How to Decide on a Truck Driver School Woods Hole Massachusetts
Congratulations on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a CDL school near Woods Hole MA. Perhaps it has always been your goal to hit the open road while operating a huge tractor trailer. Or maybe you have done some analysis and have discovered that a career as a truck driver provides good income and flexible job prospects. No matter what your reason is, it’s important to obtain the proper training by selecting the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are various factors that you’ll want to think about before making your final selection. Location will undoubtedly be important, particularly if you have to commute from your Woods Hole home. The expense will also be of importance, but choosing a school based exclusively on price is not the ideal means to make sure you’ll get the appropriate training. Don’t forget, your goal is to master the skills and knowledge that will allow you to pass the CDL exams and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that objective in mind, just how do you decide on a truck driving school? That is what we are going to address in the balance of this article. But first, we are going to talk a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will ultimately need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Will You Require?
In order to drive commercial vehicles lawfully within the USA and Woods Hole MA, an operator must get a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 license classes that a driver can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the topic of this article is how to pick a truck driving school, we will highlight Class A and B licenses. What distinguishes each class of CDL is the type 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 summaries for 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 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 CDL is required 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. Some 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 might also need endorsements to drive specific kinds of vehicles, such as school or passenger buses. And a Class A license holder, with the appropriate required endorsements, may drive any vehicle that a Class B license holder is authorized to drive.
How to Evaluate a CDL School
As soon as you have determined which CDL you wish to obtain, you can start the process of researching the Woods Hole MA truck driving schools that you are considering. As previously discussed, location and cost will undoubtedly be your primary concerns. But it can’t be stressed enough that they should not be your only concerns. Other issues, such as the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are equally if not more important. So below are some additional factors that you need to research while performing your due diligence prior to choosing, and especially paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Not many trucking schools in the Woods Hole MA area are accredited due to the demanding process and cost to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more common and is provided by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not required to become certified, but there are certain advantages. Interested students know that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will receive plenty of driving time. As an example, PTDI mandates 44 hours of actual 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 clue to help assess the quality of a truck driver school is how long it has been in business. A poorly ranked or a fly by night school typically will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. On the other hand, even the best of Woods Hole MA schools had to begin from their opening day of training, so use it as one of multiple qualifications. 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 share those stats, search elsewhere. The schools should additionally have relationships with local and national trucking firms. Having numerous contacts not only confirms a quality reputation within the trade, but also boosts their job placement program for graduates. It also wouldn’t hurt to contact the Massachusetts licensing department to confirm that the CDL trucking schools you are researching are in good standing.
How Good is the Training? At a minimum, the schools must be licensed in Massachusetts and employ instructors that are trained and experienced. We will discuss more about the instructors 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 receiving the individual instruction they will need. This is particularly true concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And look out for any school that insists it can teach you to be a truck driver in a relatively short period of time. Learning to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully requires time. The majority of Woods Hole MA schools provide training programs that range from three weeks to as long as 2 months, depending on the license class or kind of vehicle.
How Good are the Trainers? As earlier mentioned, it’s essential that the instructors are qualified to teach driving techniques and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Even though several states have minimum driving time requirements to qualify as a teacher, the more professional driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also important that the teachers keep current with industry developments or any new laws or changes in regulations. Evaluating teachers may be a little more subjective than other standards, and possibly the best method is to check out the school and speak with the instructors face to face. You can also talk to a few of the students completing the training and ask if they are happy with the level of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
Enough Driving Time? Most importantly, a great 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 actual time spent behind the wheel driving a truck. Although the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are important training methods, they are no alternative for actual driving. The more training that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will become. And even though driving time can vary among schools, a reasonable 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 Woods Hole MA schools you are researching and find out how much driving time they provide.
Are they Independent or Captive ? It’s possible to get free or discounted training from certain truck driving schools if you enter into an agreement to be a driver for a specified carrier for a defined amount of time. This is referred to as contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So rather than maintaining affiliations with many different trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only work with one company. The tradeoff is receiving free or less expensive training by giving up the flexibility to initially be a driver wherever you choose. Clearly contract training has the potential to reduce your income prospects when starting out. But for many it may be the ideal way to get affordable training. Just be sure to find out if the Woods Hole MA schools you are considering are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Provide CDL Testing Onsite? There are some states that will permit 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its students. If onsite testing is allowed in Massachusetts, ask if the schools you are considering are DMV certified to provide it. One benefit is that it is more convenient than contending with graduates from competing schools for test times at Massachusetts testing locations. It is also an indication that the DMV believes the authorized schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Classes Flexible? As previously noted, CDL training is just one to two months long. With such a brief duration, it’s imperative that the Woods Hole MA school you enroll in provides flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. For example, if you’re having difficulty learning a particular driving maneuver, then the teacher should be willing to commit more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still employed while going to training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other commitments.
Is Job Placement Offered? As soon as you have obtained your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be eager to start your new profession. Confirm that the schools you are reviewing have job assistance programs. Find out what their job placement ratio is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, ask which national and local trucking firms their graduates are referred to for employment. If a school has a poor job placement rate or few Woods Hole MA employers recruiting their grads, it may be a clue to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Truck driver schools are much like colleges and other Woods Hole MA area vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being offered. Find out if the schools you are examining have a financial assistance department, or at least someone who can help you get through the options and forms that need to be submitted.
Attending Truck Driving School near Woods Hole MA?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Woods Hole Massachusetts area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Woods Hole, Massachusetts
Woods Hole is a census-designated place in the town of Falmouth in Barnstable County, Massachusetts, United States. It lies at the extreme southwest corner of Cape Cod, near Martha's Vineyard and the Elizabeth Islands. The population was 781 at the 2010 census.
It is the site of several famous marine science institutions, including Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, the Marine Biological Laboratory, the Woods Hole Research Center, NOAA's Northeast Fisheries Science Center (which started the Woods Hole scientific community in 1871), the Woods Hole Science Aquarium, a USGS coastal and marine geology center, and the home campus of the Sea Education Association. It is also the site of United States Coast Guard Sector Southeastern New England (formerly USCG Group Woods Hole), the Nobska Light lighthouse, and the terminus of the Steamship Authority ferry route between Cape Cod and the island of Martha's Vineyard.
Historically, Woods Hole included one of the few good harbors (along with Hyannis) on the southern side of Cape Cod (i.e. Great Harbor, contained by Penzance Point). The community became a center for whaling, shipping, and fishing, prior to its dominance today by tourism and marine research. At the end of the nineteenth century, Woods Hole was the home of the Pacific Guano Company, which produced fertilizer from guano imported from islands in the Pacific Ocean, the Caribbean, and the coast of South Carolina. After the firm went bankrupt in 1889, Long Neck–the peninsula on which their factory was located–was renamed Penzance Point and was developed with Shingle-Style summer homes for bankers and lawyers from New York and Boston. Notable property owners on Penzance Point at the beginning of the twentieth century included Seward Prosser of New York's Bankers Trust Company; Francis Bartow, a partner in J. P. Morgan and Company; Joseph Lee, a partner in Lee, Higginson & Co.; and Franklin A. Park, an executive of Singer Sewing Machine. Other notable businessmen established homes on Gansett Point, Nobska Point, and at Quissett Harbor, further from the village center.
Select the Best Truck Driver School Woods Hole MA
Choosing the ideal truck driving school is an essential 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 forge a new career behind the wheel. There are many options offered and understanding them is critical to a new driver’s success. Most importantly, you must get the necessary training in order to drive a big commercial vehicle in a safe and professional fashion. If you are short on money or financing, you may want to look into a captive school. You will pay a reduced or in some cases no tuition by agreeing to drive for their contracted carrier. Or you can choose an independent school and have the option of driving for the trucking firm of your choosing, or one of several associated with the school. It’s your decision. But regardless of how you receive your training, you will soon be joining an industry that helps America move as a professional truck driver in Woods Hole MA.
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