How to Pick the Best Trucking School near Prides Crossing Massachusetts
Congratulations on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a CDL school near Prides Crossing MA. Perhaps it has always been your dream to hit the open highway while driving a big ole tractor trailer. Or maybe you have done some research and have discovered that a career as a truck driver provides good income and flexible work opportunities. No matter what your reason is, it’s important to receive the proper training by selecting the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are various variables that you’ll need to consider prior to making your final choice. Location will no doubt be important, particularly if you have to commute from your Prides Crossing residence. The expense will also be of importance, but picking a school based solely on price is not the best way to ensure you’ll obtain the right education. Just remember, your objective is to learn the knowledge and skills that will enable 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 rest 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?
In order to drive commercial vehicles legally within the United States and Prides Crossing MA, a driver needs to obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three license classes that a driver can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the topic of this article is how to select a truck driving school, we will focus on Class A and Class B licenses. What differentiates 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). Below are brief descriptions of the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is needed 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 operators may be able to drive 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 required to operate single vehicles having a GVWR of more than 26,000 lbs., or a GCWR of greater than 26,000 lbs. including a towed vehicle weighing up to 10,000 lbs. Some of the vehicles that operators may be qualified to drive 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 might also require endorsements to drive certain types of vehicles, including passenger or school buses. And a Class A license holder, with the proper needed endorsements, may drive any vehicle that a Class B license holder is authorized to operate.
How to Evaluate a Trucking School
After you have determined which CDL you want to obtain, you can begin the undertaking of evaluating the Prides Crossing MA truck driver schools that you are looking at. As previously mentioned, location and cost will no doubt be your initial concerns. But it can’t be stressed enough that they must not be your only concerns. Other factors, for example the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are equally if not more important. So below are some additional points that you should research while conducting your due diligence prior to choosing, and particularly paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Not many truck driving schools in the Prides Crossing MA area are accredited due to the stringent process and cost to the schools. However, certification is more typical and is provided by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not required to become certified, but there are certain advantages. Interested students know that the training will be of the highest caliber, and that they will be given plenty of driving time. As an example, PTDI mandates 44 hours of real 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 meet the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One indicator to help evaluate the quality of a truck driver school is how long it has been in operation. A negatively ranked or a fly by night school typically will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. Having said that, even the top Prides Crossing MA schools had to start from their first day of training, so use it as one of several qualifiers. You can also learn what the school’s history is pertaining to successful licensing and employment of its graduates. If a school won’t provide those stats, search elsewhere. The schools should also have associations with regional and national trucking companies. Having numerous contacts not only points to a quality reputation within the trade, but also boosts their job assistance program for graduates. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to contact the Massachusetts licensing authority to verify that the CDL trucker schools you are reviewing are in compliance.
How Effective is the Training? At a minimum, the schools must be licensed in Massachusetts and employ instructors that are trained and experienced. We will talk more about the teachers in the next 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 obtaining the individual instruction they will need. This is particularly true concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And be critical of any school that claims it can teach you to be a truck driver in a comparatively short period of time. Learning to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer professionally requires time. The majority of Prides Crossing MA schools offer training courses that run from 3 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 important that the teachers are trained to teach driving techniques and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Even though several states have minimum driving time requirements to qualify as a teacher, the more professional driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also important that the instructors keep up to date with industry advancements or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Evaluating teachers might be a little more intuitive than other criteria, and possibly the best approach is to check out the school and talk to the instructors face to face. You can also speak with some of the students going through the training and find out if they are satisfied with the level of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
Plenty of Driving Time? Most importantly, a great truck driving school will furnish lots 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 driving a truck. Although the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are important training tools, they are no replacement for real driving. The more instruction that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will become. Although driving time can vary among schools, a good standard is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Contact the Prides Crossing MA schools you are looking at and ask how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Captive or Independent ? You can receive discounted or even free training from a number of truck driver schools if you make a commitment to be a driver 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 rather than maintaining relationships with many different trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only work with one company. The tradeoff is receiving less expensive or even free training by surrendering the freedom to initially work wherever you have an opportunity. Obviously contract training has the potential to reduce your income opportunities when starting out. But for some it may be the only way to obtain affordable training. Just be sure to ask if the Prides Crossing MA schools you are considering are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Provide CDL Testing Onsite? There are several states that will permit 3rd party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its grads. If onsite testing is available in Massachusetts, ask if the schools you are considering are DMV certified to offer it. One advantage is that it is more accommodating than competing with graduates from competing schools for test times at Massachusetts testing centers. It is also an indication that the DMV regards the approved schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Class Times Convenient? As earlier mentioned, CDL training is only about one to two months long. With such a short term, it’s essential that the Prides Crossing 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 willing to commit more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still working while going to training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other obligations.
Is Job Assistance Provided? The moment you have received your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be impatient to begin your new career. Make sure that the schools you are considering have job assistance programs. Ask what their job placement rate is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, ask which local and national trucking companies their graduates are placed with for hiring. If a school has a low job placement rate or few Prides Crossing MA employers recruiting their grads, it might be a clue to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Given? Truck driving schools are comparable to colleges and other Prides Crossing MA area technical or vocational schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being available. Find out if the schools you are evaluating have a financial assistance department, or at least someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that need to be submitted.
CDL Truck School Prides Crossing Massachusetts
Picking the right truck driver school is an important first step to starting your new profession as a local or long distance truck driver. The skill sets that you will learn at school will be those that forge 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 CDL Truck School and wanting information on the topic CDL Training And Job Placement. However, you must obtain the appropriate training in order to drive a large commercial vehicle in a safe and professional fashion. If you are short on funds or financing, you may need to consider a captive school. You will pay a reduced or in some cases no tuition in exchange for driving for their contracted carrier. Or you can choose an independent truck driving school and have the option of driving for the trucking company of your choosing, or one of many associated with the school. It’s your choice. But regardless of how you receive your training, you will in the near future be joining a profession that helps our country move as a professional trucker in Prides Crossing MA.
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Eastern Independent League
The Eastern Independent League (EIL) is composed of eleven New England preparatory schools that compete athletically and academically. The EIL's eleven members compete in a number of sports in the New England Prep School Athletic Conference (NEPSAC).
The EIL has been one of the most competitive boys' basketball leagues in New England over the years. Recently, however, the league has been dominated by Beaver Country Day School who have won every championship since the 2009-10 season.
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