How to Pick the Right Trucking School near Whitney Pennsylvania
Congratulations on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a trucking school near Whitney PA. Maybe it has always been your ambition to hit the open road while driving a huge tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have conducted some research and have found that a career as a truck driver provides excellent wages and flexible work prospects. Whatever your reason is, it’s essential to receive the proper training by choosing the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are certain variables that you’ll want to think about before making your final selection. Location will certainly be important, especially if you need to commute from your Whitney residence. The cost will also be of importance, but choosing a school based solely on price is not the best way to make certain you’ll obtain the right education. Just remember, your objective is to learn the skills and knowledge that will allow you to pass the CDL examinations 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 talk a little bit about which CDL license you will eventually need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Will You Require?
To drive commercial vehicles lawfully within the United States and Whitney PA, a driver must obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three classes of licenses that a person 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 highlight Class A and B licenses. What distinguishes each class of CDL is the type 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 for the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License is needed to operate any vehicle that has a GCWR of greater than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of more than 10,000 lbs. Some 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 Commercial Drivers License is needed to operate 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 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 CDLs might also need endorsements to drive specific types of vehicles, including school or passenger buses. And a Class A licensee, with the proper needed endorsements, may drive any vehicle that a Class B licensee is qualified to drive.
How to Assess a CDL School
Once you have decided which Commercial Drivers License you wish to pursue, you can begin the undertaking of evaluating the Whitney PA trucking schools that you are considering. As already mentioned, location and cost will no doubt be your initial concerns. But it can’t be stressed enough that they should not be your only considerations. Other factors, such as the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are similarly if not more important. So following are several more 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 trucking schools in the Whitney PA area are accredited due to the rigorous process and expense to the schools. However, certification is more typical and is provided by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not obligated to become certified, but there are certain advantages. Potential students know that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will get lots of driving time. As an example, PTDI mandates 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 curriculum and training will comply with the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One clue to help measure the quality of a trucking school is how long it has been in operation. A poorly reviewed or a fly by night school usually will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the top Whitney PA schools had to start from their opening day of training, so use it as one of several qualifications. You can also ask what the school’s track record is regarding successful licensing and employment of its graduates. If a school won’t supply those numbers, search elsewhere. The schools should additionally maintain relationships with regional and national trucking companies. Having numerous contacts not only confirms a quality reputation within the trade, but also bolsters their job placement program for graduates. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to get in touch with the Pennsylvania licensing department to verify that the CDL trucker schools you are researching are in good standing.
How Effective is the Training? At a minimum, the schools must be licensed in Pennsylvania and employ instructors that are experienced and trained. We will discuss more about the instructors in the next segment. In addition, the student to instructor ratio should not be greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be getting the personalized instruction they will need. This is especially true regarding the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And look out for any school that insists it can teach you to be a truck driver in a comparatively short time frame. Training to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer professionally requires time. Most Whitney PA schools provide training courses that range from three weeks to as long as 2 months, based on the license class or type of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Teachers? As earlier 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 prerequisites to qualify as a teacher, the more successful driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also vital that the teachers keep up to date with industry advancements or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Assessing teachers may be a little more intuitive than other standards, 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 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 furnish 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. Although the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are necessary training tools, they are no substitute for real driving. The more training that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will become. And even though driving time varies among schools, a reasonable benchmark is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Get in touch with the Whitney PA schools you are looking at and ask how much driving time they provide.
Are they Captive or Independent ? You can receive discounted or even free training from certain trucking 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 associations with many different trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only refer to one company. The tradeoff is receiving less expensive or even free training by surrendering the freedom to initially be a driver wherever you choose. Naturally contract training has the potential to restrict your income opportunities when starting out. But for some it may be the ideal way to receive affordable training. Just remember to find out if the Whitney PA 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 allow third party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its grads. If onsite testing is available in Pennsylvania, ask if the schools you are considering are DMV certified to provide it. One benefit is that it is more accommodating than battling with graduates from other schools for test times at Pennsylvania testing centers. It is also an indication that the DMV deems the authorized schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Class Times Convenient? As earlier mentioned, CDL training is just one to two months in length. With such a brief duration, it’s essential that the Whitney PA school you choose provides flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. For example, if you’re having a hard time learning a certain driving maneuver, then the instructor should be willing to devote 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 fit in working hours or other responsibilities.
Is Job Assistance Provided? Once you have obtained your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be keen to begin your new profession. Make sure that the schools you are contemplating have job placement programs. Ask what their job placement rate is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, find out which national and local trucking companies their graduates are referred to for employment. If a school has a poor job placement rate or few Whitney PA employers hiring their grads, it may be a sign to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Given? Truck driver schools are much like colleges and other Whitney PA area technical or vocational schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being offered. Ask 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 need to be completed.
Thinking of a Truck Drivier School near Whitney PA?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Whitney Pennsylvania area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6
The Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6 is a turboprop aircraft engine produced by Pratt & Whitney Canada. Its development began in 1958, it was first run in February 1960, first flew on 30 May 1961, entered service in 1964 and has been continuously updated since. It consists of two sections: a gas generator supplying hot gas to a free power turbine, and is often mounted backwards with the intake at the rear and the exhaust on the sides. By November 2015, 51,000 had been produced logged 400 million flight hours from 1963 to 2016, it is known for its reliability with an in-flight shutdown rate of 1 per 651,126 hours in 2016. The PT6A covers the power range between 580 and 1,940 shp (430 and 1,450 kW) while the PT6B/C are turboshaft variants for helicopters.
In 1956, Pratt & Whitney Canada's (PWC) president, Ronald Riley, foreseeing the need for engines with much higher power-to-weight ratio, ordered engineering manager Dick Guthrie to establish a development group to create a turboprop engine designed to replace piston engines. Demand for the Wasp radial engine was still strong and its production line's output was robust and profitable. Riley gave Guthrie a modest budget of C$100,000. Guthrie recruited young engineers from the National Research Council in Ottawa and from Orenda Engines in Ontario. In 1958, the group began development of a turboprop engine intended to deliver 450 shaft horsepower. The first engine was powered up and run successfully in February 1960. It first flew on 30 May 1961, mounted on a Beech 18 aircraft at de Havilland Canada's Downsview, Ontario facility. Full-scale production started in 1963, entering service the next year.
It gained certification in 1963 and its first application was the Beech Queen Air, enticing the U.S. Army to buy a fleet U-21 Utes, launching the King Air and its over 7,000 deliveries since. From 1963 to 2016 power-to-weight ratio was improved by 50%, brake specific fuel consumption by 20% and overall pressure ratio reached 14:1. Its development continues and while today its high-level configuration is the same as in 1964, P&WC updated the PT6 including single-crystal turbine blades in the early 1990s, and FADEC should be introduced. Its pressure ratio is 13:1 in the AgustaWestland AW609 tiltrotor.
How To Obtain a Class B License Whitney PA
Picking the right truck driving school is an important first step to beginning your new profession 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 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 Obtain a Class B License. However, you must receive the necessary training in order to drive a big commercial vehicle in a professional and safe manner. If you are short on cash or financing, you might need to look into a captive school. You will pay a lower or in some cases no tuition in exchange for driving for their contracted carrier. Or you can enroll in an independent CDL school and have the the freedom to drive 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 a profession that helps America move as a professional truck driver in Whitney PA.
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