How to Pick a Truck Driver School North Scituate Rhode Island
Congrats on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a trucking school near North Scituate RI. Perhaps it has always been your goal to hit the open road while driving a big ole tractor trailer. Or maybe you have conducted some research and have found that a career as a truck driver provides excellent wages and flexible job opportunities. Whatever your reason is, it’s important to receive the proper training by choosing the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are various factors that you’ll want to think about before making your ultimate selection. Location will no doubt be an issue, particularly if you need to commute from your North Scituate 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 objective is to master the skills and knowledge that will enable you to pass the CDL exams and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that purpose in mind, just how do you pick a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to cover in the rest of this article. But first, we are going to talk a little bit about which CDL license you will ultimately need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Will You Require?
To drive commercial vehicles legally within the United States and North Scituate RI, an operator needs to get a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three 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 focus on Class A and B licenses. What distinguishes each class of CDL is the kind of vehicle that the driver can operate in addition to the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Below are brief descriptions for the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License 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. 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 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. Some 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 certain kinds of vehicles, for instance school or passenger buses. And a Class A license holder, with the appropriate required endorsements, may operate any vehicle that a Class B license holder is qualified to operate.
How to Research a Trucking School
When you have determined which Commercial Drivers License you would like to obtain, you can begin the undertaking of assessing the North Scituate RI truck driving schools that you are looking at. As already discussed, location and cost will certainly be your primary concerns. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they should not be your sole concerns. Other issues, for example the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are equally if not more important. So below are some more factors that you need to research while carrying out your due diligence before enrolling in, and especially paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Very few truck driving schools in the North Scituate RI area are accredited due to the demanding process and expense to the schools. On the other hand, 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. Interested students know that the training will be of the highest standard, and that they will get an ample amount of driving time. As an example, PTDI requires 44 hours of actual driving time, not simulations or ride-alongs. So if a school’s course is certified (the course, not the school is certified), students know that the curriculum and training will meet the very high benchmarks 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 negatively rated or a fly by night school typically will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. Having said that, even the top North Scituate RI schools had to start from their first day of training, so use it as one of multiple qualifications. You can also find out what the school’s track record is relating to successful licensing and employment of its graduates. If a school won’t supply those stats, search elsewhere. The schools should also maintain associations with local and national trucking firms. Having a large number of contacts not only confirms a quality reputation within the profession, but also boosts their job assistance program for graduates. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to check with the Rhode Island licensing authority to confirm that the CDL trucking schools you are reviewing are in good standing.
How Effective is the Training? At a minimum, the schools must be licensed in Rhode Island and hire teachers that are trained and experienced. We will talk more about the instructors in the following section. 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 obtaining the individual attention they will need. This is especially true regarding the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And be critical of any school that professes it can teach you to drive trucks in a relatively short time period. Training to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer professionally takes time. The majority of North Scituate RI schools provide training programs that run from 3 weeks to as long as two months, based on the class of license or type of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Instructors? As earlier mentioned, it’s important that the teachers are trained to teach driving techniques and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Although several states have minimum driving time criteria to qualify as a teacher, the more successful 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. Evaluating instructors might be a bit more subjective than other criteria, and possibly the best approach is to visit the school and speak with the teachers in person. You can also speak with a few of the students going through the training and ask if they are happy with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Sufficient Driving Time? Most importantly, a good trucking school will furnish plenty of driving time to its students. Besides, 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 essential training tools, they are no substitute for actual driving. The more training that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will be. And even though driving time differs among schools, a reasonable benchmark is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Contact the North Scituate RI schools you are considering and find out how much driving time they provide.
Are they Independent or Captive ? You can obtain free or discounted training from a number of truck driving schools if you make a commitment to be a driver for a specified carrier for a defined period of time. This is called contract training, and the schools that offer 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 work with one company. The tradeoff is receiving free or less expensive training by surrendering the flexibility to initially work wherever you choose. Clearly contract training has the potential to restrict your income opportunities when beginning your new career. But for some it may be the best way to get affordable training. Just remember to inquire if the North Scituate RI schools you are considering are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Provide CDL Testing Onsite? There are several states that will permit 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driver schools for its students. If onsite testing is permitted in Rhode Island, ask if the schools you are reviewing are DMV certified to provide it. One benefit is that it is more convenient than contending with graduates of competing schools for test times at Rhode Island testing locations. It is also an indication that the DMV considers the approved schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Classes Flexible? As formerly mentioned, CDL training is just 1 to 2 months in length. With such a short term, it’s important that the North Scituate RI 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 particular driving maneuver, then the instructor should be willing to dedicate 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 obligations.
Is Job Assistance Provided? The moment 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 looking at have job placement programs. Ask what their job placement ratio is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, find out which national and local trucking firms their graduates are referred to for employment. If a school has a poor job placement rate or not many North Scituate RI employers recruiting their graduates, it might be a clue to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Truck driver schools are comparable to colleges and other North Scituate RI area vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being available. Ask if the schools you are evaluating have a financial assistance department, or at a minimum someone who can help you get through the options and forms that need to be completed.
Attending Truck Driving School near North Scituate RI?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the North Scituate Rhode Island area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Scituate, Rhode Island
Scituate was first settled in 1710 by emigrants from Scituate, Massachusetts. The original spelling of the town's name was "Satuit", a native Indian word meaning "cold brook" or "cold river." The town was a part of Providence until 1731.
Scituate's first town meeting was held at the Angell Tavern in South Scituate, with Stephen Hopkins elected as the first moderator and Joseph Brown as clerk. Stephen Hopkins later became a governor of Rhode Island and was a signer of the Declaration of Independence. His brother, Esek Hopkins, was Commander in Chief of the Continental Navy beginning in 1776. In 1788 Scituate representative, militia general and Supreme Court Justice William West led an armed anti-federalist mob of farmers into Providence to protest the U.S. Constitution. In 1791 the U.S. Supreme Court decided its first case, West v. Barnes, regarding a farm in Scituate.
Scituate was once made up of a multitude of small villages, including North Scituate, Hope, Ashland, Clayville, Elmdale, Fiskeville, Glenn Rock, Harrisdale, Jackson, Kent, Ponaganset, Potterville, Richmond, Rockland, Saundersville, and South Scituate. Foster was incorporated as a separate town in 1781, taking the western half of Scituate.
Select the Ideal CDL School North Scituate RI
Choosing the appropriate trucking school is an important first step to beginning your new occupation as a long distance or local truck driver. The skills taught at school will be those that mold a new career behind the wheel. There are several options offered and understanding them is critical to a new driver’s success. Most importantly, you must receive the proper training in order to drive a big commercial vehicle in a safe and professional manner. If you are lacking money or financing, you may need to look into a captive school. You will pay a lower or even no tuition by agreeing to drive for their contracted carrier. Or you can select an independent school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking firm of your choosing, or one of several associated with the school. It’s your choice. But regardless of how you obtain your training, you will in the near future be part of a profession that helps America move as a professional truck driver in North Scituate RI.
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