How to Pick the Best Trucker Classes near Elko Georgia
Congrats on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a CDL school near Elko GA. Perhaps it has always been your goal to hit the open highway while operating a huge tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have conducted some analysis and have discovered that an occupation as a truck driver provides excellent wages and flexible job opportunities. Whatever your reason is, it’s important to get the appropriate training by choosing the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are a number of factors that you’ll need to think about prior to making your ultimate choice. Location will certainly be an issue, especially if you have to commute from your Elko home. The cost will also be of importance, but picking a school based only on price is not the optimal means to ensure you’ll obtain the proper education. Just remember, your goal is to master the skills and knowledge that will enable you to pass the CDL exams and become a qualified 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 review a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will ultimately need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Will You Require?
To operate commercial vehicles lawfully within the United States and Elko GA, an operator must attain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three 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 select 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). Following are brief descriptions of the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is required to operate any vehicle that has a GCWR of greater 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 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. A few 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 certain types of vehicles, such as passenger or school buses. And a Class A license holder, with the appropriate needed endorsements, can drive any vehicle that a Class B licensee is authorized to drive.
How to Assess a CDL School
As soon as you have decided which Commercial Drivers License you would like to pursue, you can start the process of researching the Elko GA truck driver schools that you are looking at. As previously discussed, cost and location will certainly be your primary considerations. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they must not be your only concerns. Other issues, for instance the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are similarly if not more important. So below are a few more things that you need to research while carrying out your due diligence prior to enrolling in, and particularly paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Very few truck driver schools in the Elko GA area are accredited because of the stringent process and cost to the schools. However, certification is more commonplace and is provided by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not obligated to become certified, but there are a number of advantages. Potential students recognize that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will get plenty of driving time. As an 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 curriculum and training will satisfy the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One indicator to help assess the quality of a trucking school is how long it has been in operation. A poorly ranked or a fly by night school normally will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the top Elko GA schools had to start from their first day of training, so use it as one of multiple qualifiers. You can also learn what the school’s history is pertaining to successful licensing and job placement of its graduates. If a school won’t supply those numbers, look elsewhere. The schools should additionally have associations with regional and national trucking firms. Having numerous contacts not only confirms a quality reputation within the industry, but also bolsters their job placement program for graduates. It also wouldn’t hurt to contact the Georgia licensing department 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 must be licensed in Georgia and hire instructors that are experienced and trained. We will discuss more about the teachers in the next 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 obtaining the personal attention they will need. This is particularly true regarding the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And watch out for any school that insists it can teach you to drive trucks in a relatively short time period. Training to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer professionally takes time. The majority of Elko GA schools offer training courses that range from three weeks to as long as two months, depending on the license class or type of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Teachers? As earlier mentioned, it’s essential that the teachers are qualified to teach driving techniques and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Even though a number of states have minimum driving time requirements to qualify as a teacher, the more successful driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also vital that the instructors stay current with industry advancements or any new laws or changes in regulations. Evaluating instructors might be a bit more subjective than other criteria, and perhaps the ideal approach is to check out 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.
Adequate Driving Time? Above all else, a good trucking 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. Although the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are essential training tools, they are no substitute for real driving. The more training that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will be. Although driving time can vary among schools, a good standard is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide at least 44 hours of driving time. Contact the Elko GA schools you are considering and ask how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Captive or Independent ? It’s possible to receive free or discounted training from certain truck driving schools if you make a commitment to drive for a specific carrier for a defined amount of time. This is referred to as contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So rather than having affiliations with numerous trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only work with one company. The tradeoff is receiving less expensive or even free training by surrendering the freedom to initially be a driver wherever you choose. Obviously contract training has the potential to limit your income prospects when beginning your new career. But for many it may be the best way to get affordable training. Just remember to find out if the Elko GA schools you are looking at are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Provide Onsite CDL Testing? There are a number of states that will permit 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driver schools for its students. If onsite testing is allowed in Georgia, find out if the schools you are considering are DMV certified to offer it. One advantage is that it is more convenient than competing with graduates from other schools for test times at Georgia testing locations. It is moreover an indication that the DMV believes the approved schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Class Times Accessible? As formerly mentioned, truck driving training is only about 1 to 2 months long. With such a brief term, it’s imperative that the Elko GA school you choose provides flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. For example, if you’re having difficulty learning a particular driving maneuver, then the instructor should be prepared 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 must be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other responsibilities.
Is Job Assistance Provided? Once you have received your CDL license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be impatient to start your new career. Confirm that the schools you are considering have job placement programs. Find out what their job placement rate is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, ask which national and local trucking companies their graduates are referred to for hiring. If a school has a low job placement rate or few Elko GA employers hiring their grads, it might be a clue to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Trucking schools are comparable to colleges and other Elko GA area vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being available. Ask if the schools you are assessing have a financial aid department, or at a minimum someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that must be completed.
Driving Truck School Elko Georgia
Picking the appropriate truck driving school is a critical first step to starting your new vocation as a long distance or local truck driver. The skill sets taught at school will be those that shape a new career behind the wheel. There are a number of options available and understanding them is vital to a new driver’s success. You originally came to our website because of your interest in Driving Truck School and wanting information on the topic Truck Driving School Requirements. However, you must get the proper training in order to drive a large commercial vehicle in a safe and professional fashion. If you are lacking money or financing, you may want to think about 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 choose an independent trucking school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking firm of your choice, or one of several associated with the school. It’s your choice. But no matter how you obtain your training, you will soon be entering a profession that helps our country move as a professional truck driver in Elko GA.
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Raised in South Brunswick, New Jersey, Elko graduated in 1995 from South Brunswick High School, where he played baseball, basketball and was the quarterback for the school's football team. He was recognized by the coaches of the Greater Middlesex Conference as the league's top quarterback in 1994 and was inducted into the school's athletic hall of fame in 2012. He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, where he played for the Penn Quakers football team that won the Ivy league championship in 1998.
Prior to being named defensive coordinator at Notre Dame, Elko had coached under Dave Clawson for 12 seasons. He spent two seasons with Clawson at both Fordham and Richmond, five seasons with him at Bowling Green, and three seasons with Clawson at Wake Forest. During the 2016 season, Elko's Wake Forest defense ranked in the top 20 for NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) in defensive touchdowns scored, turnovers, red zone defense, sacks, and scoring defense. Alabama, Clemson and Washington, the three other FBS teams to accomplish this on defense, were among the four teams selected to compete in that season's College Football Playoff postseason tournament. The Fighting Irish fired DC Brian VanGorder the prior September after Notre Dame started the season with a 1–3 record and a defense ranked third from the bottom of the FBS. On January 4, 2018, Elko was hired by Jimbo Fisher as the defensive coordinator at Texas A&M inking a three-year deal averaging $1.8M/year.