Category Archives: Virginia

Truck Driver Training Wattsville VA

How to Choose the Best Trucker Classes near Wattsville Virginia

tractor truck in Wattsville VA Congratulations on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a trucking school near Wattsville VA. Maybe it has always been your dream to hit the open road while driving a big ole tractor trailer. Or maybe you have done some analysis and have discovered that a career as a truck driver provides excellent wages and flexible job opportunities. No matter what your reason is, it’s essential to get the appropriate training by choosing the right CDL school in your area. When evaluating your options, there are various factors that you’ll need to examine prior to making your final choice. Location will no doubt be an issue, particularly if you need to commute from your Wattsville home. The expense will also be of importance, but choosing a school based entirely on price is not the best way to guarantee you’ll get the right education. Don’t forget, your objective is to learn the skills and knowledge that will enable you to pass the CDL examinations and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that target in mind, just how do you choose a truck driving school? The answer to that question 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 CDL Will You Require?

Wattsville VA long haul tractor trailerTo drive commercial vehicles legally within the USA and Wattsville VA, an operator needs to get a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three license classes that a person can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the topic of this article is how to pick a truck driver school, we will discuss Class A and B licenses. What distinguishes each class of CDL is the type of vehicle that the driver can operate together with the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Below are brief 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. 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 greater than 26,000 lbs., or a GCWR of greater than 26,000 lbs. including a towed vehicle weighing up to 10,000 lbs. Several 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, including passenger or school buses. And a Class A license holder, with the appropriate needed endorsements, may operate any vehicle that a Class B licensee is authorized to operate.

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How to Research a Truck Driver School

Wattsville VA truck driving schoolWhen you have determined which CDL you would like to obtain, you can begin the process of assessing the Wattsville VA trucking schools that you are considering. As already mentioned, cost and location will no doubt be your initial considerations. But it can’t be stressed enough that they must not be your only considerations. Other issues, for instance the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are equally or even more important. So following are several additional points that you should research while conducting your due diligence before selecting, and especially paying for, your truck driver training.

Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Very few truck driving schools in the Wattsville VA area are accredited because of the demanding process and cost to the schools. On the other hand, 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 caliber, and that they will receive lots 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 program is certified (the program, not the school is certified), students know that the training and curriculum will comply with the very high standards set by PTDI.

How Long in Operation? One indicator to help measure the quality of a truck driver school is how long it has been in business. A poorly reviewed or a fly by night school typically will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. On the other hand, even the best of Wattsville VA schools had to start from their first day of training, so use it as one of multiple qualifiers. You can also ask what the school’s track record is relating to successful licensing and job placement of its graduating students. If a school won’t share those numbers, look elsewhere. The schools should additionally have relationships with regional and national trucking companies. Having numerous contacts not only affirms a superior reputation within the profession, but also bolsters their job placement program for students. It also wouldn’t hurt to contact the Virginia licensing authority to verify that the CDL trucking schools you are researching are in good standing.

How Effective is the Training? At a minimum, the schools must be licensed in Virginia and hire instructors that are experienced and trained. We will talk more about the teachers in the following section. Also, the student to instructor proportion should be no greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be obtaining the personalized 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 insists it can teach you to be a truck driver in a relatively short time frame. Learning to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully requires time. The majority of Wattsville VA schools provide training courses that run from 3 weeks to as long as 2 months, depending on the license class or type of vehicle.

How Good are the Instructors? As earlier stated, it’s important that the teachers are qualified to teach driving methods and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Even though a number of states have minimum driving time criteria to qualify as a teacher, the more professional driving experience a teacher 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 teachers might be a little more subjective than other standards, and possibly the best method is to visit the school and speak with the teachers in person. 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 qualification to train them.

How Much Driving Time? Above all else, an excellent truck driving school will furnish ample 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. Even though the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are necessary training tools, they are no replacement for real driving. The more instruction that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will become. Although driving time can vary between schools, a reasonable standard is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish no less than 44 hours of driving time. Check with the Wattsville VA schools you are researching and find out how much driving time they provide.

Are they Captive or Independent ? You can get discounted or even free training from some truck driver schools if you make a commitment to be a driver for a particular carrier for a defined time period. This is called contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So instead of having affiliations with a wide range of 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 freedom to initially be a driver wherever you have an opportunity. Clearly contract training has the potential to limit your income opportunities when starting out. But for some it may be the ideal way to get affordable training. Just remember to ask if the Wattsville VA schools you are looking at are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.

Offer Onsite CDL Testing? There are several states that will permit 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its grads. If onsite testing is permitted in Virginia, find out if the schools you are considering are DMV certified to provide it. One advantage is that it is more convenient than contending with graduates of competing schools for test times at Virginia testing locations. It is also an indicator that the DMV regards the approved schools to be of a superior quality.

Are the Class Times Flexible? As earlier noted, truck driver training is only about one to two months in length. With such a short term, it’s imperative that the Wattsville VA school you choose provides flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. As an example, if you’re having a hard time learning a particular driving maneuver, then the teacher should be willing to dedicate 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? The moment you have acquired your CDL license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be eager to start your new profession. Verify that the schools you are reviewing have job assistance programs. Find out what their job placement rate is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, find out which national and local trucking firms their graduates are referred to for hiring. If a school has a low job placement rate or few Wattsville VA employers recruiting their graduates, it may be a clue to look elsewhere.

Is Financial Aid Available? Truck driver schools are similar to colleges and other Wattsville VA area technical or vocational schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being available. Find out if the schools you are examining have a financial assistance department, or at a minimum someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that must be submitted.

Truck Driver Training Wattsville Virginia

Wattsville VA long haul truckSelecting the right truck driving school is a critical first step to starting your new vocation as a local or long distance 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 offered and understanding them is critical to a new driver’s success.  You originally came to our website because of your interest in Truck Driver Training and wanting information on the topic CDL License Classes.  But first and foremost, you must receive the necessary 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 lower or even no tuition in exchange for driving for their contracted carrier. Or you can choose an independent trucker 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 regardless of how you receive your training, you will in the near future be joining an industry that helps our country move as a professional truck driver in Wattsville VA.

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    Virginia State Route 175

    State Route 175 (SR 175) is a primary state highway in the U.S. state of Virginia. Known as Chincoteague Road, the state highway runs 10.49 miles (16.88 km) from U.S. Route 13 (US 13) at Nash Corner east to Main Street in Chincoteague. SR 175 passes through the northeastern corner of Accomack County, providing the primary access to NASA's Wallops Flight Facility and both Chincoteague Island and the Virginia portion of Assateague Island. The route travels between the mainland and Chincoteague Island along the John B. Whealton Memorial Causeway.

    In 1928, SR 520 was designated to run from US 13 in Oak Hall east toward Chincoteague Island, being extended onto the island in 1930. The route was extended south along US 13 and west to a railroad crossing west of Oak Hall in 1930. SR 520 became SR 175 in the 1933 Virginia state highway renumbering. SR 175 was extended south on Main Street in Chincoteague a year later and east on Beebe Road the following year, at which time a spur route known as SR 175Y was designated onto the northern portion of Main Street. The western terminus was moved to its current location in 1947, with the section west of US 13 becoming part of SR 703. SR 175 was routed to bypass Wallops Station to the south in 1954. In 1992, the section of SR 175 in Chincoteague, along with all of SR 175Y, was transferred to the secondary system. SR 175 was rerouted to bypass Marsh Island and a swing bridge over Chincoteague Channel with a new bascule bridge further north in 2010, tying into Main Street at Maddox Boulevard. The former swing bridge was demolished and a spur off the new bridge was built to serve Marsh Island.

    SR 175 begins at an intersection with US 13 (Lankford Highway) at Nash Corner 4 miles (6.4 km) south of the Maryland state line. The state highway heads east as a two-lane undivided road through a mix of farmland and woodland. Upon reaching the community of Wattsville, the highway intersects SR 679 (Fleming Road) and SR 798 (Mill Dam Road). The road crosses over Wallops Pond, an impoundment of Wattsville Branch of Mosquito Creek, onto Wallops Island. SR 175 heads east, intersecting SR 798 (Atlantic Avenue) again, then curves north through Wallops Island National Wildlife Refuge and around NASA's Wallops Flight Facility, a rocket launch site operated as a subsidiary of Goddard Space Flight Center. While heading north parallel to one of the flight facility's runways, the state highway passes the NASA Visitor Center. SR 175 curves to the east as it passes the main entrance to the flight facility.[2][3][4]

     

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