How to Find the Right CDL Driving School near Stafford Connecticut
Congrats on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a trucking school near Stafford CT. Maybe it has always been your ambition to hit the open highway while driving a huge tractor trailer. Or maybe you have done some research and have discovered that an occupation as a truck driver provides excellent income and flexible work opportunities. Whatever your reason is, it’s essential to get the appropriate training by picking the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are various factors that you’ll want to consider before making your ultimate selection. Location will undoubtedly be an issue, especially if you need to commute from your Stafford home. The cost will also be important, but choosing a school based solely on price is not the ideal method to guarantee you’ll get the proper training. Don’t forget, your goal is to master the skills and knowledge that will allow you to pass the CDL examinations and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that goal in mind, just how do you select a truck driving school? That is what we are going to address in the remainder of this article. But first, we are going to talk a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will ultimately need.
Which CDL Will You Need?
In order to operate commercial vehicles lawfully within the USA and Stafford CT, a driver must obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three license classes that a driver can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the subject of this article is how to pick a truck driver school, we will highlight Class A and B licenses. What differentiates each class of CDL is the kind 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 of the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License is required to drive any vehicle that has a GCWR of more than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of greater than 10,000 lbs. Some 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 CDL is required to drive 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. A few 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 drive specific types of vehicles, for instance school or passenger buses. And a Class A license holder, with the appropriate required endorsements, can drive any vehicle that a Class B license holder is authorized to operate.
How to Evaluate a Truck Driver School
When you have decided which CDL you would like to pursue, you can start the process of evaluating the Stafford CT trucking schools that you are looking at. As earlier mentioned, location and cost will certainly be your initial considerations. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they must not be your only considerations. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are similarly if not more important. So following are a few more factors that you need to research while conducting your due diligence before enrolling in, and particularly paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Not many truck driving schools in the Stafford CT area are accredited because of the demanding process and cost to the schools. However, certification is more commonplace and is provided by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not required to become certified, but there are certain advantages. Interested students recognize that the training will be of the highest standard, and that they will receive lots of driving time. As an example, PTDI requires 44 hours of real driving time, not ride-alongs or simulations. So if a school’s course is certified (the course, not the school is certified), students know that the curriculum and training will meet the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One indicator to help measure the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in business. A negatively reviewed or a fly by night school normally will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. Having said that, even the top Stafford CT schools had to begin from their opening day of training, so consider it as one of multiple qualifiers. You can also ask what the school’s history is concerning successful licensing and job placement of its graduates. If a school won’t supply those numbers, search elsewhere. The schools should also have relationships with regional and national trucking firms. Having a large number of contacts not only affirms a superior reputation within the trade, but also boosts their job assistance 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 researching are in good standing.
How Good is the Training? At a minimum, the schools must be licensed in Connecticut and employ teachers that are experienced and trained. We will talk more about the instructors in the following segment. In addition, the student to instructor ratio should be no higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be obtaining the personal instruction they will need. This is especially true regarding the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And watch out for any school that claims it can train you to be a truck driver in a comparatively short time frame. Training to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer professionally takes time. The majority of Stafford CT schools provide training courses that run from three weeks to as long as 2 months, depending on the class of license or kind of vehicle.
How Good are the Trainers? As already mentioned, it’s essential that the teachers are trained to teach driving techniques and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Although several states have minimum driving time requirements to qualify as an instructor, the more successful driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also vital that the instructors keep current with industry advancements or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Assessing teachers might be a bit more intuitive than other criteria, and perhaps the best approach is to pay a visit to the school and speak with the instructors in person. You can also speak with some of the students completing the training and ask if they are happy with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Plenty of Driving Time? Above all else, a good trucking school will provide plenty of driving time to its students. After all, 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 important training methods, 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 varies among 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 Stafford CT schools you are researching 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 truck driver schools if you enter into an agreement to be a driver for a specific carrier for a defined period of time. This is called contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So instead of maintaining affiliations with many different trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only refer to one company. The tradeoff is receiving free or less expensive training by surrendering the flexibility 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 only way to get affordable training. Just remember to inquire if the Stafford CT schools you are looking at are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Offer Onsite CDL Testing? There are several states that will allow third party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its grads. If onsite testing is permitted 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 contending with graduates of competing schools for test times at Connecticut testing centers. It is also an indicator that the DMV views the authorized schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Classes Flexible? As earlier mentioned, CDL training is only about 1 to 2 months long. With such a brief duration, it’s important that the Stafford CT school you select offers flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. As an example, if you’re having difficulty learning a particular driving maneuver, then the teacher should be willing to dedicate more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still holding a job while attending training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other obligations.
Is Job Placement Offered? Once you have received your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be impatient to begin your new profession. Verify that the schools you are looking at have job placement programs. Ask what their job placement ratio is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, find out which local and national trucking firms their graduates are referred to for hiring. If a school has a low job placement rate or few Stafford CT employers recruiting their grads, it might be a clue to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Truck driver schools are much like colleges and other Stafford CT area trade or technical schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being available. Ask if the schools you are evaluating have a financial assistance department, or at a minimum someone who can help you understand the options and forms that must be completed.
How To Choose A Truck Driver School Stafford Connecticut
Picking the right trucking school is an important first step to launching your new occupation as a long distance or local truck driver. The skills taught 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 How To Choose A Truck Driver School and wanting information on the topic CDL Driving Classes. However, you must obtain the necessary training in order to operate a big commercial vehicle in a safe and professional manner. If you are short on cash or financing, you might need to consider a captive school. You will pay a lower or even no tuition in exchange for driving for their contracted carrier. Or you can enroll in an independent trucker school and have the option of driving for the trucking firm of your choice, or one of many affiliated with the school. It’s your choice. But no matter how you obtain your training, you will in the near future be entering an industry that helps America move as a professional truck driver in Stafford CT.
Truck On in These Other Connecticut Locations
Stafford is a town in Tolland County, Connecticut, United States, settled in 1719. The population was 12,192 at the 2010 census. The community consists of the downtown area of Stafford Springs and the more rural villages of Crystal Lake, Ellithorpe, Hydeville, Orcuttsville, Staffordville, Stafford Hollow, Village Hill, and West Stafford. The town most likely derives its name from Staffordshire, in England.
The Colonial Town of Stafford began as a rural agricultural community in the eastern part of Hartford County. It became part of Tolland County upon the latter's formation on 13 October 1785. The easy availability of water power from the tributaries of the Willimantic River led to industrialization, and this abundance of power helped generate local population growth. By the mid-19th century, Stafford was connected by railroad to markets across New England, and before the State Highway projects of the 1920s and 1930s, the town had a trolley connection to Rockville, CT.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 58.8 sq mi (152.2 km2), of which, 58.0 sq mi (150.1 km2) of it is land and 0.81 sq mi (2.1 km2) of it (1.38%) is water; it is the 3rd largest town in Connecticut based on area.
Business Results 1 - 10 of 13