How to Pick the Right Trucker School near Spencer West Virginia
Congratulations on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a trucking school near Spencer WV. Perhaps it has always been your fantasy to hit the open highway while operating a huge tractor trailer. Or maybe you have done some analysis and have found that an occupation as a truck driver offers excellent income and flexible job prospects. Whatever your reason is, it’s imperative to get the appropriate 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 choice. Location will no doubt be an issue, especially if you need to commute from your Spencer residence. The cost will also be of importance, but picking a school based entirely on price is not the optimal means to guarantee you’ll obtain the right training. 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 goal in mind, just how do you select a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to discuss 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 Commercial Drivers License Should You Get?
To operate commercial vehicles legally within the United States and Spencer WV, a driver must get 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. Since the topic of this article is how to choose 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 together with 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 CDL is needed to drive 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 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. 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 may also require endorsements to drive specific types of vehicles, including 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 authorized to drive.
How to Research a Trucking School
When you have decided which Commercial Drivers License you wish to obtain, you can begin the undertaking of evaluating the Spencer WV trucking schools that you are considering. As already mentioned, location and cost will undoubtedly be your initial considerations. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they should not be your only considerations. Other issues, for example the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are similarly if not more important. So below are several more things that you should research while carrying out your due diligence before choosing, and especially paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Very few truck driver schools in the Spencer WV area are accredited due to the demanding 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. Interested students recognize that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will be given an ample amount of driving time. As an example, PTDI mandates 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 training and curriculum will comply with the very high standards 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 business. A poorly ranked or a fly by night school normally will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the top Spencer WV schools had to begin from their first day of training, so consider it as one of multiple qualifications. You can also find out what the school’s track record is pertaining to successful licensing and employment of its graduates. If a school won’t supply those numbers, search elsewhere. The schools should additionally have relationships with local and national trucking firms. Having numerous contacts not only confirms a quality reputation within the profession, but also boosts their job assistance program for students. It also wouldn’t hurt to check with the West Virginia licensing authority to verify that the CDL trucking schools you are reviewing are in good standing.
How Effective is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools must be licensed in West Virginia and employ teachers that are experienced and trained. We will cover more about the instructors in the next section. In addition, the student to instructor proportion should be no greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be receiving the personalized attention they will need. This is especially true regarding the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And watch out for any school that professes it can teach you to be a truck driver in a relatively short time period. Training to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully requires time. The majority of Spencer WV schools provide training programs that range from three weeks to as long as two months, depending on the class of license or type of vehicle.
How Good are the Instructors? As earlier stated, it’s imperative that the teachers are qualified to teach driving techniques and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Although a number of states have minimum driving time prerequisites to be certified as an instructor, the more successful driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also important that the instructors keep current with industry developments or any new laws or changes in regulations. Assessing instructors may be a bit more subjective than other standards, and possibly the best approach is to visit the school and talk to the teachers in person. You can also talk to a few of the students completing the training and ask if they are satisfied with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Plenty of Driving Time? Most importantly, a great trucking school will provide ample driving time to its students. After all, isn’t that what it’s all about? Driving time is the real time spent behind the wheel operating a truck. While the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are essential training tools, they are no substitute 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 standard is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide no less than 44 hours of driving time. Check with the Spencer WV schools you are researching and find out how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Captive or Independent ? You can receive free or discounted training from certain truck driving schools if you make a commitment to drive for a specified carrier for a defined amount of time. This is referred to as 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 work with one company. The benefit is receiving less expensive or even free training by giving up the freedom to initially work wherever you choose. Obviously contract training has the potential to restrict your income opportunities when beginning your new career. But for many it may be the only way to get affordable training. Just be sure to find out if the Spencer WV schools you are considering are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Provide Onsite CDL Testing? There are some states that will permit third party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is available in West Virginia, find out if the schools you are considering are DMV certified to offer it. One advantage is that it is more convenient than competing with graduates of other schools for test times at West Virginia testing facilities. It is moreover an indicator that the DMV considers the authorized schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Classes Flexible? As formerly noted, truck driver training is just 1 to 2 months in length. With such a short duration, it’s important that the Spencer WV school you enroll in offers flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. For example, if you’re having difficulty learning a certain driving maneuver, then the teacher should be prepared 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 received your commercial driver’s license after graduating from trucking school, you will be anxious to start your new profession. Make sure that the schools you are contemplating have job assistance programs. Ask what their job placement percentage is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, ask which local and national trucking companies their graduates are referred to for employment. If a school has a low job placement rate or few Spencer WV employers recruiting their grads, it might be a clue to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Given? Trucking schools are similar to colleges and other Spencer WV area vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being available. Ask if the schools you are examining have a financial assistance 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 Spencer WV?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Spencer West Virginia area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Spencer, West Virginia
Spencer is a city in and the county seat of Roane County, West Virginia, United States. Originally known as "California," Spencer was chartered in 1858, and named after Spencer Roane (1762–1822), a distinguished jurist from Virginia, who served on the Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals, and for whom Roane county was named. The population was 2,322 at the 2010 census. Spencer is the home of the annual West Virginia Black Walnut Festival. Points of interest include Charles Fork Lake, Chrystal Water and Power Company-Spencer Water and Ice Company, the McIntosh Mansion, and the Robey Theatre.
The climate in this area is characterized by hot, humid summers and generally mild to cool winters. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Spencer has a humid subtropical climate, abbreviated "Cfa" on climate maps.
As of the census of 2010, there were 2,322 people, 1,005 households, and 578 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,842.9 inhabitants per square mile (711.5/km2). There were 1,180 housing units at an average density of 936.5 per square mile (361.6/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 97.5% White, 0.1% Native American, 0.3% Asian, 0.6% from other races, and 1.5% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.7% of the population.
Obtaining A CDL Spencer WV
Choosing the ideal truck driving school is an important first step to beginning your new vocation as a long distance or local truck driver. The skill sets taught at school will be those that mold a new career behind the wheel. There are many options offered and understanding them is critical to a new driver’s success. You originally came to our website because of your interest in Obtaining A CDL. But first and foremost, you must obtain the proper training in order to operate a big commercial vehicle in a safe and professional manner. If you are short on money or financing, you might want to think about 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 select an independent trucker school and have the option of driving for the trucking company of your choosing, or one of many affiliated with the school. It’s your decision. But regardless of how you receive your training, you will soon be entering a profession that helps America move as a professional truck driver in Spencer WV.
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