How to Select a CDL Training School Williamsport Maryland
Congratulations on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a trucking school near Williamsport MD. Perhaps it has always been your ambition to hit the open highway while operating a big ole tractor trailer. Or maybe you have conducted some research and have discovered that a career as a truck driver provides excellent income and flexible job opportunities. No matter what your reason is, it’s essential to get the proper training by choosing the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are several variables that you’ll want to examine before making your final choice. Location will no doubt be important, particularly if you have to commute from your Williamsport residence. The expense will also be of importance, but picking a school based only on price is not the optimal means to make sure you’ll get the proper training. Just remember, your objective is to master the knowledge and skills that will enable you to pass the CDL exams and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that target in mind, just how do you choose 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 talk a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will eventually need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Will You Need?
In order to drive commercial vehicles lawfully within the USA and Williamsport MD, an operator must attain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 license classes that a person can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the subject of this article is how to choose a truck driver school, we will address Class A and B licenses. What differentiates 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 short descriptions of 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 more 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 greater 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 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 require endorsements to drive specific types of vehicles, including passenger or school buses. And a Class A licensee, with the appropriate needed endorsements, may drive any vehicle that a Class B license holder is authorized to operate.
How to Evaluate a Trucking School
After you have decided which CDL you want to pursue, you can begin the process of researching the Williamsport MD truck driving schools that you are considering. As earlier discussed, location and cost will certainly be your initial considerations. But it can’t be stressed enough that they should not be your only considerations. Other factors, for example the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are equally or even more important. So below are some more things that you should research while conducting your due diligence before enrolling in, and particularly paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Not many truck driving schools in the Williamsport MD area are accredited because of the stringent process and cost to the schools. However, certification is more prevalent and is offered by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not obligated to become certified, but there are a number of advantages. Potential students recognize that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will receive lots of driving time. For example, PTDI calls for 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 fulfill the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One clue to help evaluate the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in business. A poorly ranked or a fly by night school usually will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the top Williamsport MD schools had to begin from their opening day of training, so use it as one of several 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 supply those stats, look elsewhere. The schools should also maintain associations with regional and national trucking firms. Having a large number of contacts not only points to an excellent reputation within the industry, but also bolsters their job assistance program for students. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to check with the Maryland licensing authority to verify that the CDL trucking schools you are researching are in good standing.
How Good is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools must be licensed in Maryland and employ teachers that are trained and experienced. We will talk more about the instructors in the following segment. In addition, the student to instructor proportion should not be higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, 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 insists it can train you to be a truck driver in a comparatively short time frame. Learning to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer professionally requires time. The majority of Williamsport MD schools offer training programs that run from three weeks to as long as 2 months, based on the class of license or type of vehicle.
How Good are the Trainers? As previously stated, it’s essential that the teachers are trained to teach driving techniques and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Even though several 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 developments or any new laws or changes in regulations. Assessing instructors may be a little more intuitive than other criteria, and possibly the ideal approach is to pay a visit to the school and speak with the instructors in person. You can also talk to some of the students completing the training and find out if they are satisfied with the level of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
Sufficient Driving Time? Most importantly, an excellent truck driver school will furnish 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. While the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are essential training methods, they are no replacement for real driving. The more instruction that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will become. And even though driving time fluctuates between schools, a good standard is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish at least 44 hours of driving time. Contact the Williamsport MD schools you are looking at and find out how much driving time they provide.
Are they Captive or Independent ? It’s possible to receive discounted or even free training from certain trucking schools if you make a commitment to drive for a specific carrier for a defined amount of time. This is called contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So instead of having associations with a wide range of trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only refer to one company. The tradeoff 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 reduce your income opportunities when beginning your new career. But for many it may be the ideal way to get affordable training. Just be sure to ask if the Williamsport MD schools you are considering 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 grads. If onsite testing is allowed in Maryland, find out if the schools you are considering are DMV certified to offer it. One benefit is that it is more accommodating than competing with graduates of competing schools for test times at Maryland testing facilities. It is also an indication that the DMV views the approved schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Class Times Convenient? As previously mentioned, truck driver training is only about 1 to 2 months in length. With such a brief duration, it’s important that the Williamsport MD school you select offers flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. As an example, if you’re having difficulty learning a certain driving maneuver, then the instructor should be willing to commit more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still holding a job while attending training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other commitments.
Is Job Assistance Provided? The moment you have obtained your commercial driver’s license after graduating from trucking school, you will be impatient to start 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 graduates start at. Also, find out which national and local trucking companies their graduates are placed with for employment. If a school has a poor job placement rate or not many Williamsport MD employers recruiting their grads, it might be a sign to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Trucking schools are similar to colleges and other Williamsport MD area vocational or trade 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 understand the options and forms that must be completed.
Attending Truck Driving School near Williamsport MD?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Williamsport Maryland area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
The climate in this area is characterized by hot, humid summers and generally mild to cool winters. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Williamsport has a humid subtropical climate, abbreviated "Cfa" on climate maps.
As of the census of 2010, there were 2,137 people, 960 households, and 543 families residing in the town. The population density was 2,054.8 inhabitants per square mile (793.4/km2). There were 1,080 housing units at an average density of 1,038.5 per square mile (401.0/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 95.6% White, 2.5% African American, 0.1% Native American, 0.3% Asian, 0.3% from other races, and 1.1% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.1% of the population.
There were 960 households of which 25.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 36.7% were married couples living together, 12.9% had a female householder with no husband present, 7.0% had a male householder with no wife present, and 43.4% were non-families. 38.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 19.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.12 and the average family size was 2.73.
Pick the Best CDL School Williamsport MD
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 skills that you will learn at school will be those that mold a new career behind the wheel. There are several options available and understanding them is critical to a new driver’s success. But first and foremost, you must receive the necessary training in order to drive a large commercial vehicle in a safe and professional manner. If you are lacking funds or financing, you may want to consider a captive school. You will pay a reduced or even no tuition in exchange for driving for their contracted carrier. Or you can enroll in an independent school and have the option of driving for the trucking company of your choice, or one of several affiliated with the school. It’s your choice. But no matter how you obtain your training, you will soon be part of a profession that helps our country move as a professional truck driver in Williamsport MD.
Other Awesome Locations in Maryland
Business Results 1 - 10 of 50