How to Choose a CDL Driving School near Rossville Illinois
Best wishes on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a CDL school near Rossville IL. Maybe it has always been your fantasy to hit the open road while driving a big ole tractor trailer. Or maybe you have done some research and have discovered that a career as a truck driver provides excellent income and flexible job opportunities. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s important to get the proper training by enrolling in the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are certain variables that you’ll want to think about prior to making your final selection. Location will certainly be an issue, especially if you need to commute from your Rossville home. The expense will also be of importance, but picking a school based exclusively on price is not the ideal means to make sure you’ll receive the appropriate education. Don’t forget, your goal is to learn the skills and knowledge that will enable you to pass the CDL exams and become a qualified 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 discuss in the rest of this article. But first, we are going to talk a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will ultimately need.
Which CDL Will You Need?
To drive commercial vehicles legally in Illinois and within the United States, a driver needs to obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 classes of licenses that a person 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 Rossville IL, we will focus on Class A and 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). Below are brief 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 needed to operate 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 require endorsements to drive certain kinds of vehicles, including passenger or school buses. And a Class A licensee, with the proper required endorsements, can operate any vehicle that a Class B license holder is authorized to drive.
How to Assess a Trucking School
When you have determined which Commercial Drivers License you want to pursue, you can begin the process of researching the Rossville IL trucking schools that you are looking at. As earlier discussed, cost and location will no doubt be your primary considerations. But it can’t be stressed enough that they should not be your only considerations. Other variables, such as the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are equally if not more important. So following are several more points 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 ? Very few Rossville IL truck driving schools are accredited due to the rigorous process and cost 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 obligated to become certified, but there are certain advantages. Interested students know that the training will be of the highest standard, and that they will receive plenty of driving time. As an example, PTDI calls for 44 hours of actual driving time, not simulations or ride-alongs. So if a school’s program is certified (the program, not the school is certified), students know that the training and curriculum will meet the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One indicator to help measure the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in operation. A negatively rated or a fly by night school usually will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. Having said that, even the top Rossville IL schools had to start from their first day of training, so use it as one of several qualifications. You can also ask what the school’s track record is concerning successful licensing and job placement of its graduating students. If a school won’t share those numbers, look elsewhere. The schools should also have relationships with regional and national trucking companies. Having numerous contacts not only affirms a quality reputation within the industry, but also boosts their job placement program for students. It also wouldn’t hurt to check with 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 employ teachers that are experienced and trained. We will cover more about the instructors in the next section. Also, the student to instructor proportion should be no higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be obtaining the personal attention they will need. This is especially true regarding the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And look out for any school that professes it can teach you to drive trucks in a relatively short time frame. Training to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully requires time. Most Rossville IL schools provide training programs that range from three weeks to as long as two months, depending on the class of license or kind of vehicle.
How Good are the Trainers? As previously stated, it’s imperative that the instructors are trained to teach driving methods and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Even though a number of states have minimum driving time requirements to be certified as an instructor, the more successful driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also important that the instructors keep up to date with industry advancements or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Evaluating teachers might be a little more subjective than other standards, and perhaps the ideal approach is to visit the Rossville IL school and speak with the instructors face to face. You can also talk to a few of the students going through 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 driver school will provide ample driving time to its students. Besides, isn’t that what it’s all about? Driving time is the actual time spent behind the wheel operating a truck. While 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 receives behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will be. Although driving time varies among schools, a reasonable standard is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish no less than 44 hours of driving time. Check with the Rossville IL schools you are considering and find out how much driving time they provide.
Are they Captive or Independent ? It’s possible to receive discounted or even free training from a number of Rossville IL truck driver schools if you make a commitment to drive for a particular carrier for a defined period of time. This is called contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So rather than maintaining associations with many different trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only work with one company. The benefit is receiving less expensive or even free training by giving up the flexibility to initially work wherever you have an opportunity. Obviously contract training has the potential to restrict your income opportunities when beginning your new career. But for some it may be the only way to get affordable training. Just remember to inquire if the schools you are looking at are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Is there Onsite CDL Testing? There are some states that will permit third party CDL testing onsite of truck driver schools for its grads. If onsite testing is available in Illinois, ask if the Rossville IL schools you are looking at are DMV certified to provide it. One advantage is that it is more accommodating than competing with graduates of other schools for test times at Illinois testing centers. It is moreover an indicator that the DMV considers the approved schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Class Times Convenient? As earlier mentioned, truck driver training is just one to two months in length. With such a brief duration, it’s important that the Rossville IL school you select offers flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. For example, if you’re having difficulty learning a certain driving maneuver, then the teacher should be prepared to dedicate more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still employed while attending training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other responsibilities.
Is Job Assistance Provided? The moment you have received your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be impatient to start your new profession in Rossville IL. Confirm that the schools you are contemplating have job placement programs. Find out what their job placement percentage is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, find out which local and national trucking firms their graduates are referred to for hiring. If a school has a lower job placement rate or not many employers recruiting their graduates, it may be a sign to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Truck driver schools are comparable to colleges and other trade or technical schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being offered. 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 need to be completed in Rossville IL.
Why Did You Want to Become a Truck Driver?When preparing to interview for a Trucking job, it's advantageous to review questions you could be asked. One of the questions that recruiters often ask truck driving prospects is "What compelled you to pick trucking as a career?". What the interviewer is attempting to learn is not just the personal reasons you might have for becoming a trucker, but also what characteristics and skills you possess that make you exceptional at what you do. You will probably be asked questions relating specifically to trucking, in addition to a certain number of general interview questions, so you need to prepare some approaches about how you want to respond to them. Because there are several factors that go into choosing a career, you can respond to this primary question in a number of ways. When readying an answer, aim to include the reasons the profession interests you along with the strengths you possess that make you an exceptional truck driver and the perfiect candidate for the position. Don't attempt to memorize an answer, but take down a few concepts and talking points that relate to your own strengths and experiences. Reviewing sample responses can help you to develop your own concepts, and give you ideas of what to include to wow the interviewer.
Choose the Ideal Truck Driver School Rossville IL
Picking the appropriate truck driver school is an important first step to beginning your new vocation as a long distance or local truck driver. The skills taught at school will be those that shape a new career behind the wheel. There are many options available and understanding them is crucial if you are going to succeed as an operator. Most importantly, you must receive the proper training in order to operate a big commercial vehicle in a safe and professional fashion. If you are lacking cash or financing, you may want to think about a captive school. You will pay a lower or even 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 firm of your choice, or one of many associated with the school. It’s your choice. But regardless of how you obtain your training, you will soon be part of an industry that helps our country move as a professional truck driver in Rossville IL.
A Bit About Rossville Illinois
Rossville is a village in Ross Township, Vermilion County, Illinois, United States. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 1,331. It is part of the Danville, Illinois Metropolitan Statistical Area.
The location was originally named Liggett's Grove in honor of John Liggett who built a lodging house in 1829. Liggett's cabin was located on the Hubbard Trail, an early trading route established by Gurdon Hubbard from Chicago to Danville. In 1833, this became the first state highway (now Illinois Route 1) and in 1914 was made part of the Dixie Highway.
In 1838, Alvan Gilbert purchased the Liggett farm, and the following year became postmaster at the newly established post office. Rossville was incorporated as a village in August 1859. Rossville and Ross Township were named after Jacob Ross, a settler in the area.
Rossville's coordinates are 40°22′50″N 87°40′7″W / 40.38056°N 87.66861°W / 40.38056; -87.66861 (40.380424, -87.668557). According to the 2010 census, Rossville has a total area of 1.4 square miles (3.63 km2), all land.
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