How to Choose the Right CDL Driving School near Vassalboro Maine
Congratulations on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a truck driving school near Vassalboro ME. Maybe it has always been your ambition to hit the open highway while operating a big ole tractor trailer. Or maybe you have done some research and have found that an occupation as a truck driver offers excellent income and flexible work opportunities. No matter what your reason is, it’s imperative to receive the appropriate training by choosing the right CDL school in your area. When evaluating your options, there are various variables that you’ll want to think about prior to making your final selection. Location will undoubtedly be important, especially if you need to commute from your Vassalboro home. The expense will also be of importance, but choosing a school based only on price is not the best way to guarantee you’ll receive the right training. Just remember, your goal is to learn the skills and knowledge that will allow you to pass the CDL examinations and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that objective in mind, just how do you select a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to cover in the balance 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 Will You Require?
In order to operate commercial vehicles legally within the United States and Vassalboro ME, a driver must attain 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 topic of this article is how to select a truck driver school, we will address Class A and Class B licenses. What differentiates 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). Following are brief explanations for the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License is needed 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 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 CDL is needed to drive single vehicles having a GVWR of greater 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 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 CDLs might also require endorsements to operate certain kinds of vehicles, including passenger or school buses. And a Class A license holder, with the appropriate required endorsements, can drive any vehicle that a Class B licensee is authorized to operate.
How to Research a Truck Driving School
Once you have determined which CDL you wish to obtain, you can begin the undertaking of researching the Vassalboro ME truck driver schools that you are looking at. As already discussed, cost and location will no doubt be your initial concerns. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they must not be your sole considerations. Other variables, such as the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are equally or even more important. So following are several more points that you need to research while carrying out your due diligence prior to choosing, and particularly paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Very few truck driving schools in the Vassalboro ME area are accredited due to the stringent process and cost to the schools. On the other hand, 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 several advantages. Potential students know that the training will be of the highest caliber, and that they will get plenty of driving time. For example, PTDI requires 44 hours of real 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 meet the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One indicator to help measure the quality of a truck driver school is how long it has been in business. A negatively reviewed or a fly by night school usually will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the top Vassalboro ME schools had to start from their first day of training, so consider 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 share those stats, look elsewhere. The schools should also maintain relationships with regional and national trucking firms. Having numerous contacts not only points to a quality reputation within the profession, but also boosts their job assistance program for graduates. It also wouldn’t hurt to contact the Maine licensing authority to confirm that the CDL trucking schools you are reviewing are in compliance.
How Effective is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools must be licensed in Maine and employ instructors that are experienced and trained. We will talk more about the instructors in the following section. Also, the student to instructor proportion should not be greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be obtaining the personalized attention they will need. This is especially true regarding the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And watch out for any school that insists it can train you to drive trucks in a relatively short period of time. Learning to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer professionally requires time. Most Vassalboro ME schools offer training courses that range from three weeks to as long as 2 months, based on the class of license or kind of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Instructors? As earlier mentioned, it’s imperative that the teachers are qualified to teach driving methods and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Although a number of states have minimum driving time criteria to be certified as an instructor, the more successful driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also crucial that the teachers keep current with industry advancements or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Evaluating instructors might be a little more intuitive than other standards, and possibly the ideal approach is to pay a visit to the school and speak with 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.
Plenty of Driving Time? Most importantly, an excellent truck driving school will furnish plenty 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. Although the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are essential training tools, they are no alternative for real driving. The more training that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will become. Although driving time differs between schools, a good standard is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide at least 44 hours of driving time. Get in touch with the Vassalboro ME schools you are looking at and find out how much driving time they provide.
Are they Independent or Captive ? It’s possible to receive free or discounted training from a number of trucking schools if you make a commitment to drive for a particular carrier for a defined time period. This is called contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So instead of maintaining associations 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 work wherever you have an opportunity. Naturally contract training has the potential to reduce your income prospects when starting out. But for many it may be the best way to receive affordable training. Just make sure to ask if the Vassalboro ME schools you are considering are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Offer CDL Testing Onsite? There are a number of states that will allow third party CDL testing onsite of truck driver schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is permitted in Maine, find out if the schools you are reviewing are DMV certified to provide it. One advantage is that it is more convenient than contending with graduates from other schools for test times at Maine testing centers. It is also an indication that the DMV considers the authorized schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Class Times Convenient? As formerly noted, truck driving training is just one to two months long. With such a brief term, it’s essential that the Vassalboro ME school you choose offers flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. As an example, if you’re having a hard time learning a certain driving maneuver, then the instructor should be prepared to dedicate more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still working while attending training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other obligations.
Is Job Assistance Offered? The moment you have obtained your CDL license after graduating from trucking school, you will be eager to begin your new career. Make sure that the schools you are considering have job placement programs. Ask what their job placement rate is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, ask which local and national trucking firms their graduates are referred to for hiring. If a school has a low job placement rate or few Vassalboro ME employers hiring their grads, it may be a clue to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Trucking schools are much like colleges and other Vassalboro ME area vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being offered. Find out 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 need to be submitted.
Thinking of a Truck Drivier School near Vassalboro ME?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Vassalboro Maine area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Vassalboro (originally Vassalborough) is a town in Kennebec County, Maine, United States. The population was 4,340 at the 2010 census. Vassalboro includes the villages of Riverside, Getchell's Corner, North Vassalboro, and East Vassalboro, home to the town library and sports field. Vassalboro is included in the Augusta, Maine, micropolitan New England City and Town Area.
The town of Vassalboro was named for one of the proprietors of the Maine settlement, William Vassal (or Vassall), a descendant of one of the original patentees (and later deputy) of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, and a wealthy merchant who eventually became a controversial Loyalist. Other historians believe the town derives its name from the original Massachusetts proprietor William Vassal himself, who clashed with John Winthrop so frequently that he removed himself to the town of Scituate, where he soon found himself embroiled in ecclesiastical controversy once again, prompting his move after a decade to Barbados, where he died.
On March 2, 1770, William Vassall, one of Vassalboro's early proprietors, conveyed to his niece Mary Prescott of Nova Scotia Lot Number 5 in Vassalboro, one of the so-called "Proprietor's Lots" reserved for the town's founders. Niece Prescott sold the lot nine months later to a citizen of Hallowell.
Truck Driving School Near Me Vassalboro ME
Selecting the appropriate trucking school is an important first step to beginning your new occupation as a local or long distance truck driver. The skills taught at school will be those that mold a new career behind the wheel. There are several options offered and understanding them is crucial if you are going to succeed as an operator. You originally came to our website because of your interest in Truck Driving School Near Me. However, you must receive the appropriate training in order to drive a large commercial vehicle in a safe and professional fashion. If you are short on money or financing, you may need to consider a captive school. You will pay a lower or even no tuition by agreeing to drive for their contracted carrier. Or you can select an independent CDL school and have the option of driving for the trucking firm of your choice, or one of many affiliated with the school. It’s your choice. But no matter how you obtain your training, you will soon be entering a profession that helps our country move as a professional truck driver in Vassalboro ME.
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