How to Pick the Right Trucker School near Williamston North Carolina
Congratulations on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a trucking school near Williamston NC. Maybe it has always been your ambition to hit the open road while driving a big ole tractor trailer. Or maybe you have conducted some research and have found that an occupation as a truck driver offers excellent pay and flexible job opportunities. No matter what your reason is, it’s essential to get the proper training by enrolling in the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are a number of factors that you’ll need to examine prior to making your final selection. Location will certainly be important, particularly if you have to commute from your Williamston home. The expense will also be important, but selecting a school based only on price is not the ideal method to ensure you’ll receive the proper education. Just remember, your goal is to master the skills and knowledge that will allow you to pass the CDL exams and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that objective in mind, just how do you select a truck driving school? That is what we are going to address 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 CDL Will You Require?
To drive commercial vehicles legally within the USA and Williamston NC, an operator needs to attain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three license classes that one can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the subject of this article is how to select a truck driver school, we will highlight 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). Below are brief descriptions of the two 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 more 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 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. A few 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 CDLs may also require endorsements to operate certain 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 licensee is qualified to operate.
How to Evaluate a Trucking School
After you have decided which Commercial Drivers License you wish to pursue, you can begin the process of assessing the Williamston NC trucking schools that you are looking at. As already mentioned, location and cost will no doubt be your initial concerns. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they should not be your only concerns. Other variables, including the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are similarly or even more important. So following are several more factors that you need to research while conducting your due diligence prior to choosing, and particularly paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Not many trucking schools in the Williamston NC area are accredited due to the stringent 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 a number of advantages. Prospective students recognize that the training will be of the highest caliber, and that they will receive an ample amount of driving time. For example, PTDI requires 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 curriculum and training will meet the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One indicator to help assess the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in operation. A negatively reviewed 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 Williamston NC schools had to begin from their opening day of training, so use it as one of multiple qualifications. You can also ask what the school’s track record is concerning successful licensing and employment of its graduates. If a school won’t provide those stats, look elsewhere. The schools should also have relationships with local and national trucking firms. Having numerous contacts not only confirms a superior reputation within the industry, but also boosts their job assistance program for graduates. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to contact the North Carolina licensing authority to confirm that the CDL trucking schools you are considering are in compliance.
How Effective is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools must be licensed in North Carolina and employ instructors that are trained and experienced. We will cover more about the teachers in the following section. In addition, the student to instructor ratio should not be higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be getting the individual attention 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 claims it can train you to drive trucks in a relatively short time period. Learning to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer professionally requires time. Most Williamston NC schools provide training courses that range from three weeks to as long as two months, depending on the license class or kind of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Teachers? As already stated, it’s imperative 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 be certified as an instructor, the more professional driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also vital that the instructors keep up to date with industry advancements or any new laws or changes in regulations. Assessing teachers might be a bit more intuitive than other criteria, and perhaps the best approach is to visit the school and speak with the teachers face to face. You can also talk to a few of the students completing the training and ask if they are satisfied with the level of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Adequate Driving Time? Above all else, a great truck driving school will provide lots of driving time to its students. Besides, 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 real driving. The more instruction that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will become. And even though driving time can vary 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 Williamston NC schools you are considering and ask how much driving time they provide.
Are they Independent or Captive ? It’s possible to obtain free or discounted training from some truck driver schools if you make a commitment to be a driver for a particular carrier for a defined time period. This is what’s known as contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So instead of maintaining associations with numerous trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only refer to one company. The benefit is receiving less expensive or even free training by surrendering the freedom to initially be a driver wherever you have an opportunity. Clearly contract training has the potential to reduce 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 find out if the Williamston NC schools you are looking at are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Offer Onsite CDL Testing? There are several states that will permit 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driver schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is permitted in North Carolina, find out if the schools you are looking at are DMV certified to offer it. One advantage is that it is more accommodating than competing with graduates from other schools for test times at North Carolina testing locations. It is also an indicator that the DMV regards the authorized schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Class Times Convenient? As earlier noted, CDL training is only about one to two months long. With such a brief term, it’s important that the Williamston NC school you choose offers flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. As an example, if you’re having a hard time learning a certain driving maneuver, then the teacher should be willing to commit more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still employed while attending training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other responsibilities.
Is Job Placement Provided? The moment you have received your CDL license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be anxious to begin your new profession. Confirm that the schools you are reviewing have job assistance programs. Ask what their job placement rate is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, find out which local and national trucking companies their graduates are placed with for hiring. If a school has a lower job placement rate or not many Williamston NC employers hiring their graduates, it might be a clue to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Truck driving schools are comparable to colleges and other Williamston NC 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 evaluating have a financial aid department, or at least someone who can help you understand the options and forms that need to be completed.
Thinking of a Truck Drivier School near Williamston NC?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Williamston North Carolina area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Williamston, North Carolina
Williamston is a town in Martin County, North Carolina, United States. The population was 5,511 at the 2010 census. It is the county seat of Martin County. The closest major city is Greenville, approx. 28 mi to the southwest.
As of the census of 2000, there were 5,844 people, 2,350 households, and 1,536 families residing in the town. The population density was 1,581.3 people per square mile (609.7/km²). There were 2,506 housing units at an average density of 678.2 per square mile (261.5/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 57.50% African American, 40.41% White, 0.29% Native American, 0.46% Asian, 0.09% Pacific Islander, 0.50% from other races, and 0.75% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.49% of the population.
There were 2,350 households out of which 31.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 35.4% were married couples living together, 26.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 34.6% were non-families. 31.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 16.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.38 and the average family size was 3.00.
CDL Driving School Near Me Williamston NC
Choosing the appropriate truck driving school is a critical first step to launching your new occupation 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 several 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 CDL Driving School Near Me. But first and foremost, you must obtain the necessary training in order to operate a big commercial vehicle in a professional and safe fashion. If you are lacking funds or financing, you might want to look into a captive school. You will pay a lower or even no tuition by agreeing to drive for their contracted carrier. Or you can choose an independent trucking school and have the option of driving for the trucking firm of your choosing, or one of several affiliated with the school. It’s your choice. But regardless of how you receive your training, you will soon be entering a profession that helps our country move as a professional trucker in Williamston NC.
Keep On Trucking in These Other North Carolina Locations