How to Choose the Right Trucker School near Hamden Connecticut
Congrats on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a CDL school near Hamden CT. Perhaps it has always been your fantasy to hit the open highway while operating a big ole tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have done some analysis and have discovered that an occupation as a truck driver provides good income and flexible work opportunities. Whatever your reason is, it’s important to receive the proper training by choosing the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are several factors that you’ll want to consider prior to making your final choice. Location will no doubt be an issue, especially if you have to commute from your Hamden home. The cost will also be of importance, but selecting a school based solely on price is not the best means to guarantee you’ll receive the right education. Just remember, your objective is to learn 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 decide on a truck driving school? That is what we are going to address in the remainder of this article. But first, we are going to discuss a little bit about which CDL license you will ultimately need.
Which CDL Will You Require?
In order to operate commercial vehicles lawfully within the United States and Hamden CT, a driver must attain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 classes of licenses that one can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the topic of this article is how to select a truck driving school, we will focus on Class A and 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 short explanations for 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 more than 10,000 lbs. Several 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 operate 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. 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 CDLs may also require endorsements to operate certain types of vehicles, such as school or passenger buses. And a Class A licensee, with the proper needed endorsements, can operate any vehicle that a Class B licensee is qualified to drive.
How to Research a Truck Driver School
As soon as you have determined which Commercial Drivers License you would like to obtain, you can start the process of evaluating the Hamden CT truck driver schools that you are looking at. As previously mentioned, location and cost will certainly be your initial considerations. But it can’t be stressed enough that they must not be your only considerations. Other issues, for example the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are equally or even more important. So following are some additional things that you need to research while conducting your due diligence prior to enrolling in, and especially paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Very few truck driver schools in the Hamden CT area are accredited due to the stringent process and expense to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more common and is offered by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not required to become certified, but there are several advantages. Prospective students recognize that the training will be of the highest caliber, and that they will receive an ample amount of driving time. For example, PTDI calls for 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 curriculum and training will comply with the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One indicator to help assess the quality of a trucking school is how long it has been in business. A poorly rated or a fly by night school usually will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. Having said that, even the top Hamden CT schools had to start from their opening day of training, so use it as one of multiple qualifications. You can also ask what the school’s track record is regarding successful licensing and job placement of its graduating students. If a school won’t share those numbers, look elsewhere. The schools should additionally have associations with local and national trucking companies. Having a large number of contacts not only points to a quality reputation within the industry, but also boosts their job placement program for students. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to get in touch with the Connecticut licensing authority to confirm that the CDL trucking schools you are reviewing are in good standing.
How Good is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools must be licensed in Connecticut and employ instructors that are trained and experienced. We will discuss more about the teachers in the next section. In addition, the student to instructor ratio should be no higher 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 be critical of any school that professes it can teach you to be a truck driver in a relatively short time period. Training to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer professionally requires time. The majority of Hamden CT schools offer training programs that range from three weeks to as long as two months, based on the class of license or type of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Teachers? As earlier mentioned, it’s important that the teachers are trained to teach driving techniques and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Even though several states have minimum driving time requirements to be certified as an instructor, the more professional driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also crucial that the instructors stay up to date with industry advancements or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Evaluating instructors might be a bit more intuitive than other standards, and perhaps the ideal method is to pay a visit to the school and talk to the teachers face to face. You can also speak with a few of the students completing the training and ask if they are satisfied with the level of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
Enough Driving Time? Most importantly, an excellent truck driver 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. While the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are necessary training tools, they are no substitute for actual driving. The more training that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will become. And even though driving time differs among schools, a good standard is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish no less than 44 hours of driving time. Check with the Hamden CT schools you are looking at and ask how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Captive or Independent ? You can obtain discounted or even free training from certain truck driver schools if you make a commitment to drive for a specific carrier for a defined time period. 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 benefit 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 limit your income prospects when beginning your new career. But for some it may be the best way to receive affordable training. Just remember to inquire if the Hamden CT schools you are considering are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Is there Onsite CDL Testing? There are some states that will permit 3rd party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is allowed in Connecticut, find out if the schools you are reviewing are DMV certified to provide it. One advantage is that it is more convenient than battling with graduates of other schools for test times at Connecticut testing locations. It is also an indication that the DMV regards the approved schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Class Times Accessible? As previously noted, CDL training is only about one to two months in length. With such a brief term, it’s imperative that the Hamden 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 teacher should be willing to spend more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still working while attending training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other obligations.
Is Job Placement Offered? The moment you have obtained your CDL license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be impatient to begin your new profession. Make sure that the schools you are considering have job placement programs. Find out what their job placement rate is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, find out which local and national trucking firms their graduates are placed with for employment. If a school has a low job placement rate or few Hamden CT employers hiring their graduates, it may be a clue to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Given? Trucking schools are much like colleges and other Hamden CT area trade or technical schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being offered. Ask if the schools you are assessing have a financial aid department, or at least someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that need to be completed.
CDL Training Course Hamden Connecticut
Choosing the right trucking school is a critical first step to beginning your new occupation 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 offered and understanding them is vital to a new driver’s success. You originally came to our website because of your interest in CDL Training Course and wanting information on the topic Truck Driving Schools Near Me. But first and foremost, you must obtain the necessary training in order to drive a large commercial vehicle in a professional and safe fashion. If you are short on funds or financing, you might need to look into a captive school. You will pay a lower or even no tuition in exchange for driving for their contracted carrier. Or you can select an independent trucker school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking company of your choosing, or one of several affiliated with the school. It’s your choice. But no matter how you obtain your training, you will soon be joining an industry that helps America move as a professional truck driver in Hamden CT.
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Hamden is a town in New Haven County, Connecticut, United States. The town's nickname is "The Land of the Sleeping Giant." The population was 60,960 at the 2010 census. Hamden is a suburb of the city of New Haven.
The town of Hamden ranked #53 in the CNN Money list of "America's best small cities" in 2012. In 2008, Fortune Magazine and CNN Money picked Hamden as #33 on their "Best Place to Live and Launch" list, citing Hamden's great blend of urban and suburban lifestyles. The article also pointed out Hamden's exceptional education system as well as its "New England Charm".
Originally settled by Puritans as part of the town of New Haven, Hamden was purchased by William Christopher Reilly and the Reverend John Davenport in 1638 from the local Quinnipiack Native American tribe. It remained a part of New Haven until 1786 when 1,400 local residents incorporated the area as a separate town, naming it after the English statesman John Hampden.
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