How to Enroll in the Right CDL Driving School near Summersville West Virginia
Congratulations on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a truck driving school near Summersville WV. Maybe it has always been your fantasy to hit the open highway while driving a huge tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have conducted some analysis and have discovered that an occupation as a truck driver offers excellent pay and flexible job prospects. No matter what your reason is, it’s important to obtain the appropriate training by choosing the right CDL school in your area. When evaluating your options, there are a number of variables that you’ll want to examine before making your ultimate selection. Location will certainly be important, especially if you have to commute from your Summersville residence. The expense will also be of importance, but selecting a school based only on price is not the optimal means to make sure 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 professional truck driver. So keeping that goal in mind, just how do you pick a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to address in the balance of this article. But first, we are going to discuss a little bit about which CDL license you will eventually need.
Which CDL Will You Require?
To operate commercial vehicles legally within the United States and Summersville WV, a driver needs to obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three license classes that a driver can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the subject of this article is how to select a truck driving school, we will highlight Class A and B licenses. What differentiates each class of CDL is the kind 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 descriptions of the two 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 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 needed to drive single vehicles having a GVWR of greater than 26,000 lbs., or a GCWR of more 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 Commercial Drivers Licenses might also need endorsements to operate certain types of vehicles, such as school or passenger buses. And a Class A license holder, with the proper required endorsements, can drive any vehicle that a Class B licensee is qualified to drive.
How to Evaluate a Trucking School
Once you have determined which Commercial Drivers License you want to obtain, you can start the undertaking of evaluating the Summersville WV trucking schools that you are considering. As already discussed, location and cost will certainly be your initial concerns. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they must not be your sole concerns. Other issues, such as the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are similarly or even more important. So below are some additional factors that you should research while conducting your due diligence before selecting, and particularly paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Very few trucking schools in the Summersville WV area are accredited due to the stringent process and cost to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more commonplace and is offered 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 caliber, and that they will get 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 curriculum and training will comply with the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One clue to help assess the quality of a truck driver school is how long it has been in business. A negatively ranked or a fly by night school typically will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. On the other hand, even the best of Summersville WV 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 history is regarding successful licensing and employment of its graduating students. If a school won’t share those numbers, look elsewhere. The schools should also maintain associations with regional and national trucking firms. Having numerous contacts not only points to a superior reputation within the profession, but also boosts their job placement program for students. It also wouldn’t hurt to get in touch with the West Virginia licensing department to make sure that the CDL trucking schools you are researching are in good standing.
How Effective is the Training? At a minimum, the schools should be licensed in West Virginia and employ instructors that are trained and experienced. We will talk more about the instructors in the following segment. Also, the student to instructor proportion should be no higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be getting the personal 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 teach you to be a truck driver in a relatively short period of time. Learning to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer professionally requires time. Most Summersville WV schools offer training programs that run from three weeks to as long as two months, depending on the class of license or kind of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Trainers? As already mentioned, it’s imperative that the teachers are qualified to teach driving methods and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Even though a number of states have minimum driving time requirements to qualify as an instructor, the more successful driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also vital that the instructors keep up to date with industry advancements or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Assessing teachers might be a bit more intuitive than other standards, and perhaps the best method is to visit the school and speak with the teachers in person. You can also speak with a few of the students completing the training and find out if they are happy with the level of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Plenty of Driving Time? Most importantly, a good 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 driving a truck. Although the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are essential training tools, they are no substitute for real driving. The more instruction that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will be. And even though driving time differs between schools, a reasonable standard is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide at least 44 hours of driving time. Contact the Summersville WV schools you are looking at and ask how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Captive or Independent ? It’s possible to get discounted or even free training from certain truck driver schools if you enter into an agreement to drive for a specific carrier for a defined amount of time. This is called contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So instead of having associations with numerous trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only refer to one company. The benefit is receiving less expensive or even free training by surrendering the freedom to initially be a driver wherever you have an opportunity. Clearly contract training has the potential to limit your income prospects when starting out. But for some it may be the ideal way to get affordable training. Just remember to find out if the Summersville WV schools you are looking at are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Provide CDL Testing Onsite? There are a number of states that will allow 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its grads. If onsite testing is allowed in West Virginia, find out if the schools you are looking at are DMV certified to provide it. One benefit is that it is more convenient than battling with graduates of competing schools for test times at West Virginia testing facilities. It is moreover an indicator that the DMV regards the approved schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Class Times Convenient? As previously noted, truck driver training is just 1 to 2 months in length. With such a short term, it’s imperative that the Summersville WV school you select offers 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 teacher should be willing to dedicate 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 accommodate working hours or other commitments.
Is Job Placement Provided? The moment you have attained your CDL license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be keen to start your new career. Make sure that the schools you are considering have job placement programs. Ask what their job placement rate is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, find out which national and local trucking companies their graduates are referred to for hiring. If a school has a poor job placement rate or not many Summersville WV employers recruiting their graduates, it might be a clue to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Trucking schools are comparable to colleges and other Summersville WV area technical or vocational schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being offered. Ask if the schools you are examining have a financial assistance department, or at least someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that must be submitted.
Thinking of a Truck Drivier School near Summersville WV?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Summersville West Virginia area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Summersville, West Virginia
Summersville is located at 38°17′0″N 80°50′39″W / 38.28333°N 80.84417°W / 38.28333; -80.84417 (38.283342, -80.844207). It is located just north of the Gauley River which is famous for its challenging whitewater. The river is impounded by a large dam which creates Summersville Lake, creating flatwater recreation as well.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 4.26 square miles (11.03 km2), of which, 4.22 square miles (10.93 km2) is land and 0.04 square miles (0.10 km2) is water.
The climate in this area has mild differences between highs and lows, and there is adequate rainfall year-round. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Summersville has a marine west coast climate, abbreviated "Cfb" on climate maps.
CDL A Class Summersville WV
Selecting the ideal truck driver school is an essential first step to launching 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 many options available 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 CDL A Class. But first and foremost, you must receive the appropriate training in order to drive a large commercial vehicle in a professional and safe manner. If you are lacking cash or financing, you may need to look into a captive school. You will pay a lower or even no tuition in exchange for driving for their contracted carrier. Or you can enroll in an independent trucker 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 decision. But regardless of how you obtain your training, you will in the near future be joining an industry that helps America move as a professional truck driver in Summersville WV.
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