How to Decide on the Right Trucker School near Thomasville Georgia
Congratulations on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a trucking school near Thomasville GA. Perhaps it has always been your goal to hit the open highway while operating a big ole tractor trailer. Or possibly you have done some analysis and have discovered that an occupation as a truck driver offers good income and flexible job opportunities. Whatever your reason is, it’s important to receive the proper training by choosing the right CDL school in your area. When evaluating your options, there are a number of variables that you’ll want to consider before making your final selection. Location will no doubt be an issue, particularly if you need to commute from your Thomasville home. The expense will also be important, but selecting a school based solely on price is not the optimal way to make sure you’ll receive the appropriate training. Don’t forget, your goal 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 decide on a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to discuss in the balance of this article. But first, we are going to talk a little bit about which CDL license you will ultimately need.
Which CDL Will You Require?
In order to operate commercial vehicles lawfully within the USA and Thomasville GA, an operator needs to obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 license classes that a driver can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the subject of this article is how to choose a truck driver school, we will discuss Class A and Class 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). Following are brief summaries for the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL 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 Commercial Drivers License is required to drive 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. 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, such as passenger or school buses. And a Class A license holder, with the appropriate needed endorsements, may operate any vehicle that a Class B licensee is authorized to drive.
How to Evaluate a Truck Driving School
Once you have determined which CDL you would like to obtain, you can start the process of researching the Thomasville GA trucking schools that you are considering. As already mentioned, location and cost will certainly be your primary concerns. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they should not be your sole considerations. Other factors, including the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are similarly or even more important. So below are several additional points that you need to 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 Thomasville GA area are accredited because of the rigorous 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 obligated to become certified, but there are a number of advantages. Potential students recognize that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will receive lots of driving time. For example, PTDI mandates 44 hours of actual 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 curriculum and training will comply with the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One indicator to help assess the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in operation. A poorly reviewed or a fly by night school normally will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. Having said that, even the top Thomasville GA schools had to start from their first day of training, so use it as one of several qualifiers. You can also ask what the school’s track record is relating to successful licensing and employment of its graduates. If a school won’t provide those numbers, search elsewhere. The schools should also have associations with regional and national trucking firms. Having numerous contacts not only points to an excellent reputation within the profession, but also boosts their job placement program for students. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to contact the Georgia licensing authority to confirm that the CDL trucker schools you are considering are in compliance.
How Good is the Training? At a minimum, the schools must be licensed in Georgia and employ teachers that are experienced and trained. We will cover more about the instructors in the following section. Also, the student to instructor proportion should be no higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be receiving the personal attention they will need. This is particularly true regarding the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And be critical of any school that professes it can teach you to be a truck driver in a relatively short time period. Learning to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully requires time. Most Thomasville GA schools offer training courses that run from three weeks to as long as 2 months, depending on the class of license or kind of vehicle.
How Good are the Teachers? As already mentioned, it’s essential 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 prerequisites to be certified as a teacher, the more professional driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also important that the teachers stay up to date with industry advancements or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Evaluating teachers may be a bit more subjective than other criteria, and possibly the ideal approach is to visit the school and speak with the instructors in person. You can also speak with some of the students completing the training and ask if they are happy with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Enough Driving Time? Above all else, a great truck driver school will furnish sufficient driving time to its students. Besides, isn’t that what it’s all about? Driving time is the real time spent behind the wheel driving a truck. While the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are necessary training tools, they are no substitute for real driving. The more instruction that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will become. And even though driving time fluctuates among schools, a reasonable standard is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide at least 44 hours of driving time. Check with the Thomasville GA schools you are researching and find out how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Captive or Independent ? You can receive discounted or even free training from certain truck driving schools if you enter into an agreement to drive for a specified carrier for a defined period of time. This is referred to as contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So instead of having affiliations with a wide range of trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only work with one company. The benefit is receiving less expensive or even free training by surrendering the flexibility to initially work wherever you have an opportunity. Naturally contract training has the potential to restrict your income prospects when starting out. But for some it may be the ideal way to obtain affordable training. Just be sure to find out if the Thomasville GA schools you are considering are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Is there CDL Testing Onsite? There are some states that will allow 3rd party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its grads. If onsite testing is available in Georgia, ask if the schools you are considering are DMV certified to offer it. One advantage is that it is more convenient than competing with graduates of competing schools for test times at Georgia testing locations. It is moreover an indication that the DMV considers the authorized schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Classes Convenient? As previously noted, CDL training is only about one to two months long. With such a brief term, it’s important that the Thomasville GA school you select provides 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 willing to commit more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still working while going to training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other commitments.
Is Job Placement Provided? Once you have acquired your CDL license after graduating from trucking school, you will be impatient to begin your new career. Verify that the schools you are reviewing have job placement programs. Find out what their job placement percentage is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, find out which national and local trucking firms their graduates are referred to for hiring. If a school has a poor job placement rate or few Thomasville GA employers recruiting their graduates, it might be a sign to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Given? Trucking schools are much like colleges and other Thomasville GA 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 least someone who can help you get through the options and forms that must be completed.
Thinking of a Truck Drivier School near Thomasville GA?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Thomasville Georgia area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
The city deems itself the City of Roses and holds an annual Rose Festival. The city features plantations open to the public, a historic downtown, a large farmer's market, and a 308-year-old oak tree at the corner of Monroe and Crawford streets. The population was 19,340 at the 2013 United States Census.
In 2016, Thomasville was featured as the second best historic small town on USA Today's 10 Best List Reader's Choice after Bisbee (Arizona) but ahead of Abingdon (Virginia), Mackinac Island (Michigan), and Astoria (Oregon).
Thomasville was founded in 1825 as seat of the newly formed Thomas County. It was incorporated as a town in 1831 and as a city in 1889. The community was named for Jett Thomas, a general in the War of 1812.
Class B CDL Training Cost Thomasville GA
Picking the appropriate truck driver school is a critical first step to starting your new profession as a local or long distance truck driver. The skill sets taught at school will be those that forge 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 Class B CDL Training Cost. But first and foremost, you must obtain the appropriate training in order to drive a big commercial vehicle in a safe and professional manner. If you are lacking cash or financing, you might want to consider a captive school. You will pay a reduced or even no tuition in exchange for driving for their contracted carrier. Or you can enroll in an independent trucker school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking firm of your choosing, or one of several associated with the school. It’s your choice. But no matter how you receive your training, you will in the near future be entering a profession that helps our country move as a professional trucker in Thomasville GA.
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