How to Decide on the Right Truck Driving Classes near Shrewsbury Massachusetts
Congrats on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a truck driving school near Shrewsbury MA. Perhaps it has always been your ambition to hit the open highway while driving a monster tractor trailer. Or maybe you have conducted some analysis and have discovered that an occupation as a truck driver provides excellent wages and flexible job prospects. No matter what your reason is, it’s important to get the appropriate training by enrolling in the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are a number of variables that you’ll need to think about prior to making your ultimate choice. Location will certainly be an issue, especially if you have to commute from your Shrewsbury residence. The expense will also be important, but choosing a school based entirely on price is not the best method to make certain you’ll get the right education. Don’t forget, your objective is to master the knowledge and skills that will enable you to pass the CDL examinations and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that purpose 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 discuss a little bit about which CDL license you will eventually need.
Which CDL Will You Need?
To operate commercial vehicles legally within the USA and Shrewsbury MA, an operator must obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 license classes that a driver can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the topic of this article is how to choose a truck driver school, we will address Class A and Class 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 more than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of more than 10,000 lbs. Several 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 greater 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 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 kinds of vehicles, for example school or passenger buses. And a Class A license holder, with the proper required endorsements, may drive any vehicle that a Class B license holder is qualified to drive.
How to Assess a Truck Driving School
After you have decided which CDL you want to pursue, you can start the process of researching the Shrewsbury MA truck driving schools that you are considering. As earlier discussed, cost and location will undoubtedly be your initial considerations. But it can’t be stressed enough that they should 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 things that you need to research while conducting your due diligence before selecting, and particularly paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Very few truck driving schools in the Shrewsbury MA area are accredited due to the stringent process and expense to the schools. However, certification is more typical and is provided by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not obligated to become certified, but there are a number of advantages. Interested students know that the training will be of the highest standard, and that they will get an ample amount of driving time. As an example, PTDI requires 44 hours of actual driving time, not simulations or ride-alongs. So if a school’s program is certified (the program, not the school is certified), students know that the curriculum and training will fulfill the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One clue to help evaluate the quality of a trucking school is how long it has been in operation. A poorly rated or a fly by night school usually will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. On the other hand, even the top Shrewsbury MA schools had to start from their first day of training, so use it as one of several qualifications. You can also ask what the school’s history is regarding successful licensing and employment of its graduating students. If a school won’t supply those stats, search elsewhere. The schools should additionally have associations with local and national trucking companies. Having a large number of contacts not only points to a superior reputation within the trade, but also boosts their job placement program for students. It also wouldn’t hurt to check with the Massachusetts licensing department to confirm that the CDL trucker schools you are reviewing are in compliance.
How Good is the Training? At a minimum, the schools should be licensed in Massachusetts and hire instructors that are trained and experienced. We will talk more about the teachers in the following segment. Also, the student to instructor ratio should be no higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be receiving the personal instruction they will need. This is particularly true regarding the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And be critical of any school that professes it can teach you to be a truck driver in a relatively short time frame. Training to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer professionally takes time. The majority of Shrewsbury MA schools offer training courses that run from three weeks to as long as two months, depending on the license class or type of vehicle.
How Good are the Trainers? As earlier mentioned, it’s essential that the instructors are qualified to teach driving techniques and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Even though several states have minimum driving time requirements to qualify as an instructor, the more successful driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also vital that the instructors keep up to date with industry advancements or any new laws or changes in regulations. Evaluating instructors might be a bit more subjective than other criteria, and perhaps the best approach is to visit the school and talk to the teachers face to face. You can also speak with a few of the students going through the training and ask if they are happy with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
Sufficient Driving Time? Above all else, an excellent trucking school will provide ample driving time to its students. After all, isn’t that what it’s all about? Driving time is the actual time spent behind the wheel driving a truck. Even though the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are important training tools, they are no replacement for actual driving. The more training that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will be. And even though driving time varies between schools, a reasonable benchmark is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Contact the Shrewsbury MA schools you are considering and ask how much driving time they provide.
Are they Captive or Independent ? You can get free or discounted training from some truck driver schools if you enter into an agreement to be a driver for a particular carrier for a defined period of time. This is called contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So rather than having associations with a wide range of trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only refer to one company. The tradeoff is receiving less expensive or even free training by surrendering the flexibility to initially be a driver wherever you choose. Obviously contract training has the potential to limit your income prospects when starting out. But for some it may be the best way to obtain affordable training. Just make sure to find out if the Shrewsbury MA schools you are considering are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Provide CDL Testing Onsite? There are some states that will allow 3rd party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its students. If onsite testing is permitted in Massachusetts, find out if the schools you are considering are DMV certified to offer it. One benefit is that it is more accommodating than battling with graduates from other schools for test times at Massachusetts testing centers. It is moreover an indication that the DMV views the authorized schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Class Times Convenient? As formerly noted, truck driver training is only about 1 to 2 months in length. With such a brief duration, it’s important that the Shrewsbury MA school you select provides flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. As an example, if you’re having difficulty learning a certain driving maneuver, then the teacher should be prepared to spend more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still working while going to training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other obligations.
Is Job Placement Provided? Once you have obtained your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be eager to start your new career. Confirm that the schools you are considering have job placement programs. Find out what their job placement rate is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, find out which local and national trucking firms their graduates are placed with for employment. If a school has a lower job placement rate or few Shrewsbury MA employers recruiting their grads, it may be a sign to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Given? Trucking schools are similar to colleges and other Shrewsbury MA area vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being offered. Ask if the schools you are examining have a financial aid department, or at a minimum someone who can help you understand the options and forms that need to be completed.
How To Become Truck Driver Shrewsbury Massachusetts
Selecting the appropriate truck driver school is an essential first step to launching your new occupation as a local or long distance truck driver. The skill sets taught at school will be those that mold a new career behind the wheel. There are a number of options available and understanding them is crucial to a new driver’s success. You originally came to our website because of your interest in How To Become Truck Driver and wanting information on the topic Truck Driver Classes. However, you must receive the appropriate training in order to operate a big commercial vehicle in a safe and professional manner. If you are short on money or financing, you may want to look into 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 trucker school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking firm of your choice, 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 part of a profession that helps America move as a professional trucker in Shrewsbury MA.
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Shrewsbury is a town in Worcester County, Massachusetts, United States. Shrewsbury, unlike surrounding towns like Grafton, Millbury, Westborough, and Northborough, did not become a mill town or farming village; most of its 19th-century growth was due to its proximity to Worcester and visitors to Lake Quinsigamond. The population was 35,644 according to the 2010 US Census, in nearly 12,400 households.
Incorporated in 1727, the town is governed now under the New England representative town meeting system, headed by the Town Manager and five-member elected Board of Selectmen whose duties include licensing, appointing various administrative positions, and calling a town meeting of citizens annually or whenever the need arises.
The Town of Shrewsbury, named for Shrewsbury, England, is a suburban community with an uneven and hilly terrain cut by a number of minor streams providing several small water power sites. Grants of land were made in what would eventually be the town beginning in 1664, with the 3,200-acre (13 km2) grant called Haynes Farm as the largest. In 1664 Native American leader, Peter Jethro, and other Nipmuc Indians deeded land around Lake Quinsigamond to settlers in the area. Settlers came primarily from Sudbury and Marlborough, and the first permanent settler was Gersham Wheelock in 1720. As a town, Shrewsbury was first settled in 1722 and officially incorporated in 1727.
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