How to Pick a Truck Driver School near Roodhouse Illinois
Congrats on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a CDL school near Roodhouse IL. Maybe it has always been your fantasy to hit the open highway while driving a big ole tractor trailer. Or possibly you have done some research and have discovered that a career as a truck driver provides excellent wages and flexible work opportunities. No matter what your reason is, it’s imperative to obtain the proper training by choosing the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are certain variables that you’ll want to consider before making your final choice. Location will certainly be important, particularly if you have to commute from your Roodhouse home. The expense will also be important, but choosing a school based solely on price is not the best method to ensure you’ll receive the right training. Don’t forget, your objective is to learn the knowledge and skills that will allow you to pass the CDL examinations and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that purpose in mind, just how do you choose a truck driving school? That is what we are going to address in the remainder of this article. But first, we are going to discuss 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, an operator needs to get a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 license classes that a driver can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the topic of this article is how to choose a truck driving school near Roodhouse IL, we will discuss Class A and B licenses. What distinguishes each class of CDL is the kind of vehicle that the driver can operate in addition to the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Below are short explanations for the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License is required to operate any vehicle that has a GCWR of more than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of more 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 CDL is required 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. 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 might also need endorsements to drive certain types of vehicles, for instance passenger or school buses. And a Class A license holder, with the appropriate required endorsements, may operate any vehicle that a Class B license holder is qualified to operate.
How to Research a Trucking School
After you have decided which Commercial Drivers License you would like to pursue, you can begin the undertaking of assessing the Roodhouse IL truck driving schools that you are looking at. As earlier mentioned, location and cost will undoubtedly be your primary considerations. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they must not be your sole considerations. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are equally or even more important. So following are several additional things that you need to 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 Roodhouse IL truck driving schools are accredited because of the demanding process and expense to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more common and is offered by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not required to become certified, but there are a number of advantages. Interested students know that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will receive plenty of driving time. As an example, PTDI requires 44 hours of real driving time, not ride-alongs or simulations. 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 standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One clue to help assess the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in operation. A negatively ranked or a fly by night school usually will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. On the other hand, even the top Roodhouse IL schools had to start from their opening day of training, so consider it as one of multiple qualifications. You can also learn what the school’s track record is pertaining to successful licensing and job placement of its graduating students. If a school won’t provide those numbers, look elsewhere. The schools should also have relationships with local and national trucking firms. Having a large number of contacts not only affirms a superior reputation within the trade, but also bolsters their job assistance program for graduates. It also wouldn’t hurt to check with the Illinois licensing authority to confirm that the CDL trucking schools you are reviewing are in good standing.
How Good is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools must be licensed in Illinois and employ instructors that are experienced and trained. We will cover more about the instructors in the following section. Also, the student to instructor proportion should be no greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be getting the individual attention they will need. This is particularly true concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And look out for any school that insists it can train you to be a truck driver in a comparatively short period of time. Learning to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully takes time. Most Roodhouse IL schools provide training programs that range from 3 weeks to as long as two months, based on the class of license or type of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Teachers? As earlier stated, it’s essential that the teachers are trained to teach driving methods and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Even though a number of states have minimum driving time criteria to qualify as an instructor, the more successful driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also important that the instructors keep current with industry advancements or any new laws or changes in regulations. Assessing teachers might be a little more intuitive than other criteria, and possibly the ideal approach is to check out the Roodhouse IL school and talk to the teachers face to face. You can also talk to some of the students going through the training and ask if they are happy with the level of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Plenty of Driving Time? Above all else, a good truck driving school will provide lots of 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 tools, they are no replacement for real driving. The more training that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will be. And even though driving time differs between schools, a reasonable benchmark is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Contact the Roodhouse IL schools you are looking at and find out how much driving time they provide.
Are they Independent or Captive ? You can get discounted or even free training from certain Roodhouse IL trucking schools if you enter into an agreement to drive for a specific carrier for a defined time period. 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 tradeoff is receiving free or less expensive training by surrendering the freedom to initially work wherever you choose. Naturally contract training has the potential to reduce your income opportunities when starting out. But for some it may be the only way to get affordable training. Just be sure to ask if the schools you are looking at are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Is there CDL Testing Onsite? There are a number of states that will allow third party CDL testing onsite of truck driver schools for its students. If onsite testing is available in Illinois, ask if the Roodhouse IL schools you are reviewing are DMV certified to offer it. One benefit is that it is more accommodating than battling with graduates from competing schools for test times at Illinois testing centers. It is also an indication that the DMV deems the authorized schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Classes Accessible? As earlier mentioned, truck driving training is only about 1 to 2 months in length. With such a short term, it’s important that the Roodhouse IL school you select provides flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. As an example, if you’re having a hard time learning a certain driving maneuver, then the instructor should be prepared to spend more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still employed while going to training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other obligations.
Is Job Placement Provided? As soon as you have attained your commercial driver’s license after graduating from trucking school, you will be impatient to begin your new career in Roodhouse IL. Verify that the schools you are reviewing have job assistance programs. Find out what their job placement ratio is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, ask 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 might be a clue to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? 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 offered. Find out if the schools you are evaluating have a financial aid department, or at a minimum someone who can help you understand the options and forms that must be submitted in Roodhouse IL.
Why Did You Want to Be a Truck Driver?When getting ready to interview for a Trucking position, it's helpful to reflect on questions you may be asked. Among the things that interviewers often ask truck driving candidates is "What drove you to pick trucking as a career?". What the interviewer is hoping to learn is not just the private reasons you may have for becoming a trucking operator, but also what characteristics and skills you possess that make you exceptional at your profession. You will undoubtedly be asked questions pertaining specifically to trucking, along with a significant number of routine interview questions, so you need to organize some approaches about how you want to respond to them. Given that there are so many factors that go into selecting a career, you can respond to this fundamental question in a multitude of ways. When readying an answer, try to include the reasons the profession appeals to you along with the talents you have that make you an excellent truck driver and the best candidate for the position. Don't attempt to memorize a response, but take down several ideas and talking points that pertain to your own strengths and experiences. Going over sample answers can help you to prepare your own concepts, and provide ideas of what to discuss to wow the interviewer.
Choose the Ideal CDL School Roodhouse IL
Picking the ideal trucking school is an essential first step to starting 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 critical if you are going to succeed as an operator. Most importantly, you must get the proper training in order to drive a big commercial vehicle in a safe and professional manner. If you are lacking funds or financing, you might want to think about a captive school. You will pay a reduced or in some cases no tuition by agreeing to drive for their contracted carrier. Or you can enroll in 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 get your training, you will in the near future be entering a profession that helps our country move as a professional truck driver in Roodhouse IL.
A Bit About Roodhouse Illinois
Roodhouse is a city in Greene County, Illinois, United States. The population was 1,814 at the 2010 census, down from 2,214 at the 2000 census.
Roodhouse is located in northern Greene County at 39°28′55″N 90°22′18″W / 39.48194°N 90.37167°W / 39.48194; -90.37167 (39.482004, -90.371780).U.S. Route 67 passes through the center of the city, leading north 22 miles (35 km) to Jacksonville and south 13 miles (21 km) to Carrollton, the Greene County seat.
According to the 2010 census, Roodhouse has a total area of 1.13 square miles (2.93 km2), all land.
Roodhouse was founded in the 1850s by John Roodhouse. The community was originally known as "The Crossroads" for its position on two major highways, though it was later renamed for its founder. In 1860, John Rawlins convinced the Chicago and Alton Railway to open a station in the community by promising to secure local funds for the depot and warehouse. The railway built its Louisiana branch from Roodhouse in 1871, and the city became a major junction point, boosting its population and economy. Roodhouse was legally incorporated as a city in 1880. Passenger railroad service to Roodhouse ended in the 1950s, causing a local economic downturn which persisted over the following decades.
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