How to Select the Right Truck Driver School near Townsend Tennessee
Congratulations on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a trucking school near Townsend TN. Perhaps it has always been your goal to hit the open highway while driving a huge tractor trailer. Or maybe you have done some analysis and have found that a career as a truck driver provides good income and flexible job opportunities. No matter what your reason is, it’s essential to get the appropriate training by selecting the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are various variables that you’ll need to consider prior to making your ultimate choice. Location will undoubtedly be an issue, especially if you have to commute from your Townsend residence. The cost will also be important, but picking a school based solely on price is not the best method to make certain you’ll receive the appropriate training. Don’t forget, your objective is to learn the skills and knowledge that will allow you to pass the CDL examinations and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that objective in mind, just how do you decide on a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to address in the remainder of this article. But first, we are going to talk a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will eventually need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Should You Get?
To operate commercial vehicles legally within the USA and Townsend TN, a driver needs to attain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 license classes that one can apply 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 address Class A and Class B licenses. What differentiates each class of CDL is the type of vehicle that the driver can operate in addition to the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Following are brief explanations of the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License is required to operate any vehicle that has a GCWR of greater than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of more 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 required to operate single vehicles having a GVWR of more than 26,000 lbs., or a GCWR of more 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 require endorsements to operate certain types of vehicles, such as school or passenger buses. And a Class A license holder, with the appropriate required endorsements, may drive any vehicle that a Class B licensee is authorized to drive.
How to Research a CDL School
After you have decided which Commercial Drivers License you wish to obtain, you can start the process of researching the Townsend TN truck driver schools that you are considering. 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 sole concerns. Other variables, for example the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are similarly if not more important. So below are several additional things that you should research while conducting your due diligence prior to enrolling in, and especially paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Not many truck driver schools in the Townsend TN area are accredited due to the demanding process and expense to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more commonplace and is provided by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not obligated to become certified, but there are several advantages. Prospective students recognize that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will receive plenty of driving time. For example, PTDI requires 44 hours of actual 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 benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One indicator to help assess the quality of a truck driver school is how long it has been in operation. A poorly reviewed or a fly by night school usually will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. Having said that, even the top Townsend TN schools had to begin from their first day of training, so use it as one of multiple qualifications. You can also ask what the school’s track record is pertaining to successful licensing and job placement of its graduating students. If a school won’t share those stats, look elsewhere. The schools should additionally have associations with regional and national trucking companies. Having a large number of contacts not only points to a quality reputation within the trade, but also boosts their job placement program for students. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to contact the Tennessee licensing department to confirm that the CDL trucking schools you are reviewing are in good standing.
How Good is the Training? At a minimum, the schools must be licensed in Tennessee and hire teachers that are trained and experienced. We will talk more about the instructors in the next 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 obtaining the individual instruction they will need. This is particularly true concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And watch out for any school that insists it can teach you to drive trucks in a comparatively short period of time. Training to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer professionally takes time. The majority of Townsend TN schools provide training courses that range from three weeks to as long as 2 months, based on the license class or kind of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Trainers? As already mentioned, it’s important that the instructors are trained to teach driving techniques and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Even though several states have minimum driving time prerequisites to qualify as a teacher, the more professional driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also important that the instructors keep up to date with industry developments or any new laws or changes in regulations. Evaluating instructors might be a little more intuitive than other criteria, and perhaps the best approach is to check out the school and speak with the teachers face to face. You can also speak with a few of the students completing the training and find out if they are satisfied with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Sufficient Driving Time? Above all else, an excellent trucking school will provide ample 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. Although the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are important training tools, they are no replacement for real driving. The more training that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will be. And even though driving time differs among schools, a good benchmark is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide no less than 44 hours of driving time. Get in touch with the Townsend TN schools you are considering and find out how much driving time they provide.
Are they Independent or Captive ? You can get free or discounted training from a number of trucking schools if you enter into an agreement to drive for a specified carrier for a defined amount of time. This is referred to as contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So rather than having affiliations with many different trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only refer to one company. The tradeoff is receiving free or less expensive training by surrendering the freedom to initially be a driver wherever you have an opportunity. Naturally contract training has the potential to restrict your income opportunities when beginning your new career. But for many it may be the best way to receive affordable training. Just remember to find out if the Townsend TN schools you are contemplating are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Provide Onsite CDL Testing? There are some states that will allow 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its students. If onsite testing is available in Tennessee, ask if the schools you are reviewing are DMV certified to provide it. One advantage is that it is more convenient than competing with graduates of competing schools for test times at Tennessee testing centers. It is also an indicator that the DMV believes the authorized schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Classes Flexible? As earlier noted, truck driver training is just one to two months long. With such a short term, it’s important that the Townsend TN school you choose 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 devote more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still employed while attending training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other commitments.
Is Job Placement Offered? The moment you have acquired your commercial driver’s license after graduating from trucking school, you will be keen to start your new career. Verify that the schools you are looking at have job placement programs. Ask what their job placement percentage is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, ask which national and local trucking firms their graduates are referred to for hiring. If a school has a lower job placement rate or not many Townsend TN employers recruiting their graduates, it might be a sign to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Truck driving schools are comparable to colleges and other Townsend TN area vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being offered. Ask if the schools you are assessing have a financial assistance department, or at least someone who can help you get through the options and forms that need to be completed.
Thinking of a Truck Drivier School near Townsend TN?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Townsend Tennessee area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Townsend is a city in Blount County, Tennessee, in the southeastern United States. The population was 244 at the 2000 census and 448 at the 2010 census. For thousands of years a site of Native American occupation by varying cultures, Townsend is one of three "gateways" to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It has several museums and attractions relating to the natural and human history of the Great Smokies.
Identifying as "The Peaceful Side of the Smokies," Townsend has the least traffic of the three main entrances to the national park. The park's other two entrances— one just south of Gatlinburg, Tennessee, and the other just north of Cherokee, North Carolina— are home to multiple commercial attractions that draw millions of tourists annually. Townsend is low-key, with a handful of inexpensive restaurants and motels and several businesses geared toward outdoor sports, and a world-renowned horse show.
Native Americans were the first inhabitants of Tuckaleechee Cove on the Little River; the oldest archaeological finds in the cove date to 2000 B.C. A number of pottery fragments and ax heads dating to the Woodland period have also been found. By 1200 A.D., Tuckaleechee's Native American inhabitants had built a fortified village near the cove's northern entrance.
CDL Driving School Cost Townsend TN
Selecting the right trucking school is a critical first step to beginning your new vocation 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 available 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 Cost. However, you must get the proper training in order to drive a large commercial vehicle in a safe and professional fashion. If you are lacking cash or financing, you may want to think about a captive school. You will pay a reduced or even no tuition by agreeing to drive for their contracted carrier. Or you can choose an independent trucking school and have the the freedom to drive 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 soon be entering a profession that helps America move as a professional trucker in Townsend TN.
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