How to Select the Best CDL Driving Classes near Norwood Massachusetts
Congratulations on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a CDL school near Norwood MA. Maybe it has always been your fantasy to hit the open road while operating a monster tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have done some research and have found that an occupation as a truck driver offers good wages and flexible work opportunities. No matter what your reason is, it’s essential to get the proper training by enrolling in the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are a number of variables that you’ll need to think about before making your ultimate selection. Location will certainly be important, especially if you have to commute from your Norwood residence. The expense will also be of importance, but selecting a school based solely on price is not the best means to guarantee you’ll receive the right education. Don’t forget, your goal is to learn the knowledge and skills that will enable you to pass the CDL examinations and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that goal in mind, just how do you decide on a truck driving school? That is what we are going to address in the balance of this article. But first, we are going to review a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will ultimately need.
Which CDL Will You Require?
To drive commercial vehicles legally within the United States and Norwood MA, an operator must attain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 license classes that a driver can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the subject of this article is how to pick 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 together with the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Following are short summaries for the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License is required to drive any vehicle that has a GCWR of greater than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of greater than 10,000 lbs. A few 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 more 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 certain types of vehicles, such as passenger or school buses. And a Class A license holder, with the proper required endorsements, may drive any vehicle that a Class B licensee is qualified to drive.
How to Evaluate a Truck Driver School
Once you have decided which Commercial Drivers License you want to pursue, you can begin the undertaking of evaluating the Norwood MA trucking schools that you are considering. As already mentioned, cost and location will undoubtedly be your primary considerations. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they should not be your only concerns. Other issues, for example the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are equally or even more important. So following are several additional things that you need to research while carrying out your due diligence before selecting, and particularly paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Not many trucking schools in the Norwood MA area are accredited because of the rigorous 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 certain advantages. Interested students recognize that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will get plenty of driving time. For 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 training and curriculum will meet the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One clue to help assess the quality of a truck driver school is how long it has been in operation. A poorly reviewed or a fly by night school usually will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the best of Norwood MA schools had to start from their first day of training, so use it as one of multiple qualifiers. You can also find out what the school’s track record is concerning successful licensing and job placement of its graduates. If a school won’t share those numbers, search elsewhere. The schools should additionally have associations with local and national trucking companies. Having a large number of contacts not only affirms a quality reputation within the profession, but also bolsters their job placement program for graduates. It also wouldn’t hurt to get in touch with the Massachusetts licensing authority to confirm that the CDL trucking schools you are reviewing are in compliance.
How Effective is the Training? At a minimum, the schools should be licensed in Massachusetts and hire instructors that are trained and experienced. We will discuss more about the instructors in the following section. In addition, the student to instructor proportion should be no higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be getting the individual attention they will need. This is particularly true regarding the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And be critical of any school that professes it can train you to be a truck driver in a relatively short time frame. Training to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer professionally requires time. The majority of Norwood MA schools provide training courses that range from 3 weeks to as long as 2 months, based on the class of license or kind of vehicle.
How Good are the Teachers? As already mentioned, it’s essential that the instructors are trained to teach driving techniques and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Even though a number of states have minimum driving time criteria to qualify as a teacher, the more professional driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also important that the teachers stay up to date with industry advancements or any new laws or changes in regulations. Evaluating teachers might be a little more subjective than other criteria, and possibly the best method is to check out the school and talk to the instructors in person. You can also speak with a few of the students completing the training and ask if they are happy with the level of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
Plenty of Driving Time? Most importantly, a good trucking school will provide ample 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 driving a truck. While the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are important training methods, they are no replacement for actual driving. The more instruction that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will become. Although driving time differs among schools, a reasonable standard is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish at least 44 hours of driving time. Contact the Norwood MA schools you are looking at and ask how much driving time they provide.
Are they Captive or Independent ? You can get discounted or even free training from a number of truck driver schools if you make a commitment to drive for a specific carrier for a defined period of time. This is called contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So instead of having affiliations with numerous trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only refer to one company. The benefit is receiving free or less expensive training by giving up the flexibility to initially work wherever you have an opportunity. Clearly contract training has the potential to reduce your income opportunities when starting out. But for some it may be the only way to get affordable training. Just remember to inquire if the Norwood MA schools you are looking at are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Is there CDL Testing Onsite? There are some states that will permit 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its students. If onsite testing is available in Massachusetts, ask if the schools you are reviewing are DMV certified to provide it. One advantage is that it is more convenient than battling with graduates of competing schools for test times at Massachusetts testing facilities. It is moreover an indicator that the DMV believes the approved schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Class Times Convenient? As formerly noted, truck driver training is just one to two months long. With such a brief duration, it’s important that the Norwood MA school you select offers flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. As an example, if you’re having difficulty learning a particular driving maneuver, then the instructor should be prepared to spend more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still holding a job while attending training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other responsibilities.
Is Job Assistance Offered? As soon as you have received your CDL license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be eager to begin your new profession. Make sure that the schools you are reviewing have job assistance programs. Ask what their job placement percentage is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, ask which local and national trucking firms their graduates are referred to for hiring. If a school has a poor job placement rate or few Norwood MA employers recruiting their grads, it might be a sign to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Available? Truck driver schools are comparable to colleges and other Norwood MA area vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being available. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have a financial aid department, or at least someone who can help you get through the options and forms that need to be submitted.
Best Truck Driving Schools Norwood Massachusetts
Choosing the ideal truck driving school is a critical first step to starting your new occupation as a long distance or local truck driver. The skills that you will learn at school will be those that forge a new career behind the wheel. There are several options available 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 Best Truck Driving Schools and wanting information on the topic How Can I Get A CDL License. However, you must obtain the proper training in order to operate a large commercial vehicle in a professional and safe fashion. If you are short on funds 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 select an independent trucking school and have the option of driving for the trucking company of your choice, or one of several affiliated with the school. It’s your choice. But no matter how you obtain your training, you will soon be entering an industry that helps our country move as a professional truck driver in Norwood MA.
Truck On in These Other Massachusetts Locations
Norwood is a town and census-designated place in Norfolk County, Massachusetts, United States. Norwood is part of the Greater Boston area. As of the 2010 census, the population was 30,602. The town was named after Norwood, England. Norwood is on the Neponset River, which runs all the way to Boston Harbor from Foxborough.
The Town of Norwood, officially formed in 1872, was until that time part of Dedham, known as the "mother of towns", as fourteen of the present communities of eastern Massachusetts lay within its original borders. Long used as a hunting ground by Native Americans, Norwood was first settled by Ezra Morse in 1678. He set up a sawmill in what is now South Norwood, the part of town to which the first concentration of families, almost all of whom were farmers, migrated over the next half-century.
During the American Revolution, there was a Minuteman company organized in the area. Its captain, Aaron Guild, on learning of the British marching on Lexington and Concord to seize the munitions stored there, rode to join the fight and arrived in time to fire on the British at Concord Bridge and participate in the running battle that chased the Redcoats back to Boston.
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