How to Decide on the Right Trucker School near Tenants Harbor Maine
Congrats on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a trucking school near Tenants Harbor ME. Perhaps it has always been your ambition to hit the open road while operating a huge tractor trailer. Or possibly you have conducted some research and have found that an occupation as a truck driver offers good pay and flexible job opportunities. Whatever your reason is, it’s essential to obtain the proper training by picking the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are certain factors that you’ll need to examine prior to making your final selection. Location will no doubt be important, particularly if you need to commute from your Tenants Harbor residence. The expense will also be important, but choosing a school based entirely on price is not the optimal way to make sure you’ll receive the appropriate education. Just remember, your goal is to master 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 decide on a truck driving school? That is what we are going to address in the rest of this article. But first, we are going to discuss a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will eventually need.
Which CDL Should You Get?
In order to operate commercial vehicles lawfully within the USA and Tenants Harbor ME, an operator needs to attain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three license classes that a driver can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the subject of this article is how to pick a truck driving school, we will highlight Class A and B licenses. What differentiates each class of CDL is the type of vehicle that the driver can operate as well as the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Following are brief descriptions for the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is needed to operate 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 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 may also require endorsements to drive certain kinds of vehicles, for instance school or passenger buses. And a Class A license holder, with the appropriate needed endorsements, can drive any vehicle that a Class B license holder is qualified to operate.
How to Assess a Truck Driving School
Once you have determined which Commercial Drivers License you would like to pursue, you can begin the undertaking of assessing the Tenants Harbor ME truck driver schools that you are considering. As already discussed, location and cost will no doubt be your initial concerns. But it can’t be stressed enough that they must not be your only considerations. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are equally if not more important. So below are some more factors that you need to research while performing your due diligence before selecting, and particularly paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Not many trucking schools in the Tenants Harbor ME area are accredited because of the stringent 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 certain advantages. Interested students know that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will get an ample amount of driving time. For example, PTDI mandates 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 training and curriculum will meet the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One indicator to help evaluate the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in operation. A negatively ranked or a fly by night school typically will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the top Tenants Harbor ME schools had to begin from their first day of training, so use it as one of several qualifiers. You can also learn what the school’s track record is relating to successful licensing and employment of its graduates. If a school won’t supply those stats, look elsewhere. The schools should additionally have associations with local and national trucking companies. Having numerous contacts not only affirms a quality reputation within the industry, but also boosts their job assistance program for graduates. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to get in touch with the Maine licensing authority to confirm that the CDL trucker schools you are researching are in compliance.
How Effective is the Training? At a minimum, the schools should be licensed in Maine and hire teachers that are trained and experienced. We will talk more about the teachers in the next section. In addition, the student to instructor ratio should not be greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be getting the individual attention 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 claims it can train you to be a truck driver in a comparatively short time period. Learning to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer professionally requires time. Most Tenants Harbor ME schools provide training programs that range from three weeks to as long as two months, based on the license class or kind of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Trainers? As previously stated, it’s imperative that the instructors are qualified to teach driving methods and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Although 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 teachers stay up to date with industry advancements or any new laws or changes in regulations. Evaluating instructors may be a bit more intuitive than other standards, and perhaps the ideal approach is to check out the school and talk to the teachers in person. You can also talk to some of the students going through the training and find out if they are happy with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Sufficient Driving Time? Most importantly, a good truck driving school will provide ample driving time to its students. Besides, isn’t that what it’s all about? Driving time is the actual time spent behind the wheel driving a truck. While the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are necessary training tools, they are no replacement for actual driving. The more instruction that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will become. Although driving time fluctuates between schools, a good standard is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish at least 44 hours of driving time. Get in touch with the Tenants Harbor ME schools you are researching and find out how much driving time they provide.
Are they Captive or Independent ? It’s possible to obtain free or discounted training from certain trucking schools if you make a commitment to be a driver for a specific carrier for a defined amount of time. This is called contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So rather than maintaining affiliations 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 choose. Clearly contract training has the potential to reduce your income opportunities when beginning your new career. But for many it may be the ideal way to get affordable training. Just remember to find out if the Tenants Harbor ME schools you are looking at are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Offer Onsite CDL Testing? There are some states that will allow third party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its students. If onsite testing is permitted in Maine, find out if the schools you are looking at are DMV certified to provide it. One advantage is that it is more accommodating than competing with graduates of competing schools for test times at Maine testing facilities. It is also an indication that the DMV views the approved schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Classes Accessible? As formerly mentioned, truck driver training is just one to two months in length. With such a brief term, it’s important that the Tenants Harbor ME school you enroll in provides flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. For example, if you’re having a hard time learning a particular driving maneuver, then the instructor should be willing 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 accommodate working hours or other obligations.
Is Job Placement Offered? The moment you have received your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be keen to begin your new profession. Make sure that the schools you are reviewing have job placement 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 referred to for hiring. If a school has a poor job placement rate or few Tenants Harbor ME employers recruiting their grads, it may be a clue to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Trucking schools are comparable to colleges and other Tenants Harbor ME area vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being available. Find out if the schools you are assessing have a financial assistance department, or at a minimum someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that need to be completed.
Thinking of a Truck Drivier School near Tenants Harbor ME?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Tenants Harbor Maine area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
List of lighthouses in Maine
This is a list of all lighthouses in the U.S. state of Maine as identified by the United States Coast Guard. There are fifty-seven active lights in the state, two of which are maintained as private aids; nine are standing but inactive, and three have been destroyed, one of which has been replaced by a skeleton tower. This includes two stations which originally featured twin towers; in both cases both towers survive but only one of each pair is active.
The Portland Head Light, first lit in 1791, is the oldest light in the state and was the first US lighthouse completed after independence from Britain. The last lighthouse in the state, the second Whitlocks Mill Light, was first lit in 1910; it is also the most northerly light in the state and therefore on the US Atlantic Coast. The West Quoddy Head Light sits on the easternmost point of the continental United States. The tallest tower is that of Boon Island Light at 137 ft (42 m), though the Seguin Light focal plane, at 180 ft (55 m), is the highest in the state.
Lighthouse preservation in Maine has been facilitated by the Maine Lights Program, which arose in the aftermath of the Rockland-based Island Institute's successful but protracted negotiations to acquire the keeper's house of the Heron Neck Light Station. A program for facilitating transfers was proposed by Peter Ralston of the institute, and legislation was first introduced by George J. Mitchell; a subsequent bill submitted by Olympia Snowe in 1995 met with greater success and was signed into law late in 1996 as part of the coast guard authorization act. Under the program, thirty-six light stations were offered to qualified preservation and historical groups and local governments; applications for transfer were reviewed by a board set up at the state level, headed by Richard I. Rybacki, a retired USCG rear admiral. Four lights were to be transferred to the US Fish and Wildlife; twenty-eight other lights were transferred in the summer of 1998. Prior to this program, some lights in the state had already been sold to individuals following deactivation in the 1930s. The most notable of these is the Tenants Harbor Light, which was purchased by Andrew Wyeth in 1978.
CDL School Tenants Harbor ME
Picking the right truck driving school is a critical first step to launching your new vocation as a long distance or local truck driver. The skills that you will learn at school will be those that mold a new career behind the wheel. There are many options available and understanding them is vital to a new driver’s success. You originally came to our website because of your interest in CDL School. But first and foremost, you must get the necessary training in order to drive a large commercial vehicle in a professional and safe fashion. If you are short on funds or financing, you may want to consider a captive school. You will pay a lower or in some cases 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 choice, 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 part of an industry that helps America move as a professional trucker in Tenants Harbor ME.
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