How to Select the Right Trucker School near Stratham New Hampshire
Congratulations on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a truck driving school near Stratham NH. Perhaps it has always been your dream to hit the open highway while operating a huge tractor trailer. Or maybe you have done some research and have discovered that an occupation as a truck driver offers good income and flexible work prospects. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s imperative to get the appropriate training by selecting the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are various factors that you’ll want to think about before making your ultimate selection. Location will certainly be an issue, particularly if you need to commute from your Stratham residence. The expense will also be of importance, but picking a school based entirely on price is not the best means to guarantee you’ll receive the right training. Just remember, your goal 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 target in mind, just how do you select a truck driving school? That is what we are going to address in the balance 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 Will You Require?
To operate commercial vehicles legally within the United States and Stratham NH, an operator needs to attain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three license classes that a driver can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the subject of this article is how to pick a truck driver school, we will focus on Class A and Class B licenses. What distinguishes each class of CDL is the kind 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 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL 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. A few 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 drive single vehicles having a GVWR of greater than 26,000 lbs., or a GCWR of greater 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 may also need endorsements to drive specific kinds of vehicles, including school or passenger buses. And a Class A license holder, with the appropriate needed endorsements, may operate any vehicle that a Class B licensee is authorized to operate.
How to Evaluate a CDL School
When you have determined which CDL you wish to pursue, you can start the process of evaluating the Stratham NH truck driving schools that you are considering. As already discussed, cost and location will certainly be your primary considerations. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they must not be your sole concerns. Other issues, such as the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are similarly or even more important. So below are a few more things that you need to research while carrying out your due diligence before choosing, and particularly paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Very few trucking schools in the Stratham NH area are accredited due to the rigorous process and expense to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more prevalent and is provided by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not required to become certified, but there are certain advantages. Prospective students know that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will get lots of driving time. For example, PTDI calls for 44 hours of actual driving time, not ride-alongs or simulations. 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 measure the quality of a truck driver school is how long it has been in operation. A negatively ranked or a fly by night school normally will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the top Stratham NH schools had to start from their first day of training, so consider it as one of several qualifications. You can also find out what the school’s history is pertaining to successful licensing and employment of its graduates. If a school won’t supply those stats, look elsewhere. The schools should also maintain associations with regional and national trucking companies. Having numerous contacts not only confirms an excellent reputation within the profession, but also boosts their job assistance program for students. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to get in touch with the New Hampshire 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 should be licensed in New Hampshire and employ instructors that are experienced and trained. We will cover more about the instructors in the following section. Also, the student to instructor proportion should be no greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be receiving the personal instruction they will need. This is particularly true concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And be critical of any school that insists it can teach you to drive trucks in a relatively short time frame. Training to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer professionally requires time. The majority of Stratham NH schools provide training programs that run from 3 weeks to as long as 2 months, based on the class of license or kind of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Teachers? As previously mentioned, it’s essential that the teachers are qualified to teach driving techniques and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Even though a number of states have minimum driving time prerequisites to be certified as an instructor, the more successful driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also crucial that the instructors keep current with industry advancements or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Assessing instructors may be a little more subjective than other standards, and perhaps the best approach is to visit the school and talk to the instructors face to face. You can also speak with a few of the students going through the training and find out if they are happy with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
How Much Driving Time? Above all else, a great truck driving 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 simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are necessary training methods, they are no substitute for actual driving. The more instruction that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will be. And even though driving time fluctuates between schools, a reasonable benchmark is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish no less than 44 hours of driving time. Contact the Stratham NH schools you are looking at and find out how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Captive or Independent ? It’s possible to obtain discounted or even free training from a number of truck driving schools if you make a commitment to drive for a specified carrier for a defined period of time. This is what’s known as contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So rather than having affiliations with numerous trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only work with one company. The tradeoff is receiving free or less expensive training by surrendering the freedom to initially work wherever you have an opportunity. Naturally contract training has the potential to restrict your income prospects when beginning your new career. But for many it may be the ideal way to get affordable training. Just make sure to inquire if the Stratham NH schools you are contemplating are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Provide CDL Testing Onsite? There are some states that will permit third party CDL testing onsite of truck driver schools for its students. If onsite testing is allowed in New Hampshire, ask if the schools you are looking at are DMV certified to provide it. One benefit is that it is more convenient than competing with graduates of competing schools for test times at New Hampshire testing facilities. It is moreover an indication that the DMV deems the approved schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Class Times Flexible? As earlier noted, CDL training is only about one to two months long. With such a brief term, it’s imperative that the Stratham NH school you enroll in provides flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. As an example, if you’re having difficulty learning a particular driving maneuver, then the instructor 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 must be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other commitments.
Is Job Placement Offered? The moment you have received your commercial driver’s license after graduating from trucking school, you will be impatient to start your new career. Verify that the schools you are contemplating have job assistance programs. Find out what their job placement ratio is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, ask 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 Stratham NH employers hiring their grads, it might be a sign to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Trucking schools are comparable to colleges and other Stratham NH area trade or technical schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being available. Ask if the schools you are examining have a financial aid department, or at a minimum someone who can help you understand the options and forms that must be completed.
Thinking of a Truck Drivier School near Stratham NH?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Stratham New Hampshire area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Stratham, New Hampshire
Stratham is a town in Rockingham County, New Hampshire, United States. The town had a population of 7,255 at the 2010 census, and an estimated population of 7,280 in 2013. It is bounded on the west by the Squamscott River. The town is the home of the only U.S. Lindt & Sprüngli factory and the headquarters of the Timberland Corporation.
Stratham was settled in 1631 and incorporated in 1716. The area, called Winnicutt by the Pennacook Indians, was known as Squamscott Patent or Point of Rocks because of its location between Great Bay and the Squamscott River. The sixth town in the colony to be incorporated, the town was named for Wriothesley Russell, Baron Howland of Streatham, a friend of New Hampshire Royal Governor Samuel Shute.
The town is unusual among New England settlements of its size in having been comprehensively mapped in 1793 by Phinehas Merrill. It is therefore possible to identify how many of the extant buildings of the town predate the map.
Truck Training Stratham NH
Choosing the ideal truck driver school is an essential first step to launching your new vocation as a long distance or local truck driver. The skill sets that you will learn at school will be those that forge a new career behind the wheel. There are a number of options available and understanding them is vital to a new driver’s success. You originally came to our website because of your interest in Truck Training. However, you must receive the appropriate training in order to operate a big commercial vehicle in a professional and safe fashion. If you are short on cash or financing, you might need to think about a captive school. You will pay a lower 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 option of driving for the trucking firm of your choice, or one of several affiliated with the school. It’s your choice. But no matter how you get your training, you will in the near future be joining an industry that helps America move as a professional trucker in Stratham NH.
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