How to Decide on a CDL Driving School Waynesboro Tennessee
Congratulations on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a CDL school near Waynesboro TN. Maybe it has always been your goal to hit the open road while operating a big ole tractor trailer. Or maybe you have conducted some analysis and have found that an occupation as a truck driver offers excellent income and flexible job opportunities. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s essential to receive the appropriate training by choosing the right CDL school in your area. When evaluating your options, there are certain variables that you’ll want to consider prior to making your ultimate selection. Location will certainly be important, especially if you have to commute from your Waynesboro residence. The cost will also be important, but choosing a school based entirely on price is not the ideal means to guarantee you’ll obtain the appropriate training. Just remember, your objective is to master the skills and knowledge that will enable you to pass the CDL examinations and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that objective in mind, just how do you decide on a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to cover in the remainder of this article. But first, we are going to discuss a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will ultimately need.
Which CDL Will You Need?
To drive commercial vehicles lawfully within the United States and Waynesboro TN, a driver must obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 license classes that one can qualify 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 differentiates 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 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is required to operate any vehicle that has a GCWR of more than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of greater than 10,000 lbs. Some 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 more 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 certain kinds of vehicles, such as passenger or school buses. And a Class A licensee, with the appropriate needed endorsements, may operate any vehicle that a Class B licensee is authorized to drive.
How to Evaluate a CDL School
When you have decided which CDL you want to pursue, you can begin the undertaking of evaluating the Waynesboro TN truck driver schools that you are considering. As already mentioned, location and cost will certainly be your initial considerations. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they must not be your sole concerns. Other factors, such as the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are similarly or even more important. So below are several more factors that you need to research while conducting your due diligence prior to selecting, and particularly paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Not many trucking schools in the Waynesboro TN area are accredited due to the stringent process and expense to the schools. However, 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 certain advantages. Potential students recognize that the training will be of the highest standard, and that they will receive an ample amount of driving time. For 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 comply with the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One indicator to help evaluate the quality of a trucking school is how long it has been in business. A negatively ranked or a fly by night school normally will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the best of Waynesboro TN schools had to begin from their opening day of training, so consider it as one of several qualifiers. You can also find out what the school’s track record is concerning successful licensing and employment of its graduating students. If a school won’t share those numbers, search elsewhere. The schools should additionally maintain relationships with regional and national trucking firms. Having numerous contacts not only confirms a quality reputation within the industry, but also bolsters their job placement program for students. It also wouldn’t hurt to get in touch with the Tennessee licensing department to verify that the CDL trucker schools you are considering are in good standing.
How Good is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools must be licensed in Tennessee and employ instructors that are trained and experienced. We will discuss more about the teachers in the next section. Also, the student to instructor ratio should not be higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be getting 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 claims it can teach you to drive trucks in a comparatively short time period. Training to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully requires time. Most Waynesboro TN schools provide training programs that range from 3 weeks to as long as two months, based on the license class or kind of vehicle.
How Good are the Instructors? As earlier stated, it’s essential that the teachers are trained to teach driving techniques and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Although a number of states have minimum driving time prerequisites to be certified as a teacher, the more successful driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also important that the instructors keep up to date with industry developments or any new laws or changes in regulations. Assessing instructors might be a bit more intuitive than other standards, and perhaps the ideal approach is to check out the school and speak with the teachers face to face. You can also speak with a few of the students completing the training and find out if they are happy with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Plenty of Driving Time? Above all else, an excellent truck driver school will provide ample driving time to its students. Besides, isn’t that what it’s all about? Driving time is the real 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 alternative for real driving. The more training that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will become. And even though driving time fluctuates among schools, a good standard is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Get in touch with the Waynesboro TN schools you are looking at and ask how much driving time they provide.
Are they Captive or Independent ? You can receive discounted or even free training from certain trucking schools if you enter into an agreement to be a driver for a specified carrier for a defined period of time. This is what’s known as contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So instead of having affiliations with a wide range of trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only refer to one company. The benefit is receiving free or less expensive training by surrendering the flexibility to initially work wherever you have an opportunity. Clearly contract training has the potential to limit your income opportunities when starting out. But for many it may be the ideal way to obtain affordable training. Just be sure to inquire if the Waynesboro TN schools you are contemplating 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 driver schools for its grads. If onsite testing is available in Tennessee, find out if the schools you are considering are DMV certified to offer it. One benefit is that it is more convenient than competing with graduates of competing schools for test times at Tennessee testing facilities. It is moreover an indication that the DMV believes the approved schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Class Times Convenient? As formerly mentioned, truck driver training is only about one to two months in length. With such a brief duration, it’s imperative that the Waynesboro TN school you enroll in provides flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. As an example, if you’re having difficulty learning a particular driving maneuver, then the instructor should be prepared to dedicate more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still holding a job while attending training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other obligations.
Is Job Assistance Offered? As soon as you have acquired your CDL license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be anxious to start 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 grads start at. Also, ask which local and national trucking firms their graduates are placed with for employment. If a school has a low job placement rate or few Waynesboro TN employers hiring their graduates, it may be a sign to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Truck driver schools are much like colleges and other Waynesboro TN 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 evaluating have a financial assistance department, or at least someone who can help you understand the options and forms that must be completed.
Attending Truck Driving School near Waynesboro TN?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Waynesboro Tennessee area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Waynesboro was founded in 1821 as a county seat for the newly created Wayne County. The city initially consisted of a 40-acre (16 ha) plot that included the courthouse and jail. A school, Ashland Academy, was established in 1843. The city incorporated in 1850.
Waynesboro is located at 35°19′14″N 87°45′25″W / 35.32056°N 87.75694°W / 35.32056; -87.75694 (35.320546, -87.756984). The city is concentrated around the junction of State Route 13 and U.S. Route 64, 105 miles (169 km) south of Nashville, and 135 miles (217 km) east Memphis. State Route 99, which intersects US 64 in eastern Waynesboro, connects the city with Hohenwald to the northeast. The Natchez Trace Parkway intersects US 64 a few miles east of Waynesboro.
Waynesboro lies along the banks of the Green River, which slices a narrow valley oriented north-to-south en route to its mouth along the Buffalo River to the north. Hurricane Creek, which approaches from the southeast, empties into the Green River just north of the city. Much of the forest northwest of Waynesboro is part of the Eagle Creek Wildlife Management Area.
Choose the Right CDL School Waynesboro TN
Picking the right truck driving school is an important first step to beginning your new occupation as a local or long distance 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 offered and understanding them is crucial to a new driver’s success. Most importantly, you must receive the appropriate training in order to drive a big commercial vehicle in a professional and safe fashion. If you are short on funds or financing, you might want to look into a captive school. You will pay a lower 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 many associated with the school. It’s your choice. But no matter how you receive your training, you will in the near future be entering a profession that helps our country move as a professional truck driver in Waynesboro TN.
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