How to Pick the Best CDL Training School near Stockbridge Massachusetts
Congrats on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a trucking school near Stockbridge MA. Perhaps it has always been your ambition to hit the open road while operating a huge tractor trailer. Or possibly you have conducted some research and have discovered that a career as a truck driver provides good income and flexible work prospects. Whatever your reason is, it’s important to receive the proper training by enrolling in the right CDL school in your area. When evaluating your options, there are several factors that you’ll need to think about prior to making your final choice. Location will certainly be an issue, especially if you have to commute from your Stockbridge home. The expense will also be of importance, but picking a school based exclusively on price is not the best method to guarantee you’ll obtain the right training. Don’t forget, your objective is to master the skills and knowledge that will allow you to pass the CDL exams and become a professional 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 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 Commercial Drivers License Will You Require?
To operate commercial vehicles lawfully within the USA and Stockbridge MA, a driver must obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 license classes that one can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the subject of this article is how to choose a truck driving school, we will address Class A and B licenses. What differentiates each class of CDL is the kind of vehicle that the driver can operate together with the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Below are short descriptions 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 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 Commercial Drivers License is required 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. A few 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 drive certain types of vehicles, for instance school or passenger buses. And a Class A license holder, with the proper required endorsements, can drive any vehicle that a Class B licensee is qualified to drive.
How to Research a Truck Driving School
When you have decided which Commercial Drivers License you would like to obtain, you can begin the process of researching the Stockbridge MA truck driving schools that you are looking at. As already discussed, location and cost will certainly be your primary concerns. But it can’t be stressed enough that they must not be your only concerns. Other factors, for instance the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are equally if not more important. So below are a few additional points that you should research while performing your due diligence prior to choosing, and especially paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Not many truck driving schools in the Stockbridge MA area are accredited because of the stringent process and expense to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more prevalent and is provided by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not required to become certified, but there are a number of advantages. Interested students know that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will be given an ample amount of driving time. For example, PTDI requires 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 fulfill the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One clue to help evaluate the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in business. A poorly rated or a fly by night school normally will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. On the other hand, even the best of Stockbridge MA schools had to start from their first day of training, so use it as one of several qualifications. You can also learn what the school’s history is concerning successful licensing and employment of its graduates. If a school won’t provide those numbers, look elsewhere. The schools should additionally have associations with local and national trucking firms. Having a large number of contacts not only confirms a superior reputation within the trade, but also boosts their job assistance program for students. It also wouldn’t hurt to contact the Massachusetts licensing authority to verify that the CDL trucker schools you are researching are in compliance.
How Effective is the Training? At a minimum, the schools should be licensed in Massachusetts and hire teachers that are trained and experienced. We will discuss more about the instructors in the following segment. Also, the student to instructor ratio should not be greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be getting the personalized instruction they will need. This is especially true regarding the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And look out for any school that professes it can teach you to drive trucks in a comparatively short time period. Learning to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer professionally requires time. Most Stockbridge MA schools offer training courses that range from three weeks to as long as two months, depending on the class of license or kind of vehicle.
How Good are the Trainers? As earlier mentioned, it’s imperative that the instructors are trained to teach driving methods and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Even though a number of 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 crucial that the teachers stay current with industry advancements or any new laws or changes in regulations. Evaluating teachers may be a bit more subjective than other standards, and possibly the best method is to pay a visit to the school and speak with the teachers in person. You can also talk to some of the students going through the training and ask if they are satisfied with the level of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
Sufficient Driving Time? Most importantly, 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 important training methods, they are no replacement for real driving. The more training that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will be. And even though driving time fluctuates among schools, a good benchmark is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Get in touch with the Stockbridge MA schools you are researching and ask how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Captive or Independent ? It’s possible to obtain discounted or even free training from some trucking schools if you make a commitment to drive for a specific carrier for a defined time period. This is what’s known as contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So rather than maintaining affiliations with numerous trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only refer to one company. The tradeoff is receiving free or less expensive training by giving up the freedom to initially work wherever you have an opportunity. Naturally contract training has the potential to limit your income opportunities when beginning your new career. But for some it may be the ideal way to receive affordable training. Just be sure to inquire if the Stockbridge MA schools you are looking at are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Provide CDL Testing Onsite? There are several states that will permit third party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its students. If onsite testing is allowed in Massachusetts, ask if the schools you are looking at are DMV certified to offer it. One advantage is that it is more accommodating than contending with graduates from competing schools for test times at Massachusetts testing locations. It is also an indication that the DMV regards the approved schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Classes Flexible? As previously noted, truck driving training is just 1 to 2 months long. With such a brief term, it’s imperative that the Stockbridge 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 certain driving maneuver, then the instructor should be willing to dedicate 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 responsibilities.
Is Job Assistance Offered? Once you have received your CDL license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be impatient to start your new career. Make sure that the schools you are looking at have job assistance programs. Find out what their job placement rate is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, ask which national and local trucking companies their graduates are placed with for employment. If a school has a low job placement rate or few Stockbridge MA employers hiring their graduates, it might be a sign to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Truck driver schools are comparable to colleges and other Stockbridge 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 aid department, or at least someone who can help you understand the options and forms that need to be submitted.
How To Get Your Class A CDL Stockbridge Massachusetts
Choosing the appropriate trucking school is an essential first step to starting your new occupation as a long distance or local truck driver. The skill sets taught at school will be those that shape a new career behind the wheel. There are several options offered 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 How To Get Your Class A CDL and wanting information on the topic Truck Driving School. However, you must obtain the proper training in order to operate a big commercial vehicle in a safe and professional manner. If you are short on cash or financing, you might want to consider a captive school. You will pay a lower or even no tuition by agreeing to drive for their contracted carrier. Or you can enroll in 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 soon be joining a profession that helps our country move as a professional trucker in Stockbridge MA.
Truck On in These Other Massachusetts Locations
Stockbridge is a town in Berkshire County in western Massachusetts, United States. It is part of the Pittsfield, Massachusetts, Metropolitan Statistical Area. The population was 1,947 at the 2010 census. A year-round resort area, Stockbridge is home to the Norman Rockwell Museum, the Austen Riggs Center (a noted psychiatric treatment center), and Chesterwood, home and studio of sculptor Daniel Chester French.
Stockbridge was first settled by English missionaries in 1734, who established it as a mission for the Mahican Indian tribe known as the Stockbridge Indians. The township was set aside for the tribe by English colonists as a reward for their assistance against the French in the French and Indian Wars. The Reverend John Sergeant from Newark, New Jersey, was their missionary. Sergeant was succeeded in this post by Jonathan Edwards, a notable Christian theologian associated with the First Great Awakening.
Although the Massachusetts General Court had assured the Stockbridge Indians that their land would never be sold, the agreement was rescinded. Despite the aid by the tribe during the Revolutionary War, the state forced their relocation to the west, first to New York State and then to Wisconsin. The village was taken over by British-American settlers.
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