How to Pick the Right CDL Driving School near Cordele Georgia
Congrats on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a trucking school near Cordele GA. Perhaps it has always been your fantasy to hit the open highway while driving a huge tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have conducted some research and have discovered that a career as a truck driver offers good pay and flexible job prospects. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s imperative to obtain the proper training by enrolling in the right CDL school in your area. When evaluating your options, there are various variables that you’ll want to think about prior to making your ultimate choice. Location will undoubtedly be an issue, particularly if you need to commute from your Cordele home. The expense will also be of importance, but choosing a school based only on price is not the best means to ensure you’ll get the appropriate education. Just remember, your goal is to master the skills and knowledge that will enable you to pass the CDL exams and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that objective in mind, just how do you decide on a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to cover in the remainder of this article. But first, we are going to discuss a little bit about which CDL license you will eventually need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Should You Get?
In order to drive commercial vehicles legally within the USA and Cordele GA, an operator must get 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 select a truck driving school, we will highlight Class A and Class 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). Following are brief summaries for the two 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 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 needed to operate single vehicles having a GVWR of more than 26,000 lbs., or a GCWR of more 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 might also require endorsements to drive specific kinds of vehicles, for instance school or passenger buses. And a Class A license holder, with the proper required endorsements, may operate any vehicle that a Class B license holder is qualified to drive.
How to Assess a Trucking School
After you have decided which Commercial Drivers License you would like to pursue, you can begin the undertaking of evaluating the Cordele GA truck driving schools that you are looking at. As already mentioned, cost and location will no doubt be your initial considerations. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they must not be your sole considerations. Other issues, for example the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are similarly if not more important. So below are some additional things that you should research while conducting your due diligence prior to enrolling in, and especially paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Not many truck driver schools in the Cordele GA area are accredited because of the stringent process and cost to the schools. However, certification is more prevalent and is offered by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not obligated to become certified, but there are several advantages. Interested students know that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will be given plenty of driving time. As an example, PTDI requires 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 fulfill the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One clue to help evaluate the quality of a truck driver school is how long it has been in operation. A negatively ranked or a fly by night school normally will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the best of Cordele GA schools had to start from their opening day of training, so consider it as one of several qualifiers. You can also find out what the school’s history is regarding successful licensing and job placement of its graduating students. If a school won’t share those stats, search elsewhere. The schools should also maintain associations with local and national trucking companies. Having a large number of contacts not only points to a superior reputation within the trade, but also bolsters their job assistance program for graduates. It also wouldn’t hurt to contact the Georgia licensing authority to verify that the CDL trucker schools you are researching are in good standing.
How Effective is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools should be licensed in Georgia and employ teachers that are experienced and trained. We will cover more about the teachers in the following segment. Also, the student to instructor ratio should be no greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be receiving the individual instruction they will need. This is especially true regarding the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And look out for any school that professes it can train you to drive trucks in a comparatively short time period. Learning to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully requires time. The majority of Cordele GA schools offer training programs that range from three weeks to as long as 2 months, depending on the class of license or type of vehicle.
How Good are the Trainers? As already mentioned, it’s essential that the instructors are qualified to teach driving methods and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Although several states have minimum driving time requirements to be certified as an instructor, the more professional driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also important that the teachers stay current with industry developments or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Evaluating teachers may be a little more subjective than other criteria, and possibly the ideal method is to pay a visit to the school and speak with the instructors face to face. You can also speak with some of the students completing the training and find out if they are happy with the level of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Sufficient Driving Time? Above all else, a great truck driver school will furnish plenty 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. 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 instruction that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will be. Although driving time fluctuates between schools, a good benchmark is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide no less than 44 hours of driving time. Get in touch with the Cordele GA schools you are looking at and find out how much driving time they provide.
Are they Independent or Captive ? It’s possible to obtain discounted or even free training from a number of truck driving schools if you make a commitment to drive for a specified carrier for a defined time period. This is referred to as contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So rather than having associations with many different trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only refer to one company. The tradeoff is receiving free or less expensive training by giving up the flexibility to initially be a driver wherever you have an opportunity. Clearly contract training has the potential to restrict your income opportunities when beginning your new career. But for some it may be the only way to obtain affordable training. Just remember to inquire if the Cordele GA schools you are considering are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Provide Onsite CDL Testing? There are several states that will permit third party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is permitted in Georgia, find out if the schools you are looking at are DMV certified to provide it. One advantage is that it is more convenient than contending with graduates of other schools for test times at Georgia testing locations. It is moreover an indicator that the DMV deems the authorized schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Classes Accessible? As formerly noted, CDL training is just 1 to 2 months in length. With such a brief duration, it’s essential that the Cordele GA school you select offers flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. As an example, if you’re having a hard time learning a certain driving maneuver, then the instructor should be prepared to spend more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still employed while going to training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other responsibilities.
Is Job Placement Provided? As soon as you have attained your CDL license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be anxious to begin your new profession. Verify that the schools you are contemplating have job assistance programs. Ask what their job placement ratio is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, find out which local and national trucking companies their graduates are referred to for employment. If a school has a poor job placement rate or not many Cordele GA employers hiring their graduates, it might be a sign to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Truck driver schools are comparable to colleges and other Cordele GA 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 least someone who can help you understand the options and forms that must be completed.
CDL Job Training Cordele Georgia
Picking the appropriate truck driving school is an important 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 forge a new career behind the wheel. There are many options offered and understanding them is crucial if you are going to succeed as an operator. You originally came to our website because of your interest in CDL Job Training and wanting information on the topic Schools For CDL Drivers License. But first and foremost, you must receive the proper training in order to drive a large commercial vehicle in a professional and safe fashion. If you are lacking funds or financing, you may want to look into a captive school. You will pay a lower or in some cases no tuition in exchange for driving for their contracted carrier. Or you can enroll in an independent trucking school and have the option of driving for the trucking firm of your choice, or one of many affiliated with the school. It’s your choice. But regardless of how you obtain your training, you will soon be joining a profession that helps our country move as a professional truck driver in Cordele GA.
Truck On in These Other Georgia Locations
In November 1864, the area that is now Cordele served as the temporary capital of Georgia. During the last days of the Confederacy, Georgia's war governor Joseph E. Brown used his rural farmhouse to escape the wrath of Sherman's March to the Sea. During that time the farmhouse, which Brown called "Dooly County Place," served as the official capital for only a few days. It was replaced in 1890 by the Suwanee Hotel, located in what became downtown Cordele. The hotel was destroyed by a fire in late 1994 and was rebuilt.
Cordele was founded in 1888 by J.E.D. Shipp of Americus. The town was located at the junction of two major railroads – the Savannah, Americus & Montgomery line, and the Georgia Southern & Florida. As the railroads brought more people and business to the newly settled territory, Cordele experienced phenomenal growth. Before 1905 Cordele was located in southern Dooly County, 9 miles (14 km) from the county seat in Vienna. With Cordele's continued progress, many in the community felt the need for a seat of government to be closer than Vienna. Crisp County was formed in 1905 by taking a portion of southern Dooly County, and Cordele became its county seat.
By August 1930, Cordele housed the Crisp County Hydroelectric System, the first county-owned electric system. Located on the Flint River, the hydroelectric plant continues to operate, and the resulting Lake Blackshear has attracted residents to its waterfront properties.