How to Decide on the Right Trucker School near Stonington Connecticut
Congrats on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a CDL school near Stonington CT. Maybe it has always been your fantasy to hit the open road while driving a big ole tractor trailer. Or possibly you have done some research and have found that a career as a truck driver provides excellent pay and flexible work prospects. No matter what your reason is, it’s imperative to get the proper training by picking the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are various factors that you’ll need to consider before making your ultimate selection. Location will undoubtedly be an issue, especially if you have to commute from your Stonington home. The expense will also be of importance, but selecting a school based solely on price is not the ideal method to guarantee you’ll receive the right training. Just remember, your objective is to learn the skills and knowledge 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 discuss in the balance 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?
To drive commercial vehicles legally within the United States and Stonington CT, a driver must attain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three classes of licenses that a person can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the topic of this article is how to select a truck driver school, we will discuss Class A and Class B licenses. What distinguishes 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 short explanations for the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is needed to drive any vehicle that has a GCWR of more than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of more 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 CDL is required 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 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 may also need endorsements to operate specific types of vehicles, such as passenger or school buses. And a Class A license holder, with the proper required endorsements, can operate any vehicle that a Class B licensee is qualified to operate.
How to Assess a Truck Driver School
After you have decided which Commercial Drivers License you want to obtain, you can start the process of evaluating the Stonington CT truck driving schools that you are considering. As previously discussed, cost and location will no doubt be your primary concerns. But it can’t be stressed enough that they should not be your only considerations. Other variables, for example the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are equally or even more important. So following are some more points that you should research while performing your due diligence before enrolling in, and especially paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Not many trucking schools in the Stonington CT area are accredited due to the rigorous process and expense 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 certain advantages. Potential students recognize that the training will be of the highest caliber, and that they will be given an ample amount of driving time. For example, PTDI calls for 44 hours of real driving time, not simulations or ride-alongs. So if a school’s program is certified (the program, 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 evaluate the quality of a truck driving 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 Stonington CT schools had to begin from their first day of training, so use it as one of multiple qualifiers. You can also find out what the school’s track record is relating to successful licensing and employment of its graduating students. If a school won’t share those numbers, search elsewhere. The schools should also maintain relationships with local and national trucking companies. Having a large number of contacts not only affirms a quality reputation within the industry, but also boosts their job placement program for students. It also wouldn’t hurt to get in touch with the Connecticut licensing authority to confirm that the CDL trucker schools you are reviewing are in good standing.
How Effective 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. Also, the student to instructor proportion should not be greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be obtaining the personal attention 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 insists it can train you to drive trucks in a relatively short time frame. Training to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully requires time. The majority of Stonington CT schools offer training courses that run from three weeks to as long as 2 months, depending on the license class or kind of vehicle.
How Good are the Trainers? As already stated, it’s essential that the teachers are trained to teach driving methods and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Even though several states have minimum driving time requirements to qualify as a teacher, the more professional driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also crucial that the instructors keep current with industry developments or any new laws or changes in regulations. Assessing instructors may be a little more intuitive than other standards, and perhaps the ideal approach is to pay a visit to the school and talk to the teachers in person. You can also talk to a few of the students going through the training and ask if they are happy with the level of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Plenty of Driving Time? Most importantly, an excellent trucking 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. Even though the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are important training tools, they are no replacement for real driving. The more training that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will be. And even though driving time differs between schools, a reasonable benchmark is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Get in touch with the Stonington CT schools you are looking at and ask how much driving time they provide.
Are they Captive or Independent ? It’s possible to get discounted or even free training from certain truck driving schools if you enter into an agreement to be a driver for a particular carrier for a defined amount of time. This is referred to as contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So rather than maintaining affiliations with many different trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only work with one company. The benefit is receiving free or less expensive training by giving up the freedom to initially be a driver wherever you have an opportunity. Obviously contract training has the potential to restrict your income opportunities when starting out. But for some it may be the ideal way to obtain affordable training. Just remember to inquire if the Stonington CT schools you are looking at are captive or independent 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 driving schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is permitted in Connecticut, find out if the schools you are looking at are DMV certified to offer it. One benefit is that it is more accommodating than competing with graduates of competing schools for test times at Connecticut testing facilities. It is also an indicator that the DMV regards the approved schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Class Times Convenient? As previously mentioned, truck driver training is just one to two months long. With such a short duration, it’s essential that the Stonington CT school you choose provides flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. As an example, if you’re having difficulty learning a particular driving maneuver, then the instructor should be prepared to dedicate more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still holding a job while going to training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other responsibilities.
Is Job Placement Offered? As soon as you have received your commercial driver’s license after graduating from trucking school, you will be keen to begin your new profession. Confirm that the schools you are considering have job assistance programs. Ask what their job placement ratio is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, ask which national and local trucking companies their graduates are placed with for hiring. If a school has a lower job placement rate or few Stonington CT employers recruiting their grads, it might be a clue to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Given? Truck driver schools are much like colleges and other Stonington CT area vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being offered. Find out if the schools you are assessing have a financial assistance department, or at least someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that need to be submitted.
Commercial Drivers License Schools Stonington Connecticut
Selecting the right trucking school is a critical first step to launching your new profession as a local or long distance truck driver. The skill sets 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 Commercial Drivers License Schools and wanting information on the topic Professional Driver Training. However, you must obtain the appropriate training in order to drive a big commercial vehicle in a safe and professional manner. If you are short on money or financing, you might need to think about a captive school. You will pay a lower or in some cases no tuition in exchange for driving for their contracted carrier. Or you can enroll in an independent CDL school and have the option of driving for the trucking company of your choosing, or one of many associated with the school. It’s your choice. But no matter how you obtain your training, you will soon be part of an industry that helps our country move as a professional trucker in Stonington CT.
Truck On in These Other Connecticut Locations
The town of Stonington is located in New London County, Connecticut in the state's southeastern corner. It includes the borough of Stonington, the villages of Pawcatuck, Lords Point, and Wequetequock, and the eastern halves of the villages of Mystic and Old Mystic (the other halves being in the town of Groton). The population of the town was 18,545 at the 2010 census.
The first European colonists established a trading house in the Pawcatuck section of town in 1649. The present territory of Stonington was part of lands that had belonged to the Pequot people, who referred to the areas making up Stonington as Pawcatuck (Stony Brook to the Pawcatuck River) and Mistack (Mystic River to Stony Brook). It was named "Souther Towne" or Southerton by Massachusetts in 1658, and officially became part of Connecticut in 1662 when Connecticut received its royal charter. Southerton was renamed "Mistick" in 1665,:26 and finally named Stonington in 1666,:36 meaning "stony town".Thomas Miner, Walter Palmer, William Chesebrough, and Thomas Stanton were the founders. The town of North Stonington was set off as a parish from Stonington in 1724 and incorporated as a town in 1807.
Stonington first gained wealth in the 1790s when its harbor was home to a fleet engaged in the profitable seal hunting trade in which seals were hunted on islands off the Chilean and Patagonian coasts, and their skins were sold as fur in China.
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