How to Pick a Trucking School near Woodridge Illinois
Congrats on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a CDL school near Woodridge IL. Maybe it has always been your fantasy to hit the open road while driving a big ole tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have done some analysis and have found that an occupation as a truck driver provides excellent wages and flexible job opportunities. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s important to obtain the proper training by selecting the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are certain variables that you’ll want to consider before making your ultimate choice. Location will certainly be an issue, particularly if you need to commute from your Woodridge home. The expense will also be important, but choosing a school based only on price is not the optimal method to make certain you’ll obtain the appropriate education. Don’t forget, your objective is to master the skills and knowledge that will enable you to pass the CDL examinations and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that goal in mind, just how do you pick a truck driving school? That is what we are going to discuss in the rest 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 Should You Get?
To drive commercial vehicles legally in Illinois and within the United States, a driver needs to attain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 license classes that a driver can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the topic of this article is how to choose a truck driving school near Woodridge 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). Following are brief summaries of the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is needed to drive any vehicle that has a GCWR of more than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of greater than 10,000 lbs. Some 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 more than 26,000 lbs., or a GCWR of greater 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 require endorsements to drive specific kinds of vehicles, for example school or passenger buses. And a Class A license holder, with the appropriate needed endorsements, may operate any vehicle that a Class B licensee is authorized to drive.
How to Evaluate a CDL School
Once you have determined which CDL you wish to pursue, you can begin the undertaking of assessing the Woodridge IL trucking schools that you are looking at. As already discussed, cost and location will no doubt be your initial considerations. But it can’t be stressed enough that they must not be your only concerns. Other issues, for example the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are equally or even more important. So below are some more things that you should research while performing your due diligence prior to enrolling in, and particularly paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Very few Woodridge IL truck driver schools are accredited because of the demanding process and expense to the schools. However, 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 a number of advantages. Interested students recognize that the training will be of the highest caliber, and that they will be given plenty of driving time. For example, PTDI calls for 44 hours of real 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 fulfill the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One clue to help assess the quality of a trucking school is how long it has been in business. A poorly ranked or a fly by night school usually will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. Having said that, even the best of Woodridge IL schools had to start from their opening day of training, so consider it as one of multiple qualifiers. You can also ask what the school’s history is pertaining to successful licensing and job placement of its graduating students. If a school won’t provide those stats, search elsewhere. The schools should also maintain relationships with local and national trucking companies. Having a large number of contacts not only confirms an excellent reputation within the profession, but also boosts their job placement program for graduates. It also wouldn’t hurt to check with the Illinois 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 must be licensed in Illinois and hire instructors that are experienced and trained. We will talk more about the teachers in the following section. Also, the student to instructor ratio should be no greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be getting the individual instruction 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 drive trucks in a relatively short time frame. Training to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer professionally requires time. The majority of Woodridge IL schools offer training programs that range from three weeks to as long as two months, depending on the class of license or type of vehicle.
How Good are the Trainers? As previously stated, it’s important that the instructors are trained to teach driving methods and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Even though several states have minimum driving time requirements to qualify as an instructor, the more professional driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also important that the teachers stay up to date with industry advancements or any new laws or changes in regulations. Evaluating teachers may be a little more subjective than other criteria, and perhaps the ideal method is to pay a visit to the Woodridge IL school and talk to the instructors face to face. You can also talk to some of the students completing the training and find out if they are satisfied 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 furnish ample driving time to its students. Besides, isn’t that what it’s all about? Driving time is the real time spent behind the wheel operating a truck. Although the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are necessary training methods, they are no replacement for actual driving. The more instruction that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will become. Although driving time varies among schools, a reasonable standard is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish at least 44 hours of driving time. Check with the Woodridge IL schools you are considering and ask how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Independent or Captive ? You can receive free or discounted training from some Woodridge IL truck driver schools if you make a commitment to drive for a particular 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 relationships 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 giving up the freedom to initially work 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 only way to obtain affordable training. Just remember to inquire if the schools you are considering are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Offer Onsite CDL Testing? There are several states that will allow third party CDL testing onsite of truck driver schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is available in Illinois, ask if the Woodridge IL schools you are reviewing are DMV certified to provide it. One advantage is that it is more convenient than competing with graduates from competing schools for test times at Illinois testing locations. It is moreover an indicator that the DMV views the approved schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Class Times Convenient? As earlier mentioned, truck driver training is only about one to two months in length. With such a short duration, it’s essential that the Woodridge 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 teacher should be prepared to commit more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still holding a job while attending training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other obligations.
Is Job Assistance Offered? The moment you have obtained your CDL license after graduating from trucking school, you will be eager to start your new career in Woodridge IL. Confirm that the schools you are contemplating have job placement programs. Ask what their job placement ratio is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, find out which local and national trucking firms their graduates are referred to for employment. If a school has a low job placement rate or few employers recruiting their grads, it may be a clue to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Truck driver schools are much like colleges and other technical or vocational schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being available. Find out if the schools you are examining have a financial aid department, or at a minimum someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that must be submitted in Woodridge IL.
Why Did You Choose to Become a Tractor Trailer Operator?When preparing to interview for a Trucking job, it's a good idea to consider questions you might be asked. One of the questions that hiring managers typically ask truck driving applicants is "What drove you to select trucking as a career?". What the interviewer is hoping to discover is not just the personal reasons you may have for becoming a trucker, but also what qualities and skills you have that make you exceptional at your profession. You will likely be asked questions pertaining exclusively to trucking, as well as a certain number of general interview questions, so you need to organize some strategies about how you want to respond to them. Because there are numerous variables that go into selecting a career, you can address this primary question in a number of ways. When readying an answer, attempt to include the reasons the profession appeals to you in addition to the abilities you possess that make you an excellent truck driver and the best candidate for the job. Don't make an effort to memorize an answer, but write down several ideas and anecdotes that relate to your personal experiences and strengths. Reading through sample responses can assist you to develop your own concepts, and inspire ideas of what to include to wow the recruiter.
Select the Right Trucking School Woodridge IL
Picking the ideal truck driving school is an essential 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 forge a new career behind the wheel. There are a number of options available and understanding them is vital if you are going to succeed as an operator. But first and foremost, you must receive the necessary training in order to operate a big commercial vehicle in a professional and safe manner. If you are lacking cash or financing, you might want to consider a captive school. You will pay a reduced 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 choosing, or one of several affiliated with the school. It’s your decision. But regardless of how you get your training, you will in the near future be joining an industry that helps our country move as a professional truck driver in Woodridge IL.
A Bit About Woodridge Illinois
Woodridge is a village in DuPage County, Illinois, with portions in Will and Cook counties, and a suburb of Chicago. It uses the 630 and 331 area codes. The population was 32,971 at the 2010 census. Woodridge is the home of the Home Run Inn pizzeria chain and Pabst Brewing Company.
Woodridge was incorporated on August 24, 1959, with less than 500 residents, on a wooded area of high ground overlooking the DuPage River's East Branch. Woodridge is a young community with the vast majority of its homes, businesses, and churches constructed after the 1950s. Woodridge was founded by a housing developer, Albert Kaufman, who was largely responsible for the creation of the village.
In July 2007, Woodridge was ranked No. 61 on Money magazine's "100 Best Places to Live".
Woodridge is located at 41°44′40″N 88°2′38″W / 41.74444°N 88.04389°W / 41.74444; -88.04389 (41.744582, −88.043869).
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