Category Archives: Pennsylvania

How To Get a Class A Drivers License Williamsport PA

How to Find the Right Truck Driver School near Williamsport Pennsylvania

long haul tractor trailer in Williamsport PACongrats on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a trucking school near Williamsport PA. Perhaps it has always been your fantasy to hit the open road while operating a monster tractor trailer. Or possibly you have conducted some research and have found that an occupation as a truck driver offers good pay and flexible work prospects. Whatever your reason is, it’s imperative to obtain the proper training by enrolling in the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are several factors that you’ll need to think about before making your ultimate choice. Location will undoubtedly be important, particularly if you need to commute from your Williamsport home. The cost will also be of importance, but choosing a school based solely on price is not the ideal means to ensure you’ll obtain the appropriate education. Just remember, your goal is to learn the skills and knowledge that will enable you to pass the CDL examinations and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that goal in mind, just how do you decide on a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to cover in the balance of this article. But first, we are going to review a little bit about which CDL license you will eventually need.

Which CDL Will You Require?

tanker truck in Williamsport PAIn order to operate commercial vehicles lawfully within the USA and Williamsport PA, an operator needs to attain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 license classes that a driver can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the topic of this article is how to select a truck driving school, we will highlight Class A and 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 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. Some 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 required 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. 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 CDLs may also require endorsements to drive certain types of vehicles, for example school or passenger buses. And a Class A license holder, with the appropriate required endorsements, can operate any vehicle that a Class B licensee is qualified to drive.

How to Evaluate a Truck Driver School

Questions to ask Williamsport PA truck driving schoolsAs soon as you have decided which Commercial Drivers License you wish to pursue, you can begin the undertaking of assessing the Williamsport PA 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 only considerations. Other factors, for instance 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 should research while performing your due diligence before choosing, and especially paying for, your truck driving training.

Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Not many truck driver schools in the Williamsport PA area are accredited because of the demanding process and cost to the schools. However, certification is more commonplace 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. Potential students know that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will receive an ample amount of driving time. As an example, PTDI mandates 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 curriculum and training will satisfy the very high standards set by PTDI.

How Long in Business? One indicator to help determine the quality of a truck driver school is how long it has been in business. A negatively ranked or a fly by night school usually will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. On the other hand, even the best of Williamsport PA schools had to start from their opening day of training, so use it as one of several qualifications. You can also learn what the school’s track record is relating to successful licensing and job placement of its graduates. If a school won’t share those stats, look elsewhere. The schools should also have relationships with local and national trucking companies. Having a large number of contacts not only confirms a superior reputation within the trade, but also bolsters their job assistance program for graduates. It also wouldn’t hurt to contact the Pennsylvania licensing department to make sure that the CDL trucking schools you are reviewing are in good standing.

How Effective is the Training? At a minimum, the schools should be licensed in Pennsylvania and employ teachers that are trained and experienced. We will discuss more about the teachers in the next segment. Also, the student to instructor ratio should be no higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be getting the personal 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 train you to drive trucks in a relatively short time period. Learning to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully requires time. The majority of Williamsport PA schools provide training courses that run from 3 weeks to as long as 2 months, based on the license class or type of vehicle.

How Experienced are the Instructors? As already mentioned, it’s important that the teachers are trained to teach driving methods and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Even though a number of states have minimum driving time criteria to be certified as an instructor, the more successful driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also important that the instructors keep current with industry advancements or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Evaluating instructors might be a little more subjective than other criteria, and possibly the best approach is to pay a visit to the school and talk to the teachers in person. You can also speak with a few of the students completing the training and find out if they are satisfied with the level of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.

How Much Driving Time? Most importantly, a good truck driver school will furnish plenty 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 operating a truck. While the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are important training tools, they are no substitute for real driving. The more training that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will be. And even though driving time fluctuates between schools, a good standard is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish no less than 44 hours of driving time. Contact the Williamsport PA schools you are researching and find out how much driving time they furnish.

Are they Independent or Captive ? It’s possible to obtain discounted or even free training from a number of trucking schools if you enter into an agreement to drive for a specific carrier for a defined amount of time. This is referred to as contract training, and the schools that offer 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 be a driver wherever you choose. 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 receive affordable training. Just remember to find out if the Williamsport PA schools you are considering are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.

Is there Onsite CDL Testing? There are a number of states that will permit 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driver schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is permitted in Pennsylvania, find out if the schools you are reviewing are DMV certified to provide it. One advantage is that it is more accommodating than competing with graduates of other schools for test times at Pennsylvania testing centers. It is moreover an indicator that the DMV believes the approved schools to be of a higher quality.

Are the Classes Accessible? As previously mentioned, CDL training is only about 1 to 2 months in length. With such a short term, it’s important that the Williamsport PA school you enroll in 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 spend more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still holding a job while attending training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other responsibilities.

Is Job Assistance Provided? The moment you have obtained your CDL license after graduating from trucking school, you will be eager to start your new career. Verify that the schools you are considering have job assistance programs. Ask what their job placement percentage is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, ask which local and national trucking companies their graduates are referred to for employment. If a school has a lower job placement rate or few Williamsport PA employers hiring their graduates, it might be a clue to look elsewhere.

Is Financial Aid Given? Truck driver schools are similar to colleges and other Williamsport PA area vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being available. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have a financial assistance department, or at least someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that need to be submitted.

Thinking of a Truck Drivier School near Williamsport PA?

If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Williamsport Pennsylvania area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.

Williamsport, Pennsylvania

Williamsport is a city in, and the county seat of, Lycoming County, Pennsylvania, United States.[6] In 2016, the population was estimated at 28,834. It is the principal city of the Williamsport, Pennsylvania Metropolitan Statistical Area, which has a population of about 117,000.

The city is the cultural, financial, and commercial center of Central Pennsylvania. It is 131 miles (211 km) from Philadelphia, 166 miles (267 km) from Pittsburgh and 85 miles (137 km) from state capital Harrisburg. The city is renowned for its sports, arts scene and food.

Williamsport was settled by Americans late in the 18th century, and the town began to prosper due to its lumber industry. By the early 20th century, the town reached the height of its prosperity and the population has since declined by about a third from its peak of around 45,000 in 1950.

How To Get a Class A Drivers License Williamsport PA

Williamsport PA long haul truckPicking the ideal truck driver school is an essential first step to beginning your new profession as a local or long distance truck driver. The skills taught at school will be those that mold a new career behind the wheel. There are several options available and understanding them is vital to a new driver’s success.  You originally came to our website because of your interest in How To Get a Class A Drivers License.  However, you must receive the appropriate training in order to drive a big commercial vehicle in a safe and professional manner. If you are lacking funds or financing, you might want to look into a captive school. You will pay a reduced or in some cases no tuition in exchange for driving for their contracted carrier. Or you can choose an independent trucking school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking company of your choice, or one of many associated with the school. It’s your choice. But no matter how you get your training, you will in the near future be joining a profession that helps America move as a professional truck driver in Williamsport PA.

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