How to Pick a Truck Driving School near Sevierville Tennessee
Best wishes on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a CDL school near Sevierville TN. Perhaps it has always been your dream to hit the open highway while operating a huge tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have done some analysis and have discovered that an occupation as a truck driver offers excellent income and flexible work prospects. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s imperative to get the appropriate training by enrolling in the right CDL school in your area. When evaluating your options, there are certain variables that you’ll need to examine prior to making your ultimate choice. Location will undoubtedly be an issue, particularly if you need to commute from your Sevierville home. The cost will also be important, but choosing a school based exclusively on price is not the best way to guarantee you’ll obtain the right education. Don’t forget, your goal is to learn the knowledge and skills that will enable you to pass the CDL examinations and become a professional 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 remainder of this article. But first, we are going to discuss a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will eventually need.
Which CDL Will You Need?
In order to operate commercial vehicles legally in Tennessee and within the United States, a driver needs to get 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 topic of this article is how to pick a truck driving school near Sevierville TN, we will highlight 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 brief descriptions of the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License is required to operate any vehicle that has a GCWR of greater than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of greater 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 needed 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 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 operate specific kinds of vehicles, such as passenger or school buses. And a Class A licensee, with the proper needed endorsements, may drive any vehicle that a Class B licensee is authorized to operate.
How to Assess a Truck Driving School
When you have decided which CDL you want to pursue, you can start the undertaking of evaluating the Sevierville TN trucking schools that you are considering. As already discussed, cost and location will certainly be your primary considerations. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they should not be your only considerations. Other issues, for instance 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 need to research while carrying out your due diligence prior to enrolling in, and particularly paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Very few Sevierville TN 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 offered by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not required to become certified, but there are a number of advantages. Potential students know that the training will be of the highest caliber, and that they will get an ample amount of driving time. For example, PTDI mandates 44 hours of actual 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 fulfill the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One indicator to help determine the quality of a trucking school is how long it has been in operation. A negatively rated or a fly by night school typically will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. Having said that, even the top Sevierville TN schools had to start from their opening day of training, so use it as one of multiple qualifiers. You can also find out what the school’s track record is concerning successful licensing and job placement of its graduating students. If a school won’t provide those numbers, look elsewhere. The schools should additionally have relationships with local and national trucking companies. Having a large number of contacts not only confirms a quality reputation within the industry, but also boosts their job placement program for students. It also wouldn’t hurt to get in touch with the Tennessee licensing department to verify that the CDL trucker schools you are reviewing are in good standing.
How Good is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools must be licensed in Tennessee and hire instructors that are trained and experienced. We will talk more about the instructors in the following segment. In addition, the student to instructor proportion should be no higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, 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 watch out for any school that professes it can teach you to drive trucks in a comparatively short time frame. Training to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer professionally requires time. The majority of Sevierville TN schools provide training programs that range from three weeks to as long as two months, based on the class of license or type of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Teachers? As already stated, it’s imperative that the instructors are qualified to teach driving techniques and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Although a number of states have minimum driving time prerequisites to be certified as a teacher, the more professional driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also vital that the instructors stay up to date with industry advancements or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Evaluating instructors may be a little more intuitive than other criteria, and possibly the ideal method is to check out the Sevierville TN school and speak with the teachers in person. You can also talk to a few of the students completing the training and ask if they are happy with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
How Much Driving Time? Most importantly, 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 driving a truck. While the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are essential training methods, they are no replacement for real driving. The more instruction that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will become. Although driving time differs 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 Sevierville TN schools you are looking at and find out how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Captive or Independent ? It’s possible to obtain free or discounted training from certain Sevierville TN truck driver schools if you enter into an agreement to be a driver for a specific carrier for a defined time period. This is referred to as contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So rather than having associations with many different trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only refer to one company. The benefit is receiving free or less expensive training by giving up the flexibility to initially be a driver wherever you have an opportunity. Clearly contract training has the potential to limit your income opportunities when beginning your new career. But for many it may be the ideal way to receive affordable training. Just make sure to inquire if the schools you are looking at are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Provide CDL Testing Onsite? There are several states that will permit third party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is available in Tennessee, ask if the Sevierville TN schools you are reviewing are DMV certified to offer it. One benefit is that it is more accommodating than competing with graduates of competing schools for test times at Tennessee testing centers. It is moreover an indicator that the DMV considers the approved schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Classes Convenient? As previously noted, truck driving training is just one to two months in length. With such a short duration, it’s imperative that the Sevierville TN school you select offers flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. As an example, if you’re having difficulty learning a particular driving maneuver, then the instructor should be willing to devote more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still holding a job while going to 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 commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be anxious to start your new career in Sevierville TN. Verify that the schools you are looking at have job assistance 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 referred to for employment. If a school has a poor job placement rate or not many employers hiring their grads, it might be a clue to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Provided? 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 evaluating have a financial aid department, or at least someone who can help you get through the options and forms that must be completed in Sevierville TN.
Why Did You Choose to Become a Trucker?When preparing to interview for a Trucking position, it's a good idea to review questions you may be asked. One of the things that interviewers frequently ask truck driving prospects is "What made you decide on trucking as a career?". What the interviewer is trying to learn is not just the personal reasons you might have for becoming a trucking operator, but additionally what attributes and abilities you possess that make you good at your profession. You will probably be asked questions pertaining specifically to trucking, along with a significant number of general interview questions, so you should prepare some ideas about how you want to respond to them. Since there are several factors that go into choosing a career, you can address this fundamental question in a number of ways. When readying an answer, aim to include the reasons the profession appeals to you as well as the talents you have that make you an outstanding truck driver and the best choice for the position. Don't try to memorize a response, but write down some ideas and talking points that pertain to your personal experiences and strengths. Going over sample answers can assist you to develop your own thoughts, and provide ideas of what to discuss to wow the recruiter.
Select the Ideal Truck Driver School Sevierville TN
Choosing the ideal truck driver school is an important first step to launching your new profession as a long distance or local truck driver. The skills taught at school will be those that mold a new career behind the wheel. There are several options available and understanding them is crucial to a new driver’s success. Most importantly, you must obtain the necessary training in order to drive a large commercial vehicle in a safe and professional manner. If you are short on cash or financing, you might want to consider a captive school. You will pay a lower or even no tuition in exchange for driving 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 affiliated with the school. It’s your decision. But no matter how you receive your training, you will soon be joining a profession that helps America move as a professional truck driver in Sevierville TN.
A Bit About Sevierville Tennessee
Sevier County, Tennessee
Sevier County (/səˈvɪər/ severe) is a county of the U.S. state of Tennessee. As of the 2010 census, the population was 89,889. Its county seat and largest city is Sevierville.
Sevier County comprises the Sevierville, TN Micropolitan Statistical Area, which is included in the Knoxville-Morristown-Sevierville, TN Combined Statistical Area.
Prior to the arrival of white settlers in present-day Sevier County in the mid-18th century, the area had been inhabited for as many as 20,000 years by nomadic and semi-nomadic Native Americans. In the mid-16th century, Spanish expeditions led by Hernando de Soto (1540) and Juan Pardo (1567) passed through what is now Sevier County, reporting that the region was part of the domain of Chiaha, a minor Muskogean chiefdom centered around a village located on a now-submerged island just upstream from modern Douglas Dam. By the late 17th-century, however, the Cherokee— whose ancestors were living in the mountains at the time of the Spaniards' visit— had become the dominant tribe in the region. Although they used the region primarily as hunting grounds, the Chicakamauga faction of the Cherokee vehemently fought white settlement in their territory, frequently leading raids on households, even through the signing of various peace treaties, alternating short periods of peace with violent hostility, until forcibly marched from their territory by the U.S. government on the "Trail of Tears".
Sevier County was formed on September 18, 1794 from part of neighboring Jefferson County, and has retained its original boundaries ever since. The county takes its name from John Sevier, governor of the failed State of Franklin and first governor of Tennessee, who played a prominent role during the early years of settlement in the region. Since its establishment in 1795, the county seat has been situated at Sevierville (also named for Sevier), the eighth-oldest city in Tennessee.
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