How to Choose the Right Truck Driving Classes near Blue Ridge Georgia
Congratulations on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a trucking school near Blue Ridge GA. Maybe it has always been your fantasy to hit the open highway while driving a huge tractor trailer. Or possibly you have done some research and have found that a career as a truck driver provides excellent pay and flexible work opportunities. Whatever your reason is, it’s important to receive the appropriate training by selecting the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are various variables that you’ll need to examine prior to making your ultimate selection. Location will no doubt be important, especially if you have to commute from your Blue Ridge residence. The expense will also be of importance, but picking a school based only on price is not the best way to make certain you’ll get the proper education. Just remember, your objective is to learn the skills and knowledge that will allow you to pass the CDL examinations and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that objective in mind, just how do you pick a truck driving school? That is what we are going to cover in the balance of this article. But first, we are going to review a little bit about which CDL license you will ultimately need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Should You Get?
In order to drive commercial vehicles legally within the United States and Blue Ridge GA, an operator needs to get a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 classes of licenses that a person can qualify 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 address Class A and B licenses. What differentiates each class of CDL is the kind of vehicle that the driver can operate in addition to the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Below are short explanations for the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License is needed to operate any vehicle that has a GCWR of more 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 CDL is required 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 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 Commercial Drivers Licenses might also require endorsements to operate certain kinds of vehicles, for instance passenger or school buses. And a Class A licensee, with the appropriate needed endorsements, can operate any vehicle that a Class B licensee is qualified to operate.
How to Evaluate a Trucking School
After you have decided which Commercial Drivers License you would like to obtain, you can start the process of assessing the Blue Ridge GA trucking schools that you are looking at. As previously discussed, location and cost will no doubt be your primary considerations. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they must not be your sole considerations. Other issues, including the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are similarly if not more important. So following are several more factors that you should research while performing your due diligence prior to selecting, and particularly paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Very few truck driving schools in the Blue Ridge GA area are accredited due to the rigorous process and expense to the schools. On the other hand, 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. Prospective students recognize that the training will be of the highest caliber, and that they will get an ample amount of driving time. For example, PTDI requires 44 hours of real driving time, not simulations or ride-alongs. So if a school’s course is certified (the course, not the school is certified), students know that the training and curriculum will comply with the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One clue to help measure the quality of a truck driver school is how long it has been in business. A negatively reviewed or a fly by night school typically will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the top Blue Ridge GA schools had to begin from their opening day of training, so use it as one of several qualifiers. You can also ask what the school’s history is concerning successful licensing and employment of its graduates. If a school won’t provide those numbers, search elsewhere. The schools should also maintain associations with local 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 Georgia licensing department to verify that the CDL trucking schools you are reviewing are in compliance.
How Good is the Training? At a minimum, the schools must be licensed in Georgia and hire instructors that are experienced and trained. We will talk more about the instructors in the next section. Also, the student to instructor proportion should not be greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be obtaining the individual instruction they will need. This is especially true regarding the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And be critical of any school that professes it can teach you to be a truck driver in a relatively short time frame. Training to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully requires time. Most Blue Ridge GA schools offer training courses that run from 3 weeks to as long as two months, based on the license class or type of vehicle.
How Good are the Teachers? As previously mentioned, it’s essential that the instructors are trained to teach driving methods and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Although a number of states have minimum driving time criteria to qualify as a teacher, the more successful driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also vital that the instructors stay up to date with industry developments or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Evaluating instructors may be a bit more subjective than other standards, and perhaps the best method is to visit the school and talk to the teachers face to face. You can also talk to a few of the students going through the training and ask if they are happy with the level of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
Sufficient Driving Time? Most importantly, an excellent truck driving school will furnish lots of driving time to its students. After all, isn’t that what it’s all about? Driving time is the actual time spent behind the wheel operating a truck. Although the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are important training methods, they are no replacement for real driving. The more training that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will become. Although driving time differs among schools, a reasonable standard is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide at least 44 hours of driving time. Contact the Blue Ridge GA schools you are looking at and ask how much driving time they provide.
Are they Independent or Captive ? You can obtain 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 amount of time. This is what’s known as contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So rather than having associations with a wide range of trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only refer to one company. The tradeoff is receiving less expensive or even free training by surrendering the flexibility to initially work wherever you choose. Obviously contract training has the potential to reduce your income opportunities when starting out. But for many it may be the only way to get affordable training. Just make sure to inquire if the Blue Ridge GA schools you are contemplating are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Offer CDL Testing Onsite? There are a number of states that will permit 3rd party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its grads. If onsite testing is allowed in Georgia, ask if the schools you are looking at are DMV certified to provide it. One benefit is that it is more convenient than contending with graduates from other schools for test times at Georgia testing centers. It is also an indication that the DMV believes the approved schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Class Times Flexible? As earlier noted, truck driving training is only about one to two months long. With such a short duration, it’s imperative that the Blue Ridge GA school you enroll in offers flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. For example, if you’re having difficulty learning a particular driving maneuver, then the teacher should be prepared to spend more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still employed while attending training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other commitments.
Is Job Placement Offered? The moment you have received your CDL license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be impatient to start your new career. Verify that the schools you are contemplating have job assistance programs. Find out what their job placement ratio is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, ask which national and local trucking firms their graduates are placed with for employment. If a school has a low job placement rate or not many Blue Ridge GA employers recruiting their graduates, it may be a sign to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Truck driver schools are comparable to colleges and other Blue Ridge GA area technical or vocational schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being offered. Find out 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 need to be completed.
CDL License School Blue Ridge Georgia
Selecting the right truck driving school is a critical first step to beginning your new profession as a long distance or local truck driver. The skills that you will learn at school will be those that forge a new career behind the wheel. There are a number of options offered and understanding them is vital to a new driver’s success. You originally came to our website because of your interest in CDL License School and wanting information on the topic Truck Driving Lessons. But first and foremost, you must receive the appropriate training in order to operate a big commercial vehicle in a professional and safe manner. If you are short on funds or financing, you may want to look into a captive school. You will pay a reduced or in some cases no tuition in exchange for driving for their contracted carrier. Or you can select an independent CDL 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 decision. But regardless of how you receive your training, you will soon be part of an industry that helps our country move as a professional trucker in Blue Ridge GA.
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Blue Ridge, Georgia
Blue Ridge was laid out in 1886 when the Marietta and North Georgia Railroad was extended to that point. It was incorporated in 1887. In 1895, the seat of Fannin County was transferred to Blue Ridge from Morganton.
In the late 2000s and continuing through the 2010s, the city has seen a surge in new business, particularly from the LGBT community which constitutes a larger percentage of the population than is typical for a rural community.
The city of Blue Ridge is located south of the center of Fannin County at 34°52′6″N 84°19′16″W / 34.86833°N 84.32111°W / 34.86833; -84.32111 (34.868344, -84.320991). The city sits on the divide between the Tennessee River watershed to the north (via the Toccoa River) and the Alabama River to the south (via Crooked Log Creek, the Ellijay River, and several downstream rivers).