How to Decide on the Right CDL Training School near Sunapee New Hampshire
Congrats on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a truck driving school near Sunapee NH. Maybe it has always been your ambition to hit the open road while driving a monster tractor trailer. Or possibly you have conducted some research and have found that a career as a truck driver offers good wages and flexible work prospects. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s important to receive the appropriate training by choosing the right CDL school in your area. When evaluating your options, there are certain variables that you’ll want to think about before making your ultimate choice. Location will undoubtedly be important, especially if you have to commute from your Sunapee residence. The cost will also be important, but picking a school based exclusively on price is not the ideal method to ensure you’ll receive the right education. Just remember, your objective is to master the knowledge and skills that will enable 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? The answer to that question is what we are going to cover in the rest of this article. But first, we are going to discuss a little bit about which CDL license you will eventually need.
Which CDL Should You Get?
To operate commercial vehicles lawfully within the USA and Sunapee NH, a driver must get a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three license classes that a person can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the subject of this article is how to select a truck driving school, we will focus on Class A and Class B licenses. What differentiates each class of CDL is the kind of vehicle that the driver can operate as well as the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Below are brief summaries 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 greater than 10,000 lbs. A few 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 drive single vehicles having a GVWR of more 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 Commercial Drivers Licenses might also need endorsements to drive certain kinds of vehicles, such as school or passenger buses. And a Class A licensee, with the appropriate needed endorsements, may drive any vehicle that a Class B licensee is authorized to operate.
How to Assess a CDL School
Once you have determined which Commercial Drivers License you wish to obtain, you can begin the undertaking of researching the Sunapee NH trucking schools that you are considering. As earlier discussed, cost and location will no doubt be your primary concerns. But it can’t be stressed enough that they must 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 a few more points that you need to research while carrying out your due diligence prior to enrolling in, and particularly paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Very few truck driving schools in the Sunapee NH area are accredited due to the demanding 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. Potential students recognize that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will be given lots of driving time. As an example, PTDI requires 44 hours of actual driving time, not ride-alongs or simulations. So if a school’s program is certified (the program, not the school is certified), students know that the training and curriculum will comply with the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One indicator to help determine the quality of a truck driver school is how long it has been in operation. A poorly reviewed or a fly by night school normally will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. Having said that, even the best of Sunapee NH schools had to begin from their first day of training, so consider it as one of several qualifiers. You can also learn what the school’s track record is pertaining to successful licensing and job placement of its graduates. If a school won’t share those numbers, look elsewhere. The schools should also have associations with local and national trucking companies. Having a large number of contacts not only confirms an excellent reputation within the industry, but also bolsters their job placement program for graduates. It also wouldn’t hurt to check with the New Hampshire licensing authority to verify that the CDL trucker schools you are researching are in compliance.
How Good is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools must be licensed in New Hampshire and employ teachers that are trained and experienced. We will talk more about the teachers in the following section. In addition, the student to instructor proportion should not be higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be obtaining the personalized attention they will need. This is particularly true concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And look out for any school that professes it can teach you to drive trucks in a comparatively short period of time. Training to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer professionally takes time. The majority of Sunapee NH schools provide training courses that run from 3 weeks to as long as two months, based on the class of license or type of vehicle.
How Good are the Instructors? As earlier mentioned, it’s essential that the teachers are trained to teach driving methods and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Although several states have minimum driving time criteria to qualify as a teacher, the more professional driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also crucial that the teachers keep current with industry advancements or any new laws or changes in regulations. Evaluating teachers might be a bit more intuitive than other standards, and possibly the best 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 ask if they are happy with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Adequate Driving Time? Above all else, a great truck driving school will provide ample driving time to its students. After all, isn’t that what it’s all about? Driving time is the actual time spent behind the wheel driving a truck. Even though the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are necessary training tools, they are no alternative for real driving. The more instruction that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will become. And even though driving time fluctuates between schools, a good benchmark is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide at least 44 hours of driving time. Get in touch with the Sunapee NH schools you are considering and find out how much driving time they provide.
Are they Captive or Independent ? It’s possible to receive discounted or even free training from certain truck driver schools if you enter into an agreement to drive for a particular carrier for a defined amount of time. This is called contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So rather than having affiliations with a wide range of trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only refer to one company. The benefit is receiving free or less expensive 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 receive affordable training. Just remember to inquire if the Sunapee NH schools you are contemplating are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Offer CDL Testing Onsite? There are some states that will permit third party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its grads. If onsite testing is permitted in New Hampshire, 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 of other schools for test times at New Hampshire testing centers. It is also an indicator that the DMV deems the authorized schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Class Times Flexible? As earlier mentioned, truck driver training is just one to two months long. With such a brief duration, it’s imperative that the Sunapee NH school you choose provides flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. As an example, if you’re having a hard time learning a particular driving maneuver, then the teacher should be prepared to devote more time with you until you are proficient. 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 Assistance Provided? As soon as you have acquired your commercial driver’s license after graduating from trucking school, you will be anxious to begin your new career. Confirm that the schools you are contemplating have job placement programs. Find out what their job placement ratio is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, ask which local and national trucking firms their graduates are referred to for employment. If a school has a low job placement rate or not many Sunapee NH employers hiring their grads, it may be a clue to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Given? Trucking schools are similar to colleges and other Sunapee NH area trade or technical schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being offered. Ask if the schools you are assessing have a financial assistance department, or at least someone who can help you understand the options and forms that need to be submitted.
Thinking of a Truck Drivier School near Sunapee NH?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Sunapee New Hampshire area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Sunapee, New Hampshire
Sunapee is a town in Sullivan County, New Hampshire, United States. The population was 3,365 at the 2010 census. Sunapee is home to part of Lake Sunapee. The town includes the village of Georges Mills.
Like many other towns, this one went through name changes before its incorporation in 1781: "Saville" in 1768, "Corey's Town", and then "Wendell", for one of the Masonian Proprietors, John Wendell. The marsh near Sunapee Middle High School still bears Wendell's name. The name "Sunapee" was substituted for "Wendell" by the legislature in 1850. The town, Lake Sunapee and Mount Sunapee share the name which comes from the Algonquian Indian words "suna" meaning "goose", and "apee", meaning "lake". The Indians called the area "Lake of the Wild Goose" because it is shaped like a goose, with the beak being in Sunapee Harbor.
Before Sunapee was a sizable tourist attraction, it was an industrial area. One factory produced 110 clothespins a minute. After the factories faded away, the major attraction became the pristine lake, once surrounded by a number of grand hotels. People used large ferries to get from hotel to hotel around the lake, but the ferries were mostly gone by 1915, when the automobile was widely introduced to the area. Lake Sunapee is the only lake in New Hampshire with three working lighthouses, which were originally built in the 1890s by the Woodsum brothers and are currently maintained by the Lake Sunapee Protective Association.
How To Get Your CDL License Sunapee NH
Picking the right truck driving school is a critical first step to beginning your new profession as a long distance or local truck driver. The skill sets taught at school will be those that mold a new career behind the wheel. There are a number of options offered and understanding them is critical if you are going to succeed as an operator. You originally came to our website because of your interest in How To Get Your CDL License. But first and foremost, you must receive the proper training in order to operate a large commercial vehicle in a safe and professional fashion. If you are lacking funds or financing, you might want 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 trucking school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking company of your choosing, or one of many affiliated with the school. It’s your decision. But no matter how you obtain your training, you will in the near future be joining an industry that helps our country move as a professional truck driver in Sunapee NH.
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