How to Choose a Truck Driving School near Round Lake Illinois
Congratulations on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a trucking school near Round Lake IL. Perhaps it has always been your goal to hit the open road while operating a huge tractor trailer. Or possibly you have conducted some analysis and have discovered that a career as a truck driver offers excellent pay and flexible job prospects. No matter what your reason is, it’s important to receive the appropriate training by selecting the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are certain factors that you’ll need to consider before making your ultimate choice. Location will undoubtedly be important, particularly if you need to commute from your Round Lake home. The cost will also be important, but choosing a school based exclusively on price is not the ideal way to guarantee you’ll obtain the right education. Don’t forget, your goal is to learn the knowledge and skills that will allow you to pass the CDL exams and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that target 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 rest 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 Require?
To drive commercial vehicles legally in Illinois and within the USA, 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. Given that the topic of this article is how to select a truck driving school near Round Lake IL, we will focus on Class A and B licenses. What distinguishes 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 short summaries for the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License is required to drive any vehicle that has a GCWR of greater than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of more 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 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. Several 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 example passenger or school buses. And a Class A license holder, with the proper required endorsements, may operate any vehicle that a Class B licensee is qualified to drive.
How to Evaluate a Truck Driving School
Once you have determined which Commercial Drivers License you would like to obtain, you can begin the undertaking of assessing the Round Lake IL truck driving schools that you are considering. As already mentioned, location and cost will certainly be your primary concerns. But it can’t be stressed enough that they must not be your only concerns. Other issues, including the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are similarly if not more important. So following are a few more points that you should research while carrying out your due diligence prior to choosing, and particularly paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Very few Round Lake IL truck driver schools are accredited because of the stringent process and cost to the schools. However, 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 certain advantages. Interested students recognize that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will be given an ample amount 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 measure up to the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One clue to help evaluate the quality of a truck driver school is how long it has been in operation. A negatively rated or a fly by night school usually will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the top Round Lake IL schools had to begin from their first day of training, so consider it as one of several qualifiers. You can also find out what the school’s track record is pertaining to successful licensing and job placement of its graduating students. If a school won’t supply those numbers, search elsewhere. The schools should also maintain associations with local and national trucking firms. Having numerous contacts not only affirms a quality reputation within the trade, but also boosts their job assistance program for graduates. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to contact the Illinois licensing department to confirm that the CDL trucker schools you are considering are in compliance.
How Good is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools should be licensed in Illinois and hire instructors that are trained and experienced. We will discuss more about the instructors in the next segment. Also, the student to instructor proportion should not be greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be getting the personalized attention they will need. This is particularly true regarding the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And look out for any school that professes it can train you to be a truck driver in a relatively short time period. Training to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer professionally takes time. The majority of Round Lake IL schools offer training courses that run from three weeks to as long as 2 months, based on the license class or kind of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Trainers? As already stated, it’s essential that the instructors are trained to teach driving techniques and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Even though a number of states have minimum driving time criteria to qualify as a teacher, the more professional driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also vital that the teachers stay current with industry developments or any new laws or changes in regulations. Assessing teachers might be a little more subjective than other standards, and possibly the best approach is to pay a visit to the Round Lake IL school and talk to the instructors face to face. You can also talk to some of the students going through the training and find out if they are satisfied with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
How Much Driving Time? Most importantly, a good truck driving school will provide plenty of driving time to its students. After all, isn’t that what it’s all about? Driving time is the real time spent behind the wheel operating a truck. Even though the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are essential training methods, they are no substitute for actual driving. The more instruction that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will become. Although driving time varies between 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. Check with the Round Lake IL schools you are looking at and ask how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Independent or Captive ? You can receive discounted or even free training from certain Round Lake IL truck driver schools if you make a commitment to drive for a specified carrier for a defined amount of time. This is what’s known as contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So rather than having affiliations with many different 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 surrendering the flexibility to initially be a driver wherever you choose. Obviously contract training has the potential to restrict your income prospects when beginning your new career. But for some it may be the best way to get affordable training. Just remember to find out if the schools you are contemplating are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Offer Onsite CDL Testing? There are several states that will permit third party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its grads. If onsite testing is allowed in Illinois, ask if the Round Lake IL schools you are considering 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 facilities. It is also an indicator that the DMV considers the approved schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Class Times Convenient? As previously mentioned, truck driver training is only about one to two months in length. With such a short duration, it’s essential that the Round Lake 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 particular driving maneuver, then the instructor should be willing to commit more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still working while attending training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other responsibilities.
Is Job Assistance Offered? As soon as you have acquired your CDL license after graduating from trucking school, you will be eager to begin your new profession in Round Lake IL. Make sure that the schools you are looking at have job placement programs. Find out what their job placement rate is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, ask which national and local trucking firms their graduates are placed with for employment. If a school has a low job placement rate or not many employers hiring their grads, it may be a sign to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Given? Truck driver schools are similar to colleges and other technical or vocational 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 aid department, or at a minimum someone who can help you get through the options and forms that need to be completed in Round Lake IL.
Why Did You Choose to Become a Truck Driver?When getting ready to interview for a Trucking job, it's helpful to review questions you could be asked. Among the questions that hiring managers often ask truck driving prospects is "What drove you to select trucking as a profession?". What the interviewer is trying to discover is not merely the private reasons you might have for becoming a truck driver, but also what qualities and skills you possess that make you good at your profession. You will probably be asked questions relating primarily to trucking, as well as a significant number of typical interview questions, so you must ready some approaches about how you would like to address them. Because there are so many variables that go into choosing a career, you can respond to this fundamental question in a number of ways. When preparing an answer, attempt to include the reasons the profession interests you along with the talents you possess that make you an outstanding truck driver and the perfiect choice for the job. Don't attempt to memorize a response, but write down some ideas and anecdotes that pertain to your own strengths and experiences. Reading through sample responses can assist you to develop your own thoughts, and give you ideas of what to include to wow the interviewer.
Pick the Right Truck Driver School Round Lake IL
Selecting the appropriate trucking school is an important first step to beginning your new vocation as a long distance or local truck driver. The skill sets taught at school will be those that forge a new career behind the wheel. There are many options available and understanding them is crucial 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 may need 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 affiliated with the school. It’s your decision. But regardless of how you get your training, you will in the near future be part of an industry that helps our country move as a professional trucker in Round Lake IL.
A Bit About Round Lake Illinois
Round Lake, Illinois
According to the 2010 census, Round Lake has a total area of 5.635 square miles (14.59 km2), of which 5.47 square miles (14.17 km2) (or 97.07%) is land and 0.165 square miles (0.43 km2) (or 2.93%) is water.
As of 2010 United States Census, there were 18,289 people, 6,206 households, and 5,847 families residing in the village. The population increased 310% from the 2000 US Census total of 5,492. The population density is 3,225.6 people per square mile (1,244.9/km²). There are 6,206 housing units at an average density of 1,094.5 per square mile (422.5/km²). The racial makeup of the village is 68.9% White, 4.77% African American, 0.5% Native American, 12.7% Asian, 0.07% Pacific Islander, 9.69% from other races, and 3.24% from two or more races. 25.3% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There 6,206 total housing units, of which 94.2% or (5,847) are occupied households. Of these occupied households 48% have children under the age of 18 living with them. 49.5% of the population was male, 50.5% female. 80% of the occupied homes were owner-occupied with the remaining 19.5% in renter-occupied. The average household size is 3.13 per home.
As of Census 2000, the median income for a household in the village was $58,051, and the median income for a family was $61,277. Males had a median income of $43,063 versus $31,336 for females. The per capita income for the village was $21,585. 6.8% of the population and 6.5% of families were below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 6.7% of those under the age of 18 and 7.9% of those 65 and older were living below the poverty line.
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