How to Pick the Right Truck Driving School near Starkville Mississippi
Congrats on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a CDL school near Starkville MS. Maybe it has always been your goal to hit the open highway while driving a huge tractor trailer. Or possibly you have conducted some research and have discovered that a career as a truck driver offers good pay and flexible job prospects. No matter what your reason is, it’s important to get the proper training by choosing the right CDL school in your area. When evaluating your options, there are certain factors that you’ll want to consider before making your ultimate selection. Location will certainly be an issue, particularly if you have to commute from your Starkville residence. The cost will also be of importance, but selecting a school based entirely on price is not the best means to make sure you’ll receive the appropriate education. Just remember, your objective is to learn the skills and knowledge that will allow you to pass the CDL exams and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that goal in mind, just how do you pick a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to discuss in the rest of this article. But first, we are going to talk a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will ultimately need.
Which CDL Should You Get?
To operate commercial vehicles legally within the United States and Starkville MS, an operator needs to obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 license classes that a driver 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 B licenses. What differentiates 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). Below are brief descriptions of the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License is needed to drive 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 Commercial Drivers License is needed to drive single vehicles having a GVWR of more than 26,000 lbs., or a GCWR of greater than 26,000 lbs. including a towed vehicle weighing up to 10,000 lbs. Some 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 Commercial Drivers Licenses might also need endorsements to operate certain types of vehicles, for example passenger or school buses. And a Class A licensee, with the proper required endorsements, can drive any vehicle that a Class B licensee is authorized to operate.
How to Assess a Trucking School
Once you have determined which Commercial Drivers License you want to pursue, you can begin the undertaking of researching the Starkville MS truck driving schools that you are looking at. As previously mentioned, cost and location will no doubt be your primary concerns. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they should not be your only considerations. Other issues, including the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are similarly if not more important. So below are some additional things that you need to research while carrying out your due diligence prior to choosing, and particularly paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Very few truck driving schools in the Starkville MS area are accredited because of the demanding 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 certain advantages. Prospective students know that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will receive lots of driving time. As an example, PTDI calls for 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 satisfy the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One indicator to help assess the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in business. A poorly rated or a fly by night school typically will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. On the other hand, even the best of Starkville MS schools had to begin from their first day of training, so consider it as one of multiple qualifiers. You can also ask what the school’s history is regarding successful licensing and employment of its graduating students. If a school won’t supply those numbers, search elsewhere. The schools should additionally maintain relationships with regional and national trucking firms. Having a large number of contacts not only confirms a quality reputation within the industry, but also boosts their job placement program for graduates. It also wouldn’t hurt to check with the Mississippi licensing department to make sure that the CDL trucker schools you are considering are in compliance.
How Good is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools should be licensed in Mississippi and hire instructors that are trained and experienced. We will cover more about the instructors in the following section. In addition, the student to instructor ratio should be no greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be getting the personal instruction they will need. This is particularly true concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And watch out for any school that insists it can teach you to be a truck driver in a comparatively short period of time. Learning to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer professionally takes time. Most Starkville MS schools provide training courses that run from 3 weeks to as long as 2 months, depending on the license class or kind of vehicle.
How Good are the Teachers? As earlier stated, it’s essential that the instructors are qualified to teach driving methods and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Even though a number of states have minimum driving time criteria to be certified as a teacher, the more successful driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also important that the instructors stay current with industry advancements or any new laws or changes in regulations. Assessing teachers may be a bit more subjective than other criteria, and perhaps the ideal approach is to visit the school and talk to the teachers face to face. You can also speak with some of the students completing the training and find out if they are satisfied with the level of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
Plenty of Driving Time? Above all else, a great trucking school will furnish 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 operating a truck. Even though the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are necessary training tools, they are no substitute for actual driving. The more training that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will become. Although driving time varies between schools, a reasonable standard is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish no less than 44 hours of driving time. Get in touch with the Starkville MS schools you are considering and find out how much driving time they provide.
Are they Captive or Independent ? It’s possible to receive free or discounted training from certain truck driver schools if you make a commitment to be a driver for a specified carrier for a defined time period. This is called contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So rather than having relationships with many different trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only work with one company. The benefit is receiving free or less expensive training by surrendering the flexibility to initially be a driver wherever you have an opportunity. Clearly contract training has the potential to limit your income opportunities when beginning your new career. But for some it may be the only way to get affordable training. Just be sure to find out if the Starkville MS schools you are contemplating are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Offer Onsite CDL Testing? There are some states that will permit third party CDL testing onsite of truck driver schools for its grads. If onsite testing is permitted in Mississippi, find out if the schools you are reviewing are DMV certified to offer it. One benefit is that it is more accommodating than competing with graduates of competing schools for test times at Mississippi testing centers. It is also an indicator that the DMV views the approved schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Classes Accessible? As formerly noted, truck driver training is just one to two months in length. With such a brief term, it’s imperative that the Starkville MS school you select offers flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. As an example, if you’re having a hard time learning a particular driving maneuver, then the instructor should be prepared to dedicate more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still working while attending training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other responsibilities.
Is Job Placement Provided? Once you have acquired your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be keen to begin your new profession. Verify that the schools you are considering have job placement programs. Find out what their job placement ratio is and what average salary their grads 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 Starkville MS employers recruiting their graduates, it might be a sign to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Truck driving schools are comparable to colleges and other Starkville MS area vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being offered. Find out 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 Starkville MS?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Starkville Mississippi area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Starkville is a city in, and the county seat of, Oktibbeha County, Mississippi, United States.Mississippi State University, the state's land-grant institution and a public flagship university, is located partially in Starkville and partially in an adjacent unincorporated area. The population was 25,352 in 2017. Starkville is the most populous city of the Golden Triangle region of Mississippi. The Starkville micropolitan statistical area includes all of Oktibbeha County.
The growth and development of Mississippi State in recent decades has made Starkville a marquee American college town. College students and faculty have created a ready audience for several annual art and entertainment events such as the Cotton District Arts Festival, Super Bulldog Weekend, and Bulldog Bash. The Cotton District, North America's oldest new urbanist community, is an active student quarter and entertainment district located halfway between Downtown Starkville and the Mississippi State University campus.
The Starkville area has been inhabited for over 2100 years. Artifacts in the form of clay pot fragments and artwork dating from that time period have been found east of Starkville at the Herman Mound and Village site, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The village site can be accessed from the Indian Mound Campground. The earthwork mounds were made by early Native Americans of moundbuilder cultures as part of their religious and political cosmology.
Weekend Truck Driving School Starkville MS
Picking the right trucking school is a critical first step to launching your new vocation as a local or long distance truck driver. The skill sets taught at school will be those that shape a new career behind the wheel. There are a number of options available 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 Weekend Truck Driving School. But first and foremost, you must receive the appropriate training in order to operate a big commercial vehicle in a safe and professional manner. If you are short on money or financing, you might 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 choose an independent truck driver school and have the option of driving for the trucking firm of your choice, or one of several associated with the school. It’s your choice. But regardless of how you obtain your training, you will in the near future be joining an industry that helps America move as a professional truck driver in Starkville MS.
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