How to Choose a Truck Driver School Wynnewood Pennsylvania
Best wishes on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a CDL school near Wynnewood PA. Perhaps it has always been your ambition to hit the open road while driving a monster tractor trailer. Or maybe you have conducted some research and have found that a career as a truck driver offers excellent wages and flexible work prospects. Whatever your reason is, it’s imperative to obtain the proper training by picking the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are several factors that you’ll need to think about prior to making your final choice. Location will certainly be important, especially if you have to commute from your Wynnewood home. The expense will also be of importance, but choosing a school based solely on price is not the optimal way to guarantee you’ll receive the right training. Don’t forget, your objective is to master the knowledge and skills that will allow you to pass the CDL exams and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that goal in mind, just how do you select a truck driving school? That is what we are going to discuss in the balance of this article. But first, we are going to discuss a little bit about which CDL license you will eventually need.
Which CDL Will You Need?
In order to operate commercial vehicles lawfully within the United States and Wynnewood PA, an operator must attain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three classes of licenses that one can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the topic of this article is how to pick a truck driver school, we will highlight Class A and Class 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 brief descriptions for the two 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. 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 drive single vehicles having a GVWR of greater than 26,000 lbs., or a GCWR of more 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 operate certain kinds of vehicles, for example school or passenger buses. And a Class A license holder, with the appropriate needed endorsements, can operate any vehicle that a Class B licensee is authorized to operate.
How to Assess a CDL School
As soon as you have decided which CDL you wish to obtain, you can start the undertaking of researching the Wynnewood PA truck driver schools that you are considering. As earlier discussed, cost and location will no doubt be your primary considerations. But it can’t be stressed enough that they should not be your only concerns. Other variables, such as the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are equally if not more important. So following are a few additional factors that you need to research while performing your due diligence prior to selecting, and especially paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Very few trucking schools in the Wynnewood PA area are accredited because of the stringent process and expense to the schools. However, 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. Potential students recognize that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will be given an ample amount of driving time. For example, PTDI mandates 44 hours of actual driving time, not simulations or ride-alongs. 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 assess the quality of a truck driver school is how long it has been in operation. A poorly rated or a fly by night school typically will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the top Wynnewood PA schools had to start from their opening day of training, so use it as one of multiple qualifications. You can also learn what the school’s history is concerning successful licensing and employment of its graduates. If a school won’t share those numbers, look elsewhere. The schools should additionally have relationships with regional and national trucking firms. Having numerous contacts not only points to a quality reputation within the profession, but also boosts their job placement program for graduates. It also wouldn’t hurt to check with the Pennsylvania licensing authority to verify that the CDL trucker schools you are researching are in compliance.
How Good is the Training? At a minimum, the schools must be licensed in Pennsylvania and employ teachers that are trained and experienced. We will talk more about the instructors in the next section. In addition, the student to instructor proportion should not be greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be receiving the personalized attention they will need. This is particularly true regarding the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And look out for any school that professes it can teach you to drive trucks in a comparatively short period of time. Training to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer professionally requires time. Most Wynnewood PA schools provide training courses that run from 3 weeks to as long as two months, depending on the class of license or kind of vehicle.
How Good are the Instructors? As previously stated, it’s important that the instructors are trained to teach driving techniques and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Even though several states have minimum driving time requirements to qualify as an instructor, the more professional driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also vital that the instructors keep up to date with industry advancements or any new laws or changes in regulations. Assessing instructors might be a bit more subjective than other criteria, and perhaps the ideal method is to pay a visit to the school and speak with the instructors in person. You can also talk to 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.
Plenty of Driving Time? Above all else, a great truck driving school will provide lots of 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. While the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are necessary training tools, they are no replacement 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 varies between schools, a reasonable benchmark is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide at least 44 hours of driving time. Check with the Wynnewood PA schools you are considering and ask how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Captive or Independent ? You can obtain free or discounted training from some truck driving schools if you enter into an agreement to drive for a specific carrier for a defined period of time. This is referred to as contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So instead of maintaining affiliations with numerous trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only refer to one company. The benefit is receiving less expensive or even free training by surrendering the freedom to initially be a driver wherever you have an opportunity. Obviously contract training has the potential to limit your income opportunities when starting out. But for many it may be the ideal way to receive affordable training. Just be sure to find out if the Wynnewood PA schools you are looking at are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Provide Onsite CDL Testing? There are some states that will permit third party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its students. If onsite testing is permitted in Pennsylvania, ask if the schools you are considering are DMV certified to offer it. One benefit is that it is more accommodating than competing with graduates from other schools for test times at Pennsylvania testing locations. It is moreover an indication that the DMV views the approved schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Classes Flexible? As formerly noted, truck driving training is only about 1 to 2 months long. With such a short term, it’s imperative that the Wynnewood PA school you enroll in 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 devote 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? As soon as you have received your commercial driver’s license after graduating from trucking school, you will be keen to begin your new profession. Confirm that the schools you are considering have job assistance programs. Ask what their job placement rate is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, ask which local and national trucking companies their graduates are placed with for employment. If a school has a low job placement rate or not many Wynnewood PA employers recruiting their grads, it may be a clue to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Given? Trucking schools are comparable to colleges and other Wynnewood PA area trade or technical schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being available. Find out if the schools you are evaluating have a financial assistance department, or at least someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that need to be completed.
Attending Truck Driving School near Wynnewood PA?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Wynnewood Pennsylvania area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Wynnewood is a suburban unincorporated community, west of Philadelphia, that straddles Lower Merion Township, Montgomery County and Haverford Township, Delaware County, Pennsylvania, United States. It was named in 1691 for Dr. Thomas Wynne, William Penn's physician and the first Speaker of the Pennsylvania General Assembly. Lower Merion Township is the fifth-most-affluent town in the United States. Wynnewood is one of many neighborhoods on the historic Pennsylvania Main Line, and is the home of institutions such as Lankenau Hospital, St. Charles Borromeo Seminary,Palmer Theological Seminary, and Friends' Central School.
Wynnewood is neither an incorporated area nor a census-designated place; all data is for its ZIP code 19096. As of 2010 Census, there were 13,572 people and 5,436 households residing in the community. In 2000, the population density was 3,882 people per square mile. The racial makeup of the community was 92.9% White, 3.2% Asian, 2.5% African American, 0.40% from other races, and 1.0% from two or more races. 1.2% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
The median income for a household in the community was $86,861, and the median income for a family was $111,683. The per capita income for the community was $51,543. About 0.9% of families and 2.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 7.7% of those under age 18 and 10.1% of those age 65 or over.
Choose the Best Trucking School Wynnewood PA
Picking the ideal truck driving school is a critical first step to launching 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 appropriate training in order to operate a large commercial vehicle in a professional and safe manner. If you are short on funds or financing, you may want to consider a captive school. You will pay a lower or even no tuition in exchange for driving for their contracted carrier. Or you can choose 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 decision. But regardless of how you obtain your training, you will soon be part of an industry that helps our country move as a professional truck driver in Wynnewood PA.
Other Awesome Locations in Pennsylvania
Business Results 1 - 10 of 107