How to Select a Trucking School Woodbine Maryland
Congrats on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a CDL school near Woodbine MD. Perhaps it has always been your goal to hit the open road while driving a big ole tractor trailer. Or possibly you have conducted some analysis and have discovered that a career as a truck driver provides good pay and flexible job prospects. Whatever your reason is, it’s essential to obtain the appropriate training by choosing the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are a number of variables that you’ll need to examine before making your ultimate choice. Location will certainly be important, particularly if you have to commute from your Woodbine residence. The expense will also be of importance, but selecting a school based only on price is not the optimal method to ensure you’ll receive the appropriate training. Don’t forget, your objective 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 target in mind, just how do you pick a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to address in the rest of this article. But first, we are going to review a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will eventually need.
Which CDL Will You Need?
To operate commercial vehicles lawfully within the USA and Woodbine MD, an operator must get a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three classes of licenses that a driver can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that 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 in addition to the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Following are short explanations for the 2 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 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. 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 might also need endorsements to drive specific types of vehicles, for example school or passenger buses. And a Class A licensee, with the appropriate needed endorsements, may drive any vehicle that a Class B license holder is qualified to operate.
How to Assess a Trucking School
When you have decided which Commercial Drivers License you would like to pursue, you can begin the process of researching the Woodbine MD trucking schools that you are considering. As earlier discussed, cost and location will undoubtedly be your primary concerns. But it can’t be stressed enough that they must not be your sole considerations. Other issues, such as the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are equally or even more important. So below are several additional points that you need to research while carrying out your due diligence prior to enrolling in, and particularly paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Very few truck driver schools in the Woodbine MD area are accredited due to the demanding process and cost to the schools. However, certification is more common and is offered by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not obligated to become certified, but there are several advantages. Potential students know that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will get plenty of driving time. As an example, PTDI requires 44 hours of actual 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 comply with the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One indicator to help determine the quality of a trucking school is how long it has been in operation. A negatively ranked or a fly by night school usually will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the top Woodbine MD schools had to begin from their first 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 graduating students. If a school won’t provide those stats, search elsewhere. The schools should additionally have relationships with regional and national trucking firms. Having numerous contacts not only affirms a superior reputation within the trade, but also bolsters their job placement program for graduates. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to contact the Maryland licensing department to verify that the CDL trucker schools you are considering are in good standing.
How Good is the Training? At a minimum, the schools should be licensed in Maryland and hire instructors that are trained and experienced. We will cover more about the instructors in the following segment. In addition, the student to instructor ratio should not be greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be receiving the personal 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 be a truck driver in a relatively short time period. Training to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer professionally takes time. The majority of Woodbine MD schools provide training courses that range from 3 weeks to as long as two months, depending on the class of license or kind of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Trainers? As earlier mentioned, it’s important that the teachers are qualified to teach driving techniques and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Even though a number of states have minimum driving time prerequisites to be certified as a teacher, the more professional driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also vital that the instructors stay up to date with industry advancements or any new laws or changes in regulations. Assessing teachers may be a little more subjective than other standards, and possibly the best approach is to pay a visit to the school and speak with the teachers in person. You can also talk to some of the students completing the training and ask if they are happy with the level of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Plenty of Driving Time? Above all else, a great truck driver school will provide 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. Although the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are essential training methods, they are no substitute for actual driving. The more instruction that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will become. And even though driving time differs among schools, a reasonable standard is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish no less than 44 hours of driving time. Contact the Woodbine MD schools you are looking at and find out how much driving time they provide.
Are they Independent or Captive ? It’s possible to obtain free or discounted training from certain trucking schools if you enter into an agreement to be a driver for a specific carrier for a defined time period. This is referred to as 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 place their graduates with, captives only refer to one company. The tradeoff is receiving less expensive or even free training by giving up the freedom to initially work wherever you choose. Naturally contract training has the potential to reduce your income prospects when starting out. But for some it may be the ideal way to receive affordable training. Just be sure to ask if the Woodbine MD schools you are considering are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Offer Onsite CDL Testing? There are some states that will allow 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driver schools for its grads. If onsite testing is allowed in Maryland, ask if the schools you are looking at are DMV certified to offer it. One advantage is that it is more accommodating than competing with graduates from competing schools for test times at Maryland testing centers. It is moreover an indicator that the DMV considers the authorized schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Class Times Accessible? As previously noted, CDL training is only about one to two months in length. With such a short term, it’s imperative that the Woodbine MD school you select provides flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. As an example, if you’re having a hard time learning a certain driving maneuver, then the teacher should be willing to devote more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still employed while attending training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other commitments.
Is Job Assistance Provided? As soon as you have received your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be impatient to begin your new profession. Confirm that the schools you are contemplating have job assistance programs. Find out what their job placement percentage is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, ask which local and national trucking companies their graduates are placed with for hiring. If a school has a lower job placement rate or few Woodbine MD employers recruiting their graduates, it may be a clue to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Given? Trucking schools are much like colleges and other Woodbine MD area technical or vocational schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being offered. Ask if the schools you are evaluating have a financial aid department, or at least someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that must be completed.
Attending Truck Driving School near Woodbine MD?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Woodbine Maryland area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Woodbine is an unincorporated rural community in Howard and Carroll counties, Maryland, United States. It is part of the Baltimore metropolitan area. It is located southeast of Frederick, west of Baltimore, north of Washington, D.C., and east of Mount Airy. The community was named for the woodbine plant, which grew in the community in fields and along riverbanks.
Woodbine is located at the juncture of the Patapsco River, the B&O Railroad, and the road that runs north from Lisbon to Winfield on Liberty Road (Maryland Route 26) and through to Westminster, Maryland. The original road from Baltimore to Frederick runs just north of Lisbon, following a slight ridge line westward half way to Woodbine (the road was finally paved in the 1960s). This was the original trail that existed before the National Road was built (the road that runs through Lisbon).
During the Civil War, Confederate cavalry crossed the Patapsco River at Woodbine and at Hoods Mill, just a few miles east on the river and the B&O Railroad, scouting the Union Army that was on its way to the Battle of Gettysburg. The main road at that time ran just west of the existing road and up the west side of a creek that runs south and that joins with the Patapsco River just 50 yards west of the existing road. That original road, now partly unused, runs north 100 yards from the river and then Eastward (Gum Road) to join up with the existing road today. There was no bridge across the Patapsco River at that time, just a ford in the river.
Select the Right Truck Driver School Woodbine MD
Choosing the right truck driving school is a critical first step to starting your new occupation as a local or long distance truck driver. The skills that you will learn 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 receive the proper training in order to operate a large commercial vehicle in a safe and professional fashion. If you are short on funds or financing, you may want to think about a captive school. You will pay a lower or in some cases 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 associated with the school. It’s your choice. But no matter how you receive your training, you will in the near future be part of a profession that helps our country move as a professional truck driver in Woodbine MD.
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