How to Enroll in the Right Trucking Classes near Somerville Massachusetts
Congrats on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a truck driving school near Somerville MA. Maybe it has always been your ambition to hit the open highway while driving a huge tractor trailer. Or maybe you have conducted some research and have discovered that an occupation as a truck driver provides excellent wages and flexible work prospects. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s essential to receive the proper training by choosing the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are several factors that you’ll want to examine before making your ultimate choice. Location will undoubtedly be an issue, especially if you need to commute from your Somerville residence. The cost will also be of importance, but choosing a school based exclusively on price is not the best way to make certain you’ll get the proper education. Don’t forget, your objective 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 target in mind, just how do you pick a truck driving school? That 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 Commercial Drivers License Should You Get?
To operate commercial vehicles lawfully within the USA and Somerville MA, a driver must obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 classes of licenses that one can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the subject of this article is how to select a truck driving school, we will highlight Class A and B licenses. What differentiates 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 explanations of the 2 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 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 required to operate 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. A few 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 need endorsements to drive certain kinds of vehicles, including school or passenger buses. And a Class A license holder, with the appropriate needed endorsements, can operate any vehicle that a Class B licensee is qualified to drive.
How to Evaluate a Trucking School
When you have determined which CDL you want to pursue, you can start the undertaking of evaluating the Somerville MA truck driving schools that you are looking at. As earlier discussed, location and cost will no doubt be your initial considerations. But it can’t be stressed enough that they must not be your only considerations. Other issues, such as the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are equally or even more important. So following are several more things that you need to research while conducting your due diligence before enrolling in, and especially paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Very few trucking schools in the Somerville MA area are accredited due to the rigorous process and cost to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more prevalent and is offered by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not required to become certified, but there are several advantages. Potential students recognize that the training will be of the highest standard, and that they will receive lots of driving time. As an example, PTDI requires 44 hours of actual 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 fulfill the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One indicator to help assess the quality of a trucking school is how long it has been in business. A negatively rated or a fly by night school normally will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the best of Somerville 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 relating to successful licensing and job placement of its graduating students. If a school won’t share those numbers, look elsewhere. The schools should additionally have associations with local and national trucking firms. Having numerous contacts not only confirms a superior reputation within the profession, but also boosts their job assistance program for students. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to check with the Massachusetts licensing department to verify that the CDL trucking schools you are reviewing are in compliance.
How Good is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools should be licensed in Massachusetts and hire instructors that are trained and experienced. We will cover more about the teachers in the next section. Also, the student to instructor proportion should not be greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be obtaining the personalized instruction they will need. This is especially true regarding the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And be critical of any school that insists it can train you to be a truck driver in a comparatively short period of time. Training to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer professionally takes time. Most Somerville MA schools provide training courses that range from three weeks to as long as 2 months, based on the class of license or type of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Instructors? As previously stated, it’s imperative that the instructors are qualified to teach driving methods and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Although a number of states have minimum driving time criteria to be certified as a teacher, the more successful driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also vital that the instructors stay current with industry developments or any new laws or changes in regulations. Assessing teachers might be a bit more subjective than other criteria, and perhaps the best method is to check out the school and talk to the teachers in person. You can also speak with some of the students completing the training and find out if they are satisfied with the level of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Adequate Driving Time? Above all else, an excellent trucking school will furnish plenty of 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. While the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are necessary training tools, they are no replacement for real driving. The more training that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will become. Although driving time fluctuates among schools, a reasonable standard is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide at least 44 hours of driving time. Get in touch with the Somerville MA schools you are researching and ask how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Independent or Captive ? It’s possible to get free or discounted training from certain truck driving schools if you make a commitment to be a driver for a particular carrier for a defined time period. This is referred to as contract training, and the schools that provide 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 refer to one company. The tradeoff is receiving free or less expensive training by giving up the flexibility to initially work wherever you have an opportunity. Naturally contract training has the potential to limit your income opportunities when starting out. But for some it may be the ideal way to obtain affordable training. Just remember to ask if the Somerville MA schools you are considering are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Offer Onsite CDL Testing? There are some states that will permit 3rd party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its students. If onsite testing is permitted in Massachusetts, ask if the schools you are looking at are DMV certified to offer it. One benefit is that it is more convenient than battling with graduates from competing schools for test times at Massachusetts testing centers. It is moreover an indication that the DMV considers the authorized schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Classes Convenient? As formerly noted, truck driver training is just one to two months long. With such a brief term, it’s essential that the Somerville MA school you select 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 teacher should be willing to spend more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still holding a job while attending training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other commitments.
Is Job Assistance Provided? The moment you have obtained your CDL license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be eager to start your new career. Verify that the schools you are looking at have job assistance programs. Ask what their job placement percentage is and what average salary their graduates 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 not many Somerville MA employers hiring their graduates, it may be a sign to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Given? Truck driving schools are similar to colleges and other Somerville 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 evaluating have a financial aid department, or at least someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that must be submitted.
CDL Training Course Somerville Massachusetts
Choosing the appropriate trucking school is an important first step to beginning your new profession 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 critical if you are going to succeed as an operator. You originally came to our website because of your interest in CDL Training Course and wanting information on the topic Truck Driving Schools Near Me. However, you must obtain the proper training in order to drive a large commercial vehicle in a professional and safe fashion. If you are lacking money or financing, you may need to look into a captive school. You will pay a lower or in some cases no tuition by agreeing to drive for their contracted carrier. Or you can enroll in an independent trucker 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 choice. But regardless of how you get your training, you will soon be entering a profession that helps our country move as a professional trucker in Somerville MA.
Truck On in These Other Massachusetts Locations
Somerville (/ˈsʌmərvɪl/ SUM-ər-vil) is a city located directly to the northwest of Boston, in Middlesex County, Massachusetts, United States. As of 2010[update], the United States Census lists the city with a total population of 75,754 people, making it the most densely populated municipality in New England. As of 2010[update], it was the 16th most densely populated incorporated municipality in the country. Somerville was established as a town in 1842, when it was separated from Charlestown. In 2006, the city was named the best-run city in Massachusetts by the Boston Globe. In 1972, in 2009, and again in 2015, the city received the All-America City Award. It is home to Tufts University, which has its campus along the Somerville and Medford border.
The territory now comprising the city of Somerville was first settled in 1629 as part of Charlestown. In 1629, English surveyor Thomas Graves led a scouting party of 100 Puritans from the settlement of Salem to prepare the site for the Great Migration of Puritans from England. Graves was attracted to the narrow Mishawum Peninsula between the Charles River and the Mystic River, linked to the mainland at the present-day Sullivan Square. The area of earliest settlement was based at City Square on the peninsula, though the territory of Charlestown officially included all of what is now Somerville, as well as Medford, Everett, Malden,Stoneham,, Melrose,, Woburn, Burlington, and parts of Arlington and Cambridge. From that time until 1842, the area of present-day Somerville was referred to as "beyond the Neck" in reference to the thin spit of land, the Charlestown Neck, that connected it to the Charlestown Peninsula.
The first European settler in Somerville of whom there is any record was John Woolrich, an Indian trader who came from the Charlestown Peninsula in 1630, and settled near Dane Street. Others soon followed Woolrich, locating in the vicinity of present-day Union Square. The population continued to slowly increase, and by 1775 there were about 500 inhabitants scattered across the area. Otherwise, the area was mostly used as grazing and farmland. It was once known as the "Stinted Pasture" or "Cow Commons", as early settlers of Charlestown had the right to pasture a certain number of cows in the area.
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