How to Choose a Truck Driver School Wyoming Pennsylvania
Congrats on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a CDL school near Wyoming PA. Maybe it has always been your fantasy to hit the open road while driving a huge tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have done some research and have found that a career as a truck driver offers good pay and flexible job prospects. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s important to receive the appropriate training by enrolling in the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are certain variables that you’ll want to consider before making your final selection. Location will no doubt be an issue, particularly if you need to commute from your Wyoming home. The expense will also be important, but selecting a school based exclusively on price is not the ideal method to make certain you’ll obtain the appropriate education. Don’t forget, your goal is to master the knowledge and skills that will allow you to pass the CDL exams and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that goal in mind, just how do you decide on a truck driving school? That is what we are going to address in the remainder of this article. But first, we are going to discuss a little bit about which CDL license you will eventually need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Should You Get?
In order to drive commercial vehicles lawfully within the United States and Wyoming PA, an operator must obtain 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 driver school, we will address Class A and B licenses. What differentiates 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 brief descriptions of the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL 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. 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 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. 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 might also need endorsements to drive specific kinds of vehicles, for instance school or passenger buses. And a Class A license holder, with the proper required endorsements, may operate any vehicle that a Class B licensee is qualified to drive.
How to Evaluate a Trucking School
After you have decided which Commercial Drivers License you would like to obtain, you can start the process of assessing the Wyoming PA truck driver schools that you are considering. As already discussed, cost and location will undoubtedly be your initial concerns. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they should not be your only concerns. Other factors, including the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are equally or even more important. So below are some more points that you need to research while performing your due diligence before enrolling in, and especially paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Not many truck driving schools in the Wyoming PA area are accredited due to the rigorous process and expense to the schools. However, 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. Potential students know that the training will be of the highest caliber, and that they will get lots of driving time. As an example, PTDI requires 44 hours of real 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 training and curriculum will satisfy the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One clue to help evaluate the quality of a truck driver school is how long it has been in operation. A poorly reviewed or a fly by night school typically will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. Having said that, even the best of Wyoming PA schools had to start from their opening day of training, so consider it as one of multiple qualifications. You can also find out what the school’s history is pertaining to successful licensing and employment of its graduates. If a school won’t supply those numbers, search elsewhere. The schools should also have relationships with regional and national trucking companies. Having a large number of contacts not only affirms a superior reputation within the industry, but also boosts their job assistance program for students. It also wouldn’t hurt to get in touch with the Pennsylvania licensing authority to confirm that the CDL trucker schools you are considering are in good standing.
How Good is the Training? At a minimum, the schools must be licensed in Pennsylvania and employ instructors that are trained and experienced. We will discuss more about the instructors in the next 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 receiving the personalized instruction 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 claims it can train you to drive trucks in a comparatively short time frame. Training to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully takes time. The majority of Wyoming PA schools provide training programs that range from 3 weeks to as long as two months, based on the class of license or kind of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Instructors? As already stated, it’s essential that the instructors are trained to teach driving techniques and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Even though several states have minimum driving time requirements to be certified as a teacher, the more professional driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also vital that the teachers keep current with industry developments or any new laws or changes in regulations. Assessing teachers may be a bit more subjective than other criteria, and perhaps the best method is to visit the school and talk to the instructors face to face. You can also speak with a few 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.
Sufficient Driving Time? Above all else, a good truck driving school will furnish ample driving time to its students. Besides, 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 replacement for actual driving. The more training that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will be. And even though driving time can vary between schools, a good 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 Wyoming PA schools you are researching and ask how much driving time they provide.
Are they Independent or Captive ? You can get discounted or even free training from certain truck driver schools if you enter into an agreement to drive for a particular carrier for a defined time period. This is referred to as contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So instead of having associations with many different trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only work with one company. The benefit is receiving free or less expensive training by giving up 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 only way to get affordable training. Just be sure to find out if the Wyoming PA schools you are looking at are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Is there CDL Testing Onsite? There are several states that will allow 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its grads. If onsite testing is allowed in Pennsylvania, find out if the schools you are looking at are DMV certified to provide it. One advantage is that it is more accommodating than contending with graduates from other schools for test times at Pennsylvania testing centers. It is moreover an indication that the DMV considers the authorized schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Class Times Flexible? As formerly mentioned, truck driving training is just 1 to 2 months in length. With such a brief duration, it’s essential that the Wyoming 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 willing to spend more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still holding a job while going to training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other responsibilities.
Is Job Placement Provided? Once you have attained your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be keen to begin your new career. Confirm that the schools you are considering have job assistance programs. Ask what their job placement rate is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, ask which national and local trucking firms their graduates are placed with for employment. If a school has a low job placement rate or not many Wyoming PA employers hiring their graduates, it might be a sign to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Trucking schools are much like colleges and other Wyoming PA area vocational or trade 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 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 Wyoming PA?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Wyoming Pennsylvania area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Wyoming is a borough in the Greater Pittston area of Luzerne County, Pennsylvania. It is located 5 miles (8.0 km) north of Wilkes-Barre (along the Susquehanna River). The population was 3,073 as of the 2010 census.
By the 1700s, the Wyoming Valley was inhabited by several Native American tribes (including the Susquehannock and the Delaware). In the mid-18th century, Connecticut settlers ventured into the valley. These were the first recorded Europeans in the region. In 1768, the Susquehanna Company of Connecticut devised a plan to divide the Wyoming Valley into five townships. Each township was to be divided amongst forty settlers. Wyoming was originally part of Kingston Township.
On June 30, 1778, British (Tory) forces, under the command of Colonel John Butler, arrived in the Wyoming Valley to confront the American settlers. On July 1, the American militia at Fort Wintermute (Wintermoot) and Fort Jenkins (a Patriot stockade in present-day West Pittston) surrendered.
Select the Ideal CDL School Wyoming PA
Choosing the appropriate truck driving school is a critical first step to launching your new profession as a local or long distance truck driver. The skills that you will learn at school will be those that shape a new career behind the wheel. There are many options available and understanding them is vital to a new driver’s success. But first and foremost, you must receive the proper training in order to operate a big commercial vehicle in a safe and professional fashion. If you are short on cash or financing, you may need 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 the freedom to drive for the trucking firm of your choosing, or one of many affiliated with the school. It’s your choice. But regardless of how you receive your training, you will soon be entering an industry that helps America move as a professional trucker in Wyoming PA.
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