How to Pick a CDL Training School near Womelsdorf Pennsylvania
Best wishes on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a trucking school near Womelsdorf PA. Perhaps it has always been your fantasy to hit the open road while driving a monster tractor trailer. Or maybe you have done some analysis and have discovered that an occupation as a truck driver provides excellent pay and flexible work prospects. Whatever your reason is, it’s important to get the appropriate training by enrolling in the right CDL school in your area. When evaluating your options, there are various variables that you’ll need to examine before making your final selection. Location will no doubt be an issue, especially if you have to commute from your Womelsdorf home. The cost will also be important, but picking a school based entirely on price is not the best method to make certain you’ll obtain the appropriate training. Just remember, your objective 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 objective in mind, just how do you decide on a truck driving school? That is what we are going to address 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 Will You Require?
In order to operate commercial vehicles lawfully in Pennsylvania and within the United States, an operator needs to attain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three license classes that one can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the subject of this article is how to pick a truck driver school near Womelsdorf PA, we will address Class A and Class B licenses. What distinguishes 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 short descriptions for the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License is needed to drive any vehicle that has a GCWR of greater than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of more 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 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 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 CDLs may also require endorsements to operate specific types of vehicles, such as school or passenger buses. And a Class A licensee, with the proper needed endorsements, may drive any vehicle that a Class B licensee is authorized to drive.
How to Research a Truck Driving School
After you have decided which CDL you wish to obtain, you can start the undertaking of researching the Womelsdorf PA truck driving schools that you are looking at. As previously mentioned, location and cost will certainly be your initial concerns. But it can’t be stressed enough that they should not be your only concerns. Other factors, for example the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are equally or even more important. So below are a few more points that you need to research while carrying out your due diligence prior to selecting, and particularly paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Not many Womelsdorf PA truck driving schools are accredited because of the stringent process and expense to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more typical and is offered by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not obligated to become certified, but there are several advantages. Prospective students recognize that the training will be of the highest caliber, and that they will be given lots of driving time. As an example, PTDI mandates 44 hours of real 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 satisfy the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One indicator to help evaluate the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in business. A poorly rated or a fly by night school typically will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. Having said that, even the top Womelsdorf PA schools had to begin from their first day of training, so consider it as one of several qualifications. You can also learn what the school’s track record is regarding successful licensing and job placement of its graduating students. If a school won’t share those numbers, look elsewhere. The schools should also maintain relationships with local and national trucking companies. Having a large number of contacts not only points to a quality reputation within the profession, but also boosts their job placement program for graduates. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to check with the Pennsylvania licensing authority to verify that the CDL trucking schools you are researching are in good standing.
How Effective is the Training? At a minimum, the schools should be licensed in Pennsylvania and hire instructors that are experienced and trained. We will discuss more about the teachers in the next section. In addition, the student to instructor proportion should be no higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be receiving the personalized attention they will need. This is particularly true concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And look out for any school that insists it can train you to drive trucks in a relatively short period of time. Learning to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer professionally takes time. The majority of Womelsdorf PA schools provide training courses that range from 3 weeks to as long as 2 months, based on the license class or type of vehicle.
How Good are the Trainers? As previously mentioned, it’s imperative that the instructors are trained to teach driving methods and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Even though several states have minimum driving time prerequisites to be certified as a teacher, the more successful driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also vital that the instructors stay current with industry developments or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Evaluating instructors may be a little more intuitive than other criteria, and perhaps the best method is to check out the Womelsdorf PA school and talk to the teachers face to face. You can also speak with some 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.
How Much Driving Time? Above all else, a good truck driver school will furnish plenty of 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. Although the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are important training tools, they are no replacement for real driving. The more training that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will become. Although driving time fluctuates among schools, a good benchmark is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide no less than 44 hours of driving time. Contact the Womelsdorf PA schools you are considering and find out how much driving time they provide.
Are they Captive or Independent ? You can get free or discounted training from some Womelsdorf PA truck driving schools if you make a commitment to drive for a specific carrier for a defined time period. This is called contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So rather than having affiliations with numerous trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only work with one company. The benefit is receiving less expensive or even free training by giving up the freedom to initially work wherever you have an opportunity. Clearly contract training has the potential to restrict your income prospects when beginning your new career. But for many it may be the only way to receive affordable training. Just make sure to find out if the schools you are contemplating are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Offer CDL Testing Onsite? There are some states that will allow 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driver schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is allowed in Pennsylvania, find out if the Womelsdorf PA schools you are reviewing are DMV certified to offer it. One advantage is that it is more accommodating than competing with graduates of competing schools for test times at Pennsylvania testing centers. It is moreover an indicator that the DMV believes the authorized schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Class Times Accessible? As earlier noted, truck driver training is only about 1 to 2 months in length. With such a brief duration, it’s imperative that the Womelsdorf PA school you choose offers flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. As an example, if you’re having difficulty learning a certain driving maneuver, then the teacher should be willing to devote more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still holding a job while going to training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other responsibilities.
Is Job Assistance Offered? Once you have acquired your commercial driver’s license after graduating from trucking school, you will be eager to start your new profession in Womelsdorf PA. Verify that the schools you are considering have job placement programs. Find out what their job placement ratio is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, ask which national and local trucking companies their graduates are referred to for employment. If a school has a low job placement rate or few employers hiring their graduates, it may be a clue to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Truck driver schools are comparable to colleges and other vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being offered. Find out if the schools you are evaluating have a financial assistance department, or at least someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that need to be completed in Womelsdorf PA.
Why Did You Choose to Be a Trucker?When getting ready to interview for a Trucking job, it's advantageous to review questions you might be asked. One of the things that interviewers often ask truck driving prospects is "What drove you to pick trucking as a career?". What the interviewer is hoping to uncover is not merely the private reasons you may have for becoming a truck driver, but also what attributes and talents you have that make you exceptional at your profession. You will probably be asked questions relating exclusively to trucking, in addition to a certain number of typical interview questions, so you should prepare a number of approaches about how you want to respond to them. Considering there are so many variables that go into selecting a career, you can respond to this primary question in a variety of ways. When readying an answer, try to include the reasons the work interests you as well as the abilities you possess that make you an outstanding truck driver and the ideal candidate for the job. Don't try to memorize an answer, but write down several ideas and topics that pertain to your own experiences and strengths. Going over sample answers can help you to prepare your own thoughts, and inspire ideas of what to include to enthuse the interviewer.
Pick the Best CDL School Womelsdorf PA
Selecting the ideal trucking school is an essential first step to launching your new occupation 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 many options offered and understanding them is crucial to a new driver’s success. But first and foremost, you must receive the appropriate training in order to drive a big commercial vehicle in a safe and professional fashion. If you are lacking funds or financing, you might want to look into a captive school. You will pay a reduced or in some cases no tuition by agreeing to drive for their contracted carrier. Or you can enroll in an independent school and have the option of driving for the trucking firm of your choice, or one of many associated with the school. It’s your choice. But no matter how you obtain your training, you will in the near future be entering a profession that helps America move as a professional truck driver in Womelsdorf PA.
A Bit About Womelsdorf Pennsylvania
Womelsdorf is a borough in Berks County, Pennsylvania, United States. The population was 2,810 at the 2010 census. The main thoroughfares through Womelsdorf are High Street, which runs east-west, and Pennsylvania Route 419, which runs north-south. U.S. Route 422 runs along the northern edge of town.
John Womelsdorf founded the community in 1762. It was originally named Middletown, being halfway between the cities of Lebanon and Reading, but roughly 50 years later it was changed to Womelsdorf in honor of its founder.
A Pennsylvania state historic site, the Conrad Weiser Homestead, is located in Womelsdorf; this site interprets the life of Conrad Weiser, a well-known 18th-century German immigrant who played a major role in the history of colonial Pennsylvania.
As of the census of 2000, there were 2,599 people, 1,061 households, and 691 families residing in the borough. The population density was 2,995.8 people per square mile (1,153.4/km²). There were 1,112 housing units at an average density of 1,281.8 per square mile (493.5/km²). The racial makeup of the borough was 96.46% White, 0.65% African American, 1.42% Asian, 0.96% from other races, and 0.50% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.19% of the population.
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