How to Find a Truck Driver School near Somersworth New Hampshire
Congratulations on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a CDL school near Somersworth NH. Maybe it has always been your dream to hit the open road while operating a monster tractor trailer. Or possibly you have done some research and have found that a career as a truck driver offers excellent pay and flexible job opportunities. No matter what your reason is, it’s imperative to get the proper training by choosing the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are various factors that you’ll need to examine before making your ultimate choice. Location will certainly be an issue, especially if you need to commute from your Somersworth residence. The expense will also be important, but picking a school based only on price is not the optimal means to make certain you’ll obtain the right education. Just remember, your goal is to master the knowledge and skills that will allow you to pass the CDL examinations and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that goal in mind, just how do you choose a truck driving school? That is what we are going to discuss in the balance of this article. But first, we are going to discuss a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will eventually need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Will You Require?
To operate commercial vehicles lawfully in New Hampshire and within the United States, an operator must get a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three classes of licenses that a person can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the subject of this article is how to select a truck driving school near Somersworth NH, we will discuss Class A and Class B licenses. What differentiates each class of CDL is the type of vehicle that the driver can operate together with the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Below are brief explanations of the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License is required 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 operators may be able to drive 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. A few of the vehicles that drivers may be qualified to operate 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 specific types of vehicles, for example passenger or school buses. And a Class A licensee, with the appropriate needed endorsements, can drive any vehicle that a Class B license holder is qualified to drive.
How to Evaluate a Truck Driver School
After you have determined which CDL you would like to obtain, you can start the undertaking of researching the Somersworth NH trucking schools that you are considering. As earlier discussed, location and cost will undoubtedly be your initial considerations. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they must not be your sole considerations. Other variables, for instance the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are equally or even more important. So below are a few additional things that you need to research while carrying out your due diligence before enrolling in, and particularly paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Not many Somersworth NH truck driving schools are accredited due to the demanding process and expense to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more prevalent and is provided by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not required to become certified, but there are a number of advantages. Prospective students know that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will get lots of driving time. For 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 fulfill the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One indicator to help measure the quality of a trucking school is how long it has been in business. A poorly ranked or a fly by night school normally will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. On the other hand, even the best of Somersworth NH schools had to begin from their opening day of training, so use it as one of multiple qualifications. You can also ask what the school’s history is concerning successful licensing and job placement of its graduating students. If a school won’t share those stats, look elsewhere. The schools should also maintain associations with local and national trucking firms. Having numerous contacts not only affirms a quality reputation within the profession, but also boosts their job placement program for students. It also wouldn’t hurt to contact the New Hampshire licensing authority to verify 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 New Hampshire and hire instructors that are trained and experienced. We will cover more about the teachers in the next section. Also, the student to instructor ratio should be no higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be receiving the individual attention they will need. This is particularly true regarding the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And be critical of any school that insists it can teach you to drive trucks in a relatively short period of time. Training to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully requires time. The majority of Somersworth NH schools offer training courses that run from three weeks to as long as two months, based on the class of license or type of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Trainers? As previously mentioned, it’s imperative that the instructors are qualified to teach driving methods and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Even though a number of states have minimum driving time requirements to be certified as a teacher, the more successful driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also vital that the teachers keep current with industry developments or any new laws or changes in regulations. Assessing instructors may be a little more subjective than other criteria, and possibly the best approach is to check out the Somersworth NH school and speak with the teachers in person. You can also speak with 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.
Plenty of Driving Time? Above all else, an excellent trucking 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. Although the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are necessary training methods, they are no alternative for real driving. The more instruction that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will become. Although driving time fluctuates among schools, a reasonable standard 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 Somersworth NH schools you are looking at and find out how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Independent or Captive ? It’s possible to get free or discounted training from some Somersworth NH truck driving schools if you make a commitment to drive for a particular carrier for a defined amount of time. This is called contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So rather than having affiliations with a wide range of trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only refer to one company. The tradeoff is receiving free or less expensive training by giving up the flexibility to initially be a driver wherever you choose. Naturally contract training has the potential to limit your income opportunities when starting out. But for some it may be the only way to receive affordable training. Just make sure to ask if the schools you are contemplating are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Provide Onsite CDL Testing? There are some states that will permit 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its grads. If onsite testing is permitted in New Hampshire, find out if the Somersworth NH schools you are considering are DMV certified to offer it. One advantage is that it is more accommodating than contending with graduates of competing schools for test times at New Hampshire testing locations. It is also an indication that the DMV deems the approved schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Class Times Accessible? As previously noted, truck driving training is just 1 to 2 months long. With such a short term, it’s imperative that the Somersworth NH school you select provides 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 willing to spend more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still employed while attending training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other obligations.
Is Job Assistance Offered? Once you have attained your CDL license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be keen to begin your new profession in Somersworth NH. Verify 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, find out which local and national trucking firms their graduates are placed with for hiring. If a school has a lower job placement rate or not many employers hiring their graduates, it may be a clue to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Trucking schools are similar to colleges and other technical or vocational schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being available. Ask if the schools you are assessing have a financial aid department, or at a minimum someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that need to be submitted in Somersworth NH.
Why Did You Decide to Become a Tractor Trailer Operator?When getting ready to interview for a Trucking job, it's a good idea to consider questions you may be asked. Among the questions that hiring managers frequently ask truck driving prospects is "What made you choose trucking as a career?". What the interviewer is hoping to discover is not merely the private reasons you might have for being a truck driver, but also what characteristics and talents you have that make you exceptional at your profession. You will likely be asked questions relating specifically to trucking, as well as a certain number of routine interview questions, so you must prepare a number of strategies about how you would like to respond to them. Considering there are so many factors that go into choosing a career, you can address this fundamental question in a multitude of ways. When preparing an answer, try to include the reasons the profession appeals to you in addition to the strengths you possess that make you an excellent truck driver and the best candidate for the job. Don't attempt to memorize an answer, but write down several ideas and topics that pertain to your personal experiences and strengths. Reviewing sample responses can assist you to prepare your own concepts, and give you ideas of what to discuss to wow the interviewer.
Choose the Right Trucking School Somersworth NH
Selecting the ideal truck driving school is an essential first step to starting your new occupation as a local or long distance 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 if you are going to succeed as an operator. But first and foremost, you must receive the appropriate training in order to operate a large commercial vehicle in a safe and professional manner. If you are lacking cash or financing, you might want to look into a captive school. You will pay a lower or in some cases no tuition by agreeing to drive for their contracted carrier. Or you can select an independent school and have the option of driving for the trucking firm of your choosing, or one of many affiliated with the school. It’s your decision. But regardless of how you obtain your training, you will soon be part of a profession that helps America move as a professional trucker in Somersworth NH.
A Bit About Somersworth New Hampshire
Somersworth, New Hampshire
Somersworth is a city in Strafford County, New Hampshire, United States. The population was 11,766 at the 2010 census. Somersworth has the smallest area and third-lowest population of New Hampshire's 13 cities.
Somersworth, originally called "Sligo" after Sligo in Ireland, was settled before 1700 as a part of Dover. It was organized in 1729 as the parish of "Summersworth", meaning "summer town", because during that season the ministers would preach here. It was set off and incorporated in 1754 by colonial governor Benning Wentworth, and until 1849 included Rollinsford. A clerical error at incorporation contracted the name to "Somersworth". It would be incorporated as a city in 1893, before which it was also known as "Great Falls".
Situated where the Salmon Falls River drops 100 feet (30 m) over a mile, Somersworth early became a mill town, beginning with gristmills and sawmills. In 1822, the brothers Isaac and Jacob Wendell of Boston purchased for $5,000 a gristmill with its water rights at the Great Falls. They established the Great Falls Manufacturing Company, a textile business that expanded to include three mills for spinning thread and weaving cotton and woolen fabrics, specializing in "drillings, shirtings and sheetings." Throughout the 19th century, other expansive brick mill buildings, including a bleachery and dye works, were erected beside the river. The bleachery became the longest running textile operation in Somersworth. The building housed the operations that took the buff-colored fabric produced in the seven mills and transformed it into a sparkling white material that could be dyed or printed according to the buyer's wishes. The gate house at the dam directed water as needed, regulating the flow either into the river or a company canal, which itself had gates sending it under the mill. Water power turned the wheels and belts that operated mill machinery. The railroad arrived in the early 1840s, before which goods were carted to Dover.
At first millworkers came from surrounding farms, including those in Berwick, Maine, directly across the bridge. Many were women. But as the need for labor grew, immigrants arrived from Ireland, and later Quebec. Brick tenement row houses were rented by the company to employee families, many of whose members worked in the mills beside their parents before passage of child labor laws. For relaxation, workers found entertainment at the Opera House or at Central Park, an amusement park beside Willand Pond. In the early 1870s, the Portsmouth, Great Falls & Conway Railroad began excursions to the White Mountains. The Electric Street Railway came in 1890, allowing trolley rides to York Beach, Maine.
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