How to Decide on the Right Truck Driver School near Eastpoint Florida
Congrats on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a truck driving school near Eastpoint FL. Maybe it has always been your goal to hit the open road while operating a huge tractor trailer. Or possibly you have done some research and have discovered that a career as a truck driver offers good wages and flexible job prospects. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s important to get the appropriate training by selecting the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are certain variables that you’ll need to examine prior to making your ultimate selection. Location will no doubt be important, especially if you need to commute from your Eastpoint home. The cost will also be of importance, but choosing a school based exclusively on price is not the best method to guarantee you’ll receive the appropriate education. 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 rest of this article. But first, we are going to review a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will eventually need.
Which CDL Will You Require?
To operate commercial vehicles lawfully within the United States and Eastpoint FL, a driver must attain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 classes of licenses that one can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the subject of this article is how to choose a truck driving school, we will highlight Class A and Class B licenses. What distinguishes 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). Below are brief explanations of the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License is required to operate 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 Commercial Drivers License is required to operate 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. 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 need endorsements to operate specific kinds of vehicles, for example school or passenger buses. And a Class A license holder, with the proper required endorsements, may operate any vehicle that a Class B license holder is authorized to operate.
How to Evaluate a CDL School
After you have decided which Commercial Drivers License you would like to obtain, you can start the process of evaluating the Eastpoint FL truck driving schools that you are looking at. As already discussed, cost and location will no doubt be your primary considerations. But it can’t be stressed enough that they should 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 several additional factors that you should research while conducting your due diligence prior to selecting, and especially paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Not many truck driver schools in the Eastpoint FL area are accredited due to the stringent process and cost to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more typical and is offered by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not required to become certified, but there are a number of advantages. Potential students recognize that the training will be of the highest standard, and that they will get lots of driving time. For example, PTDI calls for 44 hours of actual 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 training and curriculum will satisfy the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One indicator to help measure the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in operation. A poorly reviewed or a fly by night school normally will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. Having said that, even the top Eastpoint FL schools had to start from their opening day of training, so use it as one of multiple qualifications. You can also learn what the school’s track record is pertaining to successful licensing and job placement of its graduating students. If a school won’t supply those stats, look elsewhere. The schools should additionally have associations with regional and national trucking firms. Having a large number of contacts not only points to an excellent reputation within the profession, but also bolsters their job placement program for students. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to contact the Florida licensing department to confirm that the CDL trucker schools you are considering are in good standing.
How Effective is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools must be licensed in Florida and hire instructors that are trained and experienced. We will discuss more about the instructors in the following segment. Also, the student to instructor proportion should not be higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be obtaining the personal attention 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 period. Learning to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully requires time. The majority of Eastpoint FL schools provide training programs that range from three weeks to as long as 2 months, depending on the class of license or type of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Trainers? As already stated, it’s imperative that the instructors are qualified to teach driving methods and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Even though several states have minimum driving time criteria to qualify as a teacher, the more professional driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also vital that the teachers stay up to date with industry advancements or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Evaluating teachers may be a bit more subjective than other standards, and possibly 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 going through the training and find out if they are happy with the level of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Enough Driving Time? Most importantly, a good trucking school will furnish sufficient 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 driving a truck. While the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are necessary training methods, they are no replacement 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 differs among schools, a reasonable standard is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish no less than 44 hours of driving time. Get in touch with the Eastpoint FL schools you are considering and find out how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Independent or Captive ? It’s possible to receive free or discounted training from a number of trucking schools if you make a commitment to drive for a specified 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 rather than having affiliations with a wide range of trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only work with one company. The tradeoff is receiving less expensive or even free training by surrendering the freedom to initially be a driver wherever you have an opportunity. Naturally contract training has the potential to reduce your income opportunities when beginning your new career. But for some it may be the only way to receive affordable training. Just remember to find out if the Eastpoint FL schools you are considering are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Provide CDL Testing Onsite? There are a number of states that will allow third party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is allowed in Florida, find out if the schools you are reviewing are DMV certified to provide it. One advantage is that it is more accommodating than contending with graduates of competing schools for test times at Florida testing centers. It is also an indicator that the DMV considers the authorized schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Class Times Flexible? As earlier noted, CDL training is just 1 to 2 months in length. With such a brief duration, it’s imperative that the Eastpoint FL school you choose provides flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. As an example, if you’re having difficulty learning a certain driving maneuver, then the teacher should be prepared to spend more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still working while going to training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other responsibilities.
Is Job Placement Provided? Once you have received your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be anxious to start your new career. Confirm that the schools you are contemplating have job assistance programs. Ask what their job placement percentage is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, ask which national and local trucking companies their graduates are referred to for employment. If a school has a poor job placement rate or not many Eastpoint FL employers hiring their grads, it might be a sign to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Truck driver schools are similar to colleges and other Eastpoint FL area vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being available. Ask if the schools you are evaluating have a financial aid department, or at a minimum someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that need to be submitted.
How To Get A Class B License Eastpoint Florida
Selecting the appropriate trucking school is an essential first step to beginning your new vocation as a long distance or local truck driver. The skills that you will learn at school will be those that mold a new career behind the wheel. There are several options offered and understanding them is crucial to a new driver’s success. You originally came to our website because of your interest in How To Get A Class B License and wanting information on the topic How To Get A Class A Drivers License. But first and foremost, you must receive the necessary training in order to operate a large commercial vehicle in a safe and professional fashion. If you are short on funds or financing, you might want to think about a captive school. You will pay a reduced 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 choice, or one of several associated with the school. It’s your choice. But no matter how you obtain your training, you will soon be entering a profession that helps America move as a professional truck driver in Eastpoint FL.
Truck On in These Other Florida Locations
As of the census of 2000, there were 2,158 people, 804 households, and 612 families residing in the CDP. The population density was 294.4 people per square mile (113.7/km²). There were 911 housing units at an average density of 124.3/sq mi (48.0/km²). The racial makeup of the CDP was 96.57% White, 0.79% African American, 0.42% Native American, 0.09% Asian, 0.56% from other races, and 1.58% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.67% of the population.
There were 804 households out of which 36.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 59.3% were married couples living together, 11.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 23.8% were non-families. 18.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 6.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.61 and the average family size was 2.95.
In the CDP, the population was spread out with 26.4% under the age of 18, 7.6% from 18 to 24, 28.0% from 25 to 44, 24.6% from 45 to 64, and 13.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females, there were 99.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 96.4 males.