How to Enroll in the Right Trucking School near Topsfield Maine
Congrats on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a truck driving school near Topsfield ME. Perhaps it has always been your dream to hit the open highway while driving a monster tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have done some research and have found that a career as a truck driver provides excellent pay and flexible work prospects. Whatever your reason is, it’s essential to obtain the appropriate training by selecting the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are certain factors that you’ll want to examine prior to making your final choice. Location will no doubt be an issue, especially if you have to commute from your Topsfield home. The expense will also be important, but choosing a school based entirely on price is not the best method to make sure you’ll obtain the appropriate education. Don’t forget, your objective 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 purpose in mind, just how do you select a truck driving school? That is what we are going to discuss in the remainder of this article. But first, we are going to discuss a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will eventually need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Should You Get?
In order to operate commercial vehicles lawfully within the United States and Topsfield ME, an operator needs to get a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three license classes that a person can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the topic of this article is how to pick a truck driver school, we will focus on Class A and Class B licenses. What differentiates each class of CDL is the kind of vehicle that the driver can operate as well as the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Below are short explanations for the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL 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 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 Commercial Drivers License is required to operate 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. 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 operate specific 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 authorized to drive.
How to Evaluate a Truck Driving School
After you have decided which CDL you would like to obtain, you can begin the process of researching the Topsfield ME truck driver schools that you are considering. As previously discussed, cost and location will certainly be your primary considerations. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they should not be your only concerns. Other issues, for example the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are equally or even more important. So below are some additional factors that you need to research while performing your due diligence prior to choosing, and particularly paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Very few trucking schools in the Topsfield ME area are accredited due to 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 several advantages. Potential students recognize that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will get an ample amount of driving time. For example, PTDI requires 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 training and curriculum will comply with the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One indicator to help assess the quality of a truck driver school is how long it has been in business. A negatively reviewed or a fly by night school normally will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. On the other hand, even the best of Topsfield ME schools had to begin from their first day of training, so consider it as one of several qualifications. You can also find out what the school’s history is concerning successful licensing and employment of its graduates. If a school won’t share those numbers, look elsewhere. The schools should additionally have associations with local and national trucking companies. Having a large number of contacts not only confirms a quality reputation within the industry, but also bolsters their job assistance program for students. It also wouldn’t hurt to get in touch with the Maine licensing department to verify that the CDL trucker schools you are considering are in good standing.
How Good is the Training? At a minimum, the schools should be licensed in Maine and employ instructors that are experienced and trained. We will discuss more about the instructors in the next section. Also, the student to instructor proportion should be no greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be obtaining the personal instruction 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 insists it can train you to be a truck driver in a comparatively short period of time. Training to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully takes time. Most Topsfield ME schools offer training programs that run from three weeks to as long as two months, depending on the class of license or type of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Trainers? As previously mentioned, it’s imperative that the teachers are qualified to teach driving methods and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Even though several states have minimum driving time prerequisites to be certified as an instructor, the more professional driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also crucial that the instructors stay current with industry advancements or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Assessing teachers might be a little more intuitive than other standards, and perhaps the best method 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 ask if they are satisfied with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Adequate Driving Time? Most importantly, an excellent truck driver school will provide lots of 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. Although the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are important training tools, they are no replacement for real driving. The more training that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will become. And even though driving time differs between schools, a reasonable standard 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 Topsfield ME schools you are researching and find out how much driving time they provide.
Are they Captive or Independent ? It’s possible to get 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 what’s known as contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So rather than having affiliations with many different trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only work with one company. The tradeoff is receiving less expensive or even free training by giving up the flexibility to initially work wherever you choose. Naturally contract training has the potential to limit your income opportunities when beginning your new career. But for some it may be the ideal way to receive affordable training. Just make sure to inquire if the Topsfield ME schools you are considering are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Provide CDL Testing Onsite? There are several states that will permit 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driver schools for its students. If onsite testing is available in Maine, find out if the schools you are considering are DMV certified to provide it. One advantage is that it is more accommodating than battling with graduates of competing schools for test times at Maine testing locations. It is moreover an indicator that the DMV believes the authorized schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Classes Accessible? As earlier mentioned, truck driver training is just 1 to 2 months in length. With such a short duration, it’s imperative that the Topsfield ME school you choose provides flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. For example, if you’re having difficulty learning a particular driving maneuver, then the teacher should be willing to dedicate 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? The moment you have attained your CDL license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be eager to begin your new career. Confirm that the schools you are reviewing have job assistance programs. Ask what their job placement ratio is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, find out which national and local trucking firms their graduates are referred to for employment. If a school has a poor job placement rate or few Topsfield ME employers hiring their graduates, it may be a sign to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Trucking schools are much like colleges and other Topsfield ME area technical or vocational schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being offered. Ask if the schools you are evaluating 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 Topsfield ME?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Topsfield Maine area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 55.32 square miles (143.28 km2), of which, 50.09 square miles (129.73 km2) of it is land and 5.23 square miles (13.55 km2) is water.
This climatic region is typified by large seasonal temperature differences, with warm to hot (and often humid) summers and cold (sometimes severely cold) winters. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Topsfield has a humid continental climate, abbreviated "Dfb" on climate maps.
As of the census of 2010, there were 237 people, 95 households, and 74 families residing in the town. The population density was 4.7 inhabitants per square mile (1.8/km2). There were 195 housing units at an average density of 3.9 per square mile (1.5/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 99.2% White, 0.4% Native American, and 0.4% from other races.
CDL Classes Topsfield ME
Picking the ideal truck driving school is an essential first step to beginning your new vocation as a long distance or local 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 critical if you are going to succeed as an operator. You originally came to our website because of your interest in CDL Classes. However, you must get the appropriate training in order to drive a big commercial vehicle in a safe and professional fashion. If you are short on funds or financing, you may need to look into a captive school. You will pay a lower or in some cases no tuition in exchange for driving for their contracted carrier. Or you can select an independent trucking school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking firm of your choosing, or one of many affiliated with the school. It’s your decision. But no matter how you obtain your training, you will in the near future be joining a profession that helps America move as a professional trucker in Topsfield ME.
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