How to Select the Right CDL Training School near Swansea Massachusetts
Congratulations on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a CDL school near Swansea MA. Maybe it has always been your ambition to hit the open highway while operating a monster tractor trailer. Or maybe you have done some analysis and have found that an occupation as a truck driver provides good pay and flexible work prospects. Regardless of 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 consider before making your ultimate choice. Location will undoubtedly be important, particularly if you need to commute from your Swansea home. The cost will also be important, but selecting a school based entirely on price is not the optimal way to ensure you’ll obtain the appropriate education. Don’t forget, your objective is to learn the skills and knowledge that will enable you to pass the CDL exams and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that objective in mind, just how do you select a truck driving school? That is what we are going to cover in the remainder of this article. But first, we are going to discuss a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will ultimately need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Will You Require?
In order to operate commercial vehicles lawfully within the United States and Swansea MA, an operator must attain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three license classes that one can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the topic of this article is how to select a truck driving school, we will highlight Class A and B licenses. What distinguishes 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). Following are brief explanations of the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is needed to operate any vehicle that has a GCWR of more than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of greater than 10,000 lbs. Several 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 needed to operate single vehicles having a GVWR of more than 26,000 lbs., or a GCWR of greater 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 certain types of vehicles, such as passenger or school buses. And a Class A license holder, with the appropriate required endorsements, can operate any vehicle that a Class B license holder is authorized to drive.
How to Assess a Truck Driver School
As soon as you have determined which Commercial Drivers License you would like to obtain, you can start the process of assessing the Swansea MA truck driver schools that you are looking at. As earlier discussed, cost and location will undoubtedly be your initial concerns. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they should not be your only considerations. Other factors, for instance the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are similarly or even more important. So following are several more points that you need to research while carrying out your due diligence before selecting, and especially paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Very few trucking schools in the Swansea MA area are accredited due to 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 standard, and that they will receive an ample amount of driving time. For example, PTDI mandates 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 meet the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One indicator to help evaluate 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. Having said that, even the top Swansea MA schools had to begin from their first day of training, so use it as one of multiple qualifications. You can also find out what the school’s history is regarding successful licensing and job placement of its graduating students. If a school won’t supply those numbers, look elsewhere. The schools should additionally maintain associations with local and national trucking firms. Having a large number of contacts not only points to a superior reputation within the profession, but also bolsters their job placement program for graduates. It also wouldn’t hurt to get in touch with the Massachusetts licensing department to make sure that the CDL trucker schools you are considering are in compliance.
How Good is the Training? At a minimum, the schools must be licensed in Massachusetts and employ instructors that are trained and experienced. We will talk more about the instructors in the next segment. In addition, the student to instructor proportion should be no higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be obtaining the personalized attention 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 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 skillfully takes time. Most Swansea MA schools provide training courses that range from 3 weeks to as long as 2 months, depending on the class of license or type of vehicle.
How Good are the Trainers? As earlier mentioned, it’s important that the instructors are qualified to teach driving techniques and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Although a number of states have minimum driving time criteria to qualify as an instructor, the more successful driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also vital that the teachers stay current with industry developments or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Assessing teachers might be a bit more subjective than other criteria, and possibly the ideal method is to check out the school and speak with the instructors face to face. You can also speak with a few of the students going through the training and ask if they are satisfied with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Enough Driving Time? Above all else, an excellent trucking school will furnish ample driving time to its students. Besides, 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 methods, they are no alternative for actual driving. The more training that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will be. Although driving time differs between schools, a reasonable benchmark is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide no less than 44 hours of driving time. Check with the Swansea MA schools you are researching and ask how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Captive or Independent ? It’s possible to get discounted or even free training from some truck driver schools if you make a commitment to be a driver for a particular carrier for a defined amount of time. This is called contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So rather than having associations with many different trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only work with one company. The benefit is receiving free or less expensive training by surrendering the freedom to initially be a driver wherever you choose. Obviously contract training has the potential to restrict your income prospects when starting out. But for many it may be the only way to get affordable training. Just remember to ask if the Swansea MA schools you are contemplating are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Provide Onsite CDL Testing? There are several states that will allow third party CDL testing onsite of truck driver schools for its students. 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 accommodating than battling with graduates of competing schools for test times at Massachusetts testing locations. It is moreover an indication that the DMV believes the authorized schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Classes Convenient? As formerly mentioned, CDL training is just 1 to 2 months in length. With such a brief term, it’s imperative that the Swansea MA school you select offers flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. For example, if you’re having difficulty learning a certain driving maneuver, then the instructor should be prepared to spend more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still holding a job while attending training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other commitments.
Is Job Placement Offered? As soon as you have obtained your CDL license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be keen to begin your new career. Verify that the schools you are contemplating have job assistance programs. Find out what their job placement rate is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, find out which national and local trucking companies their graduates are referred to for employment. If a school has a poor job placement rate or few Swansea MA employers recruiting their graduates, it may be a sign to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Truck driver schools are similar to colleges and other Swansea MA area trade or technical schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being available. Ask if the schools you are evaluating have a financial assistance department, or at a minimum someone who can help you understand the options and forms that need to be completed.
CDL Driving Course Swansea Massachusetts
Picking the ideal truck driving school is an important first step to beginning your new profession as a long distance or local truck driver. The skill sets that you will learn at school will be those that shape a new career behind the wheel. There are many options available and understanding them is crucial to a new driver’s success. You originally came to our website because of your interest in CDL Driving Course and wanting information on the topic Commercial Driving School. But first and foremost, you must get the proper training in order to operate a big commercial vehicle in a professional and safe manner. If you are lacking money or financing, you may want to consider a captive school. You will pay a reduced or even no tuition by agreeing to drive for their contracted carrier. Or you can select an independent trucking school and have the option of driving for the trucking company of your choice, or one of several affiliated with the school. It’s your decision. But no matter how you receive your training, you will soon be part of an industry that helps America move as a professional trucker in Swansea MA.
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Swansea is a town in Bristol County in southeastern Massachusetts. It is located at the mouth of the Taunton River, just west of Fall River, 47 miles (76 km) south of Boston, and 12 miles (19 km) southeast of Providence, Rhode Island. The population was 15,865 at the 2010 census.
Swansea was named for the Welsh city of Swansea, which had been the hometown of some original settlers. John Miles, the founder of the first Baptist Church in Wales, moved to Swansea in 1662/3. William Brenton had purchased the land from Native Americans. Parts of its territory were originally part of Rehoboth, Massachusetts.
In 1667 the first Baptist church in Massachusetts relocated to Swansea from Rehoboth after experiencing religious intolerance there, and Swansea was incorporated as an independent town. Initially, the town established a committee to assign rank of 1, 2, or 3 to the residents with the first getting 3 acres of land, the second 2, and the third 1. The committee could promote and demote residents as it saw fit. The system collapsed in 1681 when the committee voted to make five residents the highest rank and to make the rank hereditary. The town unanimously voted to abolish the system.
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