How to Decide on the Right CDL Driving School near Woodbine Maryland
Congratulations on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a truck driving school near Woodbine MD. Perhaps it has always been your fantasy to hit the open road while operating a big ole tractor trailer. Or maybe you have done some research and have discovered that a career as a truck driver provides excellent wages and flexible job prospects. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s essential to get the proper training by picking the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are various variables that you’ll need to think about prior to making your final selection. Location will no doubt be an issue, especially if you have to commute from your Woodbine residence. The cost will also be of importance, but selecting a school based solely on price is not the ideal method to make certain you’ll obtain the right education. Don’t forget, your objective is to master the skills and knowledge that will allow you to pass the CDL exams and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that objective in mind, just how do you choose a truck driving school? That is what we are going to discuss in the remainder of this article. But first, we are going to talk a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will eventually need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Should You Get?
In order to drive commercial vehicles lawfully within the USA and Woodbine MD, a driver must obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three license classes that a person can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the subject of this article is how to choose a truck driving school, we will highlight Class A and B licenses. What differentiates each class of CDL is the kind 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 descriptions of the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License is required to operate any vehicle that has a GCWR of more than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of more than 10,000 lbs. Some 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 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. 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 CDLs might also require endorsements to operate certain types of vehicles, for example passenger or school buses. And a Class A license holder, with the proper required endorsements, may drive any vehicle that a Class B licensee is authorized to operate.
How to Research a Truck Driving School
When you have determined which Commercial Drivers License you want to pursue, you can begin the process of assessing the Woodbine MD trucking schools that you are looking at. As already discussed, cost and location will undoubtedly be your primary considerations. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they should not be your only considerations. Other issues, for example the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are similarly if not more important. So following are a few additional things that you should research while conducting your due diligence before enrolling in, and particularly paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Not many truck driving schools in the Woodbine MD area are accredited because of the stringent process and cost to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more common and is offered by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not obligated to become certified, but there are certain advantages. Interested students know that the training will be of the highest standard, and that they will be given plenty of driving time. As an example, PTDI calls for 44 hours of actual 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 fulfill the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One indicator to help assess the quality of a truck driver school is how long it has been in business. A poorly rated or a fly by night school typically will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. Having said that, even the best of Woodbine MD schools had to begin from their first day of training, so use it as one of several qualifications. You can also learn what the school’s track record is regarding successful licensing and job placement of its graduates. If a school won’t supply those numbers, look elsewhere. The schools should additionally maintain associations with local and national trucking companies. Having a large number of contacts not only points to an excellent reputation within the industry, but also boosts their job placement program for graduates. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to check with the Maryland licensing authority to confirm that the CDL trucking schools you are reviewing are in compliance.
How Effective is the Training? At a minimum, the schools must be licensed in Maryland and hire teachers that are trained and experienced. We will discuss more about the teachers in the next segment. In addition, the student to instructor proportion should not be greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be getting the personalized attention they will need. This is especially true concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And look out for any school that claims it can train you to drive trucks in a comparatively short period of time. Learning to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer professionally takes time. The majority of Woodbine MD schools offer training programs that range from 3 weeks to as long as two months, depending on the class of license or kind of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Trainers? As previously stated, it’s essential that the instructors are trained to teach driving methods and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Although several states have minimum driving time requirements to be certified as a teacher, the more professional driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also important that the teachers keep current with industry developments or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Assessing teachers may be a bit more intuitive than other criteria, and possibly the best approach is to pay a visit to the school and talk to the instructors face to face. You can also speak with a few 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.
Plenty of Driving Time? Above all else, a great truck driving school will provide sufficient driving time to its students. After all, isn’t that what it’s all about? Driving time is the real time spent behind the wheel driving a truck. Even though the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are essential training tools, they are no alternative for real driving. The more training that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will become. Although driving time can vary among schools, a reasonable standard is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Get in touch with the Woodbine MD 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 certain truck driving schools if you make a commitment to drive for a specific carrier for a defined period of time. This is called contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So instead of having relationships with a wide range of trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only work with one company. The benefit is receiving less expensive or even free training by giving up the freedom to initially be a driver wherever you choose. Obviously contract training has the potential to limit your income opportunities when starting out. But for some it may be the best way to obtain affordable training. Just make sure to find out if the Woodbine MD schools you are considering are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Is there CDL Testing Onsite? There are a number of states that will permit 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driver schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is permitted in Maryland, find out if the schools you are considering are DMV certified to provide it. One benefit is that it is more convenient than contending with graduates of competing schools for test times at Maryland testing locations. It is moreover an indication that the DMV regards the approved schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Classes Accessible? As formerly noted, CDL training is only about 1 to 2 months in length. With such a short term, it’s imperative that the Woodbine MD school you select provides flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. As an example, if you’re having a hard time learning a certain driving maneuver, then the instructor should be willing to devote more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still working while going to training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other obligations.
Is Job Placement Provided? Once you have acquired your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be impatient to begin your new career. 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 national and local trucking firms their graduates are referred to for employment. If a school has a poor job placement rate or not many Woodbine MD employers hiring their graduates, it may be a clue to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Truck driving schools are similar to colleges and other Woodbine MD area trade or technical schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being available. Find out if the schools you are assessing have a financial aid department, or at a minimum someone who can help you understand the options and forms that need to be completed.
Thinking of a Truck Drivier School near Woodbine MD?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Woodbine Maryland area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Woodbine is an unincorporated rural community in Howard and Carroll counties, Maryland, United States. It is part of the Baltimore metropolitan area. It is located southeast of Frederick, west of Baltimore, north of Washington, D.C., and east of Mount Airy. The community was named for the woodbine plant, which grew in the community in fields and along riverbanks.
Woodbine is located at the juncture of the Patapsco River, the B&O Railroad, and the road that runs north from Lisbon to Winfield on Liberty Road (Maryland Route 26) and through to Westminster, Maryland. The original road from Baltimore to Frederick runs just north of Lisbon, following a slight ridge line westward half way to Woodbine (the road was finally paved in the 1960s). This was the original trail that existed before the National Road was built (the road that runs through Lisbon).
During the Civil War, Confederate cavalry crossed the Patapsco River at Woodbine and at Hoods Mill, just a few miles east on the river and the B&O Railroad, scouting the Union Army that was on its way to the Battle of Gettysburg. The main road at that time ran just west of the existing road and up the west side of a creek that runs south and that joins with the Patapsco River just 50 yards west of the existing road. That original road, now partly unused, runs north 100 yards from the river and then Eastward (Gum Road) to join up with the existing road today. There was no bridge across the Patapsco River at that time, just a ford in the river.
Dump Truck Training Woodbine MD
Choosing the right truck driving school is a critical first step to beginning your new occupation 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 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 Dump Truck Training. However, you must obtain the appropriate training in order to operate a large commercial vehicle in a professional and safe fashion. If you are lacking funds or financing, you may need to look into a captive school. You will pay a reduced or even no tuition in exchange for driving for their contracted carrier. Or you can choose an independent trucker school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking firm of your choice, or one of several affiliated with the school. It’s your choice. But regardless of how you obtain your training, you will in the near future be joining a profession that helps our country move as a professional trucker in Woodbine MD.
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