CDL Truck Driver Schools in New York

How to Find a Truck Driving School in New York

New York CDL truck driving schoolCongratulations on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a trucking school in New York. Maybe it has always been your ambition to hit the open highway while operating a monster tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have done some analysis and have discovered that an occupation as a truck driver provides good wages and flexible work opportunities. No matter what your reason is, it’s essential to receive the appropriate training by picking the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are various variables that you’ll need to think about prior to making your final choice. Location will certainly be an issue, especially if you need to commute from your home. The expense will also be of importance, but selecting a school based entirely on price is not the best means to guarantee you’ll obtain the appropriate training. Don’t forget, your goal is to master the knowledge and skills that will enable you to pass the CDL exams and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that target in mind, just how do you decide on a truck driving school? That is what we are going to discuss in the balance of this article. But first, we are going to review a little bit about which CDL license you will eventually need.

Which CDL Will You Need?

tractor trailer in New YorkTo drive commercial vehicles lawfully in New York and within the United States, an operator needs to attain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 license classes that one can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the subject of this article is how to choose a truck driving school, we will focus on Class A and Class B licenses. What differentiates 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 explanations of the two classes.

Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License 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. 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 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. Several 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 Commercial Drivers Licenses may also require endorsements to drive specific kinds of vehicles, for example passenger or school buses. And a Class A licensee, with the proper needed endorsements, can drive any vehicle that a Class B license holder is qualified to drive.

How to Research a Trucking School

New York tractor truckOnce you have determined which CDL you wish to obtain, you can start the undertaking of assessing the New York truck driving schools that you are considering. As already discussed, cost and location will no doubt be your initial considerations. But it can’t be stressed enough that they must not be your sole considerations. Other issues, for example the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are equally if not more important. So below are several additional points that you need to research while conducting your due diligence before choosing, and especially paying for, your truck driving training.

Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Not many New York truck driver schools are accredited due to the demanding process and cost to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more commonplace and is offered by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not obligated to become certified, but there are several advantages. Interested students recognize that the training will be of the highest caliber, and that they will receive plenty of driving time. As an example, PTDI mandates 44 hours of actual 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 training and curriculum will meet the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.

How Long in Operation? One clue to help assess 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. Having said that, even the top New York schools had to start from their first day of training, so consider it as one of several qualifiers. You can also learn what the school’s track record is relating to successful licensing and job placement of its graduating students. If a school won’t supply those stats, look elsewhere. The schools should also maintain relationships with regional and national trucking companies. Having a large number of contacts not only confirms an excellent reputation within the industry, but also boosts their job placement program for graduates. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to check with the New York licensing department to confirm that the CDL trucking schools you are considering are in good standing.

How Effective is the Training? At a minimum, the schools must be licensed in New York and hire teachers that are experienced and trained. We will cover more about the teachers in the next segment. In addition, the student to instructor ratio should not be higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be obtaining the individual 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 claims it can train you to drive trucks in a comparatively short time frame. Learning to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer professionally requires time. The majority of New York schools provide training programs that run from 3 weeks to as long as two months, depending on the license class or type of vehicle.

How Experienced are the Trainers? As earlier mentioned, it’s important that the instructors are qualified to teach driving methods and experienced as both instructors and drivers. 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 vital that the teachers keep up to date with industry advancements or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Assessing instructors might be a bit more intuitive than other criteria, and possibly the best approach is to visit the New York school and talk to the teachers face to face. You can also talk to a few of the students completing the training and find out if they are happy with the level of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.

Sufficient Driving Time? Most importantly, an excellent 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. Although the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are essential training tools, they are no replacement for actual driving. The more instruction that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will become. Although driving time differs among schools, a good benchmark 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 New York schools you are looking at and ask how much driving time they provide.

Are they Independent or Captive ? It’s possible to receive discounted or even free training from a number of New York truck driver schools if you enter into an agreement to be a driver for a specified carrier for a defined period of time. This is called contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So rather than having 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. Naturally contract training has the potential to restrict your income opportunities when beginning your new career. But for many it may be the only way to get affordable training. Just remember to find out if the schools you are contemplating are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.

Offer Onsite CDL Testing? There are some states that will allow 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driver schools for its grads. If onsite testing is permitted in New York, ask if the schools you are reviewing are DMV certified to provide it. One advantage is that it is more accommodating than contending with graduates from other schools for test times at New York testing facilities. It is moreover an indication that the DMV considers the approved schools to be of a higher quality.

Are the Classes Flexible? As formerly noted, truck driving training is just one to two months long. With such a short duration, it’s important that the New York school you enroll in 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 spend more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still holding a job while attending training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other responsibilities.

Is Job Assistance Offered? As soon as you have attained your CDL license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be anxious to start your new career in New York. Confirm that the schools you are contemplating have job placement programs. Find out what their job placement ratio is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, find out which national and local trucking firms their graduates are placed with for hiring. If a school has a low job placement rate or few employers recruiting their grads, it might be a clue to search elsewhere.

Is Financial Assistance Available? Trucking schools are much like colleges and other vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being offered. Find out if the schools you are examining have a financial assistance department, or at least someone who can help you understand the options and forms that must be submitted in New York.

Select the Ideal Truck Driver School

tanker truck driving in New YorkChoosing the right truck driving school is an important first step to starting your new vocation as a local or long distance truck driver. The skills that you will learn at school will be those that forge a new career behind the wheel. There are a number of options available and understanding them is crucial to a new driver’s success. Most importantly, you must obtain the appropriate training in order to drive a large commercial vehicle in a safe and professional manner. If you are short on cash or financing, you may want to consider a captive school. You will pay a lower or in some cases no tuition by agreeing to drive for their contracted carrier. Or you can select an independent school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking company of your choosing, or one of several affiliated with the school. It’s your choice. But regardless of how you receive your training, you will soon be joining a profession that helps America move as a professional truck driver in New York.

More Cities of Interest in New York

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  • CDL Truck Driver Schools near Great Neck NY 11020
  • CDL Truck Driver Schools near Washingtonville NY 10992
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  • CDL Truck Driver Schools near Waddington NY 13694
  • CDL Truck Driver Schools near Babylon NY 11702
  • CDL Truck Driver Schools near Guilderland NY 12084
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