How to Enroll in the Right Trucking School near Petersham Massachusetts
Congratulations on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a trucking school near Petersham MA. Perhaps it has always been your dream to hit the open highway while driving a monster tractor trailer. Or maybe you have done some research and have found that an occupation as a truck driver offers good wages and flexible work prospects. No matter what your reason is, it’s important to receive the appropriate training by enrolling in the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are several factors that you’ll need to examine prior to making your final choice. Location will certainly be important, especially if you need to commute from your Petersham home. The cost will also be of importance, but picking a school based exclusively on price is not the ideal means to ensure you’ll obtain the proper training. Don’t forget, your goal is to learn the knowledge and skills that will enable you to pass the CDL examinations and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that objective in mind, just how do you decide on a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to discuss in the balance of this article. But first, we are going to talk a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will ultimately need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Should You Get?
To drive commercial vehicles legally within the United States and Petersham MA, an operator needs to attain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 license classes that one can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the topic of this article is how to choose a truck driver school, we will address 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 short descriptions 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. 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 required to drive 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. 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 Commercial Drivers Licenses may also require endorsements to drive specific kinds of vehicles, for example school or passenger buses. And a Class A license holder, with the appropriate required endorsements, can operate any vehicle that a Class B licensee is authorized to operate.
How to Research a Trucking School
Once you have determined which Commercial Drivers License you would like to obtain, you can start the undertaking of assessing the Petersham MA truck driving schools that you are looking at. As previously mentioned, cost and location will no doubt be your initial concerns. But it can’t be stressed enough that they must not be your only concerns. Other issues, including the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are equally if not more important. So following are several more factors that you should research while conducting your due diligence before selecting, and especially paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Not many truck driver schools in the Petersham MA area are accredited because of the stringent process and expense to the schools. However, certification is more prevalent and is offered by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not required to become certified, but there are several advantages. Prospective students recognize that the training will be of the highest standard, and that they will be given an ample amount 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 curriculum and training will satisfy the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One indicator to help determine the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in operation. A negatively ranked 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 Petersham MA schools had to begin from their first day of training, so use it as one of multiple qualifiers. You can also ask what the school’s history is pertaining to successful licensing and job placement of its graduates. If a school won’t provide those numbers, search elsewhere. The schools should also maintain associations with local and national trucking firms. Having a large number of contacts not only points to a superior reputation within the profession, but also boosts their job placement program for students. It also wouldn’t hurt to contact the Massachusetts licensing authority to confirm that the CDL trucker schools you are researching are in compliance.
How Good is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools should be licensed in Massachusetts and hire teachers that are trained and experienced. We will talk more about the instructors in the next section. In addition, the student to instructor proportion should not be higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be getting the personalized instruction they will need. This is particularly true regarding the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And watch out for any school that professes it can train you to be a truck driver in a comparatively short time period. Learning to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully takes time. Most Petersham MA schools provide training programs that run from 3 weeks to as long as 2 months, based on the class of license or type of vehicle.
How Good are the Trainers? As already mentioned, it’s important that the instructors are trained to teach driving techniques and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Although a number of 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 vital that the teachers keep up to date with industry developments or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Assessing instructors might be a little more subjective than other standards, and possibly the best approach is to visit the school and talk to the teachers in person. You can also talk to some 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.
Enough Driving Time? Most importantly, a good truck driver school will provide lots of driving time to its students. Besides, isn’t that what it’s all about? Driving time is the real time spent behind the wheel driving a truck. Although the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are essential training methods, they are no alternative for actual driving. The more training that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will become. And even though driving time varies among schools, a good benchmark is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Check with the Petersham MA schools you are considering and ask how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Independent or Captive ? You can receive discounted or even free training from certain truck driver schools if you enter into an agreement to drive for a particular carrier for a defined time period. This is what’s known as contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So rather than having relationships with numerous trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only work with one company. The tradeoff is receiving free or less expensive training by giving up the freedom to initially be a driver wherever you choose. Naturally contract training has the potential to restrict your income prospects when beginning your new career. But for some it may be the best way to obtain affordable training. Just be sure to inquire if the Petersham MA schools you are contemplating are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Is there Onsite CDL Testing? There are a number of states that will allow third party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its grads. If onsite testing is permitted in Massachusetts, find out if the schools you are reviewing are DMV certified to offer it. One benefit is that it is more accommodating than contending with graduates from other schools for test times at Massachusetts testing facilities. It is also an indication that the DMV deems the approved schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Classes Accessible? As formerly noted, truck driving training is only about 1 to 2 months in length. With such a brief duration, it’s essential that the Petersham MA school you enroll in offers flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. As an example, if you’re having a hard time learning a particular driving maneuver, then the instructor should be prepared to dedicate more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still working while attending training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other obligations.
Is Job Assistance Offered? Once you have received your CDL license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be keen to start your new career. Make sure that the schools you are reviewing 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 firms their graduates are placed with for hiring. If a school has a low job placement rate or not many Petersham MA employers hiring their grads, it may be a sign to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Truck driving schools are much like colleges and other Petersham MA area technical or vocational schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being available. Ask if the schools you are evaluating have a financial aid department, or at least someone who can help you get through the options and forms that must be completed.
Get CDL License Petersham Massachusetts
Selecting the appropriate truck driving school is a critical first step to beginning your new profession as a local or long distance truck driver. The skills that you will learn at school will be those that shape a new career behind the wheel. There are a number of options available and understanding them is vital if you are going to succeed as an operator. You originally came to our website because of your interest in Get CDL License and wanting information on the topic How To Get CDL A. However, you must receive the proper training in order to drive a big commercial vehicle in a safe and professional fashion. If you are lacking money or financing, you might need to consider a captive school. You will pay a lower or even no tuition by agreeing to drive for their contracted carrier. Or you can enroll in an independent truck driving school and have the option of driving for the trucking firm of your choice, or one of several affiliated with the school. It’s your decision. But regardless of how you receive your training, you will in the near future be part of a profession that helps America move as a professional truck driver in Petersham MA.
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Petersham (pronounced "Peter Sam") is a town in Worcester County, Massachusetts, United States. The population was 1,234 at the 2010 census. Petersham is home to a considerable amount of conservation land, including the Quabbin Reservation, Harvard Forest, the Swift River Reservation, and Federated Women's Club State Forest.
Petersham was first settled in 1733 and was officially incorporated on April 20, 1754. On February 4, 1787, it was the site of the second battle of Shays' Rebellion. The town is noted for its common, part of the Petersham Common Historic District. About 45 buildings are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Country Store, an 1842 Greek Revival structure that has housed a general store on its main floor since its opening, sits just to the East of the common.
The town's lands were expanded greatly by the building of the Quabbin Reservoir in 1938. When the towns of the Swift River Valley were disincorporated, Petersham and neighboring New Salem benefited the most, with Petersham receiving all of the former town of Dana, much of the town of Greenwich, and a small portion of the former town of Prescott east of the Middle Branch of the Swift River. Its modern southwestern borders lie along the former East and Middle branches of the Swift River, and includes lands that were once part of Hampshire County.
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