How to Enroll in the Right CDL Training School near South Harwich Massachusetts
Congratulations on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a trucking school near South Harwich MA. Maybe it has always been your dream to hit the open road while operating a monster tractor trailer. Or maybe you have conducted some analysis and have found that a career as a truck driver offers good pay and flexible work opportunities. No matter what your reason is, it’s essential to get the appropriate training by selecting the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are certain variables that you’ll want to examine prior to making your final choice. Location will no doubt be an issue, particularly if you have to commute from your South Harwich home. The expense will also be important, but choosing a school based only on price is not the ideal method to ensure you’ll get the right education. Don’t forget, your objective is to master the knowledge and skills that will allow you to pass the CDL examinations and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that objective in mind, just how do you decide on a truck driving school? That is what we are going to cover 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 Require?
To drive commercial vehicles legally within the United States and South Harwich MA, a driver needs to get a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 license classes that one can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the subject of this article is how to select a truck driver school, we will discuss Class A and Class B licenses. What differentiates each class of CDL is the kind of vehicle that the driver can operate in addition to 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 required to drive any vehicle that has a GCWR of greater than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of greater 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 CDL is required to drive single vehicles having a GVWR of greater than 26,000 lbs., or a GCWR of more 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 CDLs might also require endorsements to operate certain kinds of vehicles, such as school or passenger buses. And a Class A licensee, with the appropriate needed endorsements, may operate any vehicle that a Class B licensee is qualified to drive.
How to Assess a Trucking School
As soon as you have decided which CDL you want to obtain, you can begin the process of assessing the South Harwich MA truck driver schools that you are looking at. As previously mentioned, location and cost will undoubtedly be your primary considerations. But it can’t be stressed enough that they should not be your sole considerations. Other issues, for instance the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are equally or even more important. So below are several additional factors that you need to research while conducting your due diligence prior to choosing, and particularly paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Very few truck driving schools in the South Harwich MA area are accredited because of the rigorous process and cost to the schools. However, certification is more commonplace and is provided by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not obligated to become certified, but there are certain advantages. Prospective students know that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will receive plenty 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 curriculum and training will comply with the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One clue to help assess the quality of a truck driver school is how long it has been in operation. A negatively rated or a fly by night school typically will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the top South Harwich MA schools had to start from their first day of training, so consider it as one of multiple qualifications. You can also find out what the school’s track record is pertaining to successful licensing and job placement of its graduating students. If a school won’t supply those numbers, search elsewhere. The schools should additionally maintain relationships with regional and national trucking companies. Having numerous contacts not only confirms an excellent reputation within the profession, but also boosts their job assistance program for graduates. It also wouldn’t hurt to contact the Massachusetts licensing authority to confirm that the CDL trucker schools you are considering are in compliance.
How Effective is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools should be licensed in Massachusetts and hire teachers that are trained and experienced. We will discuss more about the instructors in the next segment. Also, the student to instructor ratio should not be 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 regarding the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And watch out for any school that professes it can teach you to be a truck driver in a comparatively short time period. Training to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully takes time. Most South Harwich MA schools offer training programs that run from three weeks to as long as two months, depending on the class of license or kind of vehicle.
How Good are the Instructors? As already mentioned, it’s important that the teachers are qualified to teach driving techniques and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Even though several states have minimum driving time prerequisites to be certified as an instructor, the more professional driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also vital that the instructors keep current with industry developments or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Assessing teachers may be a little more intuitive than other criteria, and perhaps the ideal approach is to visit the school and speak with the instructors face to face. You can also talk to some of the students going through the training and ask if they are satisfied with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
How Much Driving Time? Most importantly, a good 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. Although the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are essential training tools, they are no substitute for real driving. The more training that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will become. And even though driving time varies among schools, a reasonable standard is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish at least 44 hours of driving time. Get in touch with the South Harwich MA schools you are considering and ask how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Independent or Captive ? You can obtain discounted or even free training from a number of truck driving schools if you enter into an agreement to be a driver for a particular carrier for a defined time period. This is called contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So rather than maintaining relationships with a wide range of trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only refer to one company. The benefit is receiving free or less expensive training by giving up the freedom to initially be a driver wherever you choose. Clearly contract training has the potential to limit your income opportunities when beginning your new career. But for some it may be the best way to receive affordable training. Just remember to inquire if the South Harwich MA schools you are looking at are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Provide CDL Testing Onsite? There are a number of states that will allow third party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its students. If onsite testing is permitted in Massachusetts, find out if the schools you are considering are DMV certified to provide it. One advantage is that it is more accommodating than battling with graduates from competing schools for test times at Massachusetts testing centers. It is also an indication that the DMV deems the approved schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Class Times Accessible? As previously noted, truck driving training is only about one to two months in length. With such a short duration, it’s imperative that the South Harwich MA school you select provides flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. For example, if you’re having difficulty learning a particular driving maneuver, then the instructor should be prepared to devote more time with you until you are proficient. 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 obligations.
Is Job Assistance Offered? The moment you have received your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be keen to begin your new career. Make sure that the schools you are considering have job assistance programs. Ask what their job placement percentage is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, ask which national and local trucking firms their graduates are placed with for hiring. If a school has a poor job placement rate or few South Harwich MA employers hiring their grads, it may be a sign to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Given? Truck driver schools are comparable to colleges and other South Harwich MA area vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being available. Ask if the schools you are assessing have a financial aid department, or at a minimum someone who can help you get through the options and forms that must be submitted.
Trucking Classes South Harwich Massachusetts
Selecting the appropriate truck driving school is an essential first step to starting your new vocation as a long distance or local truck driver. The skill sets that you will learn at school will be those that forge a new career behind the wheel. There are many options offered and understanding them is crucial if you are going to succeed as an operator. You originally came to our website because of your interest in Trucking Classes and wanting information on the topic Schools For Truck Driving. However, you must obtain the necessary training in order to drive a large commercial vehicle in a professional and safe fashion. If you are short on money or financing, you might want to look into a captive school. You will pay a reduced or in some cases no tuition by agreeing to drive for their contracted carrier. Or you can enroll in an independent truck driver school and have the option of driving for the trucking firm of your choice, or one of many affiliated with the school. It’s your choice. But regardless of how you get your training, you will soon be entering an industry that helps America move as a professional truck driver in South Harwich MA.
Truck On in These Other Massachusetts Locations
Harwich (/ˈhɑːrwɪtʃ/ HAR-witch) is a New England town on Cape Cod, in Barnstable County in the state of Massachusetts in the United States. At the 2010 census it had a population of 12,243. The town is a popular vacation spot, located near the Cape Cod National Seashore. Harwich's beaches are on the Nantucket Sound side of Cape Cod. Harwich has three active harbors. Saquatucket, Wychmere and Allen Harbors are all in Harwich Port. The town of Harwich includes the villages of Pleasant Lake, West Harwich, East Harwich, Harwich Port, Harwich Center, North Harwich and South Harwich. Harwich is also home to the exclusive Wequassett Resort and Golf Club.
Harwich was first settled by Europeans in 1670 as part of Yarmouth. The town was officially incorporated in 1694, and originally included the lands of the current town of Brewster. Early industry involved fishing and farming. The town is considered by some to be the birthplace of the cranberry industry, with the first commercial operation opened in 1846. There are still many bogs in the town, although the economy is now more centered on tourism and as a residential community. The town is also the site of the start/finish line of the "Sail Around the Cape", which rounds the Cape counter-clockwise, returning via the Cape Cod Canal.
The Harwich Antique Center West Harwich is a large group shop that features over 40 dealers. They feature Victorian furniture, primitive items, vintage and collectables, ephemera, coins, jewelry, lamps, military items, postcards and much more.
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