How to Pick the Best CDL Driving Classes near Stratford Connecticut
Congratulations on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a trucking school near Stratford CT. Maybe it has always been your ambition to hit the open highway while driving a huge tractor trailer. Or possibly you have done some research and have discovered that an occupation as a truck driver provides excellent pay and flexible work prospects. No matter what your reason is, it’s essential to receive the proper training by enrolling in the right CDL school in your area. When evaluating your options, there are certain variables that you’ll want to think about prior to making your final choice. Location will certainly be important, especially if you need to commute from your Stratford home. The cost will also be important, but picking a school based exclusively on price is not the best means to ensure you’ll get the proper education. Just remember, your goal is to master the knowledge and skills that will allow you to pass the CDL examinations and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that objective in mind, just how do you select a truck driving school? That is what we are going to discuss in the balance of this article. But first, we are going to talk a little bit about which CDL license you will ultimately need.
Which CDL Will You Require?
To operate commercial vehicles legally within the USA and Stratford CT, an operator must get a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 license classes that a person can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the subject of this article is how to select a truck driving school, we will discuss 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 brief summaries of the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License is needed to drive any vehicle that has a GCWR of greater than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of greater 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 Commercial Drivers License is needed to drive single vehicles having a GVWR of greater than 26,000 lbs., or a GCWR of greater than 26,000 lbs. including a towed vehicle weighing up to 10,000 lbs. Several 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 kinds of vehicles, for instance school or passenger buses. And a Class A license holder, with the proper needed endorsements, can operate any vehicle that a Class B licensee is authorized to drive.
How to Research a Truck Driving School
Once you have decided which Commercial Drivers License you wish to pursue, you can begin the undertaking of assessing the Stratford CT truck driving schools that you are considering. As previously discussed, location and cost will no doubt be your primary concerns. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they must not be your sole considerations. Other factors, such as the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are equally if not more important. So below are some additional things that you need to research while conducting your due diligence prior to selecting, and especially paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Not many trucking schools in the Stratford CT area are accredited due to the demanding process and cost to the schools. However, certification is more prevalent and is provided by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not obligated to become certified, but there are certain advantages. Interested students know that the training will be of the highest standard, and that they will receive plenty of driving time. As an example, PTDI mandates 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 training and curriculum will fulfill the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One indicator to help determine the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in operation. A poorly rated or a fly by night school normally will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. On the other hand, even the best of Stratford CT schools had to begin from their opening day of training, so consider it as one of multiple qualifications. You can also learn what the school’s history is regarding successful licensing and employment of its graduating students. If a school won’t provide those numbers, search elsewhere. The schools should additionally maintain associations with regional and national trucking companies. Having numerous contacts not only points to a superior reputation within the profession, but also bolsters their job placement program for graduates. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to check with the Connecticut licensing department to confirm 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 discuss more about the instructors in the following section. Also, the student to instructor ratio should be no higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be obtaining the personalized instruction they will need. This is especially true regarding 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 comparatively short time frame. Training to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully requires time. The majority of Stratford CT schools offer training courses that range from three weeks to as long as two months, depending on the license class or kind of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Instructors? As earlier stated, it’s essential that the teachers are trained to teach driving methods and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Even though a number of states have minimum driving time prerequisites to qualify as an instructor, the more successful driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also vital that the instructors stay up to date with industry advancements or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Assessing teachers might be a little more intuitive than other criteria, and perhaps the ideal method is to pay a visit to the school and talk to the instructors in person. You can also speak with a few of the students completing the training and ask if they are happy with the level of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Adequate Driving Time? Most importantly, a great trucking school will furnish ample driving time to its students. Besides, isn’t that what it’s all about? Driving time is the real time spent behind the wheel driving a truck. Even though the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are important training methods, they are no substitute for real driving. The more instruction that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will be. Although driving time fluctuates between schools, a reasonable benchmark is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish no less than 44 hours of driving time. Check with the Stratford CT schools you are looking at and find out how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Independent or Captive ? You can receive free or discounted training from a number of trucking schools if you make a commitment to drive for a particular carrier for a defined time period. This is called contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So rather than maintaining relationships with a wide range of trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only refer to one company. The benefit is receiving less expensive or even free training by surrendering the flexibility to initially be a driver wherever you have an opportunity. Clearly contract training has the potential to restrict your income opportunities when beginning your new career. But for some it may be the best way to obtain affordable training. Just be sure to ask if the Stratford CT schools you are contemplating are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Is there Onsite CDL Testing? There are a number of states that will permit third party CDL testing onsite of truck driver schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is available in Connecticut, find out if the schools you are looking at are DMV certified to provide it. One advantage is that it is more convenient than competing with graduates from competing schools for test times at Connecticut testing locations. It is also an indication that the DMV views the authorized schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Classes Flexible? As previously noted, CDL training is only about one to two months in length. With such a brief duration, it’s imperative that the Stratford CT school you enroll in offers flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. As an example, if you’re having difficulty learning a certain driving maneuver, then the teacher should be prepared to devote 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 Offered? Once you have obtained your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be eager to start your new career. Verify that the schools you are looking at have job assistance programs. Ask what their job placement rate is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, find out which national and local trucking firms their graduates are placed with for hiring. If a school has a poor job placement rate or not many Stratford CT employers hiring their graduates, it may be a clue to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Given? Truck driving schools are comparable to colleges and other Stratford CT area trade or technical schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being offered. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have a financial assistance department, or at least someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that must be completed.
How To Become A CDL Driver Stratford Connecticut
Picking the appropriate truck driver school is an important first step to beginning your new profession 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 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 How To Become A CDL Driver and wanting information on the topic Class A CDL Training Cost. But first and foremost, you must get the necessary training in order to operate a large commercial vehicle in a professional and safe manner. If you are lacking funds or financing, you may need to think about a captive school. You will pay a reduced or even no tuition in exchange for driving for their contracted carrier. Or you can choose an independent trucker school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking firm of your choice, or one of many associated with the school. It’s your choice. But regardless of how you obtain your training, you will in the near future be part of an industry that helps America move as a professional truck driver in Stratford CT.
Truck On in These Other Connecticut Locations
Stratford is a town in Fairfield County, Connecticut, United States. It is situated on Long Island Sound along Connecticut's "Gold Coast" at the mouth of the Housatonic River. Stratford is in the Bridgeport–Stamford–Norwalk Metropolitan Statistical Area. It was founded by Puritans in 1639.
The population was 51,384 as of the 2010 census. It is bordered on the west by Bridgeport, to the north by Trumbull and Shelton, and on the east by Milford (across the Housatonic River). Stratford has a historical legacy in aviation, the military, and theater.
Stratford was founded in 1639 by Puritan leader Reverend Adam Blakeman, William Beardsley, and either 16 families (according to legend) or approximately 35 families (suggested by later research) who had recently arrived in Connecticut from England seeking religious freedom. In 1639 the General Court in Hartford made reference to the town as the "new plantation at Pequannock". In 1640 the community was known as Cupheag, a Native American Paugussett word meaning "at the enclosed place" or "place of shelter". By April 13, 1643, the growing town was known as Stratford, changed to honor William Shakespeare's birthplace of Stratford-upon-Avon in England.
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