How to Decide on the Best Truck Driver School near Plainville Massachusetts
Congrats on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a CDL school near Plainville MA. Maybe it has always been your dream to hit the open highway while operating a monster tractor trailer. Or possibly you have conducted some research and have found that an occupation as a truck driver offers excellent pay and flexible work prospects. No matter what your reason is, it’s essential to receive the proper training by picking the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are various variables that you’ll want to examine prior to making your final selection. Location will certainly be an issue, especially if you need to commute from your Plainville home. The expense will also be of importance, but selecting a school based entirely on price is not the ideal way to make certain you’ll receive the right training. Just remember, your objective is to learn the skills and knowledge 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 choose a truck driving school? That is what we are going to discuss in the rest of this article. But first, we are going to talk a little bit about which CDL license you will eventually need.
Which CDL Will You Need?
In order to drive commercial vehicles lawfully within the USA and Plainville MA, an operator needs to attain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 license classes that one can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the subject of this article is how to select a truck driver school, we will address Class A and B licenses. What differentiates each class of CDL is the kind of vehicle that the driver can operate together with the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Below are short summaries of the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is needed 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 drive single vehicles having a GVWR of more 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 might also require endorsements to drive certain types of vehicles, including school or passenger buses. And a Class A license holder, with the proper needed endorsements, can drive any vehicle that a Class B license holder is qualified to drive.
How to Evaluate a Trucking School
Once you have decided which CDL you wish to pursue, you can begin the process of researching the Plainville MA truck driving schools that you are considering. As already discussed, cost and location will no doubt be your initial considerations. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they must not be your only concerns. Other variables, for example the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are equally if not more important. So following are some additional factors that you need to research while performing your due diligence prior to selecting, and especially paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Very few truck driver schools in the Plainville MA area are accredited due to the demanding process and cost to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more typical 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 caliber, and that they will be given plenty of driving time. For example, PTDI calls for 44 hours of actual driving time, not ride-alongs or simulations. So if a school’s program is certified (the program, not the school is certified), students know that the curriculum and training will comply with the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One indicator to help determine the quality of a truck driving 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. On the other hand, even the best of Plainville MA schools had to begin from their opening day of training, so consider it as one of multiple qualifications. You can also ask what the school’s track record is pertaining to successful licensing and job placement of its graduates. If a school won’t share those numbers, look elsewhere. The schools should additionally have relationships with regional and national trucking firms. Having a large number of contacts not only affirms a quality reputation within the profession, but also boosts their job placement program for graduates. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to check with the Massachusetts licensing authority to verify that the CDL trucking schools you are considering are in compliance.
How Effective is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools must be licensed in Massachusetts and employ instructors that are trained and experienced. We will cover more about the teachers in the next section. In addition, the student to instructor ratio should not be higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, 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 look out for any school that insists it can train you to be a truck driver in a comparatively short time period. Training to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer professionally requires time. The majority of Plainville MA schools provide training courses that range from three weeks to as long as two months, depending on the license class or kind of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Teachers? As already stated, it’s essential that the instructors are qualified to teach driving techniques and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Even though a number of states have minimum driving time prerequisites to be certified as an instructor, the more professional driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also vital that the teachers keep up to date with industry advancements or any new laws or changes in regulations. Evaluating teachers might be a bit more subjective than other standards, and possibly the ideal approach is to pay a visit to the school and speak with the instructors face to face. You can also speak with a few of the students completing the training and find out if they are satisfied with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
Adequate Driving Time? Above all else, an excellent truck driving school will furnish plenty of 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 operating a truck. While the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are necessary training methods, they are no replacement 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 can vary among schools, a reasonable standard is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide at least 44 hours of driving time. Check with the Plainville MA schools you are looking at and find out how much driving time they provide.
Are they Independent or Captive ? You can receive discounted or even free training from certain trucking schools if you make a commitment to drive for a specified carrier for a defined time period. This is called contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So instead of maintaining associations with a wide range of trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only work with one company. The benefit is receiving free or less expensive training by giving up the flexibility to initially be a driver wherever you have an opportunity. Clearly contract training has the potential to restrict your income prospects when starting out. But for many it may be the ideal way to get affordable training. Just be sure to inquire if the Plainville MA schools you are contemplating are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Offer Onsite CDL Testing? There are several states that will permit third party CDL testing onsite of truck driver schools for its students. If onsite testing is available in Massachusetts, ask if the schools you are reviewing are DMV certified to offer it. One advantage is that it is more accommodating than competing with graduates of other schools for test times at Massachusetts testing centers. It is moreover an indication that the DMV views the approved schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Classes Accessible? As earlier noted, CDL training is only about one to two months in length. With such a short duration, it’s essential that the Plainville 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 certain driving maneuver, then the teacher should be willing to devote more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still employed while going to training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other obligations.
Is Job Placement Provided? The moment you have received your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be anxious to begin your new career. Confirm that the schools you are considering have job assistance programs. Find out what their job placement rate is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, ask which national and local trucking firms their graduates are referred to for employment. If a school has a low job placement rate or few Plainville MA employers recruiting their grads, it might be a clue to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Truck driver schools are comparable to colleges and other Plainville MA 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 reviewing have a financial aid department, or at a minimum someone who can help you get through the options and forms that must be submitted.
Truck Driving Classes Plainville Massachusetts
Picking the appropriate trucking school is a critical first step to beginning your new vocation as a long distance or local truck driver. The skill sets taught at school will be those that shape a new career behind the wheel. There are several 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 Truck Driving Classes and wanting information on the topic How To Get A Truck Driving License. But first and foremost, you must receive the proper training in order to drive a big commercial vehicle in a safe and professional fashion. If you are short on money or financing, you may 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 truck driver school and have the option of driving for the trucking firm of your choice, or one of many associated with the school. It’s your decision. But regardless of how you obtain your training, you will in the near future be part of an industry that helps America move as a professional truck driver in Plainville MA.
Truck On in These Other Massachusetts Locations
Originally included in a 1635 grant of land for Dedham, Massachusetts, the area was later deemed the Plantation of Wollomonuppoag and then later becoming Wrentham, Massachusetts before Plainville branched out as a separate community. Plainville became an officially recognized town on April 4, 1905, making it the third youngest town in the state, behind Millville (1916) and East Brookfield (1920).
One of the earliest documentations of Plainville being settled is from 1674, when a Wampanoag man by the name of Matchinamook petitioned and received a few acres of land at the head of the Ten Mile River, at present day Fuller's Dam. As Matchinamook was a native warrior under Wampanoag chieftain Metacomet, or more commonly known in the area as King Philip, he most likely fought during King Philip's War. In its early days, Plainville was nicknamed Slackville after Benjamin Slack, an affluent landowner at the time. After the establishment of a post office in 1856, Plainville became the town name after the abundance of geographical plains in the area. In 1905, Plainville officially separated from Wrentham and became its own town.
Along with bordering North Attleboro, Massachusetts, Plainville shares the Angle Tree Stone, a historic marker dividing the boundaries between the old Massachusetts Bay Colony and Plymouth Bay Colony. This is why the Angle Tree Stone is in the official town seal. Along with many notable veterans, Plainville was the home to George Robert Twelves Hewes, a Revolutionary War veteran who also partook in the Boston Tea Party as well as the Battle of Rhode Island.
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