How to Enroll in the Best Trucking School near Tewksbury Massachusetts
Congrats on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a trucking school near Tewksbury MA. Maybe it has always been your dream to hit the open highway while operating a huge tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have done some analysis and have found that an occupation as a truck driver provides excellent income and flexible work prospects. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s imperative to obtain the proper training by picking the right CDL school in your area. When evaluating your options, there are a number of factors that you’ll want to think about prior to making your ultimate choice. Location will no doubt be important, particularly if you need to commute from your Tewksbury home. The cost will also be of importance, but picking a school based only on price is not the ideal way to guarantee you’ll receive the right education. Don’t forget, your objective is to learn the knowledge and skills that will enable you to pass the CDL examinations and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that goal in mind, just how do you decide on a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to address in the rest of this article. But first, we are going to review a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will eventually need.
Which CDL Will You Require?
To operate commercial vehicles lawfully within the United States and Tewksbury MA, an operator must attain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three classes of licenses that a driver can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the topic of this article is how to pick a truck driving school, we will discuss Class A and B licenses. What distinguishes each class of CDL is the type of vehicle that the driver can operate as well as the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Following are brief summaries for the two 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. Some 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 CDL 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. 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 need endorsements to operate certain types of vehicles, such as passenger or school buses. And a Class A license holder, with the proper needed endorsements, may drive any vehicle that a Class B license holder is authorized to drive.
How to Evaluate a CDL School
Once you have decided which Commercial Drivers License you would like to pursue, you can start the undertaking of evaluating the Tewksbury MA trucking schools that you are considering. As already discussed, location and cost will no doubt be your primary considerations. But it can’t be stressed enough that they should not be your sole considerations. Other variables, for example the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are equally or even more important. So below are several additional things that you need to research while conducting your due diligence before selecting, and especially paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Not many truck driving schools in the Tewksbury MA area are accredited because of the stringent process and cost to the schools. On the other hand, 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 a number of advantages. Interested students recognize that the training will be of the highest caliber, and that they will get lots of driving time. As an example, PTDI calls for 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 satisfy the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One indicator to help determine the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in business. A negatively ranked or a fly by night school normally will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. Having said that, even the best of Tewksbury MA schools had to begin from their opening day of training, so use it as one of multiple qualifications. You can also ask what the school’s track record is pertaining to successful licensing and employment of its graduates. If a school won’t share those stats, look elsewhere. The schools should additionally maintain relationships with local and national trucking companies. Having a large number of contacts not only points to a quality reputation within the profession, but also bolsters their job placement program for students. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to contact the Massachusetts licensing authority to make sure that the CDL trucking schools you are considering are in good standing.
How Good is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools must be licensed in Massachusetts and employ instructors that are experienced and trained. We will cover more about the teachers in the following segment. In addition, 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 attention 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 claims 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. The majority of Tewksbury MA schools offer training programs that range from three weeks to as long as 2 months, depending on the license class or type of vehicle.
How Good are the Instructors? As earlier stated, it’s essential that the instructors are trained to teach driving methods and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Although several states have minimum driving time requirements to be certified as an instructor, the more professional driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also crucial that the teachers stay up to date with industry developments or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Evaluating teachers might be a bit more subjective than other criteria, and perhaps the ideal approach is to check out the school and speak with the teachers in person. You can also speak with some of the students going through the training and ask if they are satisfied with the level of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Enough Driving Time? Above all else, a good trucking school will furnish sufficient 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 operating a truck. Even though the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are essential training tools, they are no replacement for real driving. The more training that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will be. Although driving time fluctuates among schools, a good benchmark is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Check with the Tewksbury 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 some trucking schools if you enter into an agreement to be a driver for a specific carrier for a defined period of time. This is what’s known as contract training, and the schools that offer 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 work with one company. The tradeoff is receiving less expensive or even free training by giving up the flexibility to initially work wherever you choose. Obviously contract training has the potential to limit your income prospects when starting out. But for many it may be the ideal way to get affordable training. Just be sure to inquire if the Tewksbury MA schools you are contemplating are independent or captive 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 driver schools for its grads. If onsite testing is available in Massachusetts, find out if the schools you are reviewing are DMV certified to provide it. One advantage is that it is more accommodating than contending with graduates of other schools for test times at Massachusetts testing locations. It is moreover an indicator that the DMV views the approved schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Class Times Flexible? As formerly mentioned, truck driver training is just one to two months in length. With such a brief term, it’s imperative that the Tewksbury MA school you enroll in 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 willing to spend more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still employed while going to training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other responsibilities.
Is Job Assistance Offered? The moment you have acquired your CDL license after graduating from trucking school, you will be anxious to start your new profession. Make sure that the schools you are contemplating have job placement programs. Ask what their job placement percentage is and what average salary their grads 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 Tewksbury MA employers recruiting their grads, it might be a sign to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Trucking schools are comparable to colleges and other Tewksbury MA area technical or vocational schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being offered. Ask if the schools you are examining have a financial assistance department, or at a minimum someone who can help you get through the options and forms that need to be submitted.
How To Obtain A Class A CDL Tewksbury Massachusetts
Picking the ideal trucking school is a critical first step to starting your new occupation as a local or long distance truck driver. The skills that you will learn at school will be those that forge a new career behind the wheel. There are a number of 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 Obtain A Class A CDL and wanting information on the topic Bus Driving School. However, you must obtain the proper training in order to drive a large commercial vehicle in a professional and safe fashion. If you are short on funds or financing, you might want to think about a captive school. You will pay a reduced or even 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 company of your choice, or one of many affiliated with the school. It’s your decision. But regardless of how you receive your training, you will soon be joining a profession that helps America move as a professional truck driver in Tewksbury MA.
Truck On in These Other Massachusetts Locations
Tewksbury was first settled in 1637 and was officially incorporated on December 17, 1734, from Billerica. There is no evidence that the town was named after Tewkesbury, England. Still, Tewksbury, Massachusetts and Tewkesbury, England kept connected through a local committee called the twinning committee. One of the oldest sections of town is the area around the Shawsheen River. This is where the Shawshin tribe settled, allowing them access to a great food source through fishing in the river. Tewksbury was also known for a historic visit by President Andrew Jackson, stopping off at local watering hole, Brown's Tavern.
On July 24, 1857, a powerful tornado swept through Tewksbury. The tempest began at Round Pond as a small water spout, and traveled west and then southeast to the Shawsheen River. It dissipated at North Wilmington. Several corn fields and orchards were severely damaged, with one residence having its roof blown off. The tornado was powerful enough to flatten barns and sheds, pull up large trees by their roots, and sweep away and kill a team of oxen. Due to the sparse population, and homes located above the valley floor, no one was killed, and only a few people were injured.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 21.1 square miles (55 km2), of which 20.7 square miles (54 km2) is land and 0.3 square miles (0.78 km2), or 1.61%, is water.
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