How to Find a Truck Driver School near Romeoville Illinois
Congrats on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a trucking school near Romeoville IL. Maybe it has always been your fantasy to hit the open road while driving a monster tractor trailer. Or possibly you have done some research and have discovered that an occupation as a truck driver provides good wages and flexible work opportunities. No matter what your reason is, it’s important to get the proper training by choosing the right CDL school in your area. When evaluating your options, there are various variables that you’ll need to consider before making your final choice. Location will no doubt be important, especially if you have to commute from your Romeoville home. The expense will also be of importance, but selecting a school based solely on price is not the optimal means to guarantee you’ll get the right education. Don’t forget, your goal is to learn the knowledge and skills that will enable you to pass the CDL exams and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that target in mind, just how do you pick a truck driving school? That 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 CDL license you will ultimately need.
Which CDL Will You Require?
To drive commercial vehicles legally in Illinois and within the USA, an operator needs to obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 license classes that a person can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the topic of this article is how to choose a truck driving school near Romeoville IL, we will highlight Class A and Class B licenses. What differentiates each class of CDL is the kind of vehicle that the driver can operate together with the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Below are short explanations for the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is needed to operate any vehicle that has a GCWR of greater than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of greater than 10,000 lbs. A few 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 greater than 26,000 lbs. including a towed vehicle weighing up to 10,000 lbs. A few 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 need endorsements to operate certain types of vehicles, such as 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 qualified to drive.
How to Research a Truck Driver School
Once you have decided which Commercial Drivers License you wish to pursue, you can start the undertaking of evaluating the Romeoville IL truck driving schools that you are looking at. As already mentioned, cost and location will certainly be your primary considerations. But it can’t be stressed enough that they must not be your sole considerations. Other issues, for example the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are equally or even more important. So following are some additional things that you need to research while carrying out your due diligence prior to choosing, and especially paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Not many Romeoville IL truck driver schools are accredited because of the demanding process and cost to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more prevalent and is offered by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not obligated to become certified, but there are a number of advantages. Prospective students know that the training will be of the highest caliber, and that they will get lots of driving time. For example, PTDI calls for 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 benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One clue to help measure the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in operation. 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 best of Romeoville IL schools had to start from their opening day of training, so use it as one of multiple qualifications. You can also find out what the school’s history is concerning successful licensing and employment of its graduates. If a school won’t supply those numbers, search elsewhere. The schools should additionally have relationships with regional and national trucking firms. Having numerous contacts not only confirms a superior reputation within the profession, but also boosts their job placement program for graduates. It also wouldn’t hurt to contact the Illinois licensing authority to confirm that the CDL trucker schools you are reviewing are in compliance.
How Good is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools should be licensed in Illinois and hire teachers that are trained and experienced. We will discuss more about the instructors in the following segment. In addition, the student to instructor proportion should not be higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be getting 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 teach you to be a truck driver in a comparatively short time frame. Training to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer professionally requires time. The majority of Romeoville IL schools offer training programs that range from 3 weeks to as long as two months, depending on the license class or type of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Teachers? As previously stated, it’s important 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 be certified as a teacher, the more successful driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also crucial that the instructors stay up to date with industry advancements or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Assessing teachers may be a bit more intuitive than other criteria, and perhaps the ideal method is to pay a visit to the Romeoville IL school and talk to the instructors face to face. You can also speak with a few of the students completing the training and ask if they are satisfied with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
Plenty of Driving Time? Above all else, a great truck driver 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 necessary training tools, they are no replacement for real driving. The more instruction that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will become. 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 no less than 44 hours of driving time. Get in touch with the Romeoville IL schools you are considering 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 Romeoville IL truck driving schools if you enter into an agreement to be a driver for a specific carrier for a defined period of time. This is what’s known as contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So rather than maintaining relationships with numerous trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only refer to one company. The benefit is receiving free or less expensive training by giving up the freedom to initially be a driver wherever you choose. Obviously contract training has the potential to limit your income prospects when starting out. But for many it may be the best way to obtain affordable training. Just be sure to inquire if the schools you are considering are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Offer CDL Testing Onsite? There are several states that will allow 3rd party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its grads. If onsite testing is available in Illinois, ask if the Romeoville IL schools you are reviewing are DMV certified to provide it. One benefit is that it is more convenient than contending with graduates from competing schools for test times at Illinois testing facilities. It is also an indicator that the DMV deems the authorized schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Classes Convenient? As formerly noted, truck driving training is just one to two months in length. With such a brief term, it’s imperative that the Romeoville IL school you enroll in provides flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. For example, if you’re having a hard time learning a certain driving maneuver, then the teacher should be prepared to spend more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still holding a job while attending training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other obligations.
Is Job Placement Offered? The moment you have attained your CDL license after graduating from trucking school, you will be anxious to start your new career in Romeoville IL. Verify that the schools you are contemplating have job assistance programs. Find out what their job placement rate is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, find out which national and local trucking firms their graduates are placed with for employment. If a school has a lower job placement rate or few employers recruiting their grads, it might be a clue to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Available? Truck driver schools are comparable to colleges and other 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 aid department, or at least someone who can help you get through the options and forms that need to be completed in Romeoville IL.
Why Did You Decide to Be a Tractor Trailer Operator?When preparing to interview for a Trucking position, it's a good idea to reflect on questions you could be asked. One of the questions that interviewers frequently ask truck driving prospects is "What made you pick trucking as a career?". What the interviewer is trying to uncover is not just the personal reasons you may have for becoming a trucking operator, but additionally what characteristics and skills you possess that make you good at your profession. You will likely be asked questions relating specifically to trucking, along with a certain number of typical interview questions, so you should organize some ideas about how you would like to address them. Considering there are numerous variables that go into selecting a career, you can address this primary question in a number of ways. When formulating an answer, try to include the reasons the profession interests you as well as the talents you possess that make you an exceptional truck driver and the best choice for the position. Don't attempt to memorize an answer, but write down a few ideas and anecdotes that pertain to your own strengths and experiences. Reading through sample responses can help you to develop your own concepts, and inspire ideas of what to include to impress the interviewer.
Pick the Best Truck Driver School Romeoville IL
Choosing the right truck driver school is an essential first step to beginning your new occupation as a local or long distance truck driver. The skill sets that you will learn at school will be those that shape a new career behind the wheel. There are several options offered and understanding them is vital to a new driver’s success. But first and foremost, you must get the necessary training in order to drive a large commercial vehicle in a professional and safe fashion. If you are short on funds 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 choose an independent school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking company of your choosing, or one of many associated with the school. It’s your choice. But regardless of how you obtain your training, you will in the near future be part of an industry that helps our country move as a professional trucker in Romeoville IL.
A Bit About Romeoville Illinois
Romeoville is a village in Will County, Illinois, United States. The village is located 26 miles (42 km) southwest of Chicago and is a Chicago Suburb. The population was 39,680 at the 2010 census. It is located in the southwest suburban area of Chicago near the newly constructed I-355 extension south from the Stevenson Expressway (I-55) to I-80. It is the state's 19th largest village.
Romeoville is located at 41°38′26″N 88°6′10″W / 41.64056°N 88.10278°W / 41.64056; -88.10278 (41.640480, -88.102907).
According to the 2010 census, Romeoville has a total area of 18.759 square miles (48.59 km2), of which 18.44 square miles (47.76 km2) (or 98.3%) is land and 0.319 square miles (0.83 km2) (or 1.7%) is water.
Romeoville has a National Weather Service forecast office there, although bulletins issued by said office begin, "The National Weather Service in Chicago..."
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