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Truck Driving Schools Near Me | CDL Training Waukegan IL 60079

How to Find a Trucking School Waukegan Illinois

Waukegan IL truck driving schoolBest wishes on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a CDL school near Waukegan IL. Perhaps it has always been your ambition to hit the open highway while operating a big ole tractor trailer. Or maybe you have done some research and have found that an occupation as a truck driver offers excellent wages and flexible work prospects. Whatever your reason is, it’s imperative to get the proper training by picking the right CDL school in your area. When evaluating your options, there are a number of factors that you’ll want to think about before making your ultimate selection. Location will certainly be important, particularly if you need to commute from your Waukegan residence. The cost will also be important, but picking a school based exclusively on price is not the ideal way to ensure you’ll obtain the right education. Just remember, your goal is to master the knowledge and skills that will allow you to pass the CDL examinations and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that purpose in mind, just how do you choose 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 commercial driver’s license you will ultimately need.

Which CDL Will You Require?

tractor trailer in Waukegan ILTo drive commercial vehicles legally within the United States and Waukegan IL, a driver must get a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three classes of licenses that a driver can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the topic of this article is how to select a truck driver school, we will discuss Class A and Class B licenses. What differentiates each class of CDL is the type 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 of the two classes.

Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License is needed to operate any vehicle that has a GCWR of greater than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of more 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 Commercial Drivers License is required 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 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 operate specific types of vehicles, for example passenger or school buses. And a Class A licensee, with the proper needed endorsements, may operate any vehicle that a Class B licensee is qualified to drive.

How to Assess a Truck Driving School

big red tractor in Waukegan ILAs soon as you have determined which CDL you want to pursue, you can begin the undertaking of evaluating the Waukegan IL truck driver schools that you are looking at. As already mentioned, cost and location will no doubt be your initial considerations. But it can’t be stressed enough that they must not be your only concerns. Other issues, including the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are equally or even more important. So below are a few more points that you should research while carrying out your due diligence before selecting, and particularly paying for, your truck driving training.

Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Not many truck driver schools in the Waukegan IL area are accredited due to the rigorous process and expense to the schools. However, certification is more prevalent 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. Potential students know 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 curriculum and training will meet the very high standards set by PTDI.

How Long in Business? One indicator to help evaluate the quality of a truck driver school is how long it has been in business. A negatively rated 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 Waukegan IL schools had to start from their opening day of training, so use it as one of multiple qualifiers. You can also ask what the school’s track record is concerning successful licensing and employment of its graduates. If a school won’t provide those numbers, look elsewhere. The schools should also have associations with regional and national trucking firms. Having numerous contacts not only points to a quality reputation within the profession, but also boosts their job assistance program for graduates. It also wouldn’t hurt to contact the Illinois licensing authority to verify that the CDL trucking schools you are reviewing are in good standing.

How Good is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools must be licensed in Illinois and employ teachers that are experienced and trained. We will discuss more about the instructors in the following segment. Also, the student to instructor proportion should be no greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be getting the personal attention they will need. This is especially true concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And look out for any school that professes it can train you to be a truck driver in a relatively short time period. Training to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer professionally requires time. Most Waukegan IL schools offer training courses that run from 3 weeks to as long as two months, depending on the class of license or kind of vehicle.

How Good are the Trainers? As already mentioned, it’s essential that the teachers are trained to teach driving techniques and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Although a number of states have minimum driving time prerequisites to be certified as a teacher, the more successful driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also crucial that the instructors keep current with industry developments or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Evaluating instructors may be a little more intuitive than other standards, and perhaps the ideal approach is to visit the school and talk to the teachers in person. You can also speak with some of the students going through the training and ask if they are satisfied with the level of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.

Adequate Driving Time? Above all else, a great truck driver school will provide plenty of driving time to its students. After all, isn’t that what it’s all about? Driving time is the actual time spent behind the wheel operating a truck. Even though the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are essential training tools, they are no substitute for real driving. The more instruction that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will be. Although driving time can vary among schools, a good standard is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Get in touch with the Waukegan IL schools you are considering and ask how much driving time they furnish.

Are they Independent or Captive ? It’s possible to receive discounted or even free 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 having relationships with numerous trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only work with one company. The tradeoff is receiving free or less expensive training by giving up the flexibility 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 some it may be the best way to receive affordable training. Just make sure to ask if the Waukegan IL schools you are contemplating are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.

Offer Onsite CDL Testing? There are a number of states that will permit third party CDL testing onsite of truck driver schools for its grads. If onsite testing is permitted in Illinois, find out if the schools you are considering are DMV certified to offer it. One advantage is that it is more convenient than competing with graduates from other schools for test times at Illinois testing locations. It is also an indication that the DMV believes the approved schools to be of a superior quality.

Are the Class Times Flexible? As earlier noted, CDL training is only about 1 to 2 months in length. With such a brief duration, it’s essential that the Waukegan IL school you enroll in provides flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. For example, if you’re having difficulty learning a certain driving maneuver, then the instructor should be willing to spend more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still employed while going to training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other obligations.

Is Job Assistance Offered? Once you have obtained your commercial driver’s license after graduating from trucking school, you will be anxious to start your new profession. Verify that the schools you are considering have job assistance programs. Ask what their job placement ratio is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, find out which local and national trucking firms their graduates are referred to for hiring. If a school has a poor job placement rate or not many Waukegan IL employers recruiting their graduates, it may be a clue to look elsewhere.

Is Financial Assistance Available? Truck driving schools are similar to colleges and other Waukegan IL area vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being available. Ask if the schools you are assessing have a financial aid department, or at least someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that must be submitted.

Attending Truck Driving School near Waukegan IL?

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

Waukegan, Illinois

Waukegan /wɔːˈkiːɡən/ is the largest city in and the county seat of Lake County, Illinois, United States.[7] It is part of the Chicago metropolitan area, located approximately 40 miles north of Downtown Chicago As of the 2013 census estimate, Waukegan had a population of 88,826,[3] which makes it the ninth-largest city in Illinois by population. Waukegan is a blue collar town that formerly served as an important industrial hub within the Chicagoland area.

Waukegan contains many international food eateries, which typically are Latin American, as Waukegan has a high Latin-American population. Waukegan also consists of many Afro-Cut shops as the city has a large African-American population as well, second only to its Latino community.

The site of present-day Waukegan was recorded as Rivière du Vieux Fort ("Old Fort River") and Wakaygagh on a 1778 map by Thomas Hutchins. By the 1820s, the French name had become "Small Fort River" in English, and the settlement was known as "Little Fort". The name "Waukegance" and then "Waukegan" (meaning "little fort"; cf. Potawatomi wakaigin "fort" or "fortress") was created by John H. Kinzie and Solomon Juneau, and the new name was adopted on March 31, 1849.[8][9]

Choose the Best Truck Driver School Waukegan IL

Selecting the right trucking school is a critical first step to launching your new vocation 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 several options available and understanding them is crucial if you are going to succeed as an operator. But first and foremost, you must obtain the necessary training in order to drive a big commercial vehicle in a professional and safe manner. If you are short on cash or financing, you might want to look into a captive school. You will pay a lower or in some cases no tuition by agreeing to drive for their contracted carrier. Or you can enroll in an independent school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking company of your choice, or one of many affiliated with the school. It’s your choice. But regardless of how you obtain your training, you will soon be joining an industry that helps America move as a professional trucker in Waukegan IL.

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