How to Decide on the Best Truck Driver Classes near Pensacola Florida
Congrats on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a CDL school near Pensacola FL. Perhaps it has always been your dream to hit the open highway while driving a monster tractor trailer. Or possibly you have done some research and have discovered that an occupation as a truck driver offers good wages and flexible work opportunities. No matter what your reason is, it’s imperative to receive the appropriate training by picking the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are several variables that you’ll need to examine prior to making your final choice. Location will certainly be important, especially if you need to commute from your Pensacola home. The cost will also be of importance, but selecting a school based solely on price is not the best way to guarantee you’ll obtain the right training. Don’t forget, your objective is to learn 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 decide on a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to address in the balance of this article. But first, we are going to review a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will ultimately need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Will You Need?
In order to operate commercial vehicles legally within the United States and Pensacola FL, a driver needs to get a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three license classes that a person can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the subject of this article is how to select a truck driver school, we will highlight Class A and Class B licenses. What differentiates 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 summaries for the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License 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 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. 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 kinds of vehicles, including school or passenger buses. And a Class A license holder, with the appropriate needed endorsements, may drive any vehicle that a Class B licensee is qualified to operate.
How to Assess a Trucking School
After you have decided which CDL you want to pursue, you can start the undertaking of evaluating the Pensacola FL truck driving schools that you are looking at. As earlier mentioned, cost and location will no doubt be your primary considerations. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they must not be your only concerns. Other issues, for instance the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are equally or even more important. So below are several more things that you should research while carrying out your due diligence before selecting, and especially paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Not many truck driver schools in the Pensacola FL area are accredited because of the demanding process and cost to the schools. On the other hand, 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 a number of advantages. Prospective students know that the training will be of the highest caliber, and that they will get lots of driving time. For example, PTDI requires 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 measure up to the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One indicator to help measure the quality of a trucking school is how long it has been in business. A negatively reviewed or a fly by night school usually will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. Having said that, even the top Pensacola FL schools had to start from their first day of training, so use it as one of several qualifications. You can also learn what the school’s track record is regarding successful licensing and employment of its graduating students. If a school won’t provide those stats, search elsewhere. The schools should also have associations with local and national trucking firms. Having numerous contacts not only points to a quality reputation within the trade, but also boosts their job placement program for students. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to get in touch with the Florida licensing department to confirm that the CDL trucking schools you are researching are in compliance.
How Effective is the Training? At a minimum, the schools should be licensed in Florida and employ instructors that are experienced and trained. We will discuss more about the instructors in the next section. Also, the student to instructor proportion should not be higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be getting the personalized attention they will need. This is especially true concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And be critical of any school that professes it can train you to be a truck driver in a comparatively short time frame. Learning to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer professionally takes time. Most Pensacola FL schools provide training courses that run from 3 weeks to as long as 2 months, depending on the license class or type of vehicle.
How Good are the Trainers? As earlier mentioned, it’s essential that the teachers are qualified to teach driving techniques and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Although a number of states have minimum driving time criteria to qualify as an instructor, the more professional driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also important that the teachers keep up to date with industry developments or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Assessing instructors may be a bit more intuitive than other standards, and possibly the ideal approach is to pay a visit to the school and talk to the teachers in person. You can also speak with some of the students going through the training and ask if they are satisfied with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Plenty of Driving Time? Most importantly, a great 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 operating a truck. Although the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are necessary training tools, they are no alternative for actual driving. The more instruction that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will be. Although driving time fluctuates among schools, a good standard is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish at least 44 hours of driving time. Get in touch with the Pensacola FL schools you are researching and find out how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Independent or Captive ? It’s possible to get free or discounted training from some trucking schools if you enter into an agreement to be a driver for a particular carrier for a defined time period. This is referred to 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 refer their students to, captives only work with one company. The benefit is receiving less expensive or even free training by giving up the flexibility to initially work wherever you have an opportunity. Clearly contract training has the potential to reduce your income prospects when beginning your new career. But for some it may be the ideal way to receive affordable training. Just remember to inquire if the Pensacola FL schools you are considering are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Offer Onsite CDL Testing? There are a number of states that will permit 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driver schools for its grads. If onsite testing is available in Florida, ask if the schools you are looking at are DMV certified to offer it. One benefit is that it is more accommodating than battling with graduates from competing schools for test times at Florida testing locations. It is also an indicator that the DMV views the approved schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Class Times Accessible? As previously noted, truck driver training is only about 1 to 2 months in length. With such a brief duration, it’s imperative that the Pensacola 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 instructor should be prepared to spend 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 commitments.
Is Job Placement Provided? Once you have obtained your CDL license after graduating from trucking school, you will be anxious to start your new career. Make sure that the schools you are looking at have job placement programs. Ask what their job placement rate is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, find out which local and national trucking firms their graduates are referred to for hiring. If a school has a lower job placement rate or not many Pensacola FL employers hiring their graduates, it may be a sign to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Trucking schools are comparable to colleges and other Pensacola FL area vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being available. Find out if the schools you are evaluating have a financial assistance department, or at a minimum someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that must be completed.
Truck Training School Pensacola Florida
Choosing the ideal truck driving school is an essential first step to starting your new profession as a local or long distance truck driver. The skill sets that you will learn at school will be those that mold a new career behind the wheel. There are a number of options offered and understanding them is critical to a new driver’s success. You originally came to our website because of your interest in Truck Training School and wanting information on the topic Schools For CDL Training. However, you must receive the necessary training in order to drive a big commercial vehicle in a safe and professional manner. If you are short on funds or financing, you might want to consider a captive school. You will pay a lower or in some cases no tuition by agreeing to drive for their contracted carrier. Or you can choose an independent truck driving school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking company of your choosing, or one of many affiliated with the school. It’s your choice. But regardless of how you receive your training, you will soon be part of a profession that helps America move as a professional trucker in Pensacola FL.
Truck On in These Other Florida Locations
Pensacola (/ˌpɛnsəˈkoʊlə/) is the westernmost city in the Florida Panhandle, approximately 13 miles (21 km) from the border with Alabama, and the county seat of Escambia County, in the U.S. state of Florida. As of the 2010 census, the city had a total population of 51,923, down from 56,255 at the 2000 census. Pensacola is the principal city of the Pensacola metropolitan area, which had an estimated 494,883 residents in 2018.
Pensacola is a sea port on Pensacola Bay, which is protected by the barrier island of Santa Rosa and connects to the Gulf of Mexico. A large United States Naval Air Station, the first in the United States, is located southwest of Pensacola near Warrington; it is the base of the Blue Angels flight demonstration team and the National Naval Aviation Museum. The main campus of the University of West Florida is situated north of the city center.
The area was originally inhabited by Muskogean language peoples. The Pensacola people lived there at the time of European contact, and Creek people frequently visited and traded from present-day southern Alabama. Spanish explorer Tristán de Luna founded a short-lived settlement in 1559. In 1698 the Spanish established a presidio in the area, from which the modern city gradually developed. The area changed hands several times as European powers competed in North America. During Florida's British rule (1763–1781), fortifications were strengthened.
Business Results 1 - 10 of 6