How to Pick the Right CDL Training Classes near Westwood Massachusetts
Congrats on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a truck driving school near Westwood MA. Maybe it has always been your ambition to hit the open highway while driving a big ole tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have conducted some analysis and have discovered that a career as a truck driver provides good income and flexible job opportunities. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s essential to get the appropriate training by choosing the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are a number of variables that you’ll want to examine before making your final choice. Location will certainly be important, especially if you have to commute from your Westwood residence. The cost will also be important, but selecting a school based solely on price is not the best method to make sure you’ll get the appropriate education. Don’t forget, your goal is to learn the skills and knowledge 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 decide on a truck driving school? That 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 commercial driver’s license you will ultimately need.
Which CDL Will You Need?
To operate commercial vehicles legally within the United States and Westwood MA, an operator needs to obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three classes of licenses that a driver can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the subject of this article is how to select a truck driver 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 in addition to the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Below are short descriptions of the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License is required to operate any vehicle that has a GCWR of greater 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 required 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. 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 Commercial Drivers Licenses may also require endorsements to operate specific types of vehicles, for instance school or passenger buses. And a Class A license holder, with the appropriate required endorsements, may drive any vehicle that a Class B license holder is qualified to operate.
How to Research a Truck Driving School
When you have decided which Commercial Drivers License you wish to obtain, you can start the process of evaluating the Westwood MA truck driving schools that you are looking at. As previously discussed, location and cost will no doubt be your initial considerations. But it can’t be stressed enough that they should not be your sole concerns. 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 things that you need to research while carrying out your due diligence prior to choosing, and particularly paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Very few truck driving schools in the Westwood MA area are accredited because of the rigorous process and cost to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more commonplace and is provided by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not required 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 course is certified (the course, not the school is certified), students know that the curriculum and training will satisfy the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One clue to help evaluate the quality of a trucking 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. However, even the best of Westwood MA schools had to begin from their opening day of training, so consider it as one of several 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 also maintain relationships with regional and national trucking companies. Having a large number of contacts not only affirms an excellent reputation within the trade, but also boosts their job placement program for students. It also wouldn’t hurt to contact the Massachusetts licensing department to verify that the CDL trucker schools you are reviewing are in compliance.
How Good is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools must be licensed in Massachusetts and employ instructors that are trained and experienced. We will cover more about the instructors in the next section. Also, the student to instructor proportion 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 particularly true concerning 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 comparatively short time frame. Learning to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer professionally requires time. The majority of Westwood MA schools offer training programs that run from three weeks to as long as 2 months, depending on the class of license or kind of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Trainers? As previously mentioned, it’s important that the teachers are trained to teach driving methods and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Even though several states have minimum driving time criteria to be certified as an instructor, the more successful driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also important that the teachers keep current with industry advancements or any new laws or changes in regulations. Assessing teachers might be a little more subjective than other criteria, and possibly the ideal approach is to visit the school and speak with the teachers face to face. You can also speak with a few of the students completing the training and find out if they are happy with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
Adequate Driving Time? Most importantly, a good trucking school will provide ample driving time to its students. Besides, 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 alternative for real driving. The more instruction that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will become. And even though driving time varies between schools, a good benchmark is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide at least 44 hours of driving time. Get in touch with the Westwood MA schools you are researching and find out how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Captive or Independent ? It’s possible to receive free or discounted training from certain trucking schools if you make a commitment to be a driver for a specific carrier for a defined period of time. This is referred to as contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So rather than maintaining relationships with many different trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only refer to one company. The tradeoff is receiving less expensive or even free training by surrendering the freedom to initially work wherever you have an opportunity. Obviously contract training has the potential to reduce your income opportunities when starting out. But for some it may be the ideal way to get affordable training. Just remember to inquire if the Westwood MA schools you are contemplating are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Is there CDL Testing Onsite? There are some states that will allow 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its grads. If onsite testing is available in Massachusetts, find out if the schools you are considering are DMV certified to provide it. One benefit is that it is more convenient than competing with graduates from other schools for test times at Massachusetts testing facilities. It is also an indication that the DMV regards the approved schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Class Times Flexible? As previously noted, CDL training is only about 1 to 2 months in length. With such a short duration, it’s essential that the Westwood MA school you choose offers flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. For example, if you’re having a hard time learning a particular driving maneuver, then the instructor should be willing to devote more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still working while attending training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other commitments.
Is Job Assistance Provided? Once you have received your CDL license after graduating from trucking school, you will be anxious to begin your new profession. Verify that the schools you are considering have job placement programs. Find out what their job placement ratio 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 low job placement rate or not many Westwood MA employers hiring their graduates, it may be a sign to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Given? Truck driver schools are comparable to colleges and other Westwood MA area technical or vocational schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being available. Ask if the schools you are examining have a financial assistance department, or at a minimum someone who can help you understand the options and forms that must be submitted.
Truck Driver Schools Near Me Westwood Massachusetts
Choosing the appropriate trucking school is a critical first step to starting your new occupation as a long distance or local truck driver. The skill sets taught at school will be those that forge a new career behind the wheel. There are a number of options available 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 Truck Driver Schools Near Me and wanting information on the topic Truck Driver Training Cost. However, you must obtain the proper training in order to operate a large commercial vehicle in a professional and safe fashion. If you are lacking money or financing, you might want to think about 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 CDL 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 decision. But no matter how you get your training, you will in the near future be joining an industry that helps our country move as a professional trucker in Westwood MA.
Truck On in These Other Massachusetts Locations
Westwood is a town in Norfolk County, Massachusetts, United States. The population was 14,618 at the 2010 census. In July 2005, CNN/Money and Money magazine ranked Westwood 13th on its list of the 100 Best Places to Live in the United States. Boston magazine included Gay Street in Westwood on its list of the Best Streets in the Boston area. It is the 9th wealthiest town in the state of Massachusetts.
Westwood was first settled in 1641 and was part of the town of Dedham, originally called 'West Dedham', until it was officially incorporated in 1897. It was the last town to split from the original town of Dedham.
In 1970, Westwood was home to The Westwood Study, an assessment which measured the amount of racism in the almost entirely white town. Conducted in the context of efforts at integrating housing, what the study revealed was how large proportions of the town had racist views while at the same time viewing themselves as not racist.
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