How to Choose the Best Truck Driver School near Jasper Florida
Congratulations on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a trucking school near Jasper FL. Maybe it has always been your dream to hit the open highway while driving a huge tractor trailer. Or maybe you have done some research and have found that an occupation as a truck driver provides excellent pay and flexible work opportunities. No matter what your reason is, it’s important to receive the appropriate training by enrolling in the right CDL school in your area. When evaluating your options, there are various factors that you’ll want to consider before making your ultimate choice. Location will undoubtedly be important, especially if you have to commute from your Jasper residence. The expense will also be of importance, but picking a school based exclusively on price is not the ideal means to make sure you’ll get the proper education. Just remember, your objective is to master the knowledge and skills that will enable you to pass the CDL examinations and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that goal in mind, just how do you pick a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to discuss in the rest 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 Need?
To operate commercial vehicles legally within the USA and Jasper FL, a driver must obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 classes of licenses that a person can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the topic of this article is how to choose a truck driving school, we will address Class A and Class B licenses. What distinguishes 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 for the two 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. Some 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 CDL is needed to operate single vehicles having a GVWR of greater than 26,000 lbs., or a GCWR of more 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 CDLs may also require endorsements to operate specific kinds of vehicles, for instance school or passenger buses. And a Class A license holder, with the appropriate needed endorsements, may operate any vehicle that a Class B license holder is qualified to drive.
How to Evaluate a Truck Driver School
When you have determined which Commercial Drivers License you want to pursue, you can begin the process of evaluating the Jasper FL truck driver schools that you are looking at. As already discussed, location and cost will certainly be your primary concerns. But it can’t be stressed enough that they should not be your sole considerations. Other issues, including the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are similarly if not more important. So following are several more points that you need to research while carrying out your due diligence before enrolling in, and especially paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Very few trucking schools in the Jasper FL area are accredited due to the stringent 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 a number of advantages. Interested students recognize that the training will be of the highest standard, and that they will receive an ample amount of driving time. As an example, PTDI calls for 44 hours of actual driving time, not ride-alongs or simulations. So if a school’s program is certified (the program, not the school is certified), students know that the training and curriculum will satisfy the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One clue to help evaluate the quality of a trucking school is how long it has been in business. A poorly rated or a fly by night school typically will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. Having said that, even the top Jasper FL schools had to start from their first day of training, so consider it as one of several qualifiers. You can also learn what the school’s track record is pertaining to successful licensing and job placement of its graduates. If a school won’t provide those numbers, search elsewhere. The schools should also maintain associations with regional and national trucking companies. Having numerous contacts not only points to a quality reputation within the industry, but also bolsters their job placement program for graduates. It also wouldn’t hurt to contact the Florida licensing authority to verify that the CDL trucker schools you are researching are in good standing.
How Good is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools must be licensed in Florida and hire instructors that are experienced and trained. We will cover more about the teachers in the following section. Also, the student to instructor ratio should not be higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be receiving the personalized instruction they will need. This is particularly true regarding the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And look out for any school that insists it can teach you to drive trucks in a relatively short period of time. Learning to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully requires time. The majority of Jasper FL schools provide training programs that run from three weeks to as long as 2 months, based on the license class or kind of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Teachers? As already stated, it’s important that the instructors are trained to teach driving methods and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Even though several states have minimum driving time criteria to qualify as an instructor, the more successful driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also important that the instructors stay current with industry developments or any new laws or changes in regulations. Assessing instructors may be a little more subjective than other criteria, and possibly the ideal method is to pay a visit to the school and speak with the teachers in person. You can also talk to a few of the students completing the training and find out if they are satisfied with the level of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Plenty of Driving Time? Above all else, an excellent truck driver 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. Even though the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are necessary training tools, they are no replacement for real driving. The more instruction that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will become. And even though driving time fluctuates between schools, a good standard is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide at least 44 hours of driving time. Get in touch with the Jasper FL schools you are considering and ask how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Independent or Captive ? You can obtain discounted or even free training from some truck driver schools if you enter into an agreement to be a driver for a particular carrier for a defined period of time. This is what’s known as contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So instead of having associations with a wide range of trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only refer to one company. The benefit is receiving free or less expensive training by giving up the flexibility to initially work wherever you have an opportunity. Naturally contract training has the potential to reduce your income opportunities when beginning your new career. But for many it may be the best way to obtain affordable training. Just be sure to inquire if the Jasper FL schools you are looking at are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Provide Onsite CDL Testing? There are several states that will permit 3rd party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is available in Florida, ask if the schools you are considering are DMV certified to provide it. One benefit is that it is more accommodating than competing with graduates of other schools for test times at Florida testing centers. It is moreover an indicator that the DMV views the authorized schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Class Times Convenient? As previously noted, CDL training is only about one to two months in length. With such a short term, it’s essential that the Jasper 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 particular driving maneuver, then the teacher 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 accommodate working hours or other responsibilities.
Is Job Placement Provided? As soon as you have obtained your CDL license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be eager to start your new profession. Make sure that the schools you are looking at have job placement programs. Find out what their job placement rate 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 poor job placement rate or not many Jasper FL employers recruiting their grads, it may be a sign to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Given? Truck driver schools are much like colleges and other Jasper 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 reviewing have a financial aid department, or at a minimum someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that must be submitted.
Truck Driver Training Program Jasper Florida
Picking the appropriate trucking school is an essential first step to launching your new profession 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 many options available and understanding them is critical to a new driver’s success. You originally came to our website because of your interest in Truck Driver Training Program and wanting information on the topic How To Choose A Truck Driver School. However, you must get the proper training in order to drive a big commercial vehicle in a professional and safe fashion. If you are short on money or financing, you might want to look into a captive school. You will pay a reduced or even no tuition by agreeing to drive for their contracted carrier. Or you can enroll in an independent CDL school and have the option of driving for the trucking firm of your choosing, or one of many affiliated with the school. It’s your choice. But no matter how you obtain your training, you will soon be entering an industry that helps our country move as a professional truck driver in Jasper FL.
Truck On in These Other Florida Locations
Jasper is a city in Hamilton County, Florida, United States. The population was 4,546 at the 2010 census, up from 1,780 at the 2000 census. It is the county seat of Hamilton County. The Old Hamilton County Jail and the United Methodist Church in Jasper are on the National Register of Historic Places. One of the largest industries is phosphate mining.
Jasper is located in central Hamilton County at 30°31′08″N 82°57′04″W / 30.518856°N 82.951194°W / 30.518856; -82.951194. It is set in the North Florida lowlands 90 miles (140 km) west of Jacksonville, 85 miles (137 km) east of Tallahassee, 32 miles (51 km) southeast of Valdosta, Georgia, and 30 miles (48 km) northwest of Lake City. The city is sits on a slightly higher elevated area surrounded by lowland.
U.S. Routes 41 and 129 run concurrently through the center of Jasper. US 41 continues northwest to Jennings and then into Georgia, and southeast to White Springs, while US 129 runs north to Statenville, Georgia and south to Live Oak. Interstate 75 passes close to Jasper, with access from Exit 451 (US 129) 5 miles (8 km) south of town, and from Exit 460 (Florida State Road 6) 7 miles (11 km) west of town.