How to Decide on the Right Trucking Classes near Ponte Vedra Beach Florida
Congrats on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a trucking school near Ponte Vedra Beach FL. Perhaps it has always been your dream to hit the open highway while driving a huge tractor trailer. Or maybe you have conducted some analysis and have found that an occupation as a truck driver provides excellent wages and flexible work prospects. Whatever your reason is, it’s important to receive the proper training by enrolling in the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are several factors that you’ll want to consider before making your ultimate choice. Location will certainly be an issue, especially if you need to commute from your Ponte Vedra Beach residence. The cost will also be important, but choosing a school based entirely on price is not the optimal way to guarantee you’ll receive the right training. Just remember, your objective is to learn the skills and knowledge that will enable you to pass the CDL exams and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that target in mind, just how do you choose a truck driving school? The answer to that question 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 CDL license you will eventually need.
Which CDL Should You Get?
To drive commercial vehicles legally within the United States and Ponte Vedra Beach FL, an operator must get a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three classes of licenses that a person can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the subject of this article is how to choose a truck driving school, we will discuss Class A and B licenses. What distinguishes each class of CDL is the kind 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 descriptions of the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License is required to drive any vehicle that has a GCWR of more than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of more 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 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. Some 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 may also need endorsements to operate specific types of vehicles, including passenger or school buses. And a Class A license holder, with the proper required endorsements, can drive any vehicle that a Class B license holder is authorized to operate.
How to Research a Trucking School
Once you have determined which Commercial Drivers License you wish to pursue, you can start the undertaking of assessing the Ponte Vedra Beach FL truck driving schools that you are looking at. As earlier mentioned, location and cost will certainly be your initial considerations. But it can’t be stressed enough that they should not be your only concerns. Other variables, for instance the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are similarly if not more important. So below are some more things that you should research while performing your due diligence before enrolling in, and particularly paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Very few trucking schools in the Ponte Vedra Beach FL area are accredited because of the stringent process and expense to the schools. However, certification is more typical and is offered by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not obligated to become certified, but there are several advantages. Potential students recognize that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will receive plenty of driving time. For example, PTDI mandates 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 meet the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One clue to help determine the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in operation. A poorly reviewed or a fly by night school usually will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the top Ponte Vedra Beach FL schools had to start from their first day of training, so use it as one of several qualifiers. You can also find out what the school’s history is concerning successful licensing and job placement of its graduates. If a school won’t share those stats, search elsewhere. The schools should additionally maintain associations with local and national trucking firms. Having numerous contacts not only points to a quality reputation within the industry, but also bolsters their job placement program for students. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to contact the Florida licensing authority to confirm that the CDL trucker schools you are reviewing are in good standing.
How Effective is the Training? At a minimum, the schools should be licensed in Florida and hire instructors that are trained and experienced. We will discuss more about the instructors in the next 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 getting the personal attention they will need. This is especially true concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And look out for any school that professes it can teach you to drive trucks in a comparatively short period of time. Learning to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully requires time. The majority of Ponte Vedra Beach FL schools offer training programs that run from three weeks to as long as two months, depending on the license class or kind of vehicle.
How Good 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. Although several states have minimum driving time requirements to be certified as a teacher, the more professional driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also important that the instructors stay up to date with industry developments or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Evaluating teachers might be a little more subjective than other criteria, and perhaps the ideal approach is to pay a visit to the school and talk to the instructors face to face. You can also talk to a few of the students going through the training and ask if they are satisfied with the level of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
How Much Driving Time? Most importantly, a good truck driver school will furnish lots of 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 ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are essential training methods, they are no substitute for real driving. The more training that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will be. And even though driving time differs between schools, a reasonable standard is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Get in touch with the Ponte Vedra Beach FL schools you are researching and ask how much driving time they provide.
Are they Captive or Independent ? It’s possible to get discounted or even free training from some trucking schools if you make a commitment to be a driver for a specified carrier for a defined amount of time. This is referred to as contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So instead of maintaining associations with numerous trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only work with one company. The benefit is receiving less expensive or even free training by giving up the freedom to initially be a driver wherever you choose. Naturally contract training has the potential to restrict your income opportunities when beginning your new career. But for many it may be the ideal way to obtain affordable training. Just remember to inquire if the Ponte Vedra Beach FL schools you are looking at are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Offer CDL Testing Onsite? There are a number of states that will allow third party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its grads. If onsite testing is permitted in Florida, find out if the schools you are reviewing are DMV certified to offer it. One benefit is that it is more accommodating than competing with graduates of other schools for test times at Florida testing locations. It is moreover an indication that the DMV believes the approved schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Classes Convenient? As previously noted, truck driver training is just one to two months in length. With such a brief duration, it’s important that the Ponte Vedra Beach FL school you choose provides flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. As an example, if you’re having a hard time learning a particular driving maneuver, then the teacher should be willing to commit more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still holding a job while going to training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other responsibilities.
Is Job Placement Offered? Once you have received your commercial driver’s license after graduating from trucking school, you will be eager to start your new profession. Verify that the schools you are reviewing have job assistance programs. Find out what their job placement rate is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, ask which local and national trucking firms their graduates are placed with for hiring. If a school has a poor job placement rate or few Ponte Vedra Beach FL employers recruiting their grads, it may be a clue to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Trucking schools are similar to colleges and other Ponte Vedra Beach FL area trade or technical schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being available. Find out if the schools you are assessing have a financial assistance department, or at a minimum someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that must be completed.
Getting A CDL License Ponte Vedra Beach Florida
Choosing the ideal truck driver school is a critical first step to beginning your new profession as a local or long distance truck driver. The skills 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 crucial to a new driver’s success. You originally came to our website because of your interest in Getting A CDL License and wanting information on the topic Truck Driver Training. However, you must receive the necessary training in order to operate a big commercial vehicle in a professional and safe fashion. If you are lacking money or financing, you may need to look into a captive school. You will pay a lower or even no tuition by agreeing to drive for their contracted carrier. Or you can enroll in an independent trucker school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking firm of your choice, or one of many affiliated with the school. It’s your decision. But no matter how you obtain your training, you will soon be part of a profession that helps America move as a professional truck driver in Ponte Vedra Beach FL.
Truck On in These Other Florida Locations
Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida
Ponte Vedra Beach is an unincorporated seaside community in St. Johns County, Florida, United States. Located eighteen miles (29 km) southeast of downtown Jacksonville and 26 miles (42 km) north of St. Augustine, it is part of the Jacksonville Beaches area.
The area is known for its resorts including the Ponte Vedra Inn and Club, the Lodge and Club, and the Marriott at Sawgrass. It also lies within St. Johns County, which is the wealthiest county in Florida. Ponte Vedra Beach is an upper-income tourist resort area best known for its association with golf and is home to the PGA Tour and The Players Championship, played at the TPC at Sawgrass, as well as the ATP Tour.
What is now north Florida was visited several times by European explorers in the 16th century, but there is little evidence for them specifically coming to Ponte Vedra Beach. It may have been sighted by Juan Ponce de León during his voyage to Florida in 1513, but as his precise landfall is unknown, this claim can be made by many communities on the east coast of Florida.
Business Results 1 - 10 of 18