How to Find the Best Truck Driver School near Plymouth Massachusetts
Congratulations on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a CDL school near Plymouth MA. Maybe it has always been your dream to hit the open road while driving a big ole tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have done some analysis and have discovered that a career as a truck driver provides excellent wages and flexible work opportunities. 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 assessing your options, there are various variables that you’ll need to think about prior to making your final selection. Location will no doubt be an issue, particularly if you need to commute from your Plymouth home. The expense will also be of importance, but choosing a school based entirely on price is not the optimal method to ensure you’ll obtain the proper training. Don’t forget, your goal is to master the knowledge and skills that will allow you to pass the CDL exams and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that objective in mind, just how do you pick a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to discuss in the remainder of this article. But first, we are going to review a little bit about which CDL license you will eventually need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Will You Require?
To operate commercial vehicles legally within the United States and Plymouth MA, a driver must obtain 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 driving school, we will address 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). Below are short explanations for the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License is needed 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 CDL 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. 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 operate specific types of vehicles, including 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 qualified to drive.
How to Evaluate a Trucking School
Once you have determined which Commercial Drivers License you want to obtain, you can begin the process of evaluating the Plymouth MA truck driving schools that you are considering. As previously discussed, cost and location will certainly be your initial considerations. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they must not be your sole concerns. Other issues, such as the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are equally if not more important. So below are some more points that you need to research while conducting 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 Plymouth MA area are accredited due to the stringent process and expense to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more common and is offered by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not obligated to become certified, but there are several advantages. Prospective students recognize that the training will be of the highest caliber, and that they will get plenty of driving time. For example, PTDI requires 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 satisfy the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One indicator to help assess the quality of a trucking school is how long it has been in operation. A negatively reviewed or a fly by night school typically will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the top Plymouth MA schools had to start from their first day of training, so use it as one of several qualifiers. You can also find out what the school’s track record is regarding successful licensing and job placement of its graduating students. If a school won’t provide those numbers, search elsewhere. The schools should also have relationships with local and national trucking companies. Having a large number of contacts not only affirms a superior reputation within the trade, but also bolsters their job assistance program for students. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to get in touch with the Massachusetts licensing department to confirm that the CDL trucking schools you are researching 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 discuss more about the teachers in the following section. In addition, the student to instructor ratio should not be greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be obtaining the personalized attention 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 claims it can teach you to be a truck driver in a relatively short period of time. Training to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer professionally takes time. The majority of Plymouth MA schools provide training programs that range from three weeks to as long as 2 months, based on the license class or kind of vehicle.
How Good are the Teachers? As already stated, it’s important that the instructors are trained to teach driving techniques and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Even though several 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 teachers keep current with industry developments or any new laws or changes in regulations. Assessing teachers may be a bit more intuitive than other criteria, and possibly the best method is to visit the school and speak with the instructors face to face. You can also speak with some of the students completing the training and ask if they are satisfied with the level of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
Sufficient Driving Time? Above all else, a good trucking school will provide lots of driving time to its students. Besides, isn’t that what it’s all about? Driving time is the actual time spent behind the wheel operating a truck. While the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are necessary training methods, they are no replacement for actual driving. The more training that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will be. And even though driving time fluctuates between schools, a good benchmark is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish no less than 44 hours of driving time. Check with the Plymouth MA schools you are researching and ask how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Captive or Independent ? It’s possible to get free or discounted training from some trucking schools if you enter into an agreement 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 offer it are called captives. So rather than having relationships with a wide range of trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only refer to one company. The tradeoff is receiving free or less expensive training by surrendering the flexibility to initially be a driver wherever you have an opportunity. Clearly contract training has the potential to reduce your income prospects when starting out. But for many it may be the best way to get affordable training. Just remember to inquire if the Plymouth MA schools you are contemplating are captive or independent 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 trucking schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is allowed in Massachusetts, ask if the schools you are looking at are DMV certified to offer it. One benefit is that it is more accommodating than competing with graduates of other schools for test times at Massachusetts testing centers. It is moreover an indicator that the DMV believes the authorized schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Class Times Accessible? As earlier mentioned, CDL training is just 1 to 2 months in length. With such a brief term, it’s important that the Plymouth MA school you select provides flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. For example, if you’re having a hard time learning a certain driving maneuver, then the instructor should be prepared to devote more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still employed while attending training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other commitments.
Is Job Assistance Offered? Once you have received your CDL license after graduating from trucking school, you will be anxious to begin your new profession. Verify that the schools you are considering have job placement programs. Ask what their job placement percentage is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, ask which national and local trucking companies their graduates are placed with for hiring. If a school has a poor job placement rate or not many Plymouth MA employers recruiting their grads, it might be a clue to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Trucking schools are comparable to colleges and other Plymouth MA area vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being available. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have a financial assistance department, or at a minimum someone who can help you get through the options and forms that must be completed.
How To Get Class B CDL Plymouth Massachusetts
Selecting the ideal truck driver school is a critical first step to starting your new profession 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 many options available and understanding them is vital to a new driver’s success. You originally came to our website because of your interest in How To Get Class B CDL and wanting information on the topic How To Get A Truck License. But first and foremost, you must obtain the necessary training in order to drive a large commercial vehicle in a safe and professional fashion. If you are lacking money or financing, you might want to think about a captive school. You will pay a reduced or even no tuition by agreeing to drive for their contracted carrier. Or you can enroll in an independent trucking school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking company of your choice, or one of several affiliated with the school. It’s your decision. But regardless of how you get your training, you will soon be part of an industry that helps our country move as a professional trucker in Plymouth MA.
Truck On in These Other Massachusetts Locations
Plymouth (/ˈplɪməθ/; historically known as Plimouth and Plimoth) is a town in Plymouth County, Massachusetts. The town holds a place of great prominence in American history, folklore, and culture, and is known as "America's Hometown." Plymouth was the site of the colony founded in 1620 by the Mayflower Pilgrims, where New England was first established. It is the oldest municipality in New England and one of the oldest in the United States. The town has served as the location of several prominent events, one of the more notable being the First Thanksgiving feast. Plymouth served as the capital of Plymouth Colony from its founding in 1620 until the colony's merger with the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1691. It is named after Plymouth, England where the Mayflower set sail for America.
Plymouth is located approximately 40 miles (64 km) south of Boston, Massachusetts in a region known as the South Shore. Throughout the 19th century, the town thrived as a center of rope making, fishing, and shipping, and was home to the Plymouth Cordage Company, formerly the world's largest rope making company. It continues to be an active port, but today its major industry is tourism. The town is served by Plymouth Municipal Airport and contains Pilgrim Hall Museum, the oldest continually operating museum in the United States. It is the largest municipality in Massachusetts by area. The population was 58,271 as of the 2014 U.S. Census. It is one of two county seats of Plymouth County, the other being Brockton.
Prior to the arrival of the Pilgrims, the location of Plymouth was a village of the Wampanoag tribe called Patuxet. The region was visited twice by European explorers prior to the establishment of Plymouth Colony. In 1605, Samuel de Champlain sailed to Plymouth Harbor, calling it Port St. Louis. Captain John Smith was a leader of the colony at Jamestown, Virginia, and he explored parts of Cape Cod Bay and is credited with naming the region "New Plimouth."
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