How to Select the Right Trucking Classes near Palmer Massachusetts
Congrats on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a trucking school near Palmer MA. Maybe it has always been your goal to hit the open road while driving a big ole tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have done some research and have discovered that a career as a truck driver offers good wages and flexible job prospects. Whatever your reason is, it’s imperative to get the proper training by selecting the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are certain variables that you’ll need to examine prior to making your ultimate choice. Location will undoubtedly be important, particularly if you have to commute from your Palmer home. The expense will also be important, but choosing a school based entirely on price is not the ideal way to make sure you’ll obtain the appropriate training. Don’t forget, your goal is to master the knowledge and skills that will allow you to pass the CDL examinations and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that purpose in mind, just how do you select a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to cover in the rest of this article. But first, we are going to discuss a little bit about which CDL license you will ultimately need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Should You Get?
In order to drive commercial vehicles legally within the USA and Palmer MA, an operator needs to get a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 classes of licenses that one can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the subject of this article is how to choose a truck driving school, we will discuss 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 explanations of the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is required to drive any vehicle that has a GCWR of more 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 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 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 might also require endorsements to drive specific kinds of vehicles, including school or passenger buses. And a Class A licensee, with the proper required endorsements, can operate any vehicle that a Class B licensee is authorized to operate.
How to Assess a Truck Driving School
When you have decided which CDL you want to pursue, you can start the undertaking of evaluating the Palmer MA truck driver schools that you are considering. As previously discussed, cost and location will undoubtedly be your initial considerations. But it can’t be stressed enough that they should not be your only considerations. Other variables, such as the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are similarly or even more important. So below are several additional things that you should research while conducting your due diligence before enrolling in, and especially paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Not many truck driver schools in the Palmer MA area are accredited because of the demanding process and cost to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more common and is provided by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not required to become certified, but there are several advantages. Potential students know that the training will be of the highest standard, and that they will receive plenty of driving time. For example, PTDI requires 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 curriculum and training will meet the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One clue to help determine the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in business. A poorly rated or a fly by night school usually will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the best of Palmer MA schools had to begin from their opening day of training, so consider it as one of several qualifications. You can also learn what the school’s history is concerning successful licensing and employment of its graduating students. If a school won’t share those numbers, look elsewhere. The schools should additionally maintain associations with local and national trucking companies. Having a large number of contacts not only confirms a quality reputation within the profession, but also boosts their job assistance program for students. It also wouldn’t hurt to get in touch with the Massachusetts licensing authority to verify that the CDL trucker schools you are considering are in compliance.
How Good is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools should be licensed in Massachusetts and employ teachers that are trained and experienced. We will cover more about the instructors in the following segment. Also, the student to instructor proportion should be no higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be obtaining the individual attention they will need. This is especially true concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And watch out for any school that claims it can teach you to drive trucks in a comparatively short time frame. Learning to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer professionally requires time. Most Palmer MA schools provide training courses that run from three weeks to as long as two months, based on the license class or type of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Teachers? As already mentioned, it’s essential that the teachers are trained to teach driving methods and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Although several states have minimum driving time requirements to be certified as a teacher, 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 regulations or changes in existing laws. Evaluating instructors might be a bit more intuitive than other standards, and perhaps the best method is to visit the school and speak with the instructors in person. You can also speak with some of the students completing the training and ask if they are happy with the level of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Enough Driving Time? Most importantly, a good trucking school will furnish plenty of 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 driving 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 training that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will be. Although driving time fluctuates between schools, a good standard is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide no less than 44 hours of driving time. Check with the Palmer MA schools you are researching and find out how much driving time they provide.
Are they Captive or Independent ? You can get free or discounted training from some truck driving schools if you make a commitment to be a driver for a specified carrier for a defined period of time. This is referred to as contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So rather than maintaining associations with a wide range of 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 be a driver wherever you choose. Naturally contract training has the potential to limit your income opportunities when starting out. But for some it may be the only way to receive affordable training. Just make sure to ask if the Palmer MA schools you are contemplating are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Is there Onsite CDL Testing? There are several states that will permit 3rd party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is allowed in Massachusetts, find out if the schools you are reviewing are DMV certified to provide it. One advantage is that it is more accommodating than battling with graduates of other schools for test times at Massachusetts testing centers. It is moreover an indication that the DMV deems the approved schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Class Times Convenient? As earlier mentioned, truck driving training is only about one to two months long. With such a brief duration, it’s essential that the Palmer MA school you select offers flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. 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 have it mastered. And if you’re still working while going to training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other commitments.
Is Job Placement Offered? As soon as you have attained your CDL license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be anxious to begin your new career. Verify that the schools you are looking at have job assistance programs. Ask what their job placement ratio is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, find out which national and local trucking companies their graduates are referred to for hiring. If a school has a low job placement rate or few Palmer MA employers recruiting their graduates, it might be a clue to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Truck driving schools are much like colleges and other Palmer MA area vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being available. Find out if the schools you are assessing have a financial assistance department, or at least someone who can help you get through the options and forms that must be submitted.
Getting Your CDL Palmer Massachusetts
Picking the ideal truck driving school is an important first step to beginning your new occupation as a local or long distance 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 Getting Your CDL and wanting information on the topic How To Obtain A Class B CDL. But first and foremost, you must receive the necessary training in order to drive a large commercial vehicle in a professional and safe fashion. If you are short on funds or financing, you might need to look into 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 enroll in an independent CDL school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking company of your choice, or one of many affiliated with the school. It’s your choice. But no matter how you get your training, you will in the near future be joining a profession that helps our country move as a professional trucker in Palmer MA.
Truck On in These Other Massachusetts Locations
Palmer is a city in Hampden County, Massachusetts, United States. The population was 12,140 at the 2010 census. It is part of the Springfield, Massachusetts Metropolitan Statistical Area. Palmer adopted a home rule charter in 2004 with a council-manager form of government. Palmer is one of thirteen Massachusetts municipalities that have applied for, and been granted, city forms of government but wish to retain "The town of” in their official names.
Palmer is composed of four separate and distinct villages: Depot Village, typically referred to simply as "Palmer" (named for the ornate Union Station railroad terminal designed by architect Henry Hobson Richardson), Thorndike, Three Rivers, and Bondsville. The villages began to develop their distinctive characters in the 18th century, and by the 19th century two rail lines and a trolley line opened the town to population growth. Today, each village has its own post office, and all but Thorndike have their own fire station.
Palmer was originally a part of Brimfield but separated after being too far from Brimfield. Palmer's first settler was John King. King was born in Edwardstone, Suffolk, England, and built his home in 1716 on the banks of the Quaboag River. The area as then known was called "The Elbow Tract". In 1731, a deed to land in today's Palmer renamed the town 'New Marlborough' after Marlborough, Massachusetts, in today's Middlesex County. In 1731, residents of the borough renamed the town 'Kingsfield', after the aforementioned John King. Though in some papers in the Massachusetts General Court, it was referred to as the Elbow. A large group of Scots-Irish Presbyterians followed, arriving in 1727. Finally in 1752, it was named Palmer after Chief Justice Palmer. In 1775, Massachusetts officially incorporated Palmer.
Business Results 1 - 10 of 12