How to Decide on a CDL Driving School Wills Point Texas
Congrats on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a CDL school near Wills Point TX. Maybe it has always been your dream to hit the open highway while operating a huge tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have conducted some research and have discovered that an occupation as a truck driver provides good income and flexible job opportunities. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s imperative to obtain the proper training by enrolling in the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are a number of factors that you’ll want to examine prior to making your ultimate choice. Location will certainly be important, especially if you need to commute from your Wills Point home. The cost will also be important, but selecting a school based exclusively on price is not the ideal method to make sure you’ll obtain the appropriate education. Just remember, your objective is to master the knowledge and skills that will enable you to pass the CDL examinations and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that goal in mind, just how do you select a truck driving school? That is what we are going to cover 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?
In order to drive commercial vehicles lawfully within the United States and Wills Point TX, a driver must obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 classes of licenses that one can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the subject of this article is how to choose a truck driver school, we will address Class A and Class B licenses. What distinguishes each class of CDL is the kind of vehicle that the driver can operate as well as the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Following are brief descriptions of the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is required to drive 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 needed 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. 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 Commercial Drivers Licenses may also need endorsements to drive specific types of vehicles, for example passenger or school buses. And a Class A license holder, with the appropriate needed endorsements, can operate any vehicle that a Class B licensee is qualified to drive.
How to Evaluate a Truck Driving School
When you have determined which CDL you want to pursue, you can begin the process of assessing the Wills Point TX truck driving schools that you are looking at. As already mentioned, cost and location will no doubt be your initial considerations. But it can’t be stressed enough that they must not be your only concerns. Other factors, for instance the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are equally or even more important. So following are some additional points that you need to research while performing your due diligence prior to enrolling in, and especially paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Very few truck driving schools in the Wills Point TX area are accredited because of the rigorous process and cost to the schools. However, certification is more commonplace 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 quality, and that they will get an ample amount of driving time. As an example, PTDI requires 44 hours of real driving time, not ride-alongs or simulations. 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 Business? One indicator to help determine the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in operation. A negatively ranked or a fly by night school usually will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the best of Wills Point TX schools had to start from their opening day of training, so use it as one of several qualifications. You can also learn what the school’s history is relating to successful licensing and employment of its graduating students. If a school won’t provide those numbers, look elsewhere. The schools should additionally maintain associations with regional 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 Texas licensing department to verify that the CDL trucking schools you are reviewing are in compliance.
How Effective is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools must be licensed in Texas and hire instructors that are trained and experienced. We will cover more about the teachers in the next segment. In addition, the student to instructor proportion should not be greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be receiving the individual instruction they will need. This is particularly true concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And watch out for any school that professes it can train you to be a truck driver in a relatively short period of time. Learning to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully takes time. Most Wills Point TX schools provide training courses that run from three weeks to as long as 2 months, based on the class of license or kind of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Instructors? As earlier mentioned, it’s important that the teachers are qualified to teach driving methods and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Although several states have minimum driving time criteria to be certified as a teacher, the more successful driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also important that the teachers keep current with industry advancements or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Evaluating teachers might be a bit more intuitive than other criteria, and possibly the ideal approach is to check out the school and speak with the teachers face to face. You can also talk to a few of the students completing the training and ask if they are happy with the level of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
Enough Driving Time? Above all else, an excellent trucking 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 simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are important training methods, they are no alternative for actual driving. The more training that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will be. Although driving time fluctuates between schools, a good benchmark is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish no less than 44 hours of driving time. Get in touch with the Wills Point TX schools you are considering and find out how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Independent or Captive ? You can get free or discounted training from certain truck driver schools if you make a commitment to be a driver for a particular carrier for a defined time period. This is referred to as contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So rather than maintaining affiliations with numerous trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only work with one company. The benefit is receiving less expensive or even free training by surrendering the flexibility to initially be a driver wherever you choose. Obviously contract training has the potential to reduce your income prospects when starting out. But for many it may be the ideal way to get affordable training. Just remember to find out if the Wills Point TX schools you are contemplating are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Offer Onsite CDL Testing? There are some states that will allow third party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is allowed in Texas, ask if the schools you are considering are DMV certified to provide it. One benefit is that it is more convenient than contending with graduates from other schools for test times at Texas testing centers. It is also an indication that the DMV regards the approved schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Classes Convenient? As earlier mentioned, truck driver training is only about 1 to 2 months long. With such a brief duration, it’s essential that the Wills Point TX school you select offers flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. For example, if you’re having difficulty learning a certain driving maneuver, then the instructor should be willing to commit more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still holding a job while attending training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other commitments.
Is Job Placement Offered? The moment you have received your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be anxious to begin your new profession. Make sure that the schools you are contemplating have job assistance programs. Find out what their job placement percentage is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, ask which national and local trucking firms their graduates are referred to for hiring. If a school has a poor job placement rate or not many Wills Point TX employers recruiting their graduates, it might be a sign to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Trucking schools are similar to colleges and other Wills Point TX area technical or vocational schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being offered. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have a financial aid department, or at a minimum someone who can help you get through the options and forms that must be completed.
Attending Truck Driving School near Wills Point TX?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Wills Point Texas area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Wills Point, Texas
Founded in 1873, Wills Point gets its name from an early American settler, William Wills, who had arrived in the area circa 1848. Wills eventually purchased a cabin from Adam Sullivan in 1852 . The name 'point' may also derive from the shape of the original timberline near the cabin, though there have been unsubstantiated arguments that the name relates to the area's elevation. The layout of the city was the work of engineer General Grenville M. Dodge of the California Construction Company. The downtown streets were laid with red bricks upon packed sand in the 1920s by locals and remain in use. Downtown Wills Point has many of its original buildings that are over one hundred years old including the Wills cabin, a drug store, a dry good store, and a law office. Governor George W. Bush officially named Wills Point the Bluebird Capital of Texas in 1995.
The Majestic Movie theater was opened in 1926 by Karl C. LyBrand and was still family operated by Karl C. Lybrand III until its closure on October 4, 2010. It had been the oldest continuously operated movie theater in Texas run by a single family. The Bruce & Human Drug Company, located on the corner of 4th Street and James, was built in 1879 and is the oldest family owned drug store in Texas.
The climate in this area is characterized by hot, humid summers and generally mild to cool winters. According to the Köppen climate classification system, Wills Point has a humid subtropical climate, Cfa on climate maps.
Choose the Best CDL School Wills Point TX
Choosing the right truck driver school is an essential first step to starting your new vocation as a local or long distance truck driver. The skill sets taught at school will be those that shape a new career behind the wheel. There are several options offered and understanding them is vital to a new driver’s success. Most importantly, you must obtain the proper training in order to drive a large commercial vehicle in a professional and safe manner. If you are lacking funds or financing, you may want to consider a captive school. You will pay a reduced or in some cases no tuition in exchange for driving for their contracted carrier. Or you can select 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 decision. But regardless of how you obtain your training, you will in the near future be joining a profession that helps our country move as a professional truck driver in Wills Point TX.
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