How to Choose a Trucking School Trenton Georgia
Congratulations on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a CDL school near Trenton GA. Maybe it has always been your goal to hit the open road while driving a monster tractor trailer. Or maybe you have conducted some research and have found that a career as a truck driver provides excellent income and flexible work opportunities. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s essential to get the proper training by selecting the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are several factors that you’ll need to think about before making your ultimate selection. Location will undoubtedly be an issue, especially if you have to commute from your Trenton residence. The cost will also be important, but picking a school based entirely on price is not the optimal method to ensure you’ll obtain 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 professional truck driver. So keeping that objective in mind, just how do you pick a truck driving school? That is what we are going to discuss in the remainder of this article. But first, we are going to talk a little bit about which CDL license you will ultimately need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Will You Require?
To operate commercial vehicles legally within the USA and Trenton GA, a driver needs to attain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three 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 choose a truck driving school, we will highlight 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). Following are brief explanations of the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is required to operate any vehicle that has a GCWR of more than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of greater 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 needed to drive 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. Some 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 drive certain kinds of vehicles, such as school or passenger buses. And a Class A licensee, with the proper required endorsements, may operate any vehicle that a Class B license holder is authorized to drive.
How to Assess a Trucking School
As soon as you have decided which Commercial Drivers License you wish to obtain, you can start the undertaking of evaluating the Trenton GA trucking schools that you are looking at. As previously discussed, location and cost will certainly be your primary concerns. But it can’t be stressed enough that they must not be your sole concerns. Other variables, including the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are equally or even more important. So following are a few additional factors that you need to research while performing your due diligence before enrolling in, and particularly paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Very few truck driving schools in the Trenton GA area are accredited due to the demanding process and cost to the schools. However, certification is more commonplace and is offered by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not obligated to become certified, but there are several advantages. Prospective students recognize that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will be given plenty of driving time. As an example, PTDI calls for 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 benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One clue to help assess the quality of a truck driver school is how long it has been in business. A poorly ranked or a fly by night school normally will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. Having said that, even the best of Trenton 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 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 additionally have associations with local and national trucking companies. Having numerous contacts not only confirms an excellent reputation within the profession, but also boosts their job assistance program for graduates. It also wouldn’t hurt to get in touch with the Georgia licensing authority to verify that the CDL trucker schools you are reviewing are in good standing.
How Good is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools should be licensed in Georgia and hire teachers that are trained and experienced. We will cover more about the teachers in the next segment. Also, the student to instructor ratio should not be higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be obtaining the personalized attention they will need. This is particularly true concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And watch out for any school that professes it can teach you to drive trucks in a comparatively short time period. Training to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer professionally requires time. The majority of Trenton GA schools offer training programs that range from 3 weeks to as long as two months, depending on the class of license or type of vehicle.
How Good are the Instructors? As previously mentioned, it’s imperative that the instructors are trained to teach driving methods and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Even though several states have minimum driving time prerequisites to qualify as a teacher, the more professional driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also crucial that the teachers stay up to date with industry advancements or any new laws or changes in regulations. Assessing teachers might be a bit more subjective than other criteria, and possibly the ideal method is to pay a visit to the school and talk to the teachers in person. You can also talk to some of the students going through the training and find out if they are happy with the level of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Sufficient Driving Time? Most importantly, a great trucking school will provide ample driving time to its students. After all, isn’t that what it’s all about? Driving time is the real time spent behind the wheel operating 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 instruction that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will become. Although driving time varies 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. Contact the Trenton GA schools you are researching and ask how much driving time they provide.
Are they Independent or Captive ? You can receive free or discounted training from certain trucking schools if you enter into an agreement to be a driver for a specified carrier for a defined amount of time. This is called contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So rather than maintaining affiliations with a wide range of trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only refer to one company. The tradeoff is receiving free or less expensive training by surrendering the flexibility to initially work wherever you have an opportunity. Obviously contract training has the potential to limit your income opportunities when beginning your new career. But for many it may be the ideal way to obtain affordable training. Just remember to ask if the Trenton GA schools you are considering are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Provide Onsite CDL Testing? There are several states that will permit 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driver schools for its students. If onsite testing is permitted in Georgia, ask if the schools you are reviewing are DMV certified to offer it. One advantage is that it is more convenient than battling with graduates from competing schools for test times at Georgia testing centers. It is also an indication that the DMV deems the authorized schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Classes Accessible? As formerly noted, truck driving training is just one to two months long. With such a brief duration, it’s important that the Trenton GA school you enroll in provides flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. For example, if you’re having difficulty learning a particular driving maneuver, then the instructor should be prepared to commit more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still holding a job while going to training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other commitments.
Is Job Placement Offered? The moment you have received your CDL license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be anxious to begin your new profession. Verify that the schools you are reviewing have job placement programs. Find out what their job placement rate is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, ask which national and local trucking firms their graduates are placed with for employment. If a school has a poor job placement rate or not many Trenton GA employers recruiting their grads, it may be a clue to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Truck driver schools are much like colleges and other Trenton GA area vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being available. Ask if the schools you are assessing have a financial aid department, or at least someone who can help you understand the options and forms that must be completed.
Attending Truck Driving School near Trenton GA?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Trenton Georgia area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Trenton is a city in Dade County, Georgia, United States. Founded in the 1830s, the area was originally known as Salem. In 1839 Salem was designated the seat of the newly formed Dade County. It was renamed Trenton in 1841. The population was 2,301 at the 2010 census. It is the only incorporated municipality in the county, and as such it serves as the county seat. Trenton is part of the Chattanooga, Tennessee–GA Metropolitan Statistical Area.
This was historically part of Cherokee people territory before Georgia and the United States forced them to cede lands and, under Indian Removal Act, relocate to Indian Territory in the 1830s. The area was developed largely for subsistence farming.
The noted Southern humorist George Washington Harris (1814–1869) is buried in the Brock Cemetery in Trenton. Although he was considered one of the seminal writers of Southern humor and greatly influenced the literary works of Mark Twain, William Faulkner, and Flannery O'Connor, his grave was not officially identified and marked with a monument until 2008.
Choose the Right Truck Driver School Trenton GA
Selecting the ideal truck driving school is an essential first step to beginning your new occupation as a local or long distance truck driver. The skill sets taught at school will be those that mold 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. Most importantly, you must get the necessary training in order to operate a big commercial vehicle in a professional and safe manner. If you are lacking cash or financing, you may need to look into a captive school. You will pay a reduced or even no tuition by agreeing to drive for their contracted carrier. Or you can select an independent school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking company of your choice, or one of several associated with the school. It’s your decision. But no matter how you receive your training, you will soon be joining an industry that helps our country move as a professional truck driver in Trenton GA.
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