How to Decide on the Right CDL Driving School near Union City Georgia
Congrats on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a CDL school near Union City GA. Maybe it has always been your goal to hit the open road while operating a huge tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have conducted some analysis and have found that a career as a truck driver provides good income and flexible job opportunities. Whatever your reason is, it’s essential to get the proper training by enrolling in the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are several factors that you’ll need to consider prior to making your ultimate choice. Location will undoubtedly be an issue, especially if you need to commute from your Union City residence. The expense will also be of importance, but selecting a school based only on price is not the ideal method to make certain you’ll get the appropriate education. Don’t forget, your goal 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 choose a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to address in the remainder of this article. But first, we are going to review a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will ultimately need.
Which CDL Should You Get?
In order to drive commercial vehicles lawfully within the United States and Union City GA, an operator needs to get a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three classes of licenses that one can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the topic of this article is how to choose a truck driver school, we will address Class A and B licenses. What distinguishes each class of CDL is the type of vehicle that the driver can operate together with the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Below are brief summaries for the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License is required to operate any vehicle that has a GCWR of more than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of more 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 greater 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 may also require endorsements to drive certain kinds of vehicles, for example school or passenger buses. And a Class A license holder, with the proper required endorsements, can operate any vehicle that a Class B licensee is qualified to operate.
How to Evaluate a Truck Driving School
Once you have determined which Commercial Drivers License you wish to pursue, you can start the undertaking of evaluating the Union City GA trucking schools that you are considering. As already discussed, location and cost will no doubt be your primary concerns. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they should not be your only concerns. Other factors, such as the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are equally if not more important. So following are several more things that you should research while carrying out your due diligence prior to selecting, and especially paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Not many truck driver schools in the Union City GA area are accredited because of the demanding process and expense to the schools. However, certification is more common and is offered by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not required 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 receive plenty of driving time. For example, PTDI calls for 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 comply with the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One indicator to help evaluate the quality of a truck driver 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 top Union City GA schools had to start from their opening day of training, so consider it as one of several qualifiers. You can also learn what the school’s track record is pertaining to successful licensing and job placement of its graduating students. If a school won’t share those numbers, search elsewhere. The schools should also have relationships with local and national trucking companies. Having a large number of contacts not only affirms a superior reputation within the profession, but also boosts their job assistance program for graduates. It also wouldn’t hurt to get in touch with the Georgia licensing authority to verify that the CDL trucker schools you are considering are in compliance.
How Good is the Training? At a minimum, the schools should be licensed in Georgia and hire instructors that are experienced and trained. We will talk more about the instructors in the following section. In addition, the student to instructor ratio should be no greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be obtaining 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 insists it can teach you to drive trucks in a relatively short time frame. Learning to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully takes time. Most Union City GA schools provide training courses that range from three weeks to as long as 2 months, depending on the license class or kind of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Teachers? As already mentioned, it’s essential that the instructors are qualified to teach driving techniques and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Even though several states have minimum driving time prerequisites to qualify as a teacher, the more professional driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also important that the instructors keep up to date with industry advancements or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Evaluating instructors may be a bit more intuitive than other standards, and perhaps the best approach is to pay a visit to the school and talk to the instructors in person. You can also talk to some of the students completing the training and find out if they are happy with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
How Much Driving Time? Most importantly, a great trucking school will furnish 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. Even though the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are necessary training tools, they are no replacement for real driving. The more instruction that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver she or he 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 provide a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Get in touch with the Union City GA schools you are researching and ask how much driving time they provide.
Are they Captive or Independent ? You can obtain discounted or even free training from some truck driving schools if you make a commitment to drive for a specified carrier for a defined time period. This is what’s known as contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So rather than having relationships with numerous 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 freedom to initially be a driver wherever you choose. Clearly contract training has the potential to limit your income prospects when beginning your new career. But for some it may be the ideal way to get affordable training. Just remember to find out if the Union City GA schools you are considering 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 trucking schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is allowed in Georgia, find out if the schools you are considering are DMV certified to provide it. One benefit is that it is more convenient than contending with graduates from competing schools for test times at Georgia testing centers. It is moreover an indication that the DMV believes the approved schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Classes Accessible? As earlier mentioned, CDL training is only about 1 to 2 months in length. With such a short term, it’s imperative that the Union City GA school you select offers 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 instructor should be prepared to commit more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still employed while attending training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other obligations.
Is Job Assistance Offered? As soon as you have acquired your commercial driver’s license after graduating from trucking school, you will be impatient to begin your new profession. Make sure that the schools you are contemplating have job placement programs. Ask what their job placement ratio is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, ask which national and local trucking firms their graduates are referred to for hiring. If a school has a poor job placement rate or few Union City GA employers recruiting their graduates, it might be a clue to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Trucking schools are comparable to colleges and other Union City GA area trade or technical schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being available. Ask if the schools you are assessing have a financial assistance 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 Union City GA?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Union City Georgia area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Union City, Georgia
The current mayor[when?] is Vince Williams, and council members include: Brian Jones, Angelette Mealing, Christina Hobbs, and Shayla Nealy. The City Manager is LaSonja Filliingame and City Clerk is Shandrella Jewett.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 19.3 square miles (50.0 km2), of which 19.1 square miles (49.5 km2) is land and 0.2 square miles (0.5 km2), or 0.83%, is water.
As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 19,456 people residing in the city. The racial makeup of the city was 81.5% Black, 8.6% White, 0.2% Native American, 0.8% Asian, 0.0% Pacific Islander, 0.3% from some other race and 1.6% from two or more races. 7.0% were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
Class B License Training Union City GA
Choosing the ideal truck driver school is a critical first step to launching your new occupation as a long distance or local truck driver. The skill sets that you will learn at school will be those that forge a new career behind the wheel. There are several options available and understanding them is critical to a new driver’s success. You originally came to our website because of your interest in Class B License Training. But first and foremost, you must receive the necessary training in order to drive a large commercial vehicle in a safe and professional manner. If you are lacking funds or financing, you may need 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 choose an independent trucker school and have the option of driving for the trucking company of your choosing, or one of many associated with the school. It’s your choice. But regardless of how you get your training, you will in the near future be part of a profession that helps our country move as a professional trucker in Union City GA.
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