How to Decide on the Right Trucker Classes near Middlefield Connecticut
Congratulations on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a trucking school near Middlefield CT. Maybe it has always been your goal to hit the open highway while driving a big ole tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have conducted some research and have found that a career as a truck driver offers good pay and flexible job prospects. Whatever your reason is, it’s imperative to receive the proper training by enrolling in the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are certain variables that you’ll want to examine before making your final selection. Location will undoubtedly be an issue, especially if you have to commute from your Middlefield residence. The cost will also be of importance, but selecting a school based entirely on price is not the best way to make certain you’ll receive the right training. Don’t forget, your objective is to master the skills and knowledge that will enable you to pass the CDL exams and become a qualified 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 discuss 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 Will You Need?
To drive commercial vehicles lawfully within the United States and Middlefield CT, an operator needs to attain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three license classes that a driver can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the subject of this article is how to choose a truck driver school, we will address Class A and Class B licenses. What differentiates 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). Below are brief descriptions of the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License is needed to operate any vehicle that has a GCWR of greater than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of greater 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 required to drive single vehicles having a GVWR of greater 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 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 need endorsements to operate specific types of vehicles, for instance school or passenger buses. And a Class A licensee, with the appropriate needed endorsements, can operate any vehicle that a Class B licensee is authorized to operate.
How to Evaluate a Truck Driver School
When you have decided which CDL you would like to pursue, you can begin the process of assessing the Middlefield CT truck driving schools that you are looking at. As previously mentioned, cost and location will certainly be your primary considerations. But it can’t be stressed enough that they should not be your sole considerations. Other issues, for instance the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are equally or even more important. So following are several additional points that you should research while conducting your due diligence prior to selecting, and particularly paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Not many truck driver schools in the Middlefield CT area are accredited due to the rigorous 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 obligated to become certified, but there are several advantages. Potential students know 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 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 Operation? One clue to help determine the quality of a trucking school is how long it has been in business. A poorly ranked or a fly by night school typically will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the top Middlefield CT schools had to begin from their first day of training, so use it as one of multiple qualifications. You can also learn what the school’s history is pertaining 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 local and national trucking firms. Having numerous contacts not only points to a superior reputation within the trade, but also bolsters their job assistance program for students. It also wouldn’t hurt to contact the Connecticut licensing department to make sure that the CDL trucking schools you are considering are in compliance.
How Effective is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools must be licensed in Connecticut and hire teachers that are experienced and trained. We will talk more about the teachers in the following section. In addition, the student to instructor proportion should be no greater 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 watch out for any school that insists it can teach you to drive trucks in a comparatively short period of time. Learning to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer professionally takes time. The majority of Middlefield CT schools provide training programs that range from 3 weeks to as long as 2 months, depending on the class of license or type of vehicle.
How Good are the Trainers? As already stated, it’s important that the instructors are qualified to teach driving methods and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Although several states have minimum driving time requirements to qualify as an instructor, the more professional driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also important that the instructors keep up to date with industry advancements or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Evaluating instructors may be a little more subjective than other standards, and perhaps the ideal method is to check out the school and speak with the instructors face to face. You can also talk to a few of the students going through the training and ask if they are satisfied with the level of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Adequate Driving Time? Above all else, a good truck driver school will provide lots 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. Even though the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are necessary training methods, they are no alternative for actual driving. The more instruction that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will be. Although driving time differs between schools, a good benchmark is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide at least 44 hours of driving time. Contact the Middlefield CT schools you are considering and find out how much driving time they provide.
Are they Captive or Independent ? It’s possible to receive free or discounted training from certain truck driving schools if you enter into an agreement to be a driver for a specific carrier for a defined time period. This is referred to as contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So instead of having relationships with a wide range of 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 flexibility to initially be a driver wherever you have an opportunity. Naturally contract training has the potential to reduce your income prospects when starting out. But for many it may be the only way to obtain affordable training. Just make sure to inquire if the Middlefield CT schools you are contemplating are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Provide Onsite CDL Testing? There are a number of states that will allow 3rd party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its grads. If onsite testing is allowed in Connecticut, find out if the schools you are considering are DMV certified to offer it. One benefit is that it is more convenient than battling with graduates of competing schools for test times at Connecticut testing facilities. It is also an indication that the DMV considers the approved schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Class Times Convenient? As formerly mentioned, CDL training is just one to two months in length. With such a short term, it’s imperative that the Middlefield CT school you select offers flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. For example, if you’re having a hard time learning a particular driving maneuver, then the instructor should be prepared to commit more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still working while attending training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other obligations.
Is Job Assistance Provided? The moment you have obtained your commercial driver’s license after graduating from trucking school, you will be keen to begin your new career. Verify that the schools you are looking at have job assistance programs. Find out what their job placement ratio is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, find out which national and local trucking companies their graduates are referred to for employment. If a school has a poor job placement rate or few Middlefield CT employers recruiting their grads, it may be a clue to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Truck driver schools are much like colleges and other Middlefield CT area vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being available. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have a financial aid department, or at least someone who can help you understand the options and forms that must be submitted.
Tractor Trailer Training School Middlefield Connecticut
Picking the ideal trucking school is an essential first step to beginning your new occupation as a long distance or local truck driver. The skill sets taught at school will be those that forge a new career behind the wheel. There are several options offered 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 Tractor Trailer Training School and wanting information on the topic Commercial Drivers License Classes. However, you must receive the necessary training in order to drive a large commercial vehicle in a safe and professional fashion. If you are lacking cash or financing, you may 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 select an independent truck driver school and have the option of driving for the trucking firm of your choosing, or one of several associated with the school. It’s your decision. But regardless of how you get your training, you will in the near future be entering an industry that helps our country move as a professional truck driver in Middlefield CT.
Truck On in These Other Connecticut Locations
Middlefield, in Middlesex County, is so named because it is halfway between Middletown and Durham, and Middletown and Meriden. For such a small community, Middlefield has an abundance of wonderful history that goes back to the late 17th century and many first settlers of Connecticut. The Old North Burying Ground was established for those living west of Middletown and the first burial was in 1738.
First Selectmen Charles R. "Charlie" Augur (in office 1995–2005) and Jon A. Brayshaw (in office 2005-2015) having both served five terms as First Selectman have been the longest-serving First Selectmen of the town.
Born In Middlefield in 1890, Dr. Harold Ellsworth Smith, MD was Middlefield's physician for over 45 years. He and his wife, Madith M. Wood Smith, moved from NYC and lived for many years in his mother's family home built on Way Road in 1868 by the Church and Miller families. They are buried in Middlefield with his parents, Dr. Ernest Ellsworth Smith of New Haven and NYC and Lilian Irene Church Smith of Hartford and Middlefield.
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