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How To Choose A CDL Driving School West Olive MI

How to Find the Right Truck Driving Classes near West Olive Michigan

tractor truck in West Olive MI Congrats on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a trucking school near West Olive MI. Maybe it has always been your goal to hit the open highway while operating a big ole tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have conducted some research and have found that a career as a truck driver provides excellent wages and flexible work opportunities. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s important to get the proper training by picking the right CDL school in your area. When evaluating your options, there are certain variables that you’ll want to think about prior to making your ultimate choice. Location will certainly be important, especially if you have to commute from your West Olive home. The expense will also be of importance, but picking a school based exclusively on price is not the optimal method to guarantee you’ll obtain the appropriate training. Don’t forget, your objective is to master the knowledge and skills 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 select 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 Will You Require?

West Olive MI long haul tractor trailerIn order to operate commercial vehicles lawfully within the United States and West Olive MI, an operator needs to obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three classes of licenses that one can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the topic of this article is how to select a truck driver school, we will highlight Class A and Class B licenses. What distinguishes each class of CDL is the type of vehicle that the driver can operate as well as the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Following 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 more than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of greater than 10,000 lbs. Some of the vehicles that operators may be able to drive 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 operate 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. A few 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 may also need endorsements to operate specific types of vehicles, such as passenger or school buses. And a Class A licensee, with the appropriate needed endorsements, can drive any vehicle that a Class B licensee is authorized to operate.

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How to Research a Truck Driver School

West Olive MI truck driving schoolAfter you have determined which CDL you wish to obtain, you can begin the process of evaluating the West Olive MI truck driver schools that you are looking at. As earlier discussed, cost and location will no doubt be your initial considerations. But it can’t be stressed enough that they should not be your sole concerns. Other issues, for instance the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are similarly or even more important. So following are several additional factors that you need to research while performing your due diligence prior to choosing, and especially paying for, your truck driver training.

Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Very few trucking schools in the West Olive MI area are accredited due to the stringent process and expense to the schools. On the other hand, 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 a number of advantages. Potential students recognize that the training will be of the highest caliber, and that they will receive plenty of driving time. As an example, PTDI calls for 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 curriculum and training will measure up to the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.

How Long in Business? One indicator to help evaluate the quality of a trucking school is how long it has been in business. A negatively reviewed or a fly by night school normally will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. Having said that, even the top West Olive MI schools had to start from their opening day of training, so consider it as one of several qualifications. You can also find out what the school’s track record is concerning successful licensing and job placement of its graduating students. If a school won’t share those stats, search elsewhere. The schools should also have relationships with regional and national trucking firms. Having a large number of contacts not only points to a quality reputation within the trade, but also boosts their job placement program for students. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to check with the Michigan licensing department to verify that the CDL trucking schools you are reviewing are in compliance.

How Effective is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools must be licensed in Michigan and employ instructors that are trained and experienced. We will talk 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 particularly 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 drive trucks in a relatively short time frame. Learning to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully takes time. Most West Olive MI schools offer training programs that range from 3 weeks to as long as two months, based on the class of license or kind of vehicle.

How Good are the Instructors? As earlier stated, it’s essential that the teachers are qualified to teach driving techniques and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Although several states have minimum driving time prerequisites to be certified as a teacher, the more successful driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also important that the instructors stay up to date with industry advancements or any new laws or changes in regulations. Assessing instructors might be a bit more intuitive than other standards, and possibly the best method is to pay a visit to the school and talk to the teachers in person. You can also talk to a few 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 great trucking school will furnish 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. While the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are essential training tools, they are no replacement for actual driving. The more instruction that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will be. And even though driving time can vary among schools, a good benchmark is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Get in touch with the West Olive MI schools you are researching and ask how much driving time they furnish.

Are they Captive or Independent ? It’s possible to receive discounted or even free training from a number of truck driving schools if you enter into an agreement to be a driver for a specific carrier for a defined amount of time. This is what’s known as contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So rather than having affiliations with a wide range of trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only work with one company. The benefit is receiving less expensive or even free training by giving up the flexibility to initially work wherever you choose. Obviously contract training has the potential to reduce your income opportunities when beginning your new career. But for many it may be the best way to obtain affordable training. Just remember to find out if the West Olive MI schools you are contemplating are captive or independent 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 permitted in Michigan, ask if the schools you are looking at are DMV certified to offer it. One advantage is that it is more convenient than contending with graduates from other schools for test times at Michigan testing locations. It is moreover an indication that the DMV deems the authorized schools to be of a higher quality.

Are the Classes Convenient? As previously noted, CDL training is only about 1 to 2 months long. With such a short duration, it’s essential that the West Olive MI school you enroll in provides flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. For example, if you’re having difficulty learning a certain driving maneuver, then the instructor should be prepared to spend 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 commitments.

Is Job Assistance Offered? Once you have received your commercial driver’s license after graduating from trucking school, you will be impatient to start your new career. Confirm that the schools you are reviewing have job assistance programs. Ask what their job placement ratio is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, find out which national and local trucking companies their graduates are referred to for hiring. If a school has a poor job placement rate or few West Olive MI employers hiring their graduates, it may be a clue to search elsewhere.

Is Financial Assistance Given? Trucking schools are similar to colleges and other West Olive MI area technical or vocational schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being offered. Ask if the schools you are evaluating have a financial assistance department, or at a minimum someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that must be completed.

How To Choose A CDL Driving School West Olive Michigan

West Olive MI long haul truckPicking the right trucking school is an important 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 mold a new career behind the wheel. There are many options offered and understanding them is critical if you are going to succeed as an operator.  You originally came to our website because of your interest in How To Choose A CDL Driving School and wanting information on the topic Semi Truck Driving School.  But first and foremost, you must obtain the proper training in order to operate a big commercial vehicle in a professional and safe manner. If you are short on cash or financing, you might want to consider a captive school. You will pay a reduced or in some cases no tuition by agreeing to drive for their contracted carrier. Or you can select an independent trucker school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking company of your choice, or one of many associated with the school. It’s your decision. But regardless of how you receive your training, you will soon be part of a profession that helps our country move as a professional truck driver in West Olive MI.

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