How to Decide on the Best CDL Training School near Bridgeport Connecticut
Congratulations on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a CDL school near Bridgeport CT. Maybe it has always been your fantasy to hit the open highway while driving a huge tractor trailer. Or possibly you have done some research and have found that an occupation as a truck driver provides good pay and flexible work prospects. Whatever your reason is, it’s imperative to obtain the proper training by selecting the right CDL school in your area. When evaluating your options, there are several factors that you’ll want to consider before making your final choice. Location will certainly be important, particularly if you have to commute from your Bridgeport home. The expense will also be of importance, but choosing a school based only on price is not the ideal way to ensure you’ll receive the proper education. Just remember, your objective is to master the skills and knowledge that will allow you to pass the CDL exams and become a qualified 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 discuss a little bit about which CDL license you will eventually need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Should You Get?
In order to operate commercial vehicles lawfully within the USA and Bridgeport CT, an operator needs to obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three license classes that one can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the subject of this article is how to select a truck driving school, we will discuss Class A and Class 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). Following are short summaries of the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License is needed to operate any vehicle that has a GCWR of more than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of more 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 CDL 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. 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 may also require endorsements to operate certain types of vehicles, including passenger or school buses. And a Class A license holder, with the appropriate needed endorsements, can drive any vehicle that a Class B licensee is qualified to drive.
How to Research a Trucking School
Once you have decided which CDL you wish to obtain, you can start the process of researching the Bridgeport CT truck driving schools that you are considering. As previously mentioned, cost and location will no doubt be your primary concerns. But it can’t be stressed enough that they must not be your only considerations. Other issues, such as the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are similarly or even more important. So below are several additional things that you need to research while performing your due diligence before enrolling in, and especially paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Very few trucking schools in the Bridgeport CT area are accredited because of the demanding process and cost to the schools. However, certification is more typical and is offered by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not required to become certified, but there are certain advantages. Prospective students recognize that the training will be of the highest caliber, and that they will get an ample amount of driving time. As an example, PTDI requires 44 hours of real 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 satisfy the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One indicator to help evaluate the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in operation. A poorly ranked or a fly by night school typically will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. Having said that, even the top Bridgeport CT schools had to begin from their first day of training, so consider it as one of several qualifications. You can also find out what the school’s history is pertaining to successful licensing and employment of its graduates. If a school won’t share those numbers, look elsewhere. The schools should also maintain relationships with regional and national trucking companies. Having numerous contacts not only points to a quality reputation within the trade, but also boosts their job placement program for students. It also wouldn’t hurt to get in touch with the Connecticut licensing department to verify that the CDL trucking schools you are considering are in compliance.
How Good is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools should be licensed in Connecticut and employ teachers that are trained and experienced. We will cover more about the teachers in the next section. Also, the student to instructor proportion should not be greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be receiving the personalized instruction they will need. This is particularly true concerning 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 a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer professionally takes time. The majority of Bridgeport CT schools provide training courses that run from three weeks to as long as 2 months, based on the license class or type of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Teachers? As earlier mentioned, it’s essential that the instructors are qualified 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 an instructor, the more successful driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also vital that the instructors keep current with industry advancements or any new laws or changes in regulations. Evaluating instructors might be a bit more subjective than other standards, and perhaps the best method is to pay a visit to the school and speak with the instructors face to face. 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.
Adequate Driving Time? Above all else, an excellent truck driver school will provide sufficient 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 operating a truck. Even though the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are necessary training methods, they are no replacement for real 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 between schools, a good standard is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide at least 44 hours of driving time. Get in touch with the Bridgeport CT schools you are looking at and ask how much driving time they provide.
Are they Captive or Independent ? It’s possible to get free or discounted training from a number of trucking schools if you make a commitment to be a driver for a specific carrier for a defined time period. This is what’s known as contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So instead of having affiliations with many different trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only refer to one company. The tradeoff is receiving less expensive or even free training by giving up the freedom to initially be a driver wherever you choose. Naturally contract training has the potential to restrict your income prospects when beginning your new career. But for many it may be the only way to receive affordable training. Just make sure to ask if the Bridgeport CT schools you are looking at are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Offer Onsite CDL Testing? There are some states that will allow 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driver schools for its grads. If onsite testing is available in Connecticut, ask if the schools you are reviewing are DMV certified to offer it. One benefit is that it is more convenient than battling with graduates from other schools for test times at Connecticut testing locations. It is also an indication that the DMV deems the authorized schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Classes Convenient? As previously mentioned, truck driving training is only about one to two months long. With such a short term, it’s essential that the Bridgeport CT school you enroll in offers flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. For 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 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 obligations.
Is Job Placement Offered? Once you have attained your CDL license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be keen to start your new career. Verify that the schools you are contemplating have job placement programs. Ask what their job placement rate is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, ask which local and national trucking companies their graduates are referred to for hiring. If a school has a poor job placement rate or few Bridgeport CT employers recruiting their graduates, it might be a sign to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Trucking schools are comparable to colleges and other Bridgeport CT area vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being offered. Ask 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.
CDL License School Bridgeport Connecticut
Choosing the right trucking school is a critical first step to launching your new vocation as a long distance or local truck driver. The skills that you will learn at school will be those that mold a new career behind the wheel. There are many options available and understanding them is vital if you are going to succeed as an operator. You originally came to our website because of your interest in CDL License School and wanting information on the topic Truck Driving Lessons. However, you must receive the appropriate training in order to operate a large commercial vehicle in a professional and safe fashion. If you are lacking funds or financing, you may need to consider a captive school. You will pay a lower or even no tuition by agreeing to drive for their contracted carrier. Or you can enroll in an independent CDL school and have the option of driving for the trucking company of your choice, or one of several affiliated with the school. It’s your decision. But regardless of how you receive your training, you will in the near future be part of an industry that helps our country move as a professional truck driver in Bridgeport CT.
Truck On in These Other Connecticut Locations
Bridgeport is a historic seaport city in the U.S. state of Connecticut. It is in Fairfield County, at the mouth of the Pequonnock River on Long Island Sound, 60 miles from Manhattan and 40 miles from The Bronx. It is bordered by the towns of Trumbull to the north, Fairfield to the west, and Stratford to the east.
As of 2017, Bridgeport had an estimated population of 146,579, which made it the largest city in Connecticut and the fifth-most populous in New England. The Greater Bridgeport area is the 48th-largest urban area in the United States.
The showman P. T. Barnum was a resident of the city and served as the town's mayor in the late 19th century. Barnum built four houses in Bridgeport and housed his circus in town during winter. The first Subway restaurant opened in Bridgeport's North End in 1965. The Frisbie Pie Company was in Bridgeport, and Bridgeport is credited as the birthplace of the Frisbee.
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