How to Pick the Right CDL Training School near Salem New Hampshire
Congrats on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a truck driving school near Salem NH. Maybe it has always been your ambition to hit the open highway while operating a monster tractor trailer. Or maybe you have conducted some research and have discovered that a career as a truck driver provides good income and flexible job prospects. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s important to receive the proper training by picking the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are various factors that you’ll need to think about before making your ultimate selection. Location will no doubt be important, particularly if you need to commute from your Salem residence. The expense will also be of importance, but selecting a school based only on price is not the ideal means to make sure you’ll obtain the right training. Don’t forget, your objective is to learn the knowledge and skills that will allow you to pass the CDL examinations and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that target in mind, just how do you select 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 eventually need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Will You Need?
To drive commercial vehicles legally within the United States and Salem NH, an operator needs to attain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 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 select a truck driving school, we will discuss 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 short 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 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 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 need endorsements to operate specific types of vehicles, for example school or passenger buses. And a Class A licensee, with the appropriate required endorsements, may drive any vehicle that a Class B license holder is qualified to operate.
How to Research a Trucking School
After you have determined which CDL you would like to pursue, you can begin the undertaking of researching the Salem NH trucking schools that you are considering. As already discussed, location and cost will certainly be your primary considerations. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they must not be your sole concerns. Other factors, for example the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are similarly or even more important. So below are several more points that you need to research while conducting your due diligence before selecting, and particularly paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Not many trucking schools in the Salem NH area are accredited because of the demanding process and cost to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more common and is provided by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not obligated to become certified, but there are certain advantages. Prospective students recognize that the training will be of the highest standard, and that they will be given lots of driving time. For example, PTDI requires 44 hours of real 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 benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One clue to help evaluate 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. Having said that, even the best of Salem NH schools had to start 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 graduating students. If a school won’t supply those stats, look elsewhere. The schools should also have relationships with regional and national trucking firms. Having a large number of contacts not only points to a superior reputation within the trade, but also boosts their job assistance program for students. It also wouldn’t hurt to check with the New Hampshire licensing department to make sure that the CDL trucking schools you are considering are in good standing.
How Effective is the Training? At a minimum, the schools should be licensed in New Hampshire and employ instructors that are experienced and trained. We will talk more about the instructors 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 getting the personal instruction 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 be a truck driver in a relatively short time frame. Training to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer professionally takes time. The majority of Salem NH schools offer training programs that range from three weeks to as long as 2 months, depending on the class of license or type of vehicle.
How Good are the Instructors? As earlier mentioned, it’s essential that the instructors are qualified to teach driving techniques and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Even though several states have minimum driving time criteria to be certified as a teacher, the more professional driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also important that the instructors keep up to date with industry developments or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Assessing teachers might be a little more subjective than other standards, and possibly the ideal approach is to pay a visit to the school and speak with the instructors in person. You can also speak with a few of the students completing the training and ask if they are happy with the level of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Plenty of Driving Time? Above all else, a great truck driver school will furnish lots of 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 replacement for actual driving. The more training that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will become. Although driving time fluctuates between schools, a good standard is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide no less than 44 hours of driving time. Check with the Salem NH schools you are considering and ask how much driving time they provide.
Are they Captive or Independent ? It’s possible to get discounted or even free training from a number of truck driver schools if you enter into an agreement to be a driver for a specific carrier for a defined period of time. This is referred to as contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So instead of maintaining relationships with numerous trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only refer to one company. The benefit is receiving free or less expensive training by surrendering the flexibility to initially work wherever you have an opportunity. Naturally contract training has the potential to restrict your income opportunities when starting out. But for many it may be the best way to obtain affordable training. Just remember to inquire if the Salem NH schools you are considering are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Offer CDL Testing Onsite? There are several states that will permit 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driver schools for its grads. If onsite testing is allowed in New Hampshire, find out if the schools you are looking at are DMV certified to provide it. One advantage is that it is more accommodating than competing with graduates of competing schools for test times at New Hampshire testing locations. It is also an indicator that the DMV believes the authorized schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Class Times Accessible? As formerly noted, CDL training is only about one to two months in length. With such a short term, it’s imperative that the Salem NH school you select provides flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. As an example, if you’re having difficulty learning a certain driving maneuver, then the teacher should be prepared to spend more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still working while attending training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other responsibilities.
Is Job Assistance Offered? Once you have attained your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be eager to start your new profession. Make sure that the schools you are contemplating have job assistance programs. Ask what their job placement percentage is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, find out which national and local trucking companies their graduates are placed with for employment. If a school has a lower job placement rate or not many Salem NH employers hiring their grads, it may be a sign to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Available? Truck driver schools are similar to colleges and other Salem NH area vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being available. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have a financial assistance department, or at a minimum someone who can help you get through the options and forms that must be submitted.
Thinking of a Truck Drivier School near Salem NH?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Salem New Hampshire area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Salem, New Hampshire
Salem is a town in Rockingham County, New Hampshire, United States. The population was 28,776 at the 2010 census. Being located on Interstate 93 as the first town in New Hampshire, which lacks any state sales tax, Salem has grown into a commercial hub, anchored by the Mall at Rockingham Park. Other major sites include the Canobie Lake Park, a large amusement park, and America's Stonehenge, a stone structure of disputed origins. It is the former home of Rockingham Park, a horse racetrack. The Sununu political family hails from Salem, including former New Hampshire governor and White House Chief of Staff John H. Sununu, and his sons John E. Sununu, a former U.S. Senator, and Chris Sununu, current New Hampshire governor.
The area was first settled in 1652. As early as 1736, Salem was the "North Parish" of Methuen, Massachusetts, or "Methuen District". In 1741, when the boundary line between Massachusetts and New Hampshire was fixed, the "North Parish" became part of New Hampshire, and was given the name "Salem", taken from nearby Salem, Massachusetts. The town was incorporated in 1750 by Colonial Governor Benning Wentworth. The meetinghouse of the old north parish, erected in 1738, still stands, eventually becoming the town hall of Salem before it was turned into the Salem Historical Society museum.
In 1902, Canobie Lake Park was established in Salem by the Massachusetts Northeast Street Railway Company, to encourage leisure excursions on its trolleys. The plan was successful, and the enterprise quickly became one of the leading resorts of its type in New England. Crowds arrived from all over, including the nearby mill towns of Haverhill, Lawrence, Lowell and Methuen in Massachusetts, and Manchester and Nashua in New Hampshire. Factory workers and others found respite strolling along tree-lined promenades, between flower-beds or beside the lake. Rides, arcades and a dance hall provided lively entertainments. The rise of the automobile, however, brought the decline of the trolley. But Canobie Lake Park, one of the few former street railway amusement resorts still in existence, continues to be popular.
How To Get A Class B CDL Salem NH
Selecting the appropriate truck driving school is an important first step to starting 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 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 How To Get A Class B CDL. But first and foremost, you must receive the proper training in order to drive a large commercial vehicle in a safe and professional manner. If you are lacking money or financing, you might 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 select an independent truck driving 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 decision. But regardless of how you get your training, you will in the near future be part of a profession that helps America move as a professional trucker in Salem NH.
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