How to Select a Truck Driver School near Virgilina Virginia
Congratulations on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a trucking school near Virgilina VA. Perhaps it has always been your dream to hit the open road while operating a monster tractor trailer. Or maybe you have conducted some research and have found that a career as a truck driver provides excellent wages and flexible job opportunities. Whatever your reason is, it’s imperative to receive the proper training by choosing the right CDL school in your area. When evaluating your options, there are several variables that you’ll need to examine prior to making your ultimate selection. Location will no doubt be an issue, particularly if you need to commute from your Virgilina residence. The expense will also be of importance, but picking a school based solely on price is not the optimal means to make certain you’ll obtain the proper training. Don’t forget, your goal is to learn the knowledge and skills 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? 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 CDL license you will ultimately need.
Which CDL Will You Need?
To operate commercial vehicles lawfully in Virginia and within the USA, a driver must get a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three license classes that a person can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the topic of this article is how to choose a truck driving school near Virgilina VA, we will address Class A and B licenses. What differentiates 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). Below are short summaries for 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. Several 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 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. Some 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 might also require endorsements to operate specific types of vehicles, including school or passenger buses. And a Class A licensee, with the proper needed endorsements, can drive any vehicle that a Class B licensee is qualified to drive.
How to Evaluate a CDL School
After you have determined which Commercial Drivers License you would like to obtain, you can start the undertaking of evaluating the Virgilina VA truck driver schools that you are looking at. As previously mentioned, location and cost will certainly be your primary considerations. But it can’t be stressed enough that they should not be your only considerations. Other variables, such as the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are similarly or even more important. So below are some additional points that you need to research while performing your due diligence before enrolling in, and especially paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Not many Virgilina VA truck driver schools are accredited due to the stringent process and expense to the schools. However, certification is more typical and is offered by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not required to become certified, but there are certain advantages. Potential students know that the training will be of the highest caliber, and that they will get an ample amount of driving time. As an example, PTDI calls for 44 hours of real driving time, not ride-alongs or simulations. So if a school’s program is certified (the program, not the school is certified), students know that the curriculum and training will comply with the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One clue to help determine the quality of a trucking school is how long it has been in operation. A poorly ranked or a fly by night school typically will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. On the other hand, even the top Virgilina VA schools had to start from their opening day of training, so use it as one of several qualifiers. You can also learn what the school’s track record is regarding successful licensing and employment of its graduates. If a school won’t provide those numbers, search elsewhere. The schools should also have relationships with regional and national trucking firms. Having numerous contacts not only points to a superior reputation within the trade, but also boosts their job placement program for students. It also wouldn’t hurt to get in touch with the Virginia licensing authority to confirm that the CDL trucker schools you are researching are in compliance.
How Effective is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools should be licensed in Virginia and hire teachers that are trained and experienced. We will talk more about the instructors in the next section. In addition, 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 personal instruction they will need. This is especially true regarding the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And watch out for any school that claims it can teach you to drive trucks in a comparatively short period of time. Training to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer professionally requires time. The majority of Virgilina VA schools offer training programs that run from 3 weeks to as long as 2 months, based on the license class or kind of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Teachers? As already mentioned, it’s essential that the teachers are trained to teach driving methods and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Although a number of states have minimum driving time prerequisites to qualify as a teacher, the more professional driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also important that the teachers stay current with industry advancements or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Assessing teachers may be a little more subjective than other standards, and perhaps the ideal method is to visit the Virgilina VA school and speak with the teachers 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? Most importantly, a good truck driver school will provide sufficient driving time to its students. After all, isn’t that what it’s all about? Driving time is the real time spent behind the wheel operating a truck. While the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are necessary training tools, they are no alternative for actual driving. The more training that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will become. And even though driving time differs among schools, a reasonable standard is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide no less than 44 hours of driving time. Get in touch with the Virgilina VA schools you are considering and find out how much driving time they provide.
Are they Independent or Captive ? You can obtain discounted or even free training from some Virgilina VA truck driving schools if you make a commitment to be a driver for a particular carrier for a defined amount of time. This is referred to as contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So instead of maintaining associations 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 flexibility to initially work wherever you choose. Clearly 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 get affordable training. Just be sure to find out if the schools you are considering are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Offer CDL Testing Onsite? There are some states that will allow third party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its students. If onsite testing is permitted in Virginia, find out if the Virgilina VA schools you are considering are DMV certified to provide it. One advantage is that it is more convenient than competing with graduates from other schools for test times at Virginia testing facilities. It is moreover an indicator that the DMV considers the approved schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Class Times Flexible? As previously mentioned, truck driving training is just one to two months in length. With such a brief term, it’s important that the Virgilina VA school you choose offers flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. As an example, if you’re having difficulty learning a certain driving maneuver, then the teacher should be prepared to devote more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still working while attending training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other obligations.
Is Job Assistance Offered? The moment you have attained your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be eager to start your new career in Virgilina VA. Verify that the schools you are considering have job assistance programs. Find out what their job placement ratio is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, ask which local and national trucking firms their graduates are placed with for employment. If a school has a poor job placement rate or few employers recruiting their grads, it may be a sign to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Given? Truck driver schools are comparable to colleges and other trade or technical schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being available. Ask if the schools you are examining have a financial assistance department, or at a minimum someone who can help you understand the options and forms that need to be completed in Virgilina VA.
Why Did You Want to Be a Tractor Trailer Operator?When getting ready to interview for a Trucking job, it's helpful to consider questions you may be asked. Among the things that recruiters frequently ask truck driving applicants is "What drove you to pick trucking as a career?". What the interviewer is trying to uncover is not only the private reasons you might have for becoming a trucking operator, but also what qualities and skills you have that make you exceptional at what you do. You will likely be asked questions pertaining exclusively to trucking, as well as a certain number of routine interview questions, so you should organize some approaches about how you would like to respond to them. Considering there are several factors that go into choosing a career, you can respond to this primary question in a variety of ways. When preparing an answer, aim to include the reasons the work interests you in addition to the talents you have that make you an outstanding truck driver and the ideal candidate for the job. Don't make an effort to memorize a response, but take down a few ideas and topics that relate to your own strengths and experiences. Reviewing sample answers can help you to formulate your own concepts, and provide ideas of what to include to impress the interviewer.
Select the Ideal Truck Driver School Virgilina VA
Choosing the appropriate truck driving school is a critical first step to starting your new profession as a long distance or local truck driver. The skills that you will learn at school will be those that forge a new career behind the wheel. There are many options available and understanding them is vital to a new driver’s success. But first and foremost, you must get the appropriate training in order to operate a large commercial vehicle in a safe and professional fashion. If you are short on funds or financing, you may want to look into a captive school. You will pay a lower or in some cases no tuition in exchange for driving for their contracted carrier. Or you can enroll in an independent school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking company of your choice, or one of many affiliated with the school. It’s your choice. But no matter how you receive your training, you will soon be entering a profession that helps America move as a professional truck driver in Virgilina VA.
A Bit About Virgilina Virginia
Virgilina is a town in Halifax County, Virginia, United States. The population was 154 at the 2010 census. Virgilina was once a copper mining town. It is named "Virgilina" because it is located on the Virginia and North Carolina border.
Virgilina is located in the southeast corner of Halifax County at 36°32′43″N 78°46′25″W / 36.54528°N 78.77361°W / 36.54528; -78.77361 (36.545244, −78.773720). The town's southern border is the Virginia–North Carolina line. Virginia State Routes 96 and 49 intersect at the center of town. VA-96 leads west 7 miles (11 km) to U.S. Route 501 south of Cluster Springs, while VA-49 leads northeast 14 miles (23 km) to Clarksville. Both highway numbers continue into North Carolina: NC 96 leads southeast 20 miles (32 km) to Oxford, North Carolina, while NC 49 runs southwest 17 miles (27 km) to Roxboro, North Carolina.
According to the United States Census Bureau, Virgilina has a total area of 0.62 square miles (1.6 km2), all of it land. The town center sits on a small ridge, with both sides draining to tributaries of Aarons Creek, which flows north to the Dan River, part of the Roanoke River watershed.
As of the census of 2000, there were 159 people, 76 households, and 43 families residing in the town. The population density was 256.2 people per square mile (99.0/km²). There were 86 housing units at an average density of 138.6 per square mile (53.6/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 93.08% White, 1.66% African American and 1.26% Native American.
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