How to Select a Trucking School near Toccoa Georgia
Congrats on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a CDL school near Toccoa GA. Maybe it has always been your dream to hit the open road while driving a monster tractor trailer. Or possibly you have conducted some research and have found that an occupation as a truck driver provides excellent income and flexible job prospects. No matter what your reason is, it’s imperative to receive the appropriate training by choosing the right CDL school in your area. When evaluating your options, there are a number of factors that you’ll need to consider before making your final selection. Location will certainly be important, particularly if you need to commute from your Toccoa residence. The cost will also be important, but selecting a school based solely on price is not the best way to guarantee you’ll obtain the appropriate education. Just remember, your goal is to master the skills and knowledge that will enable you to pass the CDL exams and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that purpose 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 Need?
To operate commercial vehicles lawfully in Georgia and within the USA, a driver must get a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three classes of licenses that one can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the subject of this article is how to choose a truck driver school near Toccoa GA, we will focus on Class A and B licenses. What differentiates 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). Following are brief explanations of the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL 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. 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 required to operate single vehicles having a GVWR of greater 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 Commercial Drivers Licenses may also need endorsements to operate certain kinds of vehicles, such as passenger or school buses. And a Class A licensee, with the proper required endorsements, may operate any vehicle that a Class B license holder is authorized to drive.
How to Evaluate a CDL School
Once you have determined which Commercial Drivers License you want to obtain, you can begin the undertaking of evaluating the Toccoa GA trucking schools that you are considering. As earlier mentioned, cost and location will certainly be your initial concerns. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they must not be your only considerations. Other factors, for example the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are similarly if not more important. So following are several more factors that you should research while carrying out your due diligence before selecting, and particularly paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Not many Toccoa GA truck driving 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 required to become certified, but there are certain advantages. Interested students recognize that the training will be of the highest standard, and that they will be given an ample amount of driving time. As an example, PTDI mandates 44 hours of real 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 measure up to the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One indicator to help evaluate the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in business. A poorly reviewed 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 Toccoa GA schools had to begin from their first day of training, so use it as one of multiple qualifiers. You can also learn what the school’s history is relating to successful licensing and job placement of its graduating students. If a school won’t supply those stats, look elsewhere. The schools should additionally maintain associations with regional and national trucking companies. Having numerous contacts not only affirms an excellent reputation within the profession, but also bolsters their job placement program for graduates. It also wouldn’t hurt to check with the Georgia licensing authority to verify that the CDL trucking schools you are reviewing are in compliance.
How Effective is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools should be licensed in Georgia and employ instructors that are experienced and trained. We will discuss more about the teachers in the following segment. In addition, the student to instructor ratio should not be higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be obtaining the individual attention they will need. This is particularly true concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And be critical of any school that claims it can train you to be a truck driver in a comparatively short time period. Learning to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer professionally requires time. The majority of Toccoa GA schools offer training programs that range from three weeks to as long as 2 months, based on the class of license or kind of vehicle.
How Good are the Teachers? As earlier mentioned, it’s important 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 an instructor, the more professional driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also vital that the teachers stay current with industry developments or any new laws or changes in regulations. Evaluating instructors may be a little more subjective than other criteria, and perhaps the best approach is to pay a visit to the Toccoa GA school and speak with the teachers in person. You can also speak with a few of the students completing the training and find out if they are happy with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Adequate Driving Time? Most importantly, a great truck driver school will furnish ample 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. While the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are essential training tools, they are no alternative for real driving. The more instruction that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will be. And even though driving time varies among schools, a reasonable standard is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Contact the Toccoa GA schools you are researching and find out how much driving time they provide.
Are they Independent or Captive ? It’s possible to receive discounted or even free training from certain Toccoa GA truck driver schools if you make a commitment to drive 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 associations with numerous 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 freedom to initially be a driver wherever you have an opportunity. Clearly contract training has the potential to limit your income prospects when beginning your new career. But for many it may be the best way to obtain affordable training. Just remember to find out if the schools you are looking at are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Is there Onsite CDL Testing? There are a number of states that will allow 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its students. If onsite testing is permitted in Georgia, ask if the Toccoa GA schools you are looking at are DMV certified to offer it. One advantage is that it is more accommodating than battling with graduates from competing schools for test times at Georgia testing centers. It is moreover an indication that the DMV regards the approved schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Classes Convenient? As previously noted, truck driving training is just 1 to 2 months long. With such a brief duration, it’s important that the Toccoa GA school you choose 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 teacher should be willing to devote more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still employed while going to training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other commitments.
Is Job Assistance Offered? As soon as you have acquired your CDL license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be eager to start your new profession in Toccoa GA. Confirm that the schools you are considering have job assistance programs. Ask what their job placement percentage is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, ask which local and national trucking firms their graduates are referred to for hiring. If a school has a lower job placement rate or few employers recruiting their graduates, it may be a sign to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Trucking schools are comparable to colleges and other trade or technical schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being available. Find out if the schools you are evaluating have a financial assistance department, or at least someone who can help you understand the options and forms that must be submitted in Toccoa GA.
Why Did You Decide to Be a Trucker?When getting ready to interview for a Trucking position, it's important to consider questions you could be asked. One of the things that interviewers often ask truck driving prospects is "What drove you to choose trucking as a profession?". What the interviewer is trying to uncover is not just the personal reasons you might have for becoming a trucker, but also what qualities and talents you have that make you exceptional at what you do. You will likely be asked questions pertaining specifically to trucking, as well as a certain number of routine interview questions, so you need to organize several approaches about how you want to respond to them. Given that there are several factors that go into selecting a career, you can answer this primary question in a variety of ways. When formulating an answer, try to include the reasons the profession appeals to you along with the abilities you have that make you an exceptional truck driver and the best choice for the position. Don't try to memorize a response, but jot down several ideas and anecdotes that pertain to your own strengths and experiences. Reading through sample responses can assist you to formulate your own concepts, and provide ideas of what to discuss to impress the recruiter.
Pick the Best Trucking School Toccoa GA
Selecting the appropriate truck driver school is a critical first step to starting your new profession as a long distance or local truck driver. The skill sets taught at school will be those that shape a new career behind the wheel. There are several options offered and understanding them is critical to a new driver’s success. Most importantly, you must receive the necessary training in order to operate a large commercial vehicle in a professional and safe fashion. If you are lacking money or financing, you may need to look into a captive school. You will pay a lower or in some cases no tuition in exchange for driving for their contracted carrier. Or you can select 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 no matter how you receive your training, you will soon be entering an industry that helps our country move as a professional trucker in Toccoa GA.
A Bit About Toccoa Georgia
Toccoa is a city in, and the county seat of, Stephens County, Georgia, United States, located about 50 miles (80 km) from Athens and about 90 miles (140 km) northeast of Atlanta. The population was 8,491 as of the 2010 census.
Native Americans, including the Mississippian culture mound builders and later the Cherokee, were the original inhabitants in what is now Toccoa and the surrounding area.
Indian agent Col. George Chicken was one of the first people to mention Toccoa in his journal from 1725. The first residents of European descent were a small number of American Revolutionary War veterans led by Col. William H. Wofford who moved to the area when the war ended. The area was referred to as Wofford's Tract, or Wofford's Settlement. Col. Wofford is buried near Toccoa Falls. His son, William T. Wofford, was born near Toccoa (then part of Habersham County), and was an officer during the Mexican-American War and a general in the Confederate States Army during the American Civil War.
The Georgia Land Lottery of 1820 spurred the migration of Scots-Irish from North Carolina and the Georgia coast. The Georgia Gold Rush, starting in 1828, and the 1838 removal of the Cherokee on the infamous "Trail of Tears" further changed settlement patterns in the area.
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