How to Decide on a CDL Training School near Oakland Rhode Island
Congrats on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a CDL school near Oakland RI. Maybe it has always been your goal to hit the open highway while driving a huge tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have conducted some research and have discovered that an occupation as a truck driver offers good income and flexible work prospects. No matter what your reason is, it’s imperative to obtain the proper training by selecting the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are certain variables that you’ll need to think about before making your final choice. Location will no doubt be an issue, particularly if you have to commute from your Oakland residence. The cost will also be important, but choosing a school based only on price is not the ideal method to make sure you’ll get the right education. Just remember, your goal is to master the skills and knowledge that will allow you to pass the CDL examinations and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that objective in mind, just how do you pick a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to cover in the balance of this article. But first, we are going to talk a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will ultimately need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Should You Get?
In order to drive commercial vehicles legally in Rhode Island and within the USA, a driver needs to obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 classes of licenses that a driver can qualify 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 Oakland RI, we will address Class A and Class B licenses. What distinguishes each class of CDL is the kind 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 of the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License is needed to operate any vehicle that has a GCWR of greater 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 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. 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 Commercial Drivers Licenses might also require endorsements to operate certain kinds of vehicles, such as school or passenger buses. And a Class A license holder, with the appropriate needed endorsements, can operate any vehicle that a Class B licensee is qualified to drive.
How to Assess a CDL School
As soon as you have determined which Commercial Drivers License you want to pursue, you can begin the process of assessing the Oakland RI truck driver schools that you are looking at. As earlier discussed, location and cost will certainly be your initial considerations. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they must not be your only concerns. Other factors, for instance the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are similarly if not more important. So following are some more points that you should research while carrying out your due diligence prior to enrolling in, and particularly paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Very few Oakland RI truck driver schools are accredited due to the stringent process and cost to the schools. However, certification is more commonplace and is provided by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not required to become certified, but there are several advantages. Prospective students recognize that the training will be of the highest standard, and that they will be given plenty of driving time. As an 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 training and curriculum will measure up to the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One clue to help determine the quality of a truck driver school is how long it has been in operation. A negatively reviewed or a fly by night school typically will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. On the other hand, even the best of Oakland RI schools had to start from their first day of training, so use it as one of multiple qualifications. You can also learn what the school’s track record is regarding successful licensing and job placement of its graduates. If a school won’t provide those stats, look elsewhere. The schools should additionally have associations with local and national trucking firms. Having a large number of contacts not only confirms a quality reputation within the industry, but also bolsters their job assistance program for students. It also wouldn’t hurt to check with the Rhode Island licensing department to confirm that the CDL trucker schools you are considering are in good standing.
How Good is the Training? At a minimum, the schools must be licensed in Rhode Island and employ teachers that are experienced and trained. We will talk more about the instructors in the next segment. Also, the student to instructor ratio should not be higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be getting the personalized instruction they will need. This is particularly true concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And watch out for any school that claims it can train you to be a truck driver in a relatively short time frame. Learning to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully takes time. The majority of Oakland RI schools offer training programs that run from three weeks to as long as 2 months, depending on the class of license or type of vehicle.
How Good are the Trainers? As earlier mentioned, it’s essential that the instructors are trained to teach driving methods and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Although a number of states have minimum driving time requirements to be certified as an instructor, the more successful driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also important that the instructors stay current with industry advancements or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Evaluating teachers may be a bit more subjective than other criteria, and perhaps the best approach is to check out the Oakland RI school and talk to the teachers in person. You can also talk to a few of the students going through the training and find out if they are happy with the level of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
Sufficient Driving Time? Most importantly, a good truck driver school will furnish sufficient driving time to its students. Besides, isn’t that what it’s all about? Driving time is the real time spent behind the wheel driving a truck. Although the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are necessary training tools, they are no alternative for actual driving. The more training that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will become. Although driving time can vary between schools, a good standard is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Get in touch with the Oakland RI schools you are researching and ask how much driving time they provide.
Are they Captive or Independent ? You can obtain free or discounted training from some Oakland RI truck driver schools if you enter into an agreement to drive for a specified carrier for a defined period of time. This is what’s known as contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So instead of having affiliations with numerous 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 freedom to initially work wherever you choose. Obviously contract training has the potential to reduce your income opportunities when starting out. But for many it may be the best way to obtain affordable training. Just make sure to find out if the schools you are looking at are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Offer CDL Testing Onsite? There are a number of states that will allow 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is allowed in Rhode Island, find out if the Oakland RI schools you are reviewing are DMV certified to provide it. One advantage is that it is more accommodating than battling with graduates of other schools for test times at Rhode Island testing centers. It is moreover an indication that the DMV considers the approved schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Class Times Convenient? As earlier mentioned, CDL training is just one to two months long. With such a brief duration, it’s important that the Oakland RI 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 commit more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still holding a job while going to training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other obligations.
Is Job Assistance Offered? Once you have received your commercial driver’s license after graduating from trucking school, you will be impatient to start your new profession in Oakland RI. Confirm that the schools you are considering have job assistance programs. Find out what their job placement ratio is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, find out which local and national trucking firms their graduates are placed with for employment. If a school has a low job placement rate or few employers recruiting their grads, it may be a sign to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Trucking schools are similar to colleges and other vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being offered. Ask if the schools you are reviewing 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 Oakland RI.
Why Did You Decide to Become a Truck Driver?When getting ready to interview for a Trucking job, it's advantageous to consider questions you may be asked. Among the questions that interviewers typically ask truck driving candidates is "What drove you to select trucking as a profession?". What the interviewer is attempting to discover is not just the private reasons you may have for becoming a trucker, but also what qualities and talents you possess that make you good at what you do. You will undoubtedly be asked questions relating exclusively to trucking, along with a significant number of routine interview questions, so you should ready some approaches about how you would like to address them. Considering there are several variables that go into selecting a career, you can respond to this primary question in a number of ways. When formulating an answer, aim to include the reasons the profession interests you as well as the talents you possess that make you an outstanding truck driver and the leading candidate for the job. Don't try to memorize an answer, but take down several ideas and topics that pertain to your personal strengths and experiences. Reviewing sample answers can help you to formulate your own concepts, and give you ideas of what to include to enthuse the recruiter.
Choose the Ideal CDL School Oakland RI
Picking the ideal trucking school is an important first step to starting your new occupation as a long distance or local truck driver. The skill sets taught at school will be those that mold a new career behind the wheel. There are several options available and understanding them is critical if you are going to succeed as an operator. Most importantly, you must get the proper training in order to operate a big commercial vehicle in a safe and professional manner. If you are short on cash or financing, you may need to think about 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 choose an independent school and have the option of driving for the trucking firm of your choice, or one of several associated with the school. It’s your choice. But regardless of how you receive your training, you will in the near future be entering a profession that helps America move as a professional trucker in Oakland RI.
A Bit About Oakland Rhode Island
Oakland Historic District
Oakland Historic District may refer to:
More Cities of Interest in Rhode Island