How to Decide on the Best CDL Driving Classes near Hawleyville Connecticut
Congrats on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a CDL school near Hawleyville CT. Perhaps it has always been your fantasy to hit the open road while operating a huge tractor trailer. Or maybe you have done some research and have discovered that an occupation as a truck driver offers excellent wages and flexible job opportunities. Whatever your reason is, it’s essential to receive the appropriate training by selecting the right CDL school in your area. When evaluating your options, there are various variables that you’ll need to consider prior to making your final choice. Location will certainly be important, particularly if you have to commute from your Hawleyville home. The expense will also be important, but picking a school based exclusively on price is not the optimal means to make sure you’ll get the appropriate education. Just remember, your objective is to learn the skills and knowledge that will enable you to pass the CDL exams and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that purpose in mind, just how do you select a truck driving school? That is what we are going to cover in the remainder of this article. But first, we are going to review a little bit about which CDL license you will eventually need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Should You Get?
In order to drive commercial vehicles legally within the USA and Hawleyville CT, a driver needs to obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 classes of licenses that a driver can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the topic of this article is how to choose a truck driver school, we will highlight Class A and Class B licenses. What distinguishes 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). Below are short summaries for the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is needed to operate any vehicle that has a GCWR of more than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of greater than 10,000 lbs. A few 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 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. 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 Commercial Drivers Licenses might also require endorsements to drive certain kinds of vehicles, for instance school or passenger buses. And a Class A licensee, with the appropriate needed endorsements, can drive any vehicle that a Class B license holder is authorized to drive.
How to Assess a Truck Driving School
As soon as you have decided which CDL you want to obtain, you can begin the undertaking of assessing the Hawleyville CT truck driver schools that you are looking at. As previously discussed, location and cost will certainly be your initial concerns. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they should not be your only concerns. Other factors, for instance 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 carrying out 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 Hawleyville CT area are accredited due to the stringent process and cost to the schools. However, 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 certain advantages. Potential 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 calls for 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 comply with the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One clue to help assess the quality of a truck driver school is how long it has been in operation. A negatively reviewed or a fly by night school normally will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the best of Hawleyville 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 concerning successful licensing and job placement of its graduating students. If a school won’t share those stats, search elsewhere. The schools should also maintain associations with regional and national trucking companies. Having numerous contacts not only confirms a superior reputation within the profession, but also bolsters their job placement program for students. It also wouldn’t hurt to contact the Connecticut licensing department to confirm that the CDL trucking schools you are researching are in compliance.
How Good is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools should be licensed in Connecticut and hire teachers that are experienced and trained. We will talk more about the instructors in the next section. Also, the student to instructor ratio should be no higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be receiving the personal instruction they will need. This is particularly true regarding 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 time frame. Learning to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully takes time. The majority of Hawleyville CT schools offer training courses that range 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 already stated, it’s important that the instructors are trained to teach driving techniques and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Even though several states have minimum driving time requirements to qualify as a teacher, the more successful driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also vital that the teachers stay up to date with industry developments or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Evaluating teachers may be a bit more intuitive than other criteria, and possibly the ideal approach is to pay a visit to the school and speak with the teachers in person. You can also talk to some of the students going through the training and ask if they are happy with the level of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
How Much Driving Time? Most importantly, a good truck driving school will provide sufficient driving time to its students. Besides, isn’t that what it’s all about? Driving time is the actual time spent behind the wheel driving a truck. While the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are essential training tools, they are no alternative for real driving. The more training that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will become. And even though driving time differs among schools, a reasonable standard is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Check with the Hawleyville CT schools you are considering and find out how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Independent or Captive ? You can get discounted or even free training from a number of trucking schools if you make a commitment to drive for a specified carrier for a defined period of time. 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 refer their students to, captives only work with one company. The tradeoff is receiving free or less expensive training by giving up the freedom to initially work wherever you choose. Obviously contract training has the potential to limit your income opportunities when starting out. But for many it may be the best way to receive affordable training. Just remember to inquire if the Hawleyville CT schools you are considering are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Provide Onsite CDL Testing? There are some states that will permit third party CDL testing onsite of truck driver schools for its students. If onsite testing is allowed 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 of other schools for test times at Connecticut testing centers. It is also an indicator that the DMV deems the approved schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Classes Flexible? As earlier mentioned, truck driving training is just 1 to 2 months in length. With such a short duration, it’s important that the Hawleyville CT school you enroll in provides flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. For example, if you’re having a hard time learning a certain driving maneuver, then the instructor should be prepared to commit more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still employed while attending training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other responsibilities.
Is Job Assistance Provided? Once you have attained your CDL license after graduating from trucking school, you will be impatient to start your new career. Verify that the schools you are considering have job placement programs. Find out what their job placement percentage is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, find out which local and national trucking firms their graduates are referred to for employment. If a school has a low job placement rate or not many Hawleyville CT employers hiring their grads, it might be a sign to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Available? Truck driver schools are similar to colleges and other Hawleyville CT area trade or technical schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being available. Find out if the schools you are assessing have a financial aid department, or at a minimum someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that need to be submitted.
Professional Driver Training Hawleyville Connecticut
Selecting the appropriate truck driving 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 shape a new career behind the wheel. There are a number of options available and understanding them is vital to a new driver’s success. You originally came to our website because of your interest in Professional Driver Training and wanting information on the topic Trucking Schools Near Me. However, you must receive the appropriate training in order to operate a large commercial vehicle in a professional and safe manner. If you are lacking funds or financing, you might need to look into 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 truck driver school and have the option of driving for the trucking firm of your choosing, or one of several affiliated with the school. It’s your choice. But no matter how you receive your training, you will in the near future be entering an industry that helps our country move as a professional truck driver in Hawleyville CT.
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Hawleyville is named after the family of Glover Hawley. This was a condition Hawley included in the sale of land to the Housatonic Railroad Company in the nineteenth century. Hawleyville briefly emerged as a railroad center, causing Newtown's population to grow to over 4,000 circa 1881. The railroads included the New York and New England Railroad and the Hawleyville Branch of the Danbury and Norwalk Railroad. As of 2018, the Housatonic Railroad Company owns a lumber distribution and bulk transfer facility in Hawleyville.
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