully within the United States and Thomasville GA, a driver must obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 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 choose a truck driving 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 as well as the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Below are short explanations for the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is needed to drive 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 CDL is needed to drive single vehicles having a GVWR of greater 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 may also require endorsements to operate certain types of vehicles, such as passenger or school buses. And a Class A license holder, with the proper needed endorsements, can drive any vehicle that a Class B license holder is authorized to drive.
How to Research a CDL School
After you have determined which CDL you wish to obtain, you can begin the process of evaluating the Thomasville GA truck driver schools that you are considering. As earlier mentioned, location and cost will certainly be your initial concerns. But it can’t be stressed enough that they must not be your sole concerns. Other issues, for instance the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are similarly if not more important. So following are a few additional points that you should research while carrying out your due diligence prior to selecting, and especially paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Not many truck driver schools in the Thomasville GA area are accredited because of the stringent process and cost to the schools. However, 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. Potential students recognize that the training will be of the highest standard, and that they will receive plenty of driving time. As an example, PTDI calls for 44 hours of actual 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 measure up to the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One indicator to help determine the quality of a truck driver 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 Thomasville GA schools had to start from their opening day of training, so use it as one of multiple qualifiers. You can also learn what the school’s track record is regarding successful licensing and job placement of its graduating students. If a school won’t supply those stats, search elsewhere. The schools should also have associations with regional and national trucking companies. Having a large number of contacts not only confirms a superior reputation within the industry, but also bolsters their job assistance program for graduates. It also wouldn’t hurt to contact the Georgia licensing department to make sure that the CDL trucker schools you are considering are in good standing.
How Effective is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools must be licensed in Georgia and hire teachers that are experienced and trained. We will cover more about the instructors in the next segment. In addition, the student to instructor ratio should be no higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, 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 professes it can train you to drive trucks in a relatively short time frame. Learning to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer professionally requires time. The majority of Thomasville GA schools offer training programs that run from three weeks to as long as two months, depending on the class of license or kind of vehicle.
How Good are the Teachers? As already mentioned, it’s important that the teachers are qualified to teach driving techniques 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 an instructor has the better. It’s also vital that the teachers keep current with industry advancements or any new laws or changes in regulations. Evaluating teachers might be a bit more subjective than other standards, and perhaps the ideal approach is to pay a visit to the school and talk to the instructors face to face. You can also speak with some of the students going through 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? Above all else, a good trucking school will provide 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 driving a truck. While the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are essential training tools, they are no alternative for real driving. The more training that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will be. And even though driving time varies between schools, a good standard is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide at least 44 hours of driving time. Check with the Thomasville GA schools you are considering and ask how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Independent or Captive ? It’s possible to receive free or discounted training from a number of truck driver schools if you enter into an agreement to be a driver for a specified carrier for a defined time period. This is called contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So rather than having associations with numerous trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only refer to one company. The benefit is receiving less expensive or even free training by giving up the freedom to initially work wherever you have an opportunity. 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 get affordable training. Just make sure to find out if the Thomasville GA schools you are looking at are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Provide Onsite CDL Testing? There are a number of states that will allow third party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is permitted in Georgia, ask if the schools you are considering are DMV certified to offer it. One benefit is that it is more accommodating than contending with graduates of competing schools for test times at Georgia testing facilities. It is also an indicator that the DMV views the authorized schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Class Times Convenient? As earlier noted, truck driver training is just 1 to 2 months in length. With such a brief duration, it’s imperative that the Thomasville GA school you select offers flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. As an example, if you’re having difficulty learning a particular driving maneuver, then the instructor should be willing to commit more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still holding a job while attending training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other responsibilities.
Is Job Assistance Offered? Once you have attained your CDL license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be impatient to begin your new career. Confirm that the schools you are reviewing have job placement programs. Find out what their job placement ratio is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, ask which national and local trucking companies their graduates are referred to for hiring. If a school has a poor job placement rate or not many Thomasville GA employers hiring their graduates, it might be a sign to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Truck driver schools are comparable to colleges and other Thomasville GA area trade or technical schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being offered. Ask if the schools you are assessing have a financial assistance department, or at a minimum someone who can help you understand the options and forms that must be submitted.
Attending Truck Driving School near Thomasville GA?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Thomasville Georgia area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
The city deems itself the City of Roses and holds an annual Rose Festival. The city features plantations open to the public, a historic downtown, a large farmer's market, and a 308-year-old oak tree at the corner of Monroe and Crawford streets. The population was 19,340 at the 2013 United States Census.
In 2016, Thomasville was featured as the second best historic small town on USA Today's 10 Best List Reader's Choice after Bisbee (Arizona) but ahead of Abingdon (Virginia), Mackinac Island (Michigan), and Astoria (Oregon).
Thomasville was founded in 1825 as seat of the newly formed Thomas County. It was incorporated as a town in 1831 and as a city in 1889. The community was named for Jett Thomas, a general in the War of 1812.
Choose the Ideal CDL School Thomasville GA
Choosing the ideal truck driver school is an important first step to starting your new occupation as a long distance or local truck driver. The skills taught at school will be those that shape a new career behind the wheel. There are many options available and understanding them is crucial if you are going to succeed as an operator. But first and foremost, you must get the appropriate training in order to drive a big commercial vehicle in a safe and professional fashion. If you are short on money or financing, you might want to think about a captive school. You will pay a lower or even no tuition in exchange for driving for their contracted carrier. Or you can choose an independent school and have the option of driving for the trucking company of your choice, or one of several affiliated with the school. It’s your choice. But no matter how you get your training, you will soon be entering an industry that helps America move as a professional truck driver in Thomasville GA.
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