How to Enroll in the Best CDL Driving School near Bonifay Florida
Congratulations on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a CDL school near Bonifay FL. Maybe it has always been your ambition to hit the open highway while operating a huge tractor trailer. Or possibly you have done some analysis and have found that a career as a truck driver offers good wages and flexible work opportunities. No matter what your reason is, it’s important to get the proper training by picking the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are various factors that you’ll want to examine before making your ultimate selection. Location will no doubt be an issue, particularly if you need to commute from your Bonifay home. The expense will also be of importance, but picking a school based entirely on price is not the optimal way to ensure you’ll receive the right training. Don’t forget, your goal is to learn the knowledge and skills that will enable you to pass the CDL examinations and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that objective in mind, just how do you choose a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to discuss in the remainder of this article. But first, we are going to discuss a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will eventually need.
Which CDL Will You Need?
In order to operate commercial vehicles lawfully within the United States and Bonifay FL, an operator needs to attain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 classes of licenses that a driver can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the subject of this article is how to pick a truck driving school, we will highlight Class A and B licenses. What differentiates each class of CDL is the type of vehicle that the driver can operate in addition to the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Following are brief explanations of the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is required to operate any vehicle that has a GCWR of more than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of more 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 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 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 might also require endorsements to drive specific types of vehicles, such as school or passenger buses. And a Class A license holder, with the appropriate required endorsements, can operate any vehicle that a Class B license holder is authorized to operate.
How to Evaluate a CDL School
Once you have decided which CDL you wish to obtain, you can begin the process of evaluating the Bonifay FL truck driver schools that you are looking at. As already mentioned, location and cost will undoubtedly be your initial concerns. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they should not be your only considerations. Other factors, for example the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are similarly if not more important. So below are a few additional points that you need to research while carrying out your due diligence before selecting, and especially paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Not many truck driving schools in the Bonifay FL area are accredited due to the stringent process and cost to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more prevalent and is offered by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not obligated to become certified, but there are a number of advantages. Potential students know that the training will be of the highest standard, and that they will get lots of driving time. As an example, PTDI calls for 44 hours of actual 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 training and curriculum will comply with the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One indicator to help evaluate the quality of a truck driver school is how long it has been in business. A poorly reviewed or a fly by night school typically will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the best of Bonifay FL schools had to begin from their first day of training, so use it as one of several qualifiers. You can also ask what the school’s history is pertaining to successful licensing and employment of its graduates. If a school won’t provide those numbers, search elsewhere. The schools should additionally maintain relationships with local and national trucking companies. Having a large number of contacts not only confirms a superior reputation within the trade, but also bolsters their job assistance program for graduates. It also wouldn’t hurt to get in touch with the Florida licensing authority to confirm that the CDL trucker schools you are researching are in compliance.
How Good is the Training? At a minimum, the schools must be licensed in Florida and hire instructors that are experienced and trained. We will cover more about the instructors in the next segment. In addition, the student to instructor ratio should not be greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be obtaining the personal instruction they will need. This is particularly true regarding the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And be critical of any school that claims it can train you to be a truck driver in a relatively short time frame. Training to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully requires time. Most Bonifay FL schools provide training programs that run from 3 weeks to as long as two months, based on the class of license or type of vehicle.
How Good are the Instructors? As earlier mentioned, it’s essential that the teachers are qualified to teach driving methods and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Even though a number of states have minimum driving time prerequisites to be certified as an instructor, the more professional driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also vital that the instructors stay up to date with industry developments or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Assessing teachers may be a bit more subjective than other standards, and possibly the best approach is to visit the school and speak with the teachers 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 ability to train them.
How Much Driving Time? Most importantly, a great trucking school will provide plenty of 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. Even though the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are necessary training methods, they are no substitute for real driving. The more instruction that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will become. Although driving time differs among schools, a good benchmark is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide no less than 44 hours of driving time. Get in touch with the Bonifay FL schools you are considering and find out how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Independent or Captive ? It’s possible to obtain free or discounted training from certain truck driving schools if you make a commitment to drive for a specific carrier for a defined amount of time. This is what’s known as contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So instead of maintaining relationships with many different trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only refer to one company. The benefit is receiving free or less expensive training by giving up the freedom to initially be a driver wherever you choose. Clearly contract training has the potential to restrict your income prospects when starting out. But for many it may be the ideal way to obtain affordable training. Just remember to ask if the Bonifay FL schools you are considering are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Is there CDL Testing Onsite? There are a number of states that will allow third party CDL testing onsite of truck driver schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is permitted in Florida, find out if the schools you are considering are DMV certified to offer it. One advantage is that it is more accommodating than battling with graduates of other schools for test times at Florida testing facilities. It is also an indicator that the DMV deems the authorized schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Classes Accessible? As previously mentioned, truck driving training is just 1 to 2 months long. With such a brief duration, it’s essential that the Bonifay FL school you select provides flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. As an example, if you’re having a hard time learning a certain driving maneuver, then the instructor should be willing to dedicate more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still employed while going to training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other commitments.
Is Job Assistance Offered? The moment you have attained your commercial driver’s license after graduating from trucking school, you will be impatient to start your new profession. Make sure that the schools you are considering have job placement programs. Find out what their job placement ratio is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, ask which local and national trucking companies their graduates are referred to for hiring. If a school has a low job placement rate or few Bonifay FL employers recruiting their graduates, it may be a clue to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Truck driving schools are comparable to colleges and other Bonifay FL 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 understand the options and forms that need to be completed.
Truck Driver Education Bonifay Florida
Choosing the right truck driver school is an important first step to launching your new profession 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 many options available and understanding them is crucial to a new driver’s success. You originally came to our website because of your interest in Truck Driver Education and wanting information on the topic CDL License Training. But first and foremost, you must receive the necessary training in order to operate a big commercial vehicle in a professional and safe manner. If you are lacking cash or financing, you might want to look into 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 choose an independent truck driver school and have the option of driving for the trucking company of your choice, or one of many affiliated with the school. It’s your decision. But no matter how you receive your training, you will soon be entering an industry that helps our country move as a professional truck driver in Bonifay FL.
Truck On in These Other Florida Locations
Bonifay is a city in Holmes County, Florida, United States. Bonifay was given its name from a prominent family that had a brickmaking factory in Pensacola. Frank Bonifay, the man behind the town's name, bought a stake in the Louisville and Nashville Railroad, now CSX. As W. D. Chipley connected the rural Florida Panhandle, along the way he came up with names for certain communities the railroad bisected.
Bonifay is located in southeastern Holmes County at 30°47′N 85°41′W (30.791,-85.681.U.S. Route 90 runs through the southern part of the downtown area, leading east 9 miles (14 km) to Chipley and west 8 miles (13 km) to Caryville. Interstate 10 passes through the southern edge of town, with access from Exit 112 (Florida State Road 79). I-10 leads east 91 miles (146 km) to Tallahassee and west 105 miles (169 km) to Pensacola. SR 79 (Waukesha Street) connects I-10 and US-90 and passes through the center of Bonifay, leading north 13 miles (21 km) to Esto and south 12 miles (19 km) to Vernon.
A 2004 study by the Bureau of Secondary Education showed that 56.73% of Holmes County high school graduates go on to secondary education. Of these, 38.03% of those go on to complete a bachelor's degree, furthermore 12.60% of these students who receive a bachelors go on to receive a masters or doctoral degree. As of August 2008 all educational facility improvements shall be done in a financially feasible manner to address all Level of Service (LOS) needs as described by the Public School Facilities Element in the City of Bonifay 2020 Comprehensive Plan, officially recognized by the state of Florida on September 3, 2008.