How to Choose the Right Truck Driver School near Westfield Indiana
Congrats on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a CDL school near Westfield IN. Perhaps it has always been your fantasy to hit the open road while driving a monster tractor trailer. Or maybe you have done some research and have discovered that a career as a truck driver offers excellent pay and flexible job opportunities. No matter what your reason is, it’s essential to obtain the proper training by choosing the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are several variables that you’ll want to think about prior to making your ultimate choice. Location will undoubtedly be an issue, especially if you have to commute from your Westfield home. The expense will also be important, but selecting a school based only on price is not the best way to make sure you’ll obtain the proper education. Don’t forget, your goal is to master the skills and knowledge that will enable you to pass the CDL exams 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 discuss in the rest of this article. But first, we are going to talk a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will ultimately need.
Which CDL Will You Require?
In order to drive commercial vehicles lawfully within the United States and Westfield IN, a driver must get a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 classes of licenses that one can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the subject of this article is how to choose a truck driver school, we will address Class A and Class B licenses. What distinguishes each class of CDL is the type of vehicle that the driver can operate in addition to the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Below are short descriptions for the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is needed to drive any vehicle that has a GCWR of greater than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of greater than 10,000 lbs. A few 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 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 might also need endorsements to operate certain types of vehicles, such as school or passenger buses. And a Class A license holder, with the proper needed endorsements, may operate any vehicle that a Class B licensee is authorized to operate.
How to Research a Truck Driving School
As soon as you have decided which CDL you wish to obtain, you can begin the process of researching the Westfield IN truck driving schools that you are considering. As already mentioned, cost and location will undoubtedly be your primary considerations. But it can’t be stressed enough that they should not be your sole considerations. Other variables, for example the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are similarly if not more important. So below are several more factors that you need to research while conducting your due diligence before selecting, and particularly paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Not many trucking schools in the Westfield IN area are accredited due to the demanding process and cost to the schools. However, certification is more commonplace and is provided by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not required to become certified, but there are certain advantages. Potential students know that the training will be of the highest standard, and that they will receive an ample amount of driving time. As an example, PTDI requires 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 fulfill the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One indicator to help evaluate the quality of a trucking school is how long it has been in business. A negatively reviewed or a fly by night school typically will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. Having said that, even the top Westfield IN schools had to start from their first day of training, so consider it as one of several qualifications. You can also learn what the school’s history is relating to successful licensing and employment of its graduating students. If a school won’t supply those stats, search elsewhere. The schools should also maintain relationships with local and national trucking companies. Having a large number of contacts not only confirms an excellent reputation within the industry, but also boosts their job assistance program for students. It also wouldn’t hurt to get in touch with the Indiana licensing department to confirm that the CDL trucker schools you are researching are in good standing.
How Effective is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools should be licensed in Indiana and employ instructors that are experienced and trained. We will cover more about the instructors in the following segment. Also, the student to instructor proportion should not be greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be getting the individual instruction 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 insists it can train you to be a truck driver in a comparatively short time frame. Training to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer professionally requires time. The majority of Westfield IN schools offer training courses that range from three weeks to as long as two months, depending on the license class or kind of vehicle.
How Good are the Teachers? As earlier stated, it’s important that the instructors are qualified to teach driving techniques and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Although several states have minimum driving time criteria to be certified as a teacher, the more successful driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also crucial that the instructors keep current with industry advancements or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Assessing teachers may be a bit more intuitive than other criteria, and perhaps the best method is to pay a visit to the school and speak with the instructors in person. You can also speak with some of the students completing the training and find out if they are happy with the level of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
Enough Driving Time? Above all else, an excellent trucking 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. While the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are important training tools, they are no alternative for actual driving. The more training that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will be. And even though driving time can vary among schools, a good benchmark is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide at least 44 hours of driving time. Contact the Westfield IN schools you are looking at and ask how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Independent or Captive ? You can get discounted or even free training from a number of truck driving 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 provide it are called captives. So instead of maintaining affiliations with numerous trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only refer to one company. The benefit is receiving free or less expensive training by giving up the freedom to initially work wherever you choose. Clearly contract training has the potential to reduce your income opportunities when beginning your new career. But for some it may be the best way to obtain affordable training. Just remember to inquire if the Westfield IN schools you are looking at are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Provide Onsite CDL Testing? There are a number of states that will allow 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is allowed in Indiana, ask if the schools you are looking at are DMV certified to offer it. One advantage is that it is more convenient than contending with graduates from competing schools for test times at Indiana testing facilities. It is moreover an indicator that the DMV believes the authorized schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Classes Convenient? As formerly mentioned, CDL training is just 1 to 2 months long. With such a short term, it’s essential that the Westfield IN school you enroll in offers flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. As an example, if you’re having a hard time learning a particular driving maneuver, then the instructor should be prepared to commit more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still holding a job while going to training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other obligations.
Is Job Placement Offered? The moment you have received your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be impatient to start your new career. Make sure that the schools you are considering have job assistance programs. Ask what their job placement rate is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, ask which local and national trucking firms their graduates are placed with for employment. If a school has a poor job placement rate or few Westfield IN employers hiring their graduates, it may be a clue to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Truck driving schools are similar to colleges and other Westfield IN area technical or vocational schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being offered. Ask if the schools you are evaluating have a financial assistance department, or at a minimum someone who can help you get through the options and forms that need to be submitted.
Thinking of a Truck Drivier School near Westfield IN?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Westfield Indiana area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Westfield Group was an Australian shopping centre company that existed from 1960 to 2014, when it split into two independent companies: Scentre Group, which now owns and operates the Australian and New Zealand Westfield shopping centre portfolio; and Westfield Corporation, which continued to own and operate the American and European center portfolio.
Westfield Group undertook ownership, development, design, construction, funds/asset management, property management, leasing, and marketing activities. The multinational company was listed on the Australian Securities Exchange and had interests in and operated one of the world's largest shopping centre portfolios with investment interests in 103 shopping centres across Australia, the United States, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Italy, Croatia and Brazil, encompassing around 23,000 retail outlets and total assets under management in excess of A$63 billion.
The Westfield Group had origins in the western suburbs of Sydney. The first development was named "Westfield Place", and opened in July 1959 in Blacktown. The name Westfield is derived from "west" related to the West Sydney location, and "field" due to having located on subdivided farmland. The centre was opened by John Saunders and Frank Lowy.
CDL Class A Training Westfield IN
Selecting the right truck driving school is an important first step to starting your new profession as a long distance or local truck driver. The skill sets that you will learn at school will be those that shape a new career behind the wheel. There are many options available and understanding them is vital if you are going to succeed as an operator. You originally came to our website because of your interest in CDL Class A Training. But first and foremost, you must obtain the necessary training in order to operate 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 by agreeing to drive for their contracted carrier. Or you can select an independent trucking school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking company of your choice, or one of many affiliated with the school. It’s your choice. But regardless of how you receive your training, you will soon be joining an industry that helps our country move as a professional truck driver in Westfield IN.
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