How to Find a CDL Training School Philippi West Virginia
Congratulations on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a trucking school near Philippi WV. Maybe it has always been your fantasy to hit the open road while operating a big ole tractor trailer. Or maybe you have conducted some analysis and have discovered that a career as a truck driver offers good pay and flexible job opportunities. Whatever your reason is, it’s imperative to receive the appropriate training by picking the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are a number of variables that you’ll need to think about before making your ultimate choice. Location will undoubtedly be an issue, particularly if you have to commute from your Philippi residence. The expense will also be important, but choosing a school based solely on price is not the ideal method to guarantee you’ll get the proper education. Just remember, your goal is to master the skills and knowledge that will enable you to pass the CDL examinations and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that target in mind, just how do you select a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to discuss in the rest of this article. But first, we are going to review a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will ultimately need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Will You Need?
To drive commercial vehicles lawfully within the USA and Philippi WV, an operator must get a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three classes of licenses that one can apply 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 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). Below are brief summaries for the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License is required to drive any vehicle that has a GCWR of greater than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of more 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 CDL is needed to operate 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. 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 CDLs might also require endorsements to operate specific kinds of vehicles, including school or passenger buses. And a Class A licensee, with the proper required endorsements, may drive any vehicle that a Class B licensee is authorized to drive.
How to Evaluate a Truck Driving School
When you have determined which CDL you would like to obtain, you can start the undertaking of assessing the Philippi WV truck driver schools that you are considering. As earlier mentioned, cost and location will certainly be your initial considerations. But it can’t be stressed enough that they must not be your sole considerations. Other issues, such as the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are equally or even more important. So below are a few additional things that you should research while conducting your due diligence prior to choosing, and especially paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Very few trucking schools in the Philippi WV area are accredited because of the stringent process and expense to the schools. However, certification is more typical and is provided by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not obligated to become certified, but there are certain advantages. Prospective students know that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will get an ample amount of driving time. For example, PTDI mandates 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 training and curriculum will comply with the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One clue to help measure the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in business. A poorly reviewed or a fly by night school typically will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the best of Philippi WV schools had to start from their opening day of training, so consider it as one of multiple qualifications. You can also ask what the school’s history is pertaining to successful licensing and employment of its graduating students. If a school won’t provide those numbers, search elsewhere. The schools should additionally have associations with local and national trucking firms. Having a large number of contacts not only points to a quality reputation within the trade, but also boosts their job placement program for graduates. It also wouldn’t hurt to get in touch with the West Virginia licensing department to confirm that the CDL trucker schools you are researching are in good standing.
How Good is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools should be licensed in West Virginia and employ teachers that are experienced and trained. We will talk more about the instructors in the following segment. In addition, the student to instructor ratio should not be greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be getting 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 claims it can teach you to drive trucks in a comparatively short period of time. Training to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer professionally requires time. Most Philippi WV schools offer training programs that range from 3 weeks to as long as 2 months, based on the class of license or type of vehicle.
How Good are the Instructors? As previously mentioned, it’s imperative that the teachers are qualified to teach driving techniques and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Although several states have minimum driving time requirements to be certified as an instructor, the more successful driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also crucial that the instructors stay 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 perhaps the ideal approach is to pay a visit to the school and talk to the instructors in person. You can also talk to some 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.
Enough Driving Time? Most importantly, a good trucking school will furnish plenty 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. Although 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 he or she will be. And even though driving time varies among schools, a good benchmark is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish at least 44 hours of driving time. Get in touch with the Philippi WV schools you are looking at and ask how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Captive or Independent ? You can get discounted or even free training from a number of trucking schools if you make a commitment to drive for a particular carrier for a defined amount of time. This is what’s known as contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So instead of having relationships 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 freedom to initially be a driver wherever you have an opportunity. Clearly contract training has the potential to reduce your income opportunities when starting out. But for many it may be the only way to get affordable training. Just be sure to ask if the Philippi WV schools you are looking at 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 graduates. If onsite testing is allowed in West Virginia, 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 other schools for test times at West Virginia testing centers. It is also an indicator that the DMV considers the approved schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Class Times Convenient? As formerly noted, truck driving training is only about 1 to 2 months in length. With such a brief term, it’s important that the Philippi WV school you select provides flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. As an example, if you’re having difficulty learning a particular driving maneuver, then the instructor should be willing to dedicate more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still employed while going to training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other obligations.
Is Job Assistance Offered? As soon as you have attained your CDL license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be anxious to start your new profession. Confirm that the schools you are reviewing have job assistance programs. Ask what their job placement ratio is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, find out which national and local trucking companies their graduates are placed with for employment. If a school has a lower job placement rate or few Philippi WV employers hiring their grads, it might be a sign to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Truck driving schools are comparable to colleges and other Philippi WV area trade or technical schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being offered. Ask if the schools you are examining have a financial aid 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 Philippi WV?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Philippi West Virginia area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Philippi, West Virginia
Philippi (pronounced 'FILL-uh-pea') is a city in — and the county seat of — Barbour County, West Virginia, USA. The population was 2,966 at the 2010 census. In 1861, the city was the site of the Battle of Philippi, known as "The Philippi Races". Although a minor skirmish, this is considered the earliest notable land action of the American Civil War.
Philippi is located along the Tygart Valley River at 39°9′6″N 80°2′36″W / 39.15167°N 80.04333°W / 39.15167; -80.04333 (39.151569, -80.043472). It is within Philippi District — one of eight magisterial districts of Barbour County. The town is sub-divided into Wards 1 through 4.
The original settlement that became the town of Philippi was on a section of bottomland at a bend in the river at the mouth of Anglin's Run. (This area was later designated "Dayton Park".) Opposite this bottomland, at the western landing of "Booth's Ferry", is a sharp ridge which breaks abruptly down to the river and is still known as "Nobusiness Hill". Most of the town is located in the bottomland, but a portion, including the university campus, is on another ridge — "Battle Hill" — overlooking the valley from the northwest.
Choose the Ideal Truck Driver School Philippi WV
Selecting the appropriate truck driving school is a critical first step to launching your new occupation as a long distance or local truck driver. The skills taught at school will be those that forge a new career behind the wheel. There are several options offered and understanding them is critical if you are going to succeed as an operator. Most importantly, you must obtain the necessary training in order to operate a big commercial vehicle in a professional and safe fashion. If you are short on cash or financing, you may want to think about a captive school. You will pay a reduced or even no tuition in exchange for driving for their contracted carrier. Or you can choose an independent school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking firm of your choosing, or one of several affiliated with the school. It’s your decision. But no matter how you obtain your training, you will in the near future be part of an industry that helps our country move as a professional truck driver in Philippi WV.
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