How to Select the Right Truck Driver School near Seffner Florida
Congrats on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a truck driving school near Seffner FL. Perhaps it has always been your ambition to hit the open highway while operating a monster tractor trailer. Or maybe you have conducted some research and have found that a career as a truck driver offers excellent pay and flexible job opportunities. No matter what your reason is, it’s imperative to receive the proper training by picking the right CDL school in your area. When evaluating your options, there are certain variables that you’ll need to consider before making your final selection. Location will undoubtedly be an issue, especially if you need to commute from your Seffner residence. The cost will also be of importance, but selecting a school based entirely on price is not the optimal way to make sure you’ll obtain the right training. Just remember, your goal 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 pick a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to cover in the remainder of this article. But first, we are going to review a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will eventually need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Will You Require?
In order to drive commercial vehicles legally within the USA and Seffner FL, a driver needs to attain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 classes of licenses that a person can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the subject of this article is how to pick a truck driver school, we will focus on 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 descriptions of the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is required to drive any vehicle that has a GCWR of more than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of greater than 10,000 lbs. A few 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 CDL is needed to drive single vehicles having a GVWR of greater 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 Commercial Drivers Licenses may also require endorsements to drive specific types of vehicles, including school or passenger buses. And a Class A licensee, with the appropriate required endorsements, may operate any vehicle that a Class B license holder is qualified to operate.
How to Research a Truck Driving School
As soon as you have determined which CDL you wish to obtain, you can start the undertaking of evaluating the Seffner FL trucking schools that you are looking at. As earlier mentioned, cost and location will no doubt be your initial concerns. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they must not be your only concerns. Other variables, such as the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are equally if not more important. So following are several additional factors that you need to research while conducting your due diligence before enrolling in, and particularly paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Very few trucking schools in the Seffner FL area are accredited due to the rigorous process and expense to the schools. However, certification is more common and is provided by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not obligated to become certified, but there are certain advantages. Interested students know that the training will be of the highest caliber, and that they will receive lots of driving time. As an example, PTDI mandates 44 hours of real driving time, not ride-alongs or simulations. So if a school’s course is certified (the course, not the school is certified), students know that the curriculum and training will measure up to the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One clue to help evaluate the quality of a truck driver school is how long it has been in operation. A negatively ranked or a fly by night school typically will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the top Seffner FL schools had to begin from their first day of training, so use it as one of several qualifiers. You can also learn what the school’s history is regarding successful licensing and employment of its graduates. If a school won’t share those numbers, search elsewhere. The schools should also have relationships with regional and national trucking companies. Having a large number of contacts not only confirms a quality reputation within the industry, but also boosts their job assistance program for graduates. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to contact the Florida licensing authority to make sure that the CDL trucker schools you are researching are in compliance.
How Good is the Training? At a minimum, the schools should be licensed in Florida and employ instructors that are trained and experienced. We will discuss more about the instructors in the next section. Also, the student to instructor ratio should not be higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be obtaining the personal attention they will need. This is particularly true concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And be critical of any school that claims it can train you to drive trucks in a comparatively short period of time. Training to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully takes time. The majority of Seffner FL schools offer training courses that run from 3 weeks to as long as two months, based on the class of license or kind of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Instructors? As earlier stated, it’s important that the instructors are trained to teach driving methods and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Even though a number of states have minimum driving time requirements to qualify as an instructor, the more professional driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also crucial that the teachers keep up to date with industry developments or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Assessing instructors might be a little more subjective than other standards, and possibly the ideal method is to visit the school and talk to the instructors in person. You can also talk to some of the students going through the training and find out if they are happy with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Plenty of Driving Time? Above all else, a good trucking school will furnish ample 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. Although the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are essential training tools, they are no substitute for actual driving. The more training that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will be. And even though driving time can vary among schools, a reasonable standard is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Check with the Seffner FL schools you are researching and ask how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Independent or Captive ? It’s possible to receive free or discounted training from certain truck driver schools if you enter into an agreement to drive for a specified carrier for a defined amount of time. This is referred to as contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So instead of having relationships with many different trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only work with one company. The tradeoff is receiving free or less expensive training by surrendering the flexibility to initially work wherever you have an opportunity. Clearly contract training has the potential to restrict your income prospects when beginning your new career. But for some it may be the best way to obtain affordable training. Just remember to inquire if the Seffner FL schools you are considering are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Provide CDL Testing Onsite? There are some states that will allow third party CDL testing onsite of truck driver schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is allowed in Florida, find out if the schools you are looking at are DMV certified to provide it. One benefit is that it is more convenient than competing with graduates of other schools for test times at Florida testing locations. It is moreover an indication that the DMV believes the authorized schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Class Times Flexible? As earlier mentioned, truck driving training is just one to two months in length. With such a short term, it’s important that the Seffner FL school you enroll in provides flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. As an example, if you’re having a hard time learning a certain driving maneuver, then the instructor should be willing to commit more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still employed while attending training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other responsibilities.
Is Job Placement Provided? Once you have attained your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be eager to begin your new career. Verify that the schools you are reviewing have job assistance programs. Ask what their job placement percentage is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, ask which local and national trucking companies their graduates are placed with for employment. If a school has a low job placement rate or not many Seffner FL employers recruiting their graduates, it might be a sign to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Trucking schools are similar to colleges and other Seffner FL area technical or vocational schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being available. Ask if the schools you are assessing have a financial aid department, or at a minimum someone who can help you get through the options and forms that must be completed.
Thinking of a Truck Drivier School near Seffner FL?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Seffner Florida area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Seffner is a census-designated place (CDP) in Hillsborough County, Florida, United States. The population was 7,579 at the 2010 census, up from 5,467 at the 2000 census. ZIP codes for the Seffner area are 33584 and 33583.
Approximately 13 miles (21 km) east of downtown Tampa, Seffner serves as a suburban haven for commuters. While still characterized by towering live oak trees, strawberry farms and lakes, this small town has been growing rapidly. Housing subdivisions now dot the once rural landscape.
Seffner is located northeast of the center of Hillsborough County and is bordered by Thonotosassa to the north, Mango to the west, and Brandon to the south. Interstate 4 is the northern boundary of the CDP, and the southern boundary follows State Road 574 (Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard). Plant City is 10 miles (16 km) to the east.
Truck Driving School Tuition Seffner FL
Choosing the ideal truck driving school is an important first step to beginning your new vocation as a long distance or local truck driver. The skills taught at school will be those that shape a new career behind the wheel. There are several options offered 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 School Tuition. But first and foremost, you must get the proper training in order to operate a big commercial vehicle in a safe and professional fashion. If you are lacking money or financing, you might want to consider a captive school. You will pay a lower or even no tuition in exchange for driving for their contracted carrier. Or you can choose an independent CDL 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 obtain your training, you will in the near future be entering an industry that helps America move as a professional truck driver in Seffner FL.
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