How to Decide on a CDL Training School near Shelton Connecticut
Congratulations on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a trucking school near Shelton CT. Maybe it has always been your ambition to hit the open highway while driving a big ole tractor trailer. Or maybe you have done some analysis and have discovered that an occupation as a truck driver provides good income and flexible work prospects. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s imperative to get the proper training by picking the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are a number of variables that you’ll need to consider prior to making your final selection. Location will undoubtedly be important, particularly if you have to commute from your Shelton home. The expense will also be important, but picking a school based exclusively on price is not the best means to make certain you’ll get the proper training. Just remember, your objective is to learn the knowledge and skills that will allow you to pass the CDL exams and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that target in mind, just how do you choose a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to cover in the rest of this article. But first, we are going to review a little bit about which CDL license you will eventually need.
Which CDL Should You Get?
In order to operate commercial vehicles lawfully in Connecticut 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. Since the topic of this article is how to choose a truck driver school near Shelton CT, we will focus on Class A and 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 summaries for the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License is required to operate 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 drive single vehicles having a GVWR of more 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 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 certain types of vehicles, for instance passenger or school buses. And a Class A licensee, with the proper needed endorsements, may operate any vehicle that a Class B licensee is authorized to operate.
How to Assess a Truck Driver School
Once you have decided which CDL you would like to obtain, you can start the process of evaluating the Shelton CT truck driver schools that you are considering. As earlier mentioned, location and cost will undoubtedly be your primary concerns. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they must not be your only concerns. Other issues, for example the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are similarly or even more important. So below are some additional points that you should research while carrying out your due diligence before choosing, and particularly paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Very few Shelton CT truck driver schools are accredited because of the stringent process and expense to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more typical 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 quality, and that they will be given lots 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 Operation? One clue to help measure the quality of a truck driver school is how long it has been in operation. A poorly reviewed or a fly by night school usually will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. Having said that, even the best of Shelton CT schools had to start from their first day of training, so use it as one of several qualifications. You can also learn what the school’s history is concerning successful licensing and employment of its graduating students. If a school won’t provide those stats, search elsewhere. The schools should additionally maintain relationships with local and national trucking companies. Having numerous contacts not only confirms a superior reputation within the trade, but also bolsters their job assistance program for students. It also wouldn’t hurt to check with the Connecticut licensing authority to make sure that the CDL trucker schools you are reviewing are in good standing.
How Effective is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools must be licensed in Connecticut and employ teachers that are experienced and trained. We will cover more about the instructors in the next section. Also, the student to instructor ratio should not be greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be receiving the personal attention they will need. This is especially true regarding the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And look out for any school that professes it can teach you to be a truck driver in a comparatively short time period. Learning to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer professionally takes time. The majority of Shelton CT schools offer training programs that range from 3 weeks to as long as 2 months, based on the license class or type of vehicle.
How Good are the Instructors? As previously stated, it’s important that the instructors are qualified to teach driving techniques and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Even though a number of states have minimum driving time criteria to qualify as an instructor, the more successful driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also vital that the instructors stay current with industry developments or any new laws or changes in regulations. Assessing instructors might be a little more intuitive than other standards, and possibly the ideal approach is to visit the Shelton CT 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.
Plenty of Driving Time? Most importantly, a great truck driver school will provide lots of driving time to its students. Besides, isn’t that what it’s all about? Driving time is the actual time spent behind the wheel driving a truck. Even though the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are important training tools, they are no substitute for real driving. The more training that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will be. Although driving time can vary between schools, a good benchmark is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Get in touch with the Shelton CT schools you are looking at and find out how much driving time they provide.
Are they Captive or Independent ? You can receive discounted or even free training from a number of Shelton CT truck driver schools if you enter into an agreement to drive for a specified carrier for a defined period of time. This is referred to as contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So instead of having affiliations with many different trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only work with one company. The tradeoff is receiving less expensive or even free training by giving up the flexibility to initially work wherever you choose. Obviously contract training has the potential to restrict your income prospects when starting out. But for some it may be the ideal way to obtain affordable training. Just be sure to ask if the schools you are looking at are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Is there Onsite CDL Testing? There are several states that will permit third party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is allowed in Connecticut, ask if the Shelton CT schools you are reviewing are DMV certified to offer it. One benefit is that it is more convenient than contending with graduates from competing schools for test times at Connecticut testing centers. It is also an indicator that the DMV regards the authorized schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Class Times Flexible? As earlier mentioned, CDL training is just 1 to 2 months in length. With such a short duration, it’s important that the Shelton CT school you select provides flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. As an example, if you’re having difficulty learning a particular driving maneuver, then the teacher should be prepared to dedicate more time with you until you have it mastered. 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 commitments.
Is Job Assistance Offered? The moment you have acquired your CDL license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be keen to start your new profession in Shelton CT. Verify that the schools you are looking at 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 companies their graduates are referred to for employment. If a school has a low job placement rate or not many employers hiring their graduates, it might be a sign to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Trucking schools are much like colleges and other technical or vocational schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being offered. Find out if the schools you are assessing have a financial aid department, or at a minimum someone who can help you understand the options and forms that must be completed in Shelton CT.
Why Did You Decide to Become a Truck Driver?When preparing to interview for a Trucking position, it's a good idea to review questions you may be asked. One of the questions that hiring managers frequently ask truck driving applicants is "What drove you to decide on trucking as a career?". What the interviewer is hoping to learn is not merely the personal reasons you may have for becoming a trucker, but additionally what qualities and skills you possess that make you good at what you do. You will probably be asked questions relating exclusively to trucking, as well as a certain number of typical interview questions, so you need to prepare several strategies about how you want to respond to them. Since there are several variables that go into choosing a career, you can address this fundamental question in a multitude of ways. When readying an answer, aim to include the reasons the profession appeals to you as well as the strengths you have that make you an outstanding truck driver and the best choice for the job. Don't try to memorize a response, but write down some concepts and talking points that pertain to your own strengths and experiences. Reading through sample responses can help you to prepare your own thoughts, and give you ideas of what to discuss to enthuse the recruiter.
Pick the Right Trucking School Shelton CT
Selecting the appropriate trucking school is a critical first step to starting your new profession as a local or long distance truck driver. The skills taught at school will be those that forge a new career behind the wheel. There are several options offered and understanding them is vital if you are going to succeed as an operator. 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 lacking cash or financing, you may need to think about a captive school. You will pay a reduced or in some cases no tuition in exchange for driving for their contracted carrier. Or you can select an independent school and have the option of driving for the trucking company of your choosing, or one of several associated with the school. It’s your choice. But no matter how you get your training, you will soon be joining a profession that helps our country move as a professional trucker in Shelton CT.
A Bit About Shelton Connecticut
Shelton is a city in Fairfield County, Connecticut, United States. The population was 39,559 at the 2010 census.
Shelton was settled by the English as part of the town of Stratford, Connecticut, in 1639. On May 15, 1656, the Court of the Colony of Connecticut in Hartford affirmed that the town of Stratford included all of the territory 12 miles (19 km) inland from Long Island Sound, between the Housatonic River and the Fairfield town line. In 1662, Stratford selectmen Lt. Joseph Judson, Captain Joseph Hawley and John Minor had secured all the written deeds of transfer from the Golden Hill Paugussett Indian Nation for this vast territory that comprises the present-day towns of Trumbull, Shelton and Monroe. Shelton was split off from Stratford in 1789, as Huntington (named for Samuel Huntington). The current name originated in a manufacturing village started in the 1860s named for the Shelton Company founded by Edward N. Shelton—also founder of Ousatonic Water Power Company. The rapidly growing borough of Shelton incorporated as a city in 1915 and was consolidated with the town of Huntington in 1919 establishing the present city of Shelton.
Shelton was the site of one of the largest arson fires in the United States history. It happened in 1975 when the Sponge Rubber Products plant (formerly owned by B.F. Goodrich) was set on fire. Charles Moeller, president of parent company Grand Sheet Metal Products, was acquitted on arson charges, but in a civil lawsuit, a jury in 1988 ruled the insurer did not have to pay claims on the fire because a preponderance of evidence showed the company's top officials arranged the fire to claim insurance money. Eight others were convicted or pleaded guilty.
The explosion that destroyed the Sponge Rubber Plant on Canal Street in 1975 marked the start of the decline of Shelton's industries. During the remainder of the 1970s and 1980s several firms that operated factories along the banks of the Housatonic River either went out of business or relocated to areas where labor and operating costs were cheaper. In 1995, Sikorsky Aircraft closed a plant off Bridgeport Avenue that manufactured electrical components for helicopters.
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