How to Choose the Right CDL Driving Classes near Ruskin Florida
Congratulations on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a CDL school near Ruskin FL. Maybe it has always been your ambition to hit the open highway while driving a big ole tractor trailer. Or possibly you have conducted some research and have discovered that a career as a truck driver provides good pay and flexible work prospects. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s essential to receive the proper training by selecting the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are a number of factors that you’ll want to consider before making your final selection. Location will undoubtedly be an issue, particularly if you have to commute from your Ruskin home. The expense will also be important, but selecting a school based entirely on price is not the ideal means to make certain you’ll get the right training. Don’t forget, your goal is to master the knowledge and skills that will enable you to pass the CDL exams and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that target in mind, just how do you pick a truck driving school? That is what we are going to discuss in the balance of this article. But first, we are going to talk a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will eventually need.
Which CDL Will You Require?
In order to operate commercial vehicles lawfully within the USA and Ruskin FL, an operator needs to obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three classes of licenses that one can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the subject of this article is how to pick a truck driving school, we will address Class A and B licenses. What differentiates each class of CDL is the type 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 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. Several 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 needed 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. 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 licensee, with the proper needed endorsements, may operate any vehicle that a Class B license holder is qualified to drive.
How to Assess a Trucking School
Once you have decided which CDL you want to obtain, you can start the process of assessing the Ruskin FL truck driver schools that you are considering. As already mentioned, location and cost will certainly be your primary concerns. But it can’t be stressed enough that they must not be your only considerations. Other variables, including the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are similarly or even more important. So following are a few additional factors that you should research while conducting your due diligence prior to selecting, and particularly paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Not many truck driver schools in the Ruskin FL area are accredited because of the rigorous process and expense to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more common 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. Interested students recognize that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will receive 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 curriculum and training will meet the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One clue to help assess the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in business. A poorly ranked or a fly by night school typically will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. Having said that, even the best of Ruskin FL schools had to begin from their opening day of training, so use it as one of multiple qualifications. You can also learn what the school’s history is regarding successful licensing and job placement of its graduating students. If a school won’t supply those stats, search elsewhere. The schools should also have associations with regional and national trucking firms. Having a large number of contacts not only affirms an excellent reputation within the profession, but also bolsters their job assistance program for students. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to check with the Florida licensing department to confirm that the CDL trucking schools you are researching are in good standing.
How Good is the Training? At a minimum, the schools should be licensed in Florida and employ teachers that are trained and experienced. We will discuss more about the instructors in the next segment. In addition, the student to instructor ratio should be no greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be getting the personal instruction 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 claims it can train you to be a truck driver in a relatively short period of time. Learning to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully requires time. Most Ruskin FL schools offer training courses that run from three weeks to as long as two months, based on the class of license or kind of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Teachers? As already stated, it’s important that the teachers are qualified to teach driving techniques and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Even though a number of states have minimum driving time criteria to qualify as a teacher, the more successful driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also important that the instructors keep up to date with industry advancements or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Evaluating instructors may be a little more subjective than other standards, and possibly the best approach is to check out the school and talk to the teachers in person. You can also talk to some of the students going through the training and ask if they are happy with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Sufficient Driving Time? Above all else, a good truck driving 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. While the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are essential training tools, they are no replacement for actual driving. The more training that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will become. And even though driving time can vary among schools, a good benchmark is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish no less than 44 hours of driving time. Check with the Ruskin FL schools you are looking at and ask how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Captive or Independent ? You can receive discounted or even free training from a number of trucking schools if you make a commitment to drive for a specified carrier for a defined period of time. This is what’s known as contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So rather than having affiliations with numerous 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 surrendering the flexibility to initially be a driver wherever you have an opportunity. Clearly contract training has the potential to limit your income opportunities when beginning your new career. But for some it may be the ideal way to receive affordable training. Just remember to find out if the Ruskin FL schools you are contemplating are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Offer Onsite CDL Testing? There are a number of states that will allow third party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is permitted in Florida, ask if the schools you are considering are DMV certified to provide it. One benefit is that it is more convenient than contending 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 superior quality.
Are the Classes Flexible? As formerly mentioned, truck driving training is only about 1 to 2 months long. With such a brief duration, it’s essential that the Ruskin FL school you choose offers flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. For 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 have it mastered. And if you’re still working while going to training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other commitments.
Is Job Assistance Provided? The moment you have received your commercial driver’s license after graduating from trucking school, you will be keen to begin your new profession. Verify that the schools you are looking at have job placement programs. Ask 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 employment. If a school has a low job placement rate or not many Ruskin FL employers recruiting their graduates, it might be a clue to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Given? Truck driver schools are comparable to colleges and other Ruskin FL area vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being offered. Ask if the schools you are examining have a financial aid department, or at a minimum someone who can help you get through the options and forms that need to be completed.
How To Become Truck Driver Ruskin Florida
Selecting the right truck driver school is a critical first step to beginning your new profession as a long distance or local truck driver. The skill sets taught 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 How To Become Truck Driver and wanting information on the topic Truck Driver Classes. But first and foremost, you must get the proper training in order to drive a large commercial vehicle in a professional and safe fashion. If you are lacking money or financing, you may 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 driver school and have the option of driving for the trucking company of your choice, or one of several affiliated with the school. It’s your choice. But no matter how you get your training, you will in the near future be joining a profession that helps America move as a professional trucker in Ruskin FL.
Truck On in These Other Florida Locations
Ruskin is an unincorporated census-designated place in Hillsborough County, Florida, United States. The area was part of the chiefdom of the Uzita at the time of the Hernando de Soto expedition in 1539. The community was founded August 7, 1908, on the shores of the Little Manatee River. It was developed by Dr. George McAnelly Miller, an attorney and professor at Ruskin College in Trenton, Missouri, and Addie Dickman Miller. It is named after the essayist and social critic John Ruskin. Miller established the short-lived Ruskin College. It was one of the Ruskin Colleges.
The town and college were named after the English writer and social reformist John Ruskin. Ruskin, a utopian, founded the Guild of St George, a celebration of workmanship that underpinned the Arts and Crafts movement of William Morris. Ruskin was a passionate educator.
In 1907, Dr. George McAnelly Miller, a former Chicago prosecuting attorney and professor, and former president of Ruskin College in Trenton, Missouri, relocated his family to the area, along with his brother-in-law Albert Peter Dickman's family. They purchased land and started to set up homes, a sawmill, and a school. Addie Dickman Miller, Dr. Miller's wife, founded a post office on August 7, 1908. This day is recognized as the official founding day of the town. The Ruskin Commongood Society platted Ruskin on February 19, 1910, and filed the plat on March 9, 1910, in the Hillsborough County Court House, with lots for the college, the business district, two parks, and for the founding families, with only white people allowed to own or lease land in the community. Albert Dickman's house, finished in 1910, on the banks of the Little Manatee River, is one of the few structures left standing from the founding of Ruskin.
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