How to Enroll in the Right Trucking School near Trenton Tennessee
Congratulations on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a trucking school near Trenton TN. Maybe it has always been your dream to hit the open highway while driving a monster tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have conducted some research and have discovered that an occupation as a truck driver offers excellent pay and flexible work prospects. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s imperative to obtain the appropriate training by choosing the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are various variables that you’ll want to consider before making your final choice. Location will undoubtedly be important, especially if you need to commute from your Trenton home. The expense will also be of importance, but selecting a school based exclusively on price is not the optimal means to guarantee you’ll get the right training. Don’t forget, your goal is to master the skills and knowledge that will allow you to pass the CDL examinations and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that goal in mind, just how do you select a truck driving school? That is what we are going to discuss in the remainder of this article. But first, we are going to review a little bit about which CDL license you will eventually need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Will You Need?
To operate commercial vehicles lawfully within the United States and Trenton TN, an operator must get 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 choose a truck driver school, we will address Class A and B licenses. What differentiates 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 short descriptions of the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is required to drive any vehicle that has a GCWR of more than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of greater than 10,000 lbs. A few 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 CDL 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. 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 CDLs might also need endorsements to operate specific types of vehicles, for example school or passenger buses. And a Class A license holder, with the appropriate needed endorsements, may drive any vehicle that a Class B license holder is authorized to drive.
How to Assess a Truck Driving School
When you have decided which CDL you would like to obtain, you can begin the process of evaluating the Trenton TN truck driver schools that you are considering. As earlier discussed, 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 issues, including the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are equally or even more important. So below are a few additional factors that you should research while conducting your due diligence before selecting, and especially paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Very few trucking schools in the Trenton TN area are accredited due to the stringent 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 several advantages. Interested students recognize that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will receive plenty of driving time. As an example, PTDI calls for 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 training and curriculum will measure up to the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One indicator to help assess the quality of a trucking school is how long it has been in operation. A poorly ranked or a fly by night school normally will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the best of Trenton TN schools had to start from their opening day of training, so consider it as one of several qualifiers. You can also find out what the school’s track record is regarding successful licensing and job placement of its graduates. If a school won’t supply those stats, search elsewhere. The schools should also maintain associations with local and national trucking firms. Having a large number of contacts not only affirms an excellent reputation within the trade, but also boosts their job placement program for students. It also wouldn’t hurt to check with the Tennessee licensing department to make sure that the CDL trucker schools you are reviewing are in good standing.
How Effective is the Training? At a minimum, the schools should be licensed in Tennessee and employ instructors that are trained and experienced. We will talk more about the teachers in the following segment. In addition, the student to instructor proportion should be no higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be receiving the individual attention they will need. This is especially true concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And watch out for any school that insists it can train you to be a truck driver in a relatively short time period. Learning to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully requires time. The majority of Trenton TN schools offer training courses that run from 3 weeks to as long as 2 months, depending on the class of license or kind of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Instructors? As already mentioned, it’s essential that the instructors are qualified to teach driving techniques and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Although a number of states have minimum driving time requirements to be certified as a teacher, the more successful driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also important that the teachers stay current with industry advancements or any new laws or changes in regulations. Assessing teachers might be a little more intuitive than other standards, and possibly the best method is to pay a visit to the school and talk to the instructors face to face. You can also speak with some of the students completing the training and ask if they are happy with the level of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
How Much Driving Time? Most importantly, a great truck driver school will provide sufficient 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 essential training tools, they are no replacement for real driving. The more instruction that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will be. And even though driving time fluctuates 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 Trenton TN schools you are researching and ask how much driving time they provide.
Are they Independent or Captive ? It’s possible to receive free or discounted training from a number of trucking schools if you make a commitment to drive for a specified carrier for a defined time period. This is called contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So instead of having associations with many different trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only refer to one company. The tradeoff is receiving less expensive or even free training by surrendering the flexibility to initially work wherever you choose. Obviously contract training has the potential to restrict your income opportunities when beginning your new career. But for some it may be the only way to obtain affordable training. Just be sure to ask if the Trenton TN schools you are looking at are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Is there Onsite CDL Testing? There are several states that will permit 3rd party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its students. If onsite testing is allowed in Tennessee, ask if the schools you are looking at are DMV certified to offer it. One benefit is that it is more convenient than battling with graduates of competing schools for test times at Tennessee testing centers. It is moreover an indication that the DMV views the authorized schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Class Times Convenient? As formerly mentioned, truck driver training is just 1 to 2 months long. With such a brief term, it’s essential that the Trenton TN school you select provides flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. For example, if you’re having difficulty 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 employed while going to training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other responsibilities.
Is Job Assistance Provided? Once you have acquired your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be impatient to start your new career. Verify that the schools you are looking at have job placement programs. Find out what their job placement percentage is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, ask which national and local trucking firms their graduates are referred to for employment. If a school has a lower job placement rate or few Trenton TN employers hiring their grads, it may be a clue to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Truck driver schools are similar to colleges and other Trenton TN area trade or technical schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being offered. Find out if the schools you are evaluating have a financial assistance department, or at least someone who can help you get through the options and forms that need to be submitted.
Thinking of a Truck Drivier School near Trenton TN?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Trenton Tennessee area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Trenton is a city in Gibson County, Tennessee, United States. The population was 4,264 at the 2010 census, down from 4,683 in 2000. It is the county seat of Gibson County, and its third largest city.
Trenton was established in 1824 as a county seat for the newly-created Gibson County. The site was initially home to a trading post known as "Gibson-Port" that was operated by Thomas Gibson, a brother of the county's namesake, Colonel John Gibson. The city is named for Trenton, New Jersey.
Trenton is located in central Gibson County at 35°58′25″N 88°56′30″W / 35.97361°N 88.94167°W / 35.97361; -88.94167 (35.973627, −88.941569).U.S. Route 45W passes through the east side of the city, bypassing downtown. It leads north 33 miles (53 km) to Union City and south 30 miles (48 km) to Jackson. Milan is 12 miles (19 km) to the southeast via Tennessee State Route 77, Bradford is 10 miles (16 km) to the northeast via State Route 54, Alamo is 18 miles (29 km) to the southwest, also via State Route 54, and Dyersburg is 26 miles (42 km) to the west via State Route 104.
How To Get CDL Class A Trenton TN
Picking the right truck driving school is an important first step to launching your new profession as a long distance or local truck driver. The skill sets taught at school will be those that forge a new career behind the wheel. There are a number of options offered and understanding them is vital if you are going to succeed as an operator. You originally came to our website because of your interest in How To Get CDL Class A. But first and foremost, you must obtain the necessary training in order to operate a large commercial vehicle in a safe and professional fashion. If you are lacking cash or financing, you may want to consider a captive school. You will pay a reduced or even 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 many associated with the school. It’s your decision. But regardless of how you get your training, you will in the near future be entering an industry that helps our country move as a professional truck driver in Trenton TN.
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