How to Decide on a Truck Driver School Woodsboro Maryland
Congrats on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a trucking school near Woodsboro MD. Perhaps it has always been your goal to hit the open road while driving a big ole tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have done some analysis and have found that an occupation as a truck driver provides excellent wages and flexible job prospects. Whatever your reason is, it’s important to get the proper training by picking the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are several factors that you’ll want to examine before making your final selection. Location will undoubtedly be important, especially if you have to commute from your Woodsboro residence. The expense will also be important, but choosing a school based only on price is not the ideal means to make sure you’ll get the right training. Just remember, your objective is to master the skills and knowledge that will allow you to pass the CDL exams and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that purpose in mind, just how do you pick a truck driving school? That is what we are going to address in the rest of this article. But first, we are going to talk a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will eventually need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Should You Get?
In order to drive commercial vehicles lawfully within the USA and Woodsboro MD, a driver needs to obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 classes of licenses that one can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the topic of this article is how to select a truck driving school, we will focus on Class A and B licenses. What distinguishes each class of CDL is the kind of vehicle that the driver can operate as well as the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Below are brief summaries for the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License is needed to drive any vehicle that has a GCWR of more than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of greater than 10,000 lbs. Several 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 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. Several 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 need endorsements to drive certain types of vehicles, such as passenger or school buses. And a Class A licensee, with the appropriate required endorsements, may drive any vehicle that a Class B license holder is qualified to operate.
How to Assess a Truck Driving School
After you have determined which CDL you want to obtain, you can begin the process of evaluating the Woodsboro MD trucking schools that you are looking at. As earlier mentioned, cost and location will undoubtedly be your initial considerations. But it can’t be stressed enough that they should not be your only concerns. Other issues, for example the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are equally or even more important. So following are a few more things that you should research while conducting your due diligence prior to choosing, and especially paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Not many truck driving schools in the Woodsboro MD area are accredited due to the demanding process and expense to the schools. On the other hand, 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 several advantages. Prospective students know that the training will be of the highest caliber, and that they will be given lots of driving time. As an example, PTDI calls for 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 fulfill the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One indicator to help measure the quality of a trucking 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 Woodsboro MD 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 history is regarding successful licensing and employment of its graduates. If a school won’t provide those stats, search elsewhere. The schools should additionally have associations with local and national trucking companies. Having numerous contacts not only confirms a quality reputation within the profession, but also boosts their job assistance program for students. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to get in touch with the Maryland licensing authority to verify that the CDL trucker schools you are considering are in good standing.
How Good is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools should be licensed in Maryland and employ teachers that are trained and experienced. We will cover more about the instructors in the next segment. Also, the student to instructor ratio should be no higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be getting the individual attention they will need. This is especially true regarding the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And look out for any school that claims it can teach you to drive trucks in a relatively short time frame. Learning to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer professionally requires time. Most Woodsboro MD schools offer training courses that range from 3 weeks to as long as 2 months, based on the class of license or kind of vehicle.
How Good are the Instructors? As earlier mentioned, it’s important 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 criteria to qualify as a teacher, the more professional driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also important that the instructors keep current with industry developments or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Evaluating teachers might be a little more intuitive than other standards, and possibly the best approach is to check out the school and talk to the teachers in person. You can also speak with a few 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.
How Much Driving Time? Above all else, a good truck driving school will furnish ample 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 simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are necessary training tools, 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 can vary among schools, a reasonable standard is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish at least 44 hours of driving time. Check with the Woodsboro MD schools you are researching and ask how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Independent or Captive ? It’s possible to obtain discounted or even free training from some truck driver schools if you make a commitment to drive for a specified carrier for a defined amount of time. This is called contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So instead of 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 less expensive or even free training by surrendering the flexibility to initially be a driver wherever you have an opportunity. Naturally contract training has the potential to reduce your income opportunities when starting out. But for some it may be the best way to obtain affordable training. Just remember to ask if the Woodsboro MD schools you are contemplating are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Offer CDL Testing Onsite? There are several states that will allow third party CDL testing onsite of truck driver schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is allowed in Maryland, find out if the schools you are reviewing are DMV certified to provide it. One advantage is that it is more accommodating than contending with graduates of other schools for test times at Maryland testing centers. It is also an indication that the DMV considers the approved schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Class Times Convenient? As previously noted, CDL training is just 1 to 2 months long. With such a short duration, it’s imperative that the Woodsboro MD school you enroll in provides flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. For example, if you’re having difficulty learning a certain driving maneuver, then the teacher should be willing to dedicate more time with you until you are proficient. 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? The moment you have acquired your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be anxious to start your new profession. Confirm that the schools you are looking at have job assistance programs. Find out what their job placement percentage is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, ask which national and local trucking companies their graduates are referred to for employment. If a school has a lower job placement rate or few Woodsboro MD employers recruiting their graduates, it may be a sign to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Given? Truck driver schools are much like colleges and other Woodsboro MD area trade or technical schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being available. Find out if the schools you are examining 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 Woodsboro MD?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Woodsboro Maryland area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
In 1895, Dr. George F. Smith founded Rosebud Perfume Company in Woodsboro. Smith had eight children, and served as mayor of the town for 19 years. The business has remained in the family, and as of 2012, was still producing its famous "Smith's Rosebud Salve," a lip gloss and salve originally known as tholene. The products are shipped from company headquarters in Woodsboro; however, "the salve is manufactured and filled at Case Mason in Joppa, Md., and the tins are made in Baltimore."
Unlike most cities, the executive officer of Woodsboro, Maryland is called a burgess. The current executive officer of Woodsboro is Burgess Gary Smith. Donald Trimmer, the previous burgess, stepped down in May 2009 after 16 years of serving in that post. The first Burgess of Woodsboro was Dr. George F. Smith.
As of the census of 2010, there were 1,141 people, 423 households, and 306 families residing in the town. The population density was 1,607.0 inhabitants per square mile (620.5/km2). There were 443 housing units at an average density of 623.9 per square mile (240.9/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 91.9% White, 3.7% African American, 0.1% Native American, 1.3% Asian, 1.1% from other races, and 1.9% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 4.0% of the population.
Select the Right Truck Driver School Woodsboro MD
Choosing the ideal trucking school is an essential first step to beginning your new profession as a local or long distance 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 critical if you are going to succeed as an operator. Most importantly, you must obtain the necessary training in order to drive a large commercial vehicle in a safe and professional fashion. If you are short on cash or financing, you might want 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 enroll in an independent school and have the option of driving for the trucking firm of your choice, or one of many affiliated with the school. It’s your choice. But regardless of how you receive your training, you will soon be part of a profession that helps America move as a professional trucker in Woodsboro MD.
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