How to Decide on a Truck Driving School near Windsor Locks Connecticut
Congrats on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a trucking school near Windsor Locks CT. Maybe it has always been your dream to hit the open highway while driving a huge tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have conducted some research and have found that an occupation as a truck driver offers excellent income and flexible job opportunities. Whatever your reason is, it’s essential to receive the appropriate training by picking the right CDL school in your area. When evaluating your options, there are several variables that you’ll want to consider before making your ultimate choice. Location will undoubtedly be an issue, especially if you need to commute from your Windsor Locks residence. The cost will also be important, but picking a school based exclusively on price is not the best means to make sure you’ll get the appropriate training. Just remember, your goal is to master the knowledge and skills that will allow you to pass the CDL exams and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that purpose in mind, just how do you decide on a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to address in the remainder of this article. But first, we are going to discuss a little bit about which CDL license you will eventually need.
Which CDL Will You Require?
In order to drive commercial vehicles legally in Connecticut and within the United States, an operator must attain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three classes of licenses that a driver can apply 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 Windsor Locks CT, we will address Class A and Class B licenses. What distinguishes each class of CDL is the kind of vehicle that the driver can operate in addition to the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Below are brief explanations of the 2 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 more than 10,000 lbs. A few 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 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. 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 Commercial Drivers Licenses may also need endorsements to operate specific types of vehicles, such as passenger or school buses. And a Class A license holder, with the proper required endorsements, may operate any vehicle that a Class B licensee is qualified to operate.
How to Evaluate a CDL School
Once you have decided which Commercial Drivers License you would like to obtain, you can start the process of evaluating the Windsor Locks CT truck driving schools that you are considering. As earlier mentioned, cost and location will certainly be your initial considerations. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they must not be your only concerns. Other issues, for instance the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are equally or even more important. So following are a few additional things that you should research while performing your due diligence before enrolling in, and especially paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Very few Windsor Locks CT truck driver schools are accredited due to the rigorous process and expense to the schools. However, certification is more prevalent 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. Interested students know that the training will be of the highest standard, and that they will get plenty of driving time. For example, PTDI requires 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 comply with the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One clue to help evaluate the quality of a trucking school is how long it has been in operation. A negatively ranked or a fly by night school typically will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. On the other hand, even the top Windsor Locks CT schools had to begin from their first day of training, so use it as one of several qualifications. You can also learn what the school’s track record is concerning successful licensing and employment of its graduates. If a school won’t supply those numbers, search elsewhere. The schools should also have associations with regional and national trucking firms. Having numerous contacts not only confirms a superior reputation within the industry, but also bolsters their job placement program for students. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to get in touch with the Connecticut licensing department to verify that the CDL trucking schools you are researching are in compliance.
How Good is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools must be licensed in Connecticut and employ instructors that are trained and experienced. We will talk more about the teachers in the next section. Also, the student to instructor proportion should not be greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be receiving the personal instruction they will need. This is especially true concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And watch out for any school that claims it can teach you to be a truck driver in a comparatively short time frame. Training to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer professionally takes time. Most Windsor Locks CT schools provide training courses that range from 3 weeks to as long as two months, depending on the class of license or kind of vehicle.
How Good are the Trainers? As earlier stated, it’s imperative that the teachers are qualified to teach driving techniques and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Although a number of states have minimum driving time requirements to be certified as a teacher, the more professional driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also crucial that the teachers keep current with industry advancements or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Assessing teachers might be a bit more intuitive than other standards, and perhaps the ideal method is to check out the Windsor Locks CT school and speak with the instructors face to face. You can also speak with a few of the students completing the training and find out if they are happy with the level of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
Sufficient Driving Time? Most importantly, a great truck driver school will furnish ample 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. Although the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are necessary training methods, they are no alternative for real driving. The more instruction that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will be. Although driving time can vary among schools, a good benchmark is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide at least 44 hours of driving time. Check with the Windsor Locks CT schools you are researching and find out how much driving time they provide.
Are they Captive or Independent ? You can obtain free or discounted training from some Windsor Locks CT trucking schools if you enter into an agreement to be a driver for a particular carrier for a defined period of time. This is referred to as contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So rather than maintaining relationships with a wide range of 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 freedom to initially work wherever you have an opportunity. Clearly contract training has the potential to limit your income prospects when starting out. But for some it may be the ideal way to obtain affordable training. Just remember to inquire if the schools you are considering are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Is there Onsite CDL Testing? There are some states that will permit third party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is available in Connecticut, ask if the Windsor Locks CT schools you are considering are DMV certified to provide it. One advantage is that it is more convenient than competing with graduates from competing schools for test times at Connecticut testing locations. It is moreover an indicator that the DMV regards the approved schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Class Times Flexible? As formerly mentioned, truck driving training is only about 1 to 2 months in length. With such a short term, it’s imperative that the Windsor Locks CT school you choose provides flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. As an example, if you’re having a hard time learning a particular driving maneuver, then the teacher should be prepared to spend more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still employed while attending training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other commitments.
Is Job Assistance Offered? As soon as you have received your commercial driver’s license after graduating from trucking school, you will be impatient to start your new profession in Windsor Locks CT. Confirm that the schools you are reviewing have job placement programs. Find out what their job placement ratio is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, find out which national and local trucking companies their graduates are referred to for employment. If a school has a lower job placement rate or not many employers hiring their graduates, it may be a clue to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Truck driver schools are comparable to colleges and other technical or vocational 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 aid department, or at a minimum someone who can help you get through the options and forms that must be completed in Windsor Locks CT.
Why Did You Decide to Be a Tractor Trailer Operator?When preparing to interview for a Trucking position, it's helpful to consider questions you might be asked. Among the questions that hiring managers frequently ask truck driving prospects is "What made you select trucking as a profession?". What the interviewer is trying to discover is not only the private reasons you might have for becoming a trucking operator, but also what attributes and abilities you have that make you outstanding at your profession. You will undoubtedly be asked questions pertaining exclusively to trucking, as well as a certain number of routine interview questions, so you should organize several strategies about how you want to address them. Since there are several variables that go into selecting a career, you can address this fundamental question in a variety of ways. When readying an answer, aim to include the reasons the profession appeals to you along with the abilities you possess that make you an excellent truck driver and the ideal candidate for the job. Don't attempt to memorize an answer, but write down some concepts and topics that relate to your own strengths and experiences. Reviewing sample responses can assist you to prepare your own concepts, and inspire ideas of what to discuss to wow the recruiter.
Pick the Ideal Trucking School Windsor Locks CT
Picking the ideal truck driving school is an essential first step to launching 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 many options offered and understanding them is vital to a new driver’s success. But first and foremost, you must receive the appropriate training in order to drive a big commercial vehicle in a professional and safe manner. If you are lacking funds or financing, you may need to look into 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 choose 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 decision. But regardless of how you obtain your training, you will soon be entering an industry that helps our country move as a professional truck driver in Windsor Locks CT.
A Bit About Windsor Locks Connecticut
Windsor Locks, Connecticut
Windsor Locks is a town in Hartford County, Connecticut, United States. As of the 2010 census, its population was 12,498. It is the site of Bradley International Airport, which serves the Greater Hartford-Springfield region and occupies approximately 1/3 of the town. Windsor Locks is also the site of the New England Air Museum.
Located beside the Connecticut River and equidistant from the densely populated cities of Springfield, Massachusetts and Hartford, Connecticut, Windsor Locks is named for a set of canal locks that opened in 1829. Windsor Locks is situated just south of the first large falls in the Connecticut River, the Enfield Falls, which is the northernmost point that seagoing vessels can reach on the Connecticut River before transferring to smaller ships. The Enfield Falls Canal circumvents the Enfield Falls and its nearby shallows.
Originally part of Windsor, Windsor Locks broke off into its own settlement in 1854 after the thriving Enfield Locks going around Enfield Falls which opened in 1829. The Bradley International Airport opened as a military base in 1940, and opened to civilian use in 1947. In 1967 the town boundary was somewhat altered due to the opening of the Bradley Connector. The town boundary between Windsor Locks and Windsor changed several times and was altered with Windsor Locks being on the westbound side and the Windsor side on the eastbound side with the border on the median.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 9.4 square miles (24.3 km2), of which 9.0 square miles (23.4 km2) is land and 0.35 square miles (0.9 km2), or 3.65%, is water.
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