How to Find the Best Truck Driving School near East Lyme Connecticut
Congratulations on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a CDL school near East Lyme CT. Perhaps it has always been your ambition to hit the open highway while operating a monster tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have done some analysis and have found that an occupation as a truck driver provides good wages and flexible work prospects. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s important to receive the appropriate training by enrolling in the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are several variables that you’ll need to consider before making your ultimate choice. Location will no doubt be important, particularly if you have to commute from your East Lyme home. The expense will also be important, but choosing a school based solely on price is not the best method to make sure you’ll obtain the appropriate training. Don’t forget, your objective is to learn the knowledge and skills that will allow you to pass the CDL examinations and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that objective in mind, just how do you choose a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to address in the rest of this article. But first, we are going to talk a little bit about which CDL license you will ultimately need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Will You Require?
To drive commercial vehicles legally within the United States and East Lyme CT, a driver needs to get a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three classes of licenses that one can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the topic of this article is how to pick a truck driving school, we will highlight Class A and Class B licenses. What differentiates each class of CDL is the type of vehicle that the driver can operate as well as the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Following are short explanations of the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License is required to operate any vehicle that has a GCWR of more than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of greater than 10,000 lbs. Several 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 operate certain types of vehicles, such as passenger or school buses. And a Class A license holder, with the proper required endorsements, can drive any vehicle that a Class B licensee is authorized to operate.
How to Evaluate a Truck Driving School
As soon as you have determined which Commercial Drivers License you want to pursue, you can begin the undertaking of evaluating the East Lyme CT trucking schools that you are considering. As previously discussed, location and cost will no doubt be your primary concerns. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they must not be your only considerations. Other issues, for instance the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are equally if not more important. So following are several additional things that you should research while performing your due diligence prior to choosing, and particularly paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Very few trucking schools in the East Lyme CT area are accredited because of the demanding process and expense to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more common and is provided by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not required to become certified, but there are several advantages. Potential students know that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will get lots of driving time. For example, PTDI calls for 44 hours of actual driving time, not ride-alongs or simulations. So if a school’s program is certified (the program, 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 Business? One clue to help measure the quality of a trucking school is how long it has been in operation. A poorly reviewed or a fly by night school typically will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the best of East Lyme CT schools had to start from their opening day of training, so use it as one of multiple qualifications. You can also find out what the school’s history is relating to successful licensing and employment of its graduating students. If a school won’t share those numbers, look elsewhere. The schools should also maintain associations with regional and national trucking firms. Having numerous contacts not only points to a superior reputation within the trade, but also bolsters their job placement program for graduates. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to get in touch with the Connecticut licensing authority to confirm 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 Connecticut and hire instructors that are experienced and trained. We will discuss more about the teachers in the next section. In addition, the student to instructor ratio should be no greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be getting the personalized instruction they will need. This is especially true concerning 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 time period. Training to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully requires time. Most East Lyme CT schools offer training programs that run from 3 weeks to as long as 2 months, depending on the class of license or type of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Teachers? As earlier stated, it’s important that the instructors are qualified to teach driving methods and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Although several states have minimum driving time prerequisites to qualify as a teacher, the more successful driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also vital that the teachers keep current with industry developments or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Assessing instructors may be a bit more intuitive than other criteria, and perhaps the ideal method is to pay a visit to the school and speak with the teachers in person. You can also speak with a few of the students going through the training and ask if they are satisfied with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
Plenty of Driving Time? Above all else, a great truck driving school will furnish plenty of driving time to its students. After all, isn’t that what it’s all about? Driving time is the real time spent behind the wheel operating a truck. Although the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are important 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 differs among schools, a good benchmark is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide no less than 44 hours of driving time. Get in touch with the East Lyme CT schools you are researching and find out how much driving time they provide.
Are they Independent or Captive ? It’s possible to obtain discounted or even free training from certain truck driving schools if you enter into an agreement to be a driver for a specified carrier for a defined amount of time. This is called contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So rather than having affiliations with many different trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only refer to one company. The benefit is receiving less expensive or even free training by giving up the flexibility to initially be a driver wherever you have an opportunity. 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 ask if the East Lyme CT schools you are looking at are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Is there CDL Testing Onsite? There are a number of states that will permit third party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its students. If onsite testing is available in Connecticut, find out if the schools you are reviewing are DMV certified to offer it. One benefit is that it is more accommodating than contending with graduates from competing schools for test times at Connecticut testing centers. It is moreover an indicator that the DMV considers the authorized schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Classes Accessible? As formerly noted, CDL training is only about 1 to 2 months in length. With such a short duration, it’s imperative that the East Lyme CT school you choose provides flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. For example, if you’re having difficulty learning a certain driving maneuver, then the instructor should be prepared to devote more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still working while going to training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other responsibilities.
Is Job Assistance Offered? As soon as you have obtained your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be keen to begin your new profession. Make sure that the schools you are considering have job placement programs. Ask what their job placement ratio is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, ask which national and local trucking companies their graduates are placed with for employment. If a school has a low job placement rate or not many East Lyme CT employers hiring their graduates, it may be a sign to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Truck driver schools are comparable to colleges and other East Lyme CT area vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being available. Find out if the schools you are examining have a financial aid department, or at least someone who can help you understand the options and forms that must be submitted.
Class B License Training East Lyme Connecticut
Choosing the appropriate truck driver school is a critical first step to launching your new profession as a long distance or local truck driver. The skill sets that you will learn at school will be those that mold a new career behind the wheel. There are a number of options offered and understanding them is critical to a new driver’s success. You originally came to our website because of your interest in Class B License Training and wanting information on the topic CDL Driving School. However, you must obtain the appropriate training in order to drive a large commercial vehicle in a professional and safe manner. If you are short on cash or financing, you may need to think about 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 option of driving for the trucking firm of your choosing, or one of many associated with the school. It’s your choice. But no matter how you get your training, you will soon be joining a profession that helps our country move as a professional truck driver in East Lyme CT.
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East Lyme, Connecticut
East Lyme is located in southern New London County, west of Waterford and Montville, east of Lyme and Old Lyme, and south of Salem. Long Island Sound is to the south. According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 42.0 square miles (109 km2), of which 34.0 square miles (88 km2) is land and 7.9 square miles (20 km2), or 18.89%, is water.
The town consists primarily of two villages, Flanders and Niantic. It is common for the town of East Lyme to be erroneously called "Niantic", due to this side of town being the "beach" side which is popular with tourists and visitors in the summer months. Niantic's population doubles in the summer months for the beach season, and it has a much higher density than the more sparsely populated Flanders side of town, which is known for its apple orchards, the town's high school, and forest.
The village of Niantic gets its name from the Niantic or Nehantic people, whose ranging grounds once extended from Wecapaug Brook, in what is now Rhode Island, to the Connecticut River. Shortly before the first settlers arrived, the Pequots had invaded Nehantic territory and annexed about half of the land claimed by the tribe. According to local historian Olive Tubbs Chendali:
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