How to Select the Best CDL Training School near Canterbury Connecticut
Congrats on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a CDL school near Canterbury CT. Maybe it has always been your fantasy to hit the open highway while operating a big ole tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have conducted some analysis and have discovered that a career as a truck driver provides excellent income and flexible job prospects. No matter what your reason is, it’s important to get the proper training by picking the right CDL school in your area. When evaluating your options, there are a number of variables that you’ll want to think about before making your final selection. Location will certainly be important, especially if you have to commute from your Canterbury residence. The cost will also be important, but picking a school based only on price is not the best method to make certain you’ll get the appropriate training. Just remember, your goal is to learn the knowledge and skills that will enable you to pass the CDL examinations and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that purpose in mind, just how do you select a truck driving school? That is what we are going to address in the rest of this article. But first, we are going to discuss a little bit about which CDL license you will ultimately need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Will You Need?
In order to operate commercial vehicles lawfully within the United States and Canterbury CT, an operator must get a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three license classes that one can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the subject of this article is how to pick a truck driving 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 together with the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Following are brief descriptions for the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License is needed to drive any vehicle that has a GCWR of greater than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of more than 10,000 lbs. A few 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 required 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. Several 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 kinds of vehicles, for instance passenger or school buses. And a Class A licensee, with the appropriate required endorsements, may drive any vehicle that a Class B license holder is qualified to drive.
How to Evaluate a Trucking School
When you have determined which Commercial Drivers License you want to obtain, you can start the undertaking of evaluating the Canterbury CT truck driver schools that you are looking at. As previously mentioned, cost and location will certainly be your initial concerns. But it can’t be stressed enough that they should not be your only considerations. Other factors, such as the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are similarly if not more important. So below are some more factors that you need to research while performing your due diligence prior to selecting, and particularly paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Not many trucking schools in the Canterbury CT area are accredited because of the stringent 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 several advantages. Prospective students recognize that the training will be of the highest standard, and that they will be given plenty of driving time. As an example, PTDI requires 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 measure up to the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One indicator to help assess the quality of a truck driver school is how long it has been in operation. A negatively rated or a fly by night school usually will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. On the other hand, even the best of Canterbury CT schools had to start from their opening day of training, so use it as one of multiple qualifiers. You can also ask what the school’s track record is pertaining to successful licensing and employment of its graduating students. If a school won’t provide those stats, search elsewhere. The schools should additionally maintain relationships with local and national trucking companies. Having a large number of contacts not only confirms a superior reputation within the profession, but also boosts their job assistance program for graduates. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to contact the Connecticut licensing department to confirm that the CDL trucking schools you are researching are in good standing.
How Good is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools should be licensed in Connecticut and hire instructors that are experienced and trained. We will discuss more about the instructors in the next section. In addition, the student to instructor ratio should not be higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be getting the personal attention they will need. This is especially true concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And look out for any school that insists it can teach you to drive trucks in a relatively short period of time. Learning to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully takes time. The majority of Canterbury CT schools offer training programs that range from 3 weeks to as long as two months, based on the license class or type of vehicle.
How Good are the Instructors? As previously mentioned, it’s imperative that the teachers are trained to teach driving methods and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Although a number of states have minimum driving time requirements to qualify as an instructor, the more successful driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also important that the teachers stay up to date with industry advancements or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Assessing teachers might be a little more intuitive than other standards, and perhaps the ideal method is to check out the school and speak with the teachers in person. You can also speak with some of the students completing the training and ask if they are happy with the level of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Adequate Driving Time? Above all else, a great truck driver school will furnish 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 operating a truck. While the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are essential training methods, they are no substitute for real driving. The more instruction that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will be. Although driving time differs between schools, a reasonable benchmark is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide no less than 44 hours of driving time. Contact the Canterbury CT schools you are researching and find out how much driving time they provide.
Are they Captive or Independent ? It’s possible to receive discounted or even free training from some trucking schools if you make a commitment to be a driver for a specific 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 maintaining affiliations with numerous trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only refer to one company. The tradeoff is receiving free or less expensive training by giving up the freedom to initially work wherever you have an opportunity. Clearly contract training has the potential to reduce your income prospects when starting out. But for some it may be the ideal way to receive affordable training. Just remember to inquire if the Canterbury CT schools you are contemplating are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Is there CDL Testing Onsite? There are several states that will allow 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driver schools for its grads. If onsite testing is permitted in Connecticut, find out if the schools you are considering are DMV certified to offer it. One advantage is that it is more accommodating than battling with graduates of competing schools for test times at Connecticut testing facilities. It is also an indication that the DMV considers the authorized schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Classes Flexible? As earlier noted, truck driving training is just one to two months in length. With such a short duration, it’s imperative that the Canterbury CT school you enroll in offers flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. As an example, if you’re having a hard time learning a particular driving maneuver, then the teacher should be willing to dedicate more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still working while going to training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other responsibilities.
Is Job Assistance Provided? As soon as you have acquired your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be anxious to begin your new career. Make sure that the schools you are considering have job placement programs. Ask what their job placement rate 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 few Canterbury CT employers hiring their graduates, it may be a sign to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Given? Trucking schools are similar to colleges and other Canterbury CT area vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance 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.
CDL Course Canterbury Connecticut
Choosing the appropriate truck driving school is an essential first step to beginning your new vocation 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 many options available and understanding them is critical if you are going to succeed as an operator. You originally came to our website because of your interest in CDL Course and wanting information on the topic CDL Driving Course. But first and foremost, you must get the appropriate training in order to drive a large commercial vehicle in a safe and professional manner. If you are lacking money or financing, you might need to look into a captive school. You will pay a reduced or even no tuition by agreeing to drive for their contracted carrier. Or you can choose an independent truck driver school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking firm of your choice, or one of many associated with the school. It’s your choice. But regardless of how you obtain your training, you will in the near future be entering a profession that helps our country move as a professional trucker in Canterbury CT.
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The area was first settled in the 1680s as Peagscomsuck, consisting mainly of land north of Norwich, south of New Roxbury, Massachusetts (now Woodstock, Connecticut) and west of the Quinebaug River, Peagscomsuck Island and the Plainfield Settlement. In 1703 it was officially separated from Plainfield and named The Town of Canterbury. The town's name is a transfer from Canterbury, in England.
In 1832, Prudence Crandall, a schoolteacher raised as a Quaker, stirred controversy when she opened a school for black girls in town. The Connecticut General Assembly passed the "Black Law" which prohibited the education of black children from out of state, but Crandall persisted in teaching, and was briefly jailed in 1832. Mobs forced the closure of the school in 1834, and Crandall married the Reverend Calvin Philleo that same year and moved to Illinois. Connecticut repealed the Black Law in 1838, and later recognized Crandall with a small pension in 1886, four years before her death. In 1995, the Connecticut General Assembly designated Prudence Crandall as the state's official heroine because she opened the first Academy for young black women. The school still stands in Canterbury, and currently serves as the Prudence Crandall Museum and is a National Historic Landmark. In 2009 a life-size bronze statue of Prudence Crandall with one of her African American students was installed in the state capital.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 40.2 square miles (104 km2), of which, 39.9 square miles (103 km2) of it is land and 0.2 square miles (0.52 km2) of it (0.62%) is water.
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