How to Select a Trucking School Wytopitlock Maine
Congratulations on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a trucking school near Wytopitlock ME. Perhaps it has always been your fantasy to hit the open highway while operating a huge tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have done some research and have found that an occupation as a truck driver offers good wages and flexible job opportunities. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s imperative to receive the appropriate training by enrolling in the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are certain variables that you’ll need to think about prior to making your ultimate selection. Location will undoubtedly be important, especially if you have to commute from your Wytopitlock home. The cost will also be of importance, but picking a school based entirely on price is not the optimal means to make certain you’ll get the appropriate training. Don’t forget, your objective is to master the skills and knowledge that will enable you to pass the CDL examinations and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that target in mind, just how do you select a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to cover 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?
To drive commercial vehicles legally within the United States and Wytopitlock ME, an operator must obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three license classes that one can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the subject of this article is how to select a truck driving school, we will address Class A and B licenses. What distinguishes 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). Following are short descriptions for the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is needed to operate any vehicle that has a GCWR of greater than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of greater than 10,000 lbs. Some 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 Commercial Drivers License 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 Commercial Drivers Licenses may also need endorsements to drive certain types of vehicles, for example school or passenger buses. And a Class A license holder, with the appropriate required endorsements, may operate any vehicle that a Class B license holder is authorized to operate.
How to Evaluate a Trucking School
When you have determined which CDL you want to obtain, you can start the undertaking of evaluating the Wytopitlock ME truck driver schools that you are looking at. As previously discussed, cost and location will certainly be your primary considerations. But it can’t be stressed enough that they should not be your only concerns. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are similarly if not more important. So following are several more things that you should research while carrying out your due diligence prior to selecting, and particularly paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Very few truck driver schools in the Wytopitlock ME area are accredited due to the rigorous process and expense to the schools. However, certification is more typical 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 know that the training will be of the highest caliber, and that they will get plenty of driving time. For example, PTDI mandates 44 hours of real 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 meet the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One clue to help determine the quality of a trucking school is how long it has been in operation. A negatively rated or a fly by night school normally will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. On the other hand, even the top Wytopitlock ME schools had to start from their opening day of training, so use it as one of several qualifications. You can also learn what the school’s history is pertaining to successful licensing and employment of its graduates. If a school won’t provide those stats, search elsewhere. The schools should also maintain relationships with regional and national trucking companies. Having numerous contacts not only affirms a superior reputation within the profession, but also bolsters their job assistance program for graduates. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to contact the Maine licensing department to make sure that the CDL trucking schools you are considering are in good standing.
How Good is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools must be licensed in Maine and hire teachers that are experienced and trained. We will talk more about the teachers in the following segment. In addition, the student to instructor ratio should not be higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, 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 watch out for any school that professes it can teach you to be a truck driver in a relatively short time frame. Learning to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully takes time. The majority of Wytopitlock ME schools provide training programs that range from three weeks to as long as two months, depending on the class of license or type of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Instructors? As earlier mentioned, it’s important that the instructors 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 professional driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also important that the instructors keep current with industry advancements or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Assessing instructors may be a little more intuitive than other criteria, and possibly the ideal method is to pay a visit to the school and speak with the teachers face to face. You can also speak with a few of the students completing the training and find out if they are satisfied with the level of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Adequate Driving Time? Above all else, an excellent trucking school will furnish ample driving time to its students. Besides, isn’t that what it’s all about? Driving time is the real time spent behind the wheel driving a truck. Although the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are necessary training tools, they are no replacement for actual driving. The more instruction that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will become. Although driving time fluctuates between schools, a reasonable standard 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 Wytopitlock ME schools you are looking at and find out how much driving time they provide.
Are they Captive or Independent ? You can obtain discounted or even free training from some trucking schools if you enter into an agreement to drive for a specific 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 numerous trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only work with one company. The benefit is receiving free or less expensive training by giving up the freedom to initially be a driver wherever you choose. Clearly contract training has the potential to restrict your income opportunities when starting out. But for some it may be the only way to obtain affordable training. Just remember to ask if the Wytopitlock ME schools you are contemplating 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 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driver schools for its grads. If onsite testing is permitted in Maine, ask if the schools you are looking at are DMV certified to provide it. One benefit is that it is more accommodating than contending with graduates of competing schools for test times at Maine testing locations. It is also an indicator that the DMV regards the approved schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Classes Convenient? As previously noted, truck driving training is just one to two months long. With such a brief duration, it’s essential that the Wytopitlock ME school you select offers flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. For example, if you’re having a hard time learning a certain driving maneuver, then the teacher should be prepared to dedicate more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still employed while going to training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other obligations.
Is Job Assistance Provided? The moment you have received your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be anxious to begin your new career. Confirm that the schools you are contemplating have job assistance programs. Ask what their job placement percentage is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, find out which local and national trucking firms their graduates are placed with for hiring. If a school has a poor job placement rate or few Wytopitlock ME employers recruiting their graduates, it might be a sign to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Truck driver schools are comparable to colleges and other Wytopitlock ME area trade or technical schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being offered. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have a financial assistance department, or at least someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that must be submitted.
Attending Truck Driving School near Wytopitlock ME?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Wytopitlock Maine area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Maine State Route 171
State Route 171 (SR 171) is part of Maine's system of numbered state highways. It runs 17.8 miles (28.6 km) from an intersection with SR 169 in Prentiss to an intersection with U.S. Route 2A (US 2A) in Reed Plantation. SR 171 travels through Drew Plantation and the unincorporated community of Wytopitlock.
Choose the Best Truck Driver School Wytopitlock ME
Selecting the ideal truck driving school is an important first step to starting your new vocation as a long distance or local truck driver. The skill sets that you will learn at school will be those that mold a new career behind the wheel. There are several options offered and understanding them is crucial if you are going to succeed as an operator. Most importantly, you must receive the necessary training in order to drive a big commercial vehicle in a safe and professional fashion. If you are lacking cash or financing, you may need 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 enroll in an independent school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking company of your choosing, or one of several affiliated with the school. It’s your choice. But regardless of how you obtain your training, you will in the near future be entering an industry that helps our country move as a professional trucker in Wytopitlock ME.
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