How to Decide on a Truck Driving School near Weston Florida
Congratulations on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a CDL school near Weston FL. Maybe it has always been your fantasy to hit the open road while driving a huge tractor trailer. Or maybe you have done some research and have found that a career as a truck driver offers excellent pay and flexible job opportunities. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s important to get the proper training by choosing the right CDL school in your area. When evaluating your options, there are certain variables that you’ll need to consider prior to making your final choice. Location will undoubtedly be an issue, particularly if you need to commute from your Weston residence. The cost will also be important, but selecting a school based only on price is not the optimal way to guarantee you’ll get the proper education. Just remember, your objective is to master the knowledge and skills that will allow you to pass the CDL examinations and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that objective in mind, just how do you decide on a truck driving school? That is what we are going to cover in the balance of this article. But first, we are going to review a little bit about which CDL license you will ultimately need.
Which CDL Will You Require?
To operate commercial vehicles lawfully in Florida and within the USA, an operator must obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 license classes that a person can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the topic of this article is how to pick a truck driver school near Weston FL, we will address Class A and B licenses. What distinguishes 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). Below are short descriptions for the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License is needed to drive any vehicle that has a GCWR of greater than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of greater 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 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 operate certain kinds of vehicles, for instance 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 drive.
How to Research a CDL School
When you have determined which Commercial Drivers License you want to obtain, you can start the process of evaluating the Weston FL truck driving schools that you are looking at. As already mentioned, cost and location will certainly be your initial concerns. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they must not be your sole considerations. Other issues, such as the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are equally or even more important. So following are several additional points that you need to research while conducting your due diligence before choosing, and especially paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Very few Weston FL trucking schools are accredited due to the stringent process and cost to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more prevalent and is offered by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not required to become certified, but there are certain advantages. Potential students know that the training will be of the highest caliber, and that they will be given an ample amount of driving time. As an example, PTDI mandates 44 hours of actual driving time, not simulations or ride-alongs. So if a school’s program is certified (the program, not the school is certified), students know that the training and curriculum will measure up to the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One clue to help assess the quality of a trucking school is how long it has been in operation. A negatively reviewed or a fly by night school usually will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. On the other hand, even the best of Weston FL schools had to start from their opening day of training, so use it as one of several qualifiers. You can also learn what the school’s track record is pertaining to successful licensing and employment of its graduates. If a school won’t supply those stats, search elsewhere. The schools should additionally maintain relationships with regional and national trucking companies. Having numerous contacts not only affirms a quality reputation within the trade, but also boosts their job assistance program for graduates. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to get in touch with the Florida licensing authority to make sure that the CDL trucking schools you are researching are in compliance.
How Good is the Training? At a minimum, the schools must be licensed in Florida and employ instructors that are trained and experienced. We will discuss 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 receiving the personalized 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 professes it can train you to be a truck driver in a relatively short period of time. Learning to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer professionally takes time. The majority of Weston FL schools provide training programs that range from 3 weeks to as long as two months, depending on the license class or kind of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Teachers? As already stated, it’s important that the teachers are trained to teach driving techniques and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Even though several states have minimum driving time requirements to qualify as an instructor, the more successful driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also vital that the instructors keep current with industry advancements or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Evaluating instructors might be a bit more intuitive than other standards, and possibly the best method is to visit the Weston FL school and speak with the teachers in person. You can also speak with some of the students completing the training and find out if they are happy with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
Enough Driving Time? Most importantly, a good truck driving 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 simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are essential training tools, they are no alternative for real driving. The more training that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will become. And even though driving time differs among schools, a reasonable standard is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide no less than 44 hours of driving time. Check with the Weston FL schools you are considering and find out how much driving time they provide.
Are they Captive or Independent ? It’s possible to receive discounted or even free training from certain Weston FL truck driving schools if you enter into an agreement to drive for a specified carrier for a defined time period. This is what’s known as contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So instead of maintaining associations with numerous 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 freedom to initially work wherever you choose. Naturally contract training has the potential to restrict your income prospects when starting out. But for some it may be the best way to obtain affordable training. Just be sure to find out if the schools you are looking at are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Provide Onsite CDL Testing? There are several states that will allow 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its grads. If onsite testing is permitted in Florida, find out if the Weston FL schools you are reviewing are DMV certified to offer it. One benefit is that it is more accommodating than battling with graduates from competing schools for test times at Florida testing locations. It is moreover an indicator that the DMV considers the approved schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Class Times Accessible? As previously mentioned, CDL training is just one to two months in length. With such a short term, it’s important that the Weston FL school you select provides flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. For example, if you’re having a hard time learning a particular driving maneuver, then the instructor should be willing to dedicate more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still working while attending training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other obligations.
Is Job Placement Provided? The moment you have acquired your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be impatient to begin your new career in Weston FL. Verify that the schools you are reviewing have job placement programs. Ask what their job placement ratio is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, find out which local and national trucking companies their graduates are referred to for employment. If a school has a low job placement rate or few employers hiring their graduates, it might be a sign to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Given? Truck driving schools are comparable to colleges and other technical or vocational schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being offered. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have a financial assistance department, or at least someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that need to be completed in Weston FL.
Why Did You Desire to Be a Tractor Trailer Operator?When getting ready to interview for a Trucking position, it's a good idea to consider questions you might be asked. One of the questions that interviewers frequently ask truck driving candidates is "What compelled you to select trucking as a career?". What the interviewer is trying to discover is not only the personal reasons you might have for becoming a truck driver, but also what characteristics and abilities you have that make you outstanding at your profession. You will probably be asked questions pertaining exclusively to trucking, in addition to a significant number of general interview questions, so you must organize several strategies about how you want to address them. Considering there are several variables that go into choosing a career, you can address this fundamental question in a variety of ways. When readying an answer, try to include the reasons the profession appeals to you along with the strengths you have that make you an outstanding truck driver and the leading candidate for the position. Don't attempt to memorize a response, but take down several concepts and anecdotes that pertain to your own experiences and strengths. Reading through sample answers can help you to formulate your own thoughts, and give you ideas of what to discuss to enthuse the recruiter.
Select the Right Trucking School Weston FL
Picking the right trucking 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 several options offered and understanding them is vital to a new driver’s success. But first and foremost, you must get the necessary training in order to operate a large commercial vehicle in a safe and professional fashion. If you are short on money or financing, you may need to consider a captive school. You will pay a lower or in some cases no tuition in exchange for driving for their contracted carrier. Or you can enroll in 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 no matter how you obtain your training, you will soon be entering a profession that helps our country move as a professional trucker in Weston FL.
A Bit About Weston Florida
Weston is a master planned suburban community in Broward County, Florida, United States. Established as a city in 1996, much of the community was developed by Arvida/JMB Realty (known for developing Walt Disney World) and is located near the western developmental boundary of Broward County. It is the most western city in Broward County, and its entire west side is next to the Everglades. As of the 2010 census, the city had a total population of 65,333. Weston is a principal city of the Miami metropolitan area, which was home to an estimated 6,012,331 people at the 2015 census.
In 2010, Money magazine ranked Weston 19th in America in the "Biggest Earners" category, with a median family income of $119,689. In 2006, it was ranked as the city with the largest job growth in Florida and 18th largest in the nation.BusinessWeek ranked Weston as one of the "best affordable suburbs" in the United States in November 2006.
Weston consistently ranks high annually in CNN Money magazine's "Biggest Earners" category. In 2008, Money magazine ranked Weston as the 73rd best place to live in America, making it the best place to live in the state of Florida. In 2012, Weston moved up eleven slots to the 62nd best place to live in America, once again topping the list in the state of Florida. It was recently named by Family Circle Magazine one of the Ten Best Towns for Families for 2015.
South Florida winters are usually dry and warm during La Niña conditions, while El Niño conditions usually bring cool and wet conditions to the region. ENSO effects on South Florida are rather minimal during the summer months, with the exception of tropical cyclone activity in the Atlantic Basin.
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