How to Decide on the Right CDL Training School near Satellite Beach Florida
Congrats on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a trucking school near Satellite Beach FL. Maybe it has always been your ambition to hit the open road while driving a monster tractor trailer. Or maybe you have done some analysis and have found that an occupation as a truck driver provides excellent pay and flexible work opportunities. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s important to get the proper training by selecting the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are various factors that you’ll need to consider prior to making your ultimate choice. Location will no doubt be important, particularly if you have to commute from your Satellite Beach residence. The expense will also be important, but choosing a school based entirely on price is not the best way to make certain you’ll get the proper training. Just remember, your goal is to learn the knowledge and skills 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 decide on 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 discuss a little bit about which CDL license you will ultimately need.
Which CDL Should You Get?
To operate commercial vehicles lawfully within the USA and Satellite Beach FL, an operator needs to obtain 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 topic of this article is how to pick a truck driving school, we will focus on Class A and 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). Below are brief descriptions for the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is required 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 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 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 types of vehicles, including passenger or school buses. And a Class A licensee, with the appropriate required endorsements, may operate any vehicle that a Class B licensee is qualified to drive.
How to Evaluate a CDL School
Once you have decided which Commercial Drivers License you would like to obtain, you can start the undertaking of assessing the Satellite Beach FL truck driving schools that you are considering. As earlier discussed, cost and location will certainly be your primary considerations. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they must not be your only considerations. Other factors, including the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are similarly if not more important. So below are a few additional factors that you need to research while conducting your due diligence before selecting, and particularly paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Not many truck driving schools in the Satellite Beach FL area are accredited due to the stringent process and expense to the schools. However, certification is more typical and is provided by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not obligated to become certified, but there are certain advantages. Interested students recognize that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will receive an ample amount 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 training and curriculum will satisfy the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One indicator to help measure the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in operation. A negatively rated or a fly by night school typically will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the best of Satellite Beach FL schools had to begin from their opening day of training, so use it as one of several qualifiers. You can also learn what the school’s history is regarding successful licensing and employment of its graduating students. If a school won’t share those stats, look elsewhere. The schools should also have associations with local and national trucking firms. Having numerous contacts not only points to a superior reputation within the trade, but also bolsters their job assistance program for students. It also wouldn’t hurt to get in touch with the Florida licensing department to verify that the CDL trucking schools you are considering are in compliance.
How Effective is the Training? At a minimum, the schools must be licensed in Florida and employ teachers that are experienced and trained. We will talk more about the teachers in the following segment. In addition, the student to instructor ratio should be no higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be getting the individual 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 teach you to be a truck driver in a comparatively short period of time. Learning to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully requires time. The majority of Satellite Beach FL schools provide training programs that range from three weeks to as long as two months, depending on the license class or type of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Instructors? As earlier mentioned, it’s essential that the instructors are trained to teach driving methods and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Even though several states have minimum driving time requirements to be certified as a teacher, the more professional driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also crucial that the teachers keep up to date with industry advancements or any new laws or changes in regulations. Assessing instructors may be a little more subjective than other criteria, and possibly the best approach is to check out the school and speak with the teachers face to face. You can also talk to some of the students completing the training and find out if they are happy with the level of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
Enough Driving Time? Above all else, a good truck driving school will furnish plenty 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. Although the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators 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. Although driving time differs among schools, a reasonable benchmark is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide at least 44 hours of driving time. Check with the Satellite Beach FL schools you are researching and ask how much driving time they furnish.
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 specific carrier for a defined time period. This is referred to as contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So rather than having relationships with many different 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 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 starting out. But for many it may be the ideal way to get affordable training. Just make sure to find out if the Satellite Beach FL schools you are considering are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Is there CDL Testing Onsite? There are some states that will permit 3rd party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its students. If onsite testing is permitted in Florida, find out if the schools you are considering 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 moreover an indicator that the DMV regards the approved schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Class Times Flexible? As previously mentioned, CDL training is only about 1 to 2 months long. With such a brief term, it’s imperative that the Satellite Beach FL school you choose provides flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. For example, if you’re having a hard time learning a particular driving maneuver, then the teacher should be willing to dedicate more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still holding a job while attending training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other responsibilities.
Is Job Placement Provided? Once you have attained your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be keen to begin your new career. Make sure 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, find out which local and national trucking companies their graduates are placed with for hiring. If a school has a poor job placement rate or few Satellite Beach FL employers hiring their graduates, it may be a clue to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Trucking schools are similar to colleges and other Satellite Beach FL area technical or vocational schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being available. Ask if the schools you are assessing have a financial assistance department, or at a minimum someone who can help you get through the options and forms that must be completed.
Truck Driving CDL Training Satellite Beach Florida
Picking the right truck driving school is a critical first step to starting your new occupation as a local or long distance truck driver. The skill sets that you will learn at school will be those that forge a new career behind the wheel. There are several options offered and understanding them is vital if you are going to succeed as an operator. You originally came to our website because of your interest in Truck Driving CDL Training and wanting information on the topic CDL Training Classes. But first and foremost, you must get the proper training in order to operate a big commercial vehicle in a safe and professional fashion. If you are short on cash or financing, you might want to think about a captive school. You will pay a lower or even no tuition in exchange for driving for their contracted carrier. Or you can choose an independent trucker school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking company of your choosing, or one of several associated with the school. It’s your decision. But regardless of how you receive your training, you will soon be part of an industry that helps America move as a professional trucker in Satellite Beach FL.
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Satellite Beach, Florida
Satellite Beach is a coastal city situated in Brevard County, Florida. The population was 10,109 at the 2010 United States Census, and it is located with the Atlantic Ocean to the east and the Indian River to the west.
Satellite Beach is located at 28°10′24″N 80°35′48″W / 28.17333°N 80.59667°W / 28.17333; -80.59667 (28.173441, -80.596674). According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 4.3 square miles (11.1 km2). 2.9 square miles (7.6 km2) of it is land and 1.4 square miles (3.5 km2) of it (31.94%) is water.
With both ocean and river frontage, the city is the largest beachside community in South Brevard County. There are 7.7 miles (12.4 km) of shoreline in the City, including 2.8 miles (4.5 km) of Atlantic Ocean beach, 1.3 miles (2.1 km) of Banana River shoreline, and 3.6 miles (5.8 km) of shoreline fronting navigable canals connected to the Banana River.
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