How to Decide on a CDL Training School near Wattsville Virginia
Best wishes on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a trucking school near Wattsville VA. Perhaps it has always been your ambition to hit the open highway while operating a big ole tractor trailer. Or possibly you have conducted some research and have discovered that a career as a truck driver offers excellent wages and flexible job prospects. No matter what your reason is, it’s important to get the proper training by selecting the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are certain variables that you’ll need to examine before making your ultimate selection. Location will certainly be an issue, especially if you need to commute from your Wattsville home. The expense will also be of importance, but selecting a school based entirely on price is not the optimal method to ensure you’ll obtain the appropriate education. Don’t forget, your goal is to learn the skills and knowledge that will enable you to pass the CDL exams and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that goal in mind, just how do you decide on a truck driving school? That is what we are going to discuss in the remainder of this article. But first, we are going to talk a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will eventually need.
Which CDL Should You Get?
In order to drive commercial vehicles legally in Virginia and within the United States, a driver must attain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 classes of licenses that one 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 Wattsville VA, 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). Following are short descriptions of the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL 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 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 CDL is required to drive 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 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 may also require endorsements to drive specific types of vehicles, including passenger or school buses. And a Class A license holder, with the appropriate needed endorsements, may drive any vehicle that a Class B license holder is authorized to drive.
How to Evaluate a Truck Driver School
Once you have decided which Commercial Drivers License you want to pursue, you can begin the undertaking of assessing the Wattsville VA truck driver schools that you are looking at. As previously discussed, cost and location will undoubtedly be your initial considerations. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they must not be your sole considerations. Other variables, including the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are similarly or even more important. So below are some more things that you need to research while carrying out your due diligence before selecting, and especially paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Very few Wattsville VA truck driver schools are accredited due to the demanding 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 obligated 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 be given plenty of driving time. For example, PTDI requires 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 satisfy the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One indicator to help determine the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in operation. A negatively rated or a fly by night school normally will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. Having said that, even the best of Wattsville VA schools had to start from their opening day of training, so consider it as one of several qualifiers. You can also find out what the school’s history is relating to successful licensing and job placement of its graduates. If a school won’t supply those stats, look elsewhere. The schools should also have associations with regional and national trucking firms. Having a large number of contacts not only affirms a superior reputation within the industry, but also boosts their job placement program for students. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to get in touch with the Virginia licensing authority to make sure 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 Virginia and hire teachers that are experienced and trained. We will cover more about the teachers in the next section. In addition, the student to instructor proportion should not be higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be getting the personal attention they will need. This is especially true regarding the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And be critical of any school that professes it can train you to be a truck driver in a comparatively short time frame. Training to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully requires time. The majority of Wattsville VA schools offer training courses that run from three weeks to as long as 2 months, depending on the class of license or kind of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Instructors? As already stated, it’s essential that the teachers are qualified to teach driving techniques and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Even though several states have minimum driving time requirements to qualify as a teacher, the more successful driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also vital that the instructors keep up to date with industry developments or any new laws or changes in regulations. Evaluating instructors may be a bit more subjective than other criteria, and possibly the best method is to visit the Wattsville VA school and speak with the instructors 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 quality of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Adequate Driving Time? Above all else, an excellent 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. While the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are essential training methods, they are no alternative for actual driving. The more instruction that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will become. And even though driving time differs between schools, a good benchmark 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 Wattsville VA schools you are researching and find out how much driving time they provide.
Are they Captive or Independent ? It’s possible to receive free or discounted training from certain Wattsville VA trucking schools if you make a commitment to drive for a specified carrier for a defined amount of time. This is what’s known as contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So instead of having affiliations with a wide range of trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only work with one company. The benefit is receiving free or less expensive training by surrendering the flexibility to initially be a driver wherever you choose. Obviously 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 remember to ask if the schools you are contemplating are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Provide CDL Testing Onsite? There are some states that will permit third party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its students. If onsite testing is allowed in Virginia, find out if the Wattsville VA schools you are looking at are DMV certified to provide it. One benefit is that it is more accommodating than contending with graduates from other schools for test times at Virginia testing facilities. It is also an indicator that the DMV believes the approved schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Class Times Flexible? As previously noted, truck driver training is just 1 to 2 months in length. With such a short term, it’s essential that the Wattsville VA school you enroll in provides flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. For example, if you’re having difficulty learning a particular driving maneuver, then the instructor should be prepared to commit more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still working while going to training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other commitments.
Is Job Placement Provided? The moment you have acquired your CDL license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be keen to start your new career in Wattsville VA. Confirm that the schools you are looking at have job placement programs. Find out what their job placement percentage is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, find out which local and national trucking companies their graduates are placed with for employment. If a school has a low job placement rate or not many employers hiring their graduates, it may be a clue to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Truck driving schools are comparable to colleges and other technical or vocational schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being available. Find out if the schools you are assessing have a financial assistance department, or at a minimum someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that must be submitted in Wattsville VA.
Why Did You Desire to Be a Tractor Trailer Operator?When prepping to interview for a Trucking position, it's helpful to review questions you may be asked. Among the things that hiring managers typically ask truck driving candidates is "What made you pick trucking as a career?". What the interviewer is hoping to discover is not only the personal reasons you might have for being a truck driver, but also what attributes and talents you have that make you exceptional at your profession. You will undoubtedly be asked questions pertaining primarily to trucking, as well as a certain number of general interview questions, so you should prepare some approaches about how you would like to respond to them. Because there are numerous variables that go into choosing a career, you can answer this primary question in a multitude of ways. When preparing an answer, try to include the reasons the work appeals to you in addition to the abilities you possess that make you an excellent truck driver and the best candidate for the position. Don't make an effort to memorize a response, but jot down several ideas and topics that pertain to your own strengths and experiences. Reading through sample answers can help you to develop your own thoughts, and inspire ideas of what to include to wow the interviewer.
Select the Right Truck Driver School Wattsville VA
Picking the ideal truck driving school is an essential 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 mold 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 obtain the necessary training in order to operate a large commercial vehicle in a safe and professional manner. If you are short on money or financing, you might need to look into a captive school. You will pay a lower or even no tuition in exchange for driving for their contracted carrier. Or you can select an independent school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking firm of your choosing, or one of several affiliated with the school. It’s your decision. But regardless of how you receive your training, you will in the near future be entering a profession that helps our country move as a professional truck driver in Wattsville VA.
A Bit About Wattsville Virginia
Virginia State Route 175
State Route 175 (SR 175) is a primary state highway in the U.S. state of Virginia. Known as Chincoteague Road, the state highway runs 10.49 miles (16.88 km) from U.S. Route 13 (US 13) at Nash Corner east to Main Street in Chincoteague. SR 175 passes through the northeastern corner of Accomack County, providing the primary access to NASA's Wallops Flight Facility and both Chincoteague Island and the Virginia portion of Assateague Island. The route travels between the mainland and Chincoteague Island along the John B. Whealton Memorial Causeway.
In 1928, SR 520 was designated to run from US 13 in Oak Hall east toward Chincoteague Island, being extended onto the island in 1930. The route was extended south along US 13 and west to a railroad crossing west of Oak Hall in 1930. SR 520 became SR 175 in the 1933 Virginia state highway renumbering. SR 175 was extended south on Main Street in Chincoteague a year later and east on Beebe Road the following year, at which time a spur route known as SR 175Y was designated onto the northern portion of Main Street. The western terminus was moved to its current location in 1947, with the section west of US 13 becoming part of SR 703. SR 175 was routed to bypass Wallops Station to the south in 1954. In 1992, the section of SR 175 in Chincoteague, along with all of SR 175Y, was transferred to the secondary system. SR 175 was rerouted to bypass Marsh Island and a swing bridge over Chincoteague Channel with a new bascule bridge further north in 2010, tying into Main Street at Maddox Boulevard. The former swing bridge was demolished and a spur off the new bridge was built to serve Marsh Island.
SR 175 begins at an intersection with US 13 (Lankford Highway) at Nash Corner 4 miles (6.4 km) south of the Maryland state line. The state highway heads east as a two-lane undivided road through a mix of farmland and woodland. Upon reaching the community of Wattsville, the highway intersects SR 679 (Fleming Road) and SR 798 (Mill Dam Road). The road crosses over Wallops Pond, an impoundment of Wattsville Branch of Mosquito Creek, onto Wallops Island. SR 175 heads east, intersecting SR 798 (Atlantic Avenue) again, then curves north through Wallops Island National Wildlife Refuge and around NASA's Wallops Flight Facility, a rocket launch site operated as a subsidiary of Goddard Space Flight Center. While heading north parallel to one of the flight facility's runways, the state highway passes the NASA Visitor Center. SR 175 curves to the east as it passes the main entrance to the flight facility.
SR 175 heads east onto the John B. Whealton Memorial Causeway between the mainland and Chincoteague Island. The causeway passes over marshland adjacent to the southern end of Chincoteague Bay and includes bridges over Mosquito Creek, Cockle Creek, Queen Sound Channel, and Wire Narrows. A fifth bridge curves to the north and then east around the northern end of Marsh Island to cross Black Narrows and Chincoteague Channel onto Chincoteague Island. The bridge has a bascule span over Chincoteague Channel and lands on Chincoteague Island north of the downtown area. Marsh Island is served by a connector bridge that meets SR 175 over Black Narrows. SR 175 reaches its eastern terminus at Main Street in the town of Chincoteague. The roadway continues east as Maddox Boulevard toward Assateague Island. SR 175 serves as the access road from US 13 to both Chincoteague and the Virginia section of Assateague Island.
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