How to Decide on the Right CDL Training School near Sebring Florida
Congratulations on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a truck driving school near Sebring FL. Maybe it has always been your ambition to hit the open highway while operating a big ole tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have conducted some research and have discovered that a career as a truck driver provides excellent wages and flexible job prospects. Whatever your reason is, it’s imperative to get the proper training by selecting the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are several variables that you’ll need to consider prior to making your ultimate choice. Location will certainly be an issue, particularly if you have to commute from your Sebring home. The expense will also be of importance, but selecting a school based entirely on price is not the ideal method to guarantee you’ll receive the proper training. Don’t forget, your objective is to master the skills and knowledge that will allow you to pass the CDL examinations and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that goal in mind, just how do you select a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to address in the balance of this article. But first, we are going to talk a little bit about which CDL license you will eventually need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Will You Need?
To operate commercial vehicles lawfully within the United States and Sebring FL, an operator needs to obtain 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 subject of this article is how to pick 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 together with the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Below are brief descriptions for the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License 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. 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 required to operate 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 need endorsements to operate certain types of vehicles, such as passenger or school buses. And a Class A licensee, with the appropriate needed endorsements, can drive any vehicle that a Class B license holder is qualified to operate.
How to Research a Trucking School
As soon as you have determined which Commercial Drivers License you would like to pursue, you can begin the process of evaluating the Sebring FL truck driving schools that you are looking at. As previously discussed, cost and location will no doubt be your initial considerations. But it can’t be stressed enough that they should not be your only considerations. Other issues, including the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are equally if not more important. So below are a few more things that you should research while carrying out your due diligence before enrolling in, and particularly paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Not many trucking schools in the Sebring FL area are accredited due to the stringent process and cost to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more commonplace and is offered by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not required to become certified, but there are certain advantages. Potential students recognize that the training will be of the highest standard, and that they will get plenty of driving time. For example, PTDI mandates 44 hours of actual driving time, not simulations or ride-alongs. 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 standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One clue to help evaluate the quality of a trucking school is how long it has been in operation. A poorly reviewed or a fly by night school usually will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the top Sebring FL schools had to start from their first day of training, so consider it as one of several qualifiers. You can also learn what the school’s track record is regarding successful licensing and job placement of its graduates. If a school won’t share those numbers, look elsewhere. The schools should additionally maintain associations with local and national trucking firms. Having a large number of contacts not only confirms a superior reputation within the trade, but also bolsters their job assistance program for students. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to get in touch with the Florida licensing department 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 Florida and employ instructors that are trained and experienced. We will cover more about the teachers in the following segment. In addition, the student to instructor ratio should be no higher 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 concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And watch out for any school that professes it can teach you to drive trucks in a comparatively short time frame. Learning to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer professionally takes time. The majority of Sebring FL schools provide training programs that range from 3 weeks to as long as two months, based on the license class or type of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Teachers? As earlier stated, it’s important that the teachers are qualified to teach driving methods and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Even though several states have minimum driving time criteria to qualify as a teacher, the more professional driving experience a teacher 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 instructors might be a little more intuitive than other standards, and perhaps the best approach is to check out the school and speak with the instructors in person. You can also talk to a few of the students going through the training and ask if they are happy with the level of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
How Much Driving Time? Most importantly, a good truck driving school will furnish lots of driving time to its students. Besides, 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 important training methods, they are no substitute for real driving. The more training that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will be. Although driving time can vary between schools, a reasonable benchmark is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish no less than 44 hours of driving time. Check with the Sebring FL 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 certain trucking schools if you enter into an agreement to be a driver for a specific carrier for a defined time period. This is referred to as contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So instead of maintaining relationships with numerous trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only refer to one company. The benefit is receiving less expensive or even free training by giving up the flexibility to initially be a driver wherever you choose. Obviously contract training has the potential to restrict your income opportunities when beginning your new career. But for many it may be the best way to obtain affordable training. Just remember to find out if the Sebring FL schools you are contemplating are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Is there 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 available in Florida, find out if the schools you are considering are DMV certified to offer it. One benefit is that it is more accommodating than competing with graduates of other schools for test times at Florida testing centers. It is moreover an indication that the DMV believes the authorized schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Class Times Accessible? As previously noted, truck driving training is just 1 to 2 months in length. With such a short term, it’s essential that the Sebring FL school you choose offers flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. As an example, if you’re having difficulty learning a particular driving maneuver, then the instructor should be prepared 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 Provided? As soon as you have acquired your CDL license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be eager 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 companies their graduates are referred to for employment. If a school has a lower job placement rate or few Sebring FL employers recruiting their grads, it might be a sign to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Truck driver schools are comparable to colleges and other Sebring FL area vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being available. Find out if the schools you are assessing have a financial assistance department, or at least someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that need to be submitted.
Thinking of a Truck Drivier School near Sebring FL?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Sebring Florida area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Sebring (/ˈsiːbrɪŋ/ SEE-bring) is a city in Highlands County, Florida, United States, nicknamed "The City on the Circle", in reference to Circle Drive, the center of the Sebring Downtown Historic District. As of the 2010 census the population was 10,491. It is the county seat of Highlands County, and is the principal city of the Sebring Metropolitan Statistical Area.
Sebring is the home of the Sebring International Raceway, created on a former airbase, first used in 1950. It hosted the 1959 Formula One United States Grand Prix, but is currently best known as the host of the 12 Hours of Sebring, an annual WeatherTech SportsCar Championship race. Nearby Highlands Hammock State Park is a popular attraction. Additionally, the house where novelist Rex Beach committed suicide is located on one of Sebring's main lakes, Lake Jackson.
Sebring was founded in 1912. It was named after George E. Sebring, a pottery manufacturer from Ohio who developed the city. He had a unique circular plan as the focal point for the city. It was chartered by the state of Florida in 1913, and was selected as the county seat of Highlands County when the county was created in 1921. The village of Sebring, Ohio, is also named for George E. Sebring (1859–1927) and his family.
Truck Driving Lessons Sebring FL
Choosing the right truck driving school is a critical first step to launching your new occupation as a local or long distance truck driver. The skill sets that you will learn at school will be those that mold a new career behind the wheel. There are many options available and understanding them is critical if you are going to succeed as an operator. You originally came to our website because of your interest in Truck Driving Lessons. But first and foremost, you must receive the proper training in order to operate a big commercial vehicle in a safe and professional manner. If you are lacking cash or financing, you may want to look into a captive school. You will pay a lower or in some cases no tuition in exchange for driving for their contracted carrier. Or you can choose an independent truck driving school and have the option of driving for the trucking company of your choosing, or one of several associated with the school. It’s your decision. But no matter how you get your training, you will in the near future be part of a profession that helps America move as a professional trucker in Sebring FL.
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