How to Decide on the Best CDL Driving School near Rochester Massachusetts
Congratulations on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a CDL school near Rochester MA. Maybe it has always been your dream to hit the open highway while driving a monster tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have conducted some analysis and have found that a career as a truck driver offers good pay and flexible work prospects. No matter what your reason is, it’s imperative to get the proper training by choosing the right CDL school in your area. When evaluating your options, there are various variables that you’ll want to examine before making your ultimate selection. Location will certainly be important, especially if you need to commute from your Rochester home. The expense will also be of importance, but selecting a school based only on price is not the optimal way to guarantee you’ll get the right education. Just remember, your goal is to learn the knowledge and skills that will enable you to pass the CDL examinations and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that target in mind, just how do you choose 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 talk a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will eventually need.
Which CDL Will You Require?
To operate commercial vehicles legally within the USA and Rochester MA, an operator must attain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 license classes that a person can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the topic of this article is how to choose a truck driving school, we will focus on Class A and B licenses. What distinguishes each class of CDL is the kind 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 summaries for the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License is needed to drive any vehicle that has a GCWR of greater than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of more 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 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 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 CDLs may also require endorsements to operate specific types of vehicles, for instance school or passenger buses. And a Class A licensee, with the appropriate required endorsements, can operate any vehicle that a Class B licensee is qualified to drive.
How to Evaluate a Truck Driving School
After you have determined which Commercial Drivers License you want to obtain, you can begin the process of researching the Rochester MA trucking schools that you are considering. As previously discussed, cost and location will undoubtedly be your initial considerations. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they should not be your sole concerns. Other variables, for instance the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are similarly or even more important. So following are some more factors that you need to research while conducting your due diligence before enrolling in, and particularly paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Not many trucking schools in the Rochester MA area are accredited due to the rigorous process and expense 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 obligated to become certified, but there are several advantages. Prospective students know that the training will be of the highest caliber, and that they will receive an ample amount of driving time. For example, PTDI mandates 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 clue to help measure the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in operation. A poorly rated or a fly by night school normally will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. Having said that, even the best of Rochester MA schools had to begin from their first day of training, so use it as one of several qualifiers. You can also learn what the school’s track record is relating to successful licensing and job placement of its graduating students. If a school won’t share those numbers, look elsewhere. The schools should also maintain relationships with local and national trucking firms. Having numerous contacts not only affirms a quality reputation within the profession, but also boosts their job assistance program for graduates. It also wouldn’t hurt to check with the Massachusetts licensing department to make sure that the CDL trucker schools you are reviewing are in good standing.
How Good is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools must be licensed in Massachusetts and hire instructors that are experienced and trained. We will cover more about the teachers in the following section. In addition, the student to instructor proportion should be no greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be obtaining the personalized instruction they will need. This is especially true concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And look out for any school that insists it can teach you to be a truck driver in a comparatively short time frame. Learning to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully takes time. The majority of Rochester MA schools offer training courses that run from three weeks to as long as 2 months, depending on the license class or type of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Instructors? As previously mentioned, it’s important that the teachers are trained to teach driving methods and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Even though several states have minimum driving time requirements to qualify as an instructor, the more professional driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also vital that the instructors stay current with industry advancements or any new laws or changes in regulations. Evaluating teachers might be a bit more subjective than other standards, and perhaps the ideal method is to visit the school and speak with the instructors in person. You can also talk to a few of the students completing the training and find out if they are satisfied with the level of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
How Much Driving Time? Above all else, an excellent 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 operating a truck. Even though the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are important training tools, they are no replacement for real driving. The more training that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will be. Although driving time can vary among schools, a good benchmark 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 Rochester MA schools you are considering and find out how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Captive or Independent ? You can obtain 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 called contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So rather than maintaining affiliations with numerous trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only work with one company. The benefit is receiving less expensive or even free training by giving up the flexibility to initially be a driver wherever you have an opportunity. Obviously contract training has the potential to limit your income prospects when beginning your new career. But for some it may be the ideal way to obtain affordable training. Just remember to ask if the Rochester MA schools you are considering are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Is there Onsite CDL Testing? There are a number of states that will allow 3rd party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its grads. If onsite testing is permitted in Massachusetts, find out if the schools you are looking at are DMV certified to offer it. One advantage is that it is more convenient than battling with graduates of competing schools for test times at Massachusetts testing locations. It is moreover an indication that the DMV regards the authorized schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Class Times Flexible? As previously noted, truck driving training is just one to two months long. With such a brief term, it’s essential that the Rochester MA school you enroll in provides flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. As an example, if you’re having a hard time learning a particular driving maneuver, then the instructor should be prepared 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 must be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other obligations.
Is Job Placement Offered? Once you have obtained your CDL license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be keen to start your new profession. Make sure that the schools you are looking at have job placement programs. Ask what their job placement rate is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, find out which local and national trucking companies their graduates are placed with for hiring. If a school has a low job placement rate or not many Rochester MA employers recruiting their grads, it may be a clue to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Truck driving schools are much like colleges and other Rochester MA area trade or technical schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being offered. Ask if the schools you are evaluating have a financial aid department, or at a minimum someone who can help you get through the options and forms that must be submitted.
Cheap CDL Training Rochester Massachusetts
Choosing the ideal truck driving school is a critical first step to starting your new vocation as a local or long distance truck driver. The skills taught at school will be those that forge a new career behind the wheel. There are several options available and understanding them is vital to a new driver’s success. You originally came to our website because of your interest in Cheap CDL Training and wanting information on the topic CDL Schools. But first and foremost, you must receive the necessary training in order to drive a big commercial vehicle in a safe and professional manner. If you are lacking money 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 select an independent CDL school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking company of your choosing, or one of several associated with the school. It’s your choice. But no matter how you obtain your training, you will in the near future be joining a profession that helps our country move as a professional truck driver in Rochester MA.
Truck On in These Other Massachusetts Locations
Rochester was settled in 1679 on the lands called "Sippican" by the local Wampanoags, along the coast of Buzzards Bay. (Sippican was the name of the local tribe.) It originally included the lands of Mattapoisett, Marion and parts of Wareham (which was lost when Wareham was founded in 1739). The town was officially incorporated on June 4, 1686 as Rochester, and was named for Rochester, England, from which early settlers to the town came. The town originally thrived with the early shipbuilding and whaling trade in Mattapoisett Harbor. However, in 1852 and 1857 the towns of Marion and Mattapoisett, respectively, were separated and incorporated as separate towns, thus landlocking Rochester. Since that time, the town has become mostly rural-residential, with some farms located in town. Rochester is a "Right to Farm" community.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 36.4 square miles (94 km2), of which 33.9 square miles (88 km2) is land and 2.5 square miles (6.5 km2), or 6.76%, is water. Rochester is located along the western border of Plymouth County, and is bordered by Lakeville and Middleborough to the north, Wareham and Marion to the east, Mattapoisett to the south, and Acushnet and Freetown to the west. The town's localities include Bisbee Corner, East Rochester, North Rochester and Varella Corner. The town is about 10 miles (16 km) northeast of New Bedford, 40 miles (64 km) east of Providence, Rhode Island, and 60 miles (97 km) south of Boston.
The Mattapoisett and Sippican rivers flow through the town, emptying into Buzzards Bay. Most of the town's brooks also flow into these two rivers. The source of the Mattapoisett, Great Quittacas Pond and Little Quittacas Pond, lie on the border between the town and Lakeville. Other ponds include Snipatuit Pond, Long Pond, Snow's Pond, Hartley's Mill Pond, Mary's Pond, Leonards Pond, Mill Pond and Hathaway Pond, as well as several smaller bodies of water. The town has two wildlife management areas and a fish hatchery, as well as a small recreation area along Mary's Pond and two parks near the town center. The town is also the site of the Sippican Rod & Gun Club, near the Haskell Wildlife Management Area.
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