How to Select the Right Trucking School near Ypsilanti Michigan
Congrats on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a trucking school near Ypsilanti MI. Maybe it has always been your fantasy to hit the open road while driving a monster tractor trailer. Or possibly you have done some research and have discovered that an occupation as a truck driver provides excellent pay and flexible work prospects. Whatever your reason is, it’s important to get the proper training by choosing the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are certain factors that you’ll want to think about before making your ultimate selection. Location will no doubt be an issue, especially if you need to commute from your Ypsilanti home. The cost will also be important, but picking a school based solely on price is not the best way to guarantee you’ll obtain the appropriate education. Just remember, your objective is to master the skills and knowledge that will allow you to pass the CDL exams and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that objective in mind, just how do you decide on a truck driving school? The answer to that question 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 ultimately need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Should You Get?
In order to operate commercial vehicles lawfully within the United States and Ypsilanti MI, a driver needs to obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 classes of licenses that a driver 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 address Class A and Class B licenses. What distinguishes 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 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 greater than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of greater than 10,000 lbs. Several 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 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. Several 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 might also require endorsements to operate specific types of vehicles, including school or passenger buses. And a Class A licensee, with the appropriate required endorsements, can operate any vehicle that a Class B license holder is qualified to operate.
How to Research a Trucking School
Once you have decided which Commercial Drivers License you want to pursue, you can begin the process of researching the Ypsilanti MI truck driver schools that you are looking at. As previously mentioned, location and cost will certainly be your initial concerns. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they should not be your sole considerations. Other issues, for example the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are equally or even more important. So below are several additional things that you need to research while carrying out your due diligence prior to choosing, and especially paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Very few trucking schools in the Ypsilanti MI area are accredited due to the demanding 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 recognize that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will get an ample amount of driving time. As an example, PTDI requires 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 training and curriculum will measure up to the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One indicator to help assess the quality of a trucking school is how long it has been in operation. A poorly rated or a fly by night school typically will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. On the other hand, even the top Ypsilanti MI schools had to start from their opening day of training, so use it as one of multiple qualifiers. You can also learn what the school’s track record is relating to successful licensing and job placement of its graduates. If a school won’t provide those stats, search elsewhere. The schools should additionally have relationships with regional and national trucking firms. Having a large number of contacts not only points to a quality reputation within the profession, but also bolsters their job placement program for graduates. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to get in touch with the Michigan licensing authority to verify that the CDL trucking schools you are reviewing are in good standing.
How Effective is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools must be licensed in Michigan and hire instructors that are experienced and trained. We will cover more about the teachers in the following segment. Also, the student to instructor ratio should be no higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be receiving the personalized 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 claims it can teach you to drive trucks in a comparatively short time frame. Training to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully takes time. The majority of Ypsilanti MI schools provide training programs that range from 3 weeks to as long as 2 months, based on the license class or type of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Instructors? As earlier mentioned, it’s essential that the instructors are trained to teach driving methods and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Although a number of states have minimum driving time criteria to qualify as a teacher, the more successful driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also important that the teachers stay current with industry developments or any new laws or changes in regulations. Evaluating teachers might be a bit more intuitive than other standards, and possibly the best method 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 ask if they are happy with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Enough Driving Time? Most importantly, an excellent trucking school will furnish 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. Although the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are necessary training methods, they are no alternative for actual driving. The more training that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will be. And even though driving time differs among schools, a good benchmark 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 Ypsilanti MI schools you are researching and ask how much driving time they provide.
Are they Independent or Captive ? You can get discounted or even free training from some trucking schools if you enter into an agreement to be a driver for a specified carrier for a defined amount of time. This is referred to as contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So rather than having relationships with numerous 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. Obviously contract training has the potential to reduce your income opportunities when starting out. But for some it may be the only way to get affordable training. Just be sure to ask if the Ypsilanti MI schools you are contemplating are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Provide Onsite CDL Testing? There are several states that will permit third party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its grads. If onsite testing is allowed in Michigan, ask if the schools you are considering are DMV certified to offer it. One benefit is that it is more convenient than battling with graduates from competing schools for test times at Michigan testing centers. It is moreover an indication that the DMV deems the approved schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Class Times Flexible? As formerly mentioned, CDL training is only about 1 to 2 months long. With such a brief duration, it’s important that the Ypsilanti MI school you select provides flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. As an example, if you’re having difficulty 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 holding a job while going to training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other obligations.
Is Job Placement Provided? As soon as you have attained your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be keen to begin your new profession. Confirm that the schools you are looking at have job placement programs. Ask what their job placement ratio is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, ask which national and local trucking companies their graduates are placed with for hiring. If a school has a low job placement rate or not many Ypsilanti MI employers recruiting their grads, it may be a clue to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Truck driver schools are comparable to colleges and other Ypsilanti MI area technical or vocational schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being offered. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have a financial aid department, or at a minimum someone who can help you understand the options and forms that must be submitted.
Thinking of a Truck Drivier School near Ypsilanti MI?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Ypsilanti Michigan area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Ypsilanti (/ˌɪpsɪˈlænti/ IP-si-LAN-tee, often mispronounced /ˌjɪpsɪˈlænti/ YIP-si-LAN-tee), commonly shortened to Ypsi, is a city in Washtenaw County in the U.S. state of Michigan, perhaps best known as the home of Eastern Michigan University. As of the 2010 census, the city's population was 21,018. The city is bounded to the north by Superior Township and on the west, south, and east by Ypsilanti Township. Ypsilanti is located 6 miles (10 km) east of Ann Arbor and about 18 miles (29 km) west of the Detroit city limits.
The geographic grid center of Ypsilanti is the intersection of the Huron River and Michigan Avenue, the latter of which connects downtown Detroit, Michigan with Chicago, Illinois, and through Ypsilanti is partially concurrent with U.S. Route 12 Business and M-17.
Originally a trading post established in 1809 by Gabriel Godfroy, a French-Canadian fur trader from Montreal, a permanent settlement was established on the east side of the Huron River in 1823 by Major Thomas Woodruff. It was incorporated into the Territory of Michigan as the village Woodruff's Grove. A separate community a short distance away on the west side of the river was established in 1825 under the name "Ypsilanti", after Demetrios Ypsilantis, a hero in the Greek War of Independence. Woodruff's Grove changed its name to Ypsilanti in 1829, the year its namesake effectively won the war for the Greek Independence at the Battle of Petra, with the two communities eventually merging. A bust of Demetrios Ypsilantis by Greek sculptor Christopher Nastos stands between a Greek and a US flag at the base of the landmark Ypsilanti Water Tower.
CDL Driving School Cost Ypsilanti MI
Selecting the appropriate trucking school is an important 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 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 CDL Driving School Cost. However, you must get 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 think about a captive school. You will pay a reduced or in some cases no tuition by agreeing to drive for their contracted carrier. Or you can enroll in an independent CDL school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking firm of your choosing, or one of several affiliated with the school. It’s your decision. But regardless of how you obtain your training, you will soon be entering a profession that helps America move as a professional truck driver in Ypsilanti MI.
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