How to Decide on the Right Trucking School near West Dennis Massachusetts
Congrats on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a CDL school near West Dennis MA. Perhaps it has always been your goal to hit the open road while driving a huge tractor trailer. Or maybe you have done some analysis and have found that an occupation as a truck driver provides excellent income and flexible job opportunities. No matter what your reason is, it’s essential to receive the proper training by choosing the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are various variables that you’ll want to examine before making your ultimate selection. Location will undoubtedly be important, particularly if you have to commute from your West Dennis home. The cost will also be of importance, but selecting a school based exclusively on price is not the ideal method to make certain you’ll receive the appropriate education. Just remember, your objective 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 objective in mind, just how do you pick a truck driving school? That is what we are going to address in the rest of this article. But first, we are going to talk a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will eventually need.
Which CDL Will You Need?
In order to operate commercial vehicles legally within the USA and West Dennis MA, a driver must get a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three classes of licenses that a person can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the topic of this article is how to pick a truck driver school, we will highlight Class A and Class B licenses. What distinguishes each class of CDL is the type of vehicle that the driver can operate together with the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Following are brief summaries for the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is required to drive any vehicle that has a GCWR of greater than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of more 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 CDL is needed to operate 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. A few 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 need endorsements to operate certain types of vehicles, for example passenger or school buses. And a Class A license holder, with the appropriate required endorsements, can drive any vehicle that a Class B license holder is authorized to operate.
How to Research a Trucking School
When you have determined which CDL you want to pursue, you can start the process of researching the West Dennis MA truck driving schools that you are looking at. As earlier mentioned, location and cost will undoubtedly be your primary considerations. But it can’t be stressed enough that they should not be your sole considerations. Other variables, including the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are similarly if not more important. So below are several more things that you need to research while performing your due diligence prior to enrolling in, and especially paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Not many truck driver schools in the West Dennis MA area are accredited because of the stringent process and cost 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 a number of advantages. Interested students know that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will receive lots of driving time. For example, PTDI mandates 44 hours of actual driving time, not simulations or ride-alongs. So if a school’s course is certified (the course, not the school is certified), students know that the curriculum and training will satisfy the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One indicator to help measure the quality of a trucking school is how long it has been in operation. A negatively ranked or a fly by night school typically will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the top West Dennis MA schools had to begin from their first day of training, so use it as one of several qualifiers. You can also ask what the school’s track record is concerning successful licensing and employment of its graduates. If a school won’t supply those numbers, look elsewhere. The schools should also have associations with local and national trucking firms. Having a large number of contacts not only points to a superior reputation within the profession, but also boosts their job placement program for graduates. It also wouldn’t hurt to check with the Massachusetts licensing authority to confirm that the CDL trucker schools you are reviewing are in good standing.
How Effective is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools should be licensed in Massachusetts and hire instructors that are trained and experienced. We will discuss more about the instructors in the following segment. Also, the student to instructor ratio should not be greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be receiving the personal attention they will need. This is especially true regarding the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And look out for any school that professes it can train you to drive trucks in a relatively short time frame. Training to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully takes time. The majority of West Dennis MA schools provide training courses that run from three weeks to as long as 2 months, depending on the license class or type of vehicle.
How Good are the Teachers? As earlier mentioned, it’s essential that the instructors are qualified to teach driving techniques and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Even though 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 teachers stay current with industry advancements or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Evaluating teachers may be a bit more subjective than other criteria, and perhaps the ideal approach is to pay a visit to the school and talk to the instructors in person. You can also talk to a few 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.
Sufficient Driving Time? Most importantly, a great trucking school will provide ample driving time to its students. Besides, isn’t that what it’s all about? Driving time is the real time spent behind the wheel operating a truck. While the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are necessary training tools, they are no substitute for actual driving. The more instruction that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will be. And even though driving time varies among schools, a reasonable standard is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide at least 44 hours of driving time. Contact the West Dennis MA schools you are looking at and find out how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Captive or Independent ? You can obtain discounted or even free training from a number of truck driver schools if you enter into an agreement to drive for a particular carrier for a defined time period. This is referred to as contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So instead of 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 freedom to initially be a driver wherever you have an opportunity. Obviously contract training has the potential to reduce your income opportunities when starting out. But for some it may be the only way to receive affordable training. Just make sure to ask if the West Dennis MA schools you are looking at are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Is there CDL Testing Onsite? There are a number of states that will permit third party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its students. If onsite testing is permitted in Massachusetts, ask if the schools you are reviewing are DMV certified to provide it. One benefit is that it is more convenient than competing with graduates from other schools for test times at Massachusetts testing centers. It is also an indication that the DMV believes the authorized schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Classes Convenient? As formerly mentioned, truck driving training is only about one to two months long. With such a short term, it’s essential that the West Dennis MA school you enroll in 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 teacher should be willing to dedicate more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still holding a job while attending training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other commitments.
Is Job Assistance Provided? Once you have attained your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be eager to begin your new career. Make sure that the schools you are looking at have job placement programs. Ask what their job placement rate is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, ask which national and local trucking companies their graduates are referred to for employment. If a school has a poor job placement rate or not many West Dennis MA employers recruiting their graduates, it may be a clue to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Truck driver schools are comparable to colleges and other West Dennis MA area technical or vocational schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being offered. Ask if the schools you are examining have a financial assistance department, or at a minimum someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that need to be submitted.
Thinking of a Truck Drivier School near West Dennis MA?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the West Dennis Massachusetts area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
West Dennis, Massachusetts
West Dennis is located in the southwest corner of the town of Dennis at 41°39′42″N 70°9′43″W / 41.66167°N 70.16194°W / 41.66167; -70.16194 (41.661753, -70.161975). It is bordered to the north by the CDP of South Dennis, to the east by Dennis Port, to the south by Nantucket Sound, and to the west by South Yarmouth.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the West Dennis CDP has a total area of 4.2 square miles (10.9 km2). 3.3 square miles (8.5 km2) of it is land, and 0.97 square miles (2.5 km2) of it (22.50%) is water.
As of the census of 2000, there were 2,570 people, 1,279 households, and 698 families residing in the CDP. The population density was 301.6/km² (781.3/mi²). There were 2,733 housing units at an average density of 320.7/km² (830.8/mi²). The racial makeup of the CDP was 95.53% White, 2.37% African American, 0.54% Native American, 0.31% Asian, 0.43% from other races, and 0.82% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.93% of the population.
Professional Truck Driving School West Dennis MA
Selecting the appropriate truck driver school is an important first step to launching your new vocation as a local or long distance truck driver. The skills taught at school will be those that shape a new career behind the wheel. There are several options offered and understanding them is crucial to a new driver’s success. You originally came to our website because of your interest in Professional Truck Driving School. But first and foremost, you must receive 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 need 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 trucker school and have the option of driving for the trucking firm of your choosing, or one of several affiliated with the school. It’s your choice. But regardless of how you receive your training, you will soon be joining a profession that helps our country move as a professional truck driver in West Dennis MA.
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