How to Pick a CDL Driving School near Stamford Connecticut
Best wishes on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a CDL school near Stamford CT. Perhaps it has always been your goal to hit the open highway while driving a monster tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have conducted some research and have discovered that a career as a truck driver provides good income and flexible job opportunities. No matter what your reason is, it’s essential to receive the appropriate training by selecting the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are certain factors that you’ll need to consider before making your final selection. Location will certainly be an issue, particularly if you need to commute from your Stamford home. The cost will also be important, but choosing a school based entirely on price is not the best method to make certain you’ll get the appropriate education. Don’t forget, your goal is to learn the knowledge and skills that will allow you to pass the CDL examinations and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that objective in mind, just how do you select a truck driving school? That is what we are going to discuss in the remainder of this article. But first, we are going to review a little bit about which CDL license you will eventually need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Will You Require?
To operate commercial vehicles lawfully in Connecticut and within the United States, an operator must obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 classes of licenses that a driver can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the subject of this article is how to pick a truck driver school near Stamford CT, we will focus on Class A and Class B licenses. What differentiates each class of CDL is the kind 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 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is required to operate any vehicle that has a GCWR of more 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 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. 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 operate certain kinds of vehicles, including passenger or school buses. And a Class A license holder, with the appropriate required endorsements, may drive any vehicle that a Class B license holder is qualified to drive.
How to Assess a Trucking School
After you have decided which CDL you would like to pursue, you can start the process of researching the Stamford CT truck driving schools that you are considering. As previously discussed, location and cost will undoubtedly be your primary considerations. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they should not be your sole considerations. Other issues, for instance the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are equally or even more important. So following are some more factors that you need to research while performing your due diligence before choosing, and particularly paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Not many Stamford CT truck driving schools are accredited due to the demanding process and expense to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more common and is offered by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not required to become certified, but there are certain advantages. Prospective students know that the training will be of the highest standard, and that they will get an ample amount 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 comply with the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One indicator to help determine the quality of a trucking school is how long it has been in operation. A negatively rated or a fly by night school usually will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. On the other hand, even the best of Stamford CT schools had to start from their opening day of training, so consider it as one of multiple qualifiers. You can also find out what the school’s history is regarding successful licensing and employment of its graduates. If a school won’t share those numbers, look elsewhere. The schools should additionally maintain associations with regional and national trucking companies. Having a large number of contacts not only affirms an excellent reputation within the trade, 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 trucker schools you are considering are in compliance.
How Good is the Training? At a minimum, the schools should be licensed in Connecticut and hire teachers that are trained and experienced. We will discuss more about the instructors in the following section. In addition, the student to instructor proportion should not be higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be getting the individual instruction they will need. This is particularly true concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And watch out for any school that insists it can teach you to drive trucks in a comparatively short time frame. Learning to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer professionally requires time. Most Stamford CT schools provide training courses 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 previously mentioned, it’s essential that the teachers are qualified to teach driving techniques and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Although several states have minimum driving time requirements to be certified as a teacher, the more successful driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also vital that the instructors keep current with industry advancements or any new laws or changes in regulations. Evaluating instructors may be a little more subjective than other standards, and possibly the best method is to visit the Stamford CT school and speak with the teachers in person. You can also speak with a few of the students going through the training and ask if they are satisfied with the level of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
How Much Driving Time? Above all else, a great truck driver school will furnish ample 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. Even though the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are essential training tools, they are no substitute for actual driving. The more instruction that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will be. Although driving time varies between schools, a good standard is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide no less than 44 hours of driving time. Contact the Stamford CT schools you are researching and find out how much driving time they provide.
Are they Independent or Captive ? You can receive discounted or even free training from certain Stamford CT trucking schools if you enter into an agreement to be a driver for a specific carrier for a defined time period. This is referred to as contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So instead of having relationships with many different trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only refer to one company. The tradeoff is receiving less expensive or even free training by surrendering the freedom to initially be a driver wherever you have an opportunity. Obviously contract training has the potential to restrict your income opportunities when starting out. But for some it may be the only way to get affordable training. Just remember to find out if the schools you are looking at are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Offer Onsite CDL Testing? There are some states that will allow third party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is allowed in Connecticut, ask if the Stamford CT schools you are looking at 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 indication that the DMV deems the approved schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Class Times Flexible? As previously mentioned, truck driver training is only about 1 to 2 months in length. With such a short duration, it’s important that the Stamford CT school you select offers 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 instructor should be prepared to commit more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still employed while going to training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other responsibilities.
Is Job Assistance Offered? The moment you have attained your CDL license after graduating from trucking school, you will be anxious to start your new profession in Stamford CT. Verify that the schools you are contemplating have job placement programs. Ask what their job placement rate is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, find out which national and local trucking companies their graduates are referred to for hiring. If a school has a lower job placement rate or not many employers recruiting their graduates, it might be a clue to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Truck driver schools are similar to colleges and other trade or technical schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being available. Ask if the schools you are evaluating have a financial aid department, or at least someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that need to be completed in Stamford CT.
Why Did You Decide to Become a Trucker?When prepping to interview for a Trucking job, it's a good idea to review questions you could be asked. One of the things that interviewers typically ask truck driving prospects is "What compelled you to decide on trucking as a profession?". What the interviewer is trying to discover is not merely the personal reasons you might have for becoming a truck driver, but also what attributes and abilities you possess that make you exceptional at your profession. You will likely be asked questions relating primarily to trucking, in addition to a significant number of general interview questions, so you must prepare a number of strategies about how you would like to answer them. Since there are several variables that go into choosing a career, you can address this primary question in a multitude of ways. When readying an answer, aim to include the reasons the profession appeals to you in addition to the strengths you have that make you an outstanding truck driver and the perfiect candidate for the position. Don't make an effort to memorize an answer, but take down a few ideas and anecdotes that pertain to your own strengths and experiences. Going over sample answers can help you to formulate your own concepts, and give you ideas of what to include to impress the recruiter.
Pick the Right Trucking School Stamford CT
Selecting the ideal truck driving school is an important first step to starting your new occupation as a long distance or local truck driver. The skill sets that you will learn at school will be those that shape a new career behind the wheel. There are a number of options available and understanding them is vital to a new driver’s success. Most importantly, you must receive the proper training in order to operate a big commercial vehicle in a safe and professional manner. If you are lacking cash or financing, you might want to think about a captive school. You will pay a reduced or even 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 firm of your choice, or one of many associated with the school. It’s your decision. But regardless of how you get your training, you will in the near future be joining an industry that helps our country move as a professional trucker in Stamford CT.
A Bit About Stamford Connecticut
Stamford is a city in Fairfield County, Connecticut, United States. According to the 2010 census, the population of the city is 122,643. As of July 1, 2014, according to the Census Bureau, the population of Stamford had risen to 128,278, making it the third-largest city in the state (behind Bridgeport and New Haven) and the seventh-largest city in New England. Approximately 30 miles (50 kilometers) from Manhattan, Stamford is in the Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk Metro area which is a part of the Greater New York metropolitan area.
Stamford is home to four Fortune 500 Companies, nine Fortune 1000 Companies, and 13 Courant 100 Companies, as well as numerous divisions of large corporations. This gives Stamford the largest financial district in New York Metro outside New York City itself and one of the largest concentrations of corporations in the nation. Stamford is also home to the Stamford Waterside Design District – a creative neighborhood and shopping destination dedicated to Interior Design and Architecture.
Stamford was known as Rippowam by the Native American inhabitants to the region, and the very first European settlers to the area also referred to it as such. The name was later changed to Stamford after the town of Stamford, Lincolnshire, England. The deed to Stamford was signed on July 1, 1640 between Captain Turner of the New Haven Colony and Chief Ponus. By the 18th century, one of the primary industries of the town was merchandising by water, which was possible due to Stamford's proximity to New York.
In 1692, Stamford was home to a less famous witch trial than the well-known Salem witch trials, which also occurred in 1692. The accusations were less fanatical and smaller-scale but also grew to prominence through gossip and hysterics.
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