How to Decide on a CDL Driving School Whites Creek Tennessee
Best wishes on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a trucking school near Whites Creek TN. Perhaps it has always been your goal to hit the open highway while operating a big ole tractor trailer. Or possibly you have done some analysis and have discovered that a career as a truck driver offers excellent pay and flexible work opportunities. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s essential to get the proper training by enrolling in the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are a number of variables that you’ll need to examine prior to making your final choice. Location will no doubt be important, particularly if you need to commute from your Whites Creek residence. The expense will also be of importance, but selecting a school based exclusively on price is not the optimal means to guarantee you’ll receive the proper education. Don’t forget, your goal is to learn the skills and knowledge 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 pick a truck driving school? That is what we are going to discuss in the remainder of this article. But first, we are going to review a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will eventually need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Will You Require?
To drive commercial vehicles legally within the United States and Whites Creek TN, an operator needs to attain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 license classes that a person can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the topic of this article is how to choose a truck driver school, we will address Class A and Class B licenses. What differentiates each class of CDL is the type of vehicle that the driver can operate in addition to the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Following are short descriptions of the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is needed 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 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 needed 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 Commercial Drivers Licenses may also need endorsements to drive specific types of vehicles, such as school or passenger buses. And a Class A license holder, with the proper needed endorsements, may drive any vehicle that a Class B license holder is authorized to operate.
How to Assess a CDL School
As soon as you have determined which CDL you would like to pursue, you can start the process of assessing the Whites Creek TN truck driving schools that you are considering. As previously mentioned, location and cost will no doubt be your initial considerations. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they should not be your only concerns. Other issues, such as the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are equally or even more important. So following are several more factors that you should research while carrying out your due diligence prior to choosing, and particularly paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Not many truck driving schools in the Whites Creek TN area are accredited due to the stringent process and cost to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more prevalent and is offered by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not required to become certified, but there are a number of advantages. Prospective students recognize that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will receive plenty of driving time. As an example, PTDI calls for 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 meet the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One clue to help determine the quality of a trucking school is how long it has been in operation. A poorly reviewed or a fly by night school usually will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. On the other hand, even the top Whites Creek TN schools had to start from their first day of training, so consider it as one of several qualifications. You can also ask what the school’s history is regarding successful licensing and employment of its graduating students. If a school won’t share those stats, look elsewhere. The schools should additionally maintain associations with regional and national trucking companies. Having a large number of contacts not only affirms a quality reputation within the trade, but also bolsters their job assistance program for graduates. It also wouldn’t hurt to get in touch with the Tennessee licensing authority to make sure that the CDL trucker schools you are reviewing are in compliance.
How Good is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools should be licensed in Tennessee and hire instructors that are experienced and trained. We will cover more about the teachers in the next segment. Also, the student to instructor proportion should not be higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be getting the individual instruction they will need. This is particularly true regarding the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And be critical of any school that claims it can train you to drive trucks in a comparatively short time frame. Training to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully requires time. The majority of Whites Creek TN 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 Good are the Instructors? As previously stated, it’s important that the teachers are trained to teach driving methods 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 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 teachers may be a bit more intuitive than other standards, and perhaps the best approach is to pay a visit to the school and talk to the instructors face to face. You can also speak with a few of the students completing the training and find out if they are satisfied with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Adequate Driving Time? Above all else, a good truck driving school will furnish 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. Even though the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are essential training tools, they are no substitute for actual driving. The more instruction that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will be. Although driving time varies among schools, a reasonable standard is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Check with the Whites Creek TN schools you are researching and find out how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Independent or Captive ? You can get free or discounted training from some truck driving schools if you make a commitment to be a driver for a specified carrier for a defined time period. This is referred to as contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So rather than having relationships with a wide range of 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 surrendering the freedom to initially be a driver wherever you have an opportunity. Naturally contract training has the potential to reduce your income opportunities when starting out. But for some it may be the only way to obtain affordable training. Just make sure to ask if the Whites Creek TN schools you are looking at are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Is there CDL Testing Onsite? There are a number of states that will permit 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driver schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is permitted in Tennessee, find out if the schools you are reviewing are DMV certified to provide it. One advantage is that it is more accommodating than contending with graduates of other schools for test times at Tennessee testing centers. It is moreover an indicator that the DMV deems the approved schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Classes Convenient? As earlier noted, CDL training is only about one to two months long. With such a brief term, it’s imperative that the Whites Creek TN school you enroll in provides flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. As an example, if you’re having difficulty learning a certain driving maneuver, then the instructor should be willing to dedicate more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still working while attending training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other responsibilities.
Is Job Placement Offered? As soon as you have attained your commercial driver’s license after graduating from trucking school, you will be impatient to start your new career. Make sure that the schools you are considering have job placement programs. Find out what their job placement percentage is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, find out which national and local trucking companies their graduates are placed with for hiring. If a school has a poor job placement rate or few Whites Creek TN employers hiring their graduates, it might be a clue to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Trucking schools are comparable to colleges and other Whites Creek TN area vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being offered. Find out if the schools you are examining have a financial assistance department, or at least someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that must be submitted.
Attending Truck Driving School near Whites Creek TN?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Whites Creek Tennessee area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Whites Creek, Tennessee
Whites Creek is a neighborhood of Nashville in the northern part of Davidson County, Tennessee. The community is named for the creek of the same name running north-south along U.S. Route 431. The Whites Creek area has its own US Post Office, with the ZIP Code 37189.
The historic Whites Creek District was established in 1780 and has some of the best preserved examples of the architectural and historical significance of this era in Middle Tennessee. It is now a part of Metro Nashville.
The criminal James Gang visited Whites Creek and rested there in the 1800s. Gang member Bill Ryan was arrested on March 25, 1881 in Whites Creek, prompting gang leaders Frank and Jesse James to leave the area.
Pick the Best CDL School Whites Creek TN
Selecting the right truck driver school is an important first step to beginning your new vocation as a local or long distance 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 crucial to a new driver’s success. Most importantly, you must get the proper training in order to operate a large commercial vehicle in a professional and safe manner. If you are lacking money or financing, you may want 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 option of driving for the trucking firm of your choice, or one of many associated with the school. It’s your choice. But regardless of how you get your training, you will soon be part of an industry that helps our country move as a professional truck driver in Whites Creek TN.
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