How to Choose a CDL Training School near Riverside Illinois
Congrats on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a trucking school near Riverside IL. Maybe it has always been your dream to hit the open road while operating a big ole tractor trailer. Or possibly you have conducted some research and have found that an occupation as a truck driver provides excellent income and flexible work prospects. No matter what your reason is, it’s essential to obtain the appropriate training by selecting the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are a number of factors that you’ll need to think about before making your ultimate selection. Location will certainly be important, particularly if you need to commute from your Riverside residence. The expense will also be important, but selecting a school based exclusively on price is not the ideal method to make certain you’ll receive the right education. Don’t forget, your objective is to learn the skills and knowledge that will allow you to pass the CDL exams and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that purpose 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 commercial driver’s license you will ultimately need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Will You Need?
In order to operate commercial vehicles lawfully in Illinois and within the USA, a driver must obtain 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 driving school near Riverside IL, 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 as well as the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Following are brief explanations for 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. Several 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 needed to drive 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. 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 Commercial Drivers Licenses might also require endorsements to drive specific kinds of vehicles, for instance passenger or school buses. And a Class A license holder, with the appropriate required endorsements, can operate any vehicle that a Class B license holder is authorized to operate.
How to Evaluate a CDL School
After you have decided which Commercial Drivers License you wish to pursue, you can begin the undertaking of assessing the Riverside IL truck driver schools that you are considering. As already discussed, location and cost will no doubt be your initial concerns. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they should not be your only considerations. Other issues, such as the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are equally or even more important. So following are several additional factors that you should research while conducting your due diligence before choosing, and particularly paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Not many Riverside IL trucking schools are accredited because of the rigorous process and expense to the schools. However, certification is more prevalent and is provided by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not obligated to become certified, but there are several advantages. Interested students know that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will be given 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 curriculum and training will fulfill the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One clue to help assess the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in operation. A poorly ranked or a fly by night school typically will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. Having said that, even the best of Riverside IL schools had to begin from their opening day of training, so use it as one of several qualifications. You can also find out what the school’s track record is concerning successful licensing and job placement of its graduating students. If a school won’t provide those stats, look elsewhere. The schools should also maintain relationships with local and national trucking companies. Having numerous contacts not only confirms an excellent reputation within the trade, but also boosts their job assistance program for graduates. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to check with the Illinois licensing authority to make sure that the CDL trucking schools you are researching are in compliance.
How Effective is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools must be licensed in Illinois and employ instructors that are experienced and trained. We will discuss more about the instructors in the next section. Also, the student to instructor proportion should not be higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be receiving the individual instruction 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 insists it can teach you to be a truck driver in a relatively short time frame. Learning to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully requires time. Most Riverside IL schools provide 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 Teachers? As previously mentioned, it’s imperative that the teachers are qualified to teach driving methods and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Even though several states have minimum driving time prerequisites to qualify as a teacher, the more professional driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also vital that the teachers stay up to date with industry advancements or any new laws or changes in regulations. Evaluating teachers may be a bit more intuitive than other criteria, and perhaps the ideal method is to pay a visit to the Riverside IL school and talk to the teachers face to face. You can also speak with a few of the students completing the training and ask if they are happy with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
Sufficient Driving Time? Above all else, a great truck driving school will provide sufficient driving time to its students. After all, 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 essential training methods, they are no alternative for actual driving. The more training that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will become. And even though driving time fluctuates among schools, a good benchmark is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Contact the Riverside IL schools you are looking at and find out how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Independent or Captive ? You can get free or discounted training from some Riverside IL trucking schools if you make a commitment to be a driver for a specified carrier for a defined amount of time. This is what’s known as contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So rather than maintaining relationships with a wide range of 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 surrendering the flexibility to initially work wherever you choose. Clearly contract training has the potential to restrict your income opportunities when starting out. But for some it may be the ideal way to obtain affordable training. Just be sure to inquire if the schools you are considering are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Provide Onsite CDL Testing? There are a number of states that will permit third party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its grads. If onsite testing is permitted in Illinois, ask if the Riverside IL schools you are reviewing are DMV certified to offer it. One benefit is that it is more accommodating than battling with graduates of competing schools for test times at Illinois testing locations. It is also an indication that the DMV regards the approved schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Classes Accessible? As formerly mentioned, truck driving training is only about one to two months in length. With such a short term, it’s essential that the Riverside IL school you select offers flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. For example, if you’re having difficulty learning a particular driving maneuver, then the instructor should be willing to dedicate more time with you until you are proficient. 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 Provided? As soon as you have obtained your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be impatient to begin your new profession in Riverside IL. Confirm that the schools you are considering have job placement programs. Find out 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 placed with for hiring. If a school has a low job placement rate or few employers recruiting their graduates, it may be a sign to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Trucking schools are comparable to colleges and other vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being available. Find out if the schools you are assessing have a financial assistance department, or at a minimum someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that must be submitted in Riverside IL.
Why Did You Choose to Be a Truck Driver?When getting ready to interview for a Trucking job, it's a good idea to reflect on questions you could be asked. One of the things that interviewers typically ask truck driving prospects is "What compelled you to decide on trucking as a profession?". What the interviewer is attempting to uncover is not just the personal reasons you might have for being a truck driver, but additionally what attributes and talents you possess that make you exceptional at your profession. You will likely be asked questions relating exclusively to trucking, as well as a significant number of routine interview questions, so you must ready several approaches about how you would like to respond to them. Since there are several factors that go into choosing a career, you can address this fundamental question in a variety of ways. When preparing an answer, try to include the reasons the profession appeals to you as well as the strengths you possess that make you an outstanding truck driver and the ideal choice for the position. Don't try to memorize an answer, but write down several ideas and anecdotes that pertain to your own strengths and experiences. Reading through sample answers can help you to prepare your own thoughts, and give you ideas of what to include to impress the recruiter.
Pick the Ideal CDL School Riverside IL
Picking the ideal truck driver school is a critical first step to launching your new vocation as a local or long distance truck driver. The skills that you will learn at school will be those that shape a new career behind the wheel. There are a number of options offered and understanding them is critical if you are going to succeed as an operator. Most importantly, you must receive the appropriate training in order to drive a large commercial vehicle in a professional and safe manner. If you are short on money or financing, you might need to think about a captive school. You will pay a lower or in some cases no tuition by agreeing to drive for their contracted carrier. Or you can choose an independent school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking company of your choice, or one of several affiliated with the school. It’s your choice. But regardless of how you receive your training, you will in the near future be part of a profession that helps America move as a professional truck driver in Riverside IL.
A Bit About Riverside Illinois
North Riverside, Illinois
North Riverside is a village in Cook County, Illinois, United States. As of the 2010 census, it had a population of 6,672.
North Riverside is located at 41°50′46″N 87°49′47″W / 41.84611°N 87.82972°W / 41.84611; -87.82972 (41.846222, -87.829585).
According to the 2010 census, North Riverside has a total area of 1.64 square miles (4.25 km2), all land.
As of the 2010 census, there were 6,672 people, 2,827 households, and 1,746 families living in the village. The population density was 4,068.3 people per square mile (1,588.6/km²). There were 2,981 housing units at an average density of 1,817.7 per square mile (709.8/km²). The racial makeup of the village was 81.2% White, 6.5% African American, 0.1% Native American, 2.1% Asian, 8.1% some other race, and 1.9% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 23.8% of the population.
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