How to Choose the Best CDL Training Classes near Westborough Massachusetts
Congratulations on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a trucking school near Westborough MA. Maybe it has always been your ambition to hit the open highway while driving a huge tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have conducted some analysis and have discovered that an occupation as a truck driver provides good pay and flexible job opportunities. No matter what your reason is, it’s important to obtain the appropriate training by selecting the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are various factors that you’ll need to consider prior to making your ultimate choice. Location will no doubt be important, especially if you have to commute from your Westborough home. The expense will also be important, but choosing a school based entirely on price is not the optimal way to ensure you’ll receive the proper training. Don’t forget, your goal is to learn the knowledge and skills that will enable you to pass the CDL examinations and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that goal in mind, just how do you pick a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to discuss in the rest of this article. But first, we are going to talk a little bit about which CDL license you will eventually need.
Which CDL Should You Get?
To operate commercial vehicles lawfully within the United States and Westborough MA, a driver must get a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three license classes that a person 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 focus on Class A and 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 descriptions of the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License is required to operate any vehicle that has a GCWR of greater than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of more than 10,000 lbs. Some 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 Commercial Drivers License is needed to drive 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 Commercial Drivers Licenses might also require endorsements to operate specific kinds of vehicles, for example passenger or school buses. And a Class A licensee, with the appropriate needed endorsements, can operate any vehicle that a Class B licensee is authorized to operate.
How to Evaluate a CDL School
When you have decided which CDL you wish to obtain, you can start the process of evaluating the Westborough MA truck driving schools that you are considering. As previously mentioned, cost and location will undoubtedly be your primary concerns. But it can’t be stressed enough that they should not be your only considerations. Other issues, such as the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are equally if not more important. So below are several additional factors that you should research while carrying out your due diligence prior to enrolling in, and particularly paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Very few trucking schools in the Westborough MA area are accredited because of the demanding process and expense to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more typical and is offered by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not required to become certified, but there are certain advantages. Interested students recognize that the training will be of the highest caliber, and that they will receive an ample amount of driving time. As an example, PTDI calls for 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 training and curriculum will fulfill the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One indicator to help measure the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in business. A poorly reviewed or a fly by night school typically will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. Having said that, even the top Westborough MA schools had to begin from their first day of training, so consider it as one of multiple qualifications. You can also find out what the school’s history is pertaining to successful licensing and employment of its graduating students. If a school won’t provide those numbers, look elsewhere. The schools should additionally maintain relationships with local and national trucking companies. Having a large number of contacts not only affirms a superior reputation within the profession, but also bolsters their job assistance program for graduates. It also wouldn’t hurt to get in touch with 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 must be licensed in Massachusetts and employ instructors that are experienced and trained. We will talk more about the instructors in the next section. Also, the student to instructor ratio should be no greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be getting the individual attention they will need. This is particularly true regarding the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And look out for any school that claims it can train you to be a truck driver in a relatively short time frame. Training to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer professionally requires time. Most Westborough MA schools provide training courses that run from 3 weeks to as long as 2 months, based on the class of license or type of vehicle.
How Good are the Teachers? As previously mentioned, it’s important that the instructors are qualified to teach driving techniques and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Even though a number of states have minimum driving time criteria to be certified as an instructor, the more successful driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also important that the instructors stay up to date with industry advancements or any new laws or changes in regulations. Assessing teachers may be a little more intuitive than other standards, and possibly the ideal method is to check out 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 happy with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
How Much Driving Time? Above all else, a great trucking school will provide 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 essential training methods, they are no replacement for actual driving. The more instruction that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will be. Although driving time can vary among schools, a reasonable benchmark is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Contact the Westborough MA schools you are looking at and ask how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Independent or Captive ? It’s possible to obtain free or discounted training from certain truck driver schools if you make a commitment to drive for a specified carrier for a defined time period. This is called contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So instead of having associations with many different 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 surrendering the flexibility to initially be a driver wherever you have an opportunity. Obviously contract training has the potential to reduce your income prospects when beginning your new career. But for some it may be the only way to get affordable training. Just remember to find out if the Westborough MA schools you are contemplating are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Provide Onsite CDL Testing? There are some states that will permit 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driver schools for its grads. 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 contending with graduates from competing schools for test times at Massachusetts testing centers. It is also an indicator that the DMV regards the approved schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Class Times Accessible? As earlier mentioned, truck driving training is just 1 to 2 months long. With such a short duration, it’s essential that the Westborough MA school you choose provides flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. For example, if you’re having a hard time learning a certain driving maneuver, then the teacher should be prepared 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 fit in working hours or other commitments.
Is Job Assistance Provided? The moment you have received your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be impatient to start your new profession. Confirm that the schools you are looking at have job assistance programs. Find out what their job placement percentage is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, ask which local and national trucking firms their graduates are referred to for hiring. If a school has a lower job placement rate or few Westborough MA employers recruiting their graduates, it may be a clue to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Given? Trucking schools are much like colleges and other Westborough MA area vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being available. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have a financial aid department, or at a minimum someone who can help you understand the options and forms that must be submitted.
Class B CDL Training Westborough Massachusetts
Selecting the ideal trucking school is a critical first step to launching your new profession 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 many options available 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 Class B CDL Training and wanting information on the topic Best Trucking Schools. But first and foremost, you must get the proper training in order to operate a big 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 the freedom to drive for the trucking firm of your choice, or one of many associated with the school. It’s your decision. But regardless of how you obtain your training, you will in the near future be joining an industry that helps our country move as a professional truck driver in Westborough MA.
Truck On in These Other Massachusetts Locations
Westborough is a town in Worcester County, Massachusetts, United States. The population was 18,272 at the 2010 Census, in nearly 6,900 households. Incorporated in 1717, the town is governed under the New England open town meeting system, headed by a five-member elected Board of Selectmen whose duties include licensing, appointing various administrative positions, and calling a town meeting of citizens annually or whenever the need arises.
Before recorded time, the area now known as Westborough was a well-travelled crossroads. As early as 7,000 BC, prehistoric people in dugout canoes followed the Sudbury and Assabet Rivers to their headwaters in search of quartzite for tools and weapons.
From 1200 to 1600 AD, seasonal migrations brought Nipmuc Indians to hunt and fish near Cedar Swamp and Lake Hoccomocco. Using Fay Mountain as a landmark, Indians crisscrossed Westborough on well-worn paths: the old Connecticut Path leading west from Massachusetts Bay; the Narragansett Trail leading south, and the trail (along the present Milk Street) leading to Canada.
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