How to Decide on a Truck Driving School near Tompkinsville Kentucky
Congrats on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a trucking school near Tompkinsville KY. Maybe it has always been your goal to hit the open highway while driving a huge tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have done some analysis and have found that an occupation as a truck driver provides excellent pay and flexible work prospects. Whatever your reason is, it’s important to obtain the proper training by choosing the right CDL school in your area. When evaluating your options, there are various variables that you’ll want to consider prior to making your final choice. Location will no doubt be an issue, particularly if you have to commute from your Tompkinsville home. The expense will also be important, but selecting a school based exclusively on price is not the ideal means to make sure you’ll receive the appropriate training. Just remember, your objective is to master 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 select a truck driving school? That 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 commercial driver’s license you will eventually need.
Which CDL Will You Require?
In order to operate commercial vehicles legally in Kentucky and within the United States, an operator needs to get a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 license classes that one can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the subject of this article is how to choose a truck driver school near Tompkinsville KY, we will highlight Class A and Class B licenses. What distinguishes each class of CDL is the type of vehicle that the driver can operate as well as the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Below are brief summaries for the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License is needed to operate any vehicle that has a GCWR of greater than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of more than 10,000 lbs. Some 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 needed to drive single vehicles having a GVWR of more 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 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 CDLs might also require endorsements to operate certain kinds of vehicles, such as school or passenger buses. And a Class A license holder, with the appropriate needed endorsements, may drive any vehicle that a Class B license holder is qualified to operate.
How to Research a Truck Driver School
When you have determined which Commercial Drivers License you would like to pursue, you can start the undertaking of evaluating the Tompkinsville KY truck driving schools that you are looking at. As previously mentioned, cost and location will no doubt be your initial concerns. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they should not be your sole concerns. Other variables, for instance the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are equally or even more important. So below are some additional points that you need to research while conducting your due diligence prior to choosing, and especially paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Very few Tompkinsville KY truck driving schools are accredited due to the stringent process and cost to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more common and is provided by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not required to become certified, but there are several advantages. Prospective students know that the training will be of the highest caliber, and that they will receive plenty of driving time. For example, PTDI requires 44 hours of real 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 comply with the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One indicator to help evaluate the quality of a truck driver school is how long it has been in operation. A negatively ranked or a fly by night school normally will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. On the other hand, even the best of Tompkinsville KY schools had to begin from their first day of training, so consider it as one of several qualifiers. You can also learn what the school’s history is pertaining to successful licensing and employment of its graduates. If a school won’t provide those numbers, search elsewhere. The schools should also maintain associations with local and national trucking firms. Having a large number of contacts not only points to a superior reputation within the industry, but also bolsters their job assistance program for graduates. It also wouldn’t hurt to get in touch with the Kentucky licensing authority to confirm that the CDL trucking schools you are considering are in compliance.
How Effective is the Training? At a minimum, the schools must be licensed in Kentucky and hire teachers that are experienced and trained. We will cover more about the teachers in the next segment. Also, the student to instructor proportion should not be greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be receiving the individual attention 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 insists it can teach you to drive trucks in a comparatively short time period. Learning to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully requires time. Most Tompkinsville KY schools provide training programs that run from three weeks to as long as two months, based on the class of license or kind of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Instructors? As previously mentioned, it’s important that the teachers are qualified to teach driving methods and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Although several states have minimum driving time prerequisites to be certified as a teacher, the more professional driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also crucial that the teachers stay up to date with industry advancements or any new laws or changes in regulations. Assessing teachers may be a bit more intuitive than other standards, and possibly the ideal method is to pay a visit to the Tompkinsville KY school and speak with the instructors face to face. You can also talk to a few of the students going through the training and find out if they are happy with the level of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
Enough Driving Time? Above all else, a great truck driving school will furnish plenty of 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. While the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are necessary training tools, they are no alternative for actual driving. The more instruction that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will become. And even though driving time can vary between 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 Tompkinsville KY schools you are researching and find out how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Independent or Captive ? You can get free or discounted training from a number of Tompkinsville KY truck driving schools if you make a commitment to drive for a specific carrier for a defined time period. This is what’s known 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 refer their students to, captives only refer to one company. The benefit is receiving less expensive or even free training by giving up the flexibility to initially work wherever you have an opportunity. Clearly contract training has the potential to reduce your income opportunities when beginning your new career. But for some it may be the ideal way to get affordable training. Just make sure to find out if the schools you are contemplating are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Provide 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 available in Kentucky, find out if the Tompkinsville KY schools you are considering are DMV certified to provide it. One advantage is that it is more convenient than competing with graduates of competing schools for test times at Kentucky testing centers. It is moreover an indicator that the DMV regards the authorized schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Classes Accessible? As previously noted, truck driver training is just one to two months in length. With such a short term, it’s imperative that the Tompkinsville KY school you enroll in 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 instructor 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 Provided? Once you have attained your CDL license after graduating from trucking school, you will be impatient to start your new career in Tompkinsville KY. Confirm that the schools you are contemplating have job placement programs. Ask what their job placement percentage is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, find out which national and local trucking companies their graduates are placed with for employment. If a school has a poor job placement rate or not many employers hiring their grads, it might be a clue to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Truck driving schools are much like colleges and other vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being available. Ask if the schools you are evaluating have a financial aid department, or at least someone who can help you get through the options and forms that must be completed in Tompkinsville KY.
Why Did You Want to Be a Trucker?When getting ready to interview for a Trucking position, it's important to consider questions you could be asked. One of the questions that hiring managers often ask truck driving applicants is "What drove you to pick trucking as a profession?". What the interviewer is attempting to uncover is not only the personal reasons you may have for being a trucker, but also what attributes and abilities you have that make you exceptional at your profession. You will likely be asked questions pertaining specifically to trucking, along with a significant number of standard interview questions, so you must prepare some strategies about how you would like to respond to them. Given that there are so many factors that go into selecting a career, you can address this primary question in a number of ways. When readying an answer, aim to include the reasons the work appeals to you along with the strengths you have that make you an outstanding truck driver and the perfiect choice for the job. Don't attempt to memorize an answer, but jot down a few ideas and anecdotes that relate to your own strengths and experiences. Going over sample responses can help you to formulate your own thoughts, and inspire ideas of what to include to enthuse the recruiter.
Pick the Right CDL School Tompkinsville KY
Picking the right truck driving school is an important first step to beginning your new profession as a long distance or local truck driver. The skills that you will learn at school will be those that shape a new career behind the wheel. There are a number of options offered and understanding them is vital to a new driver’s success. Most importantly, you must receive the appropriate training in order to operate a big commercial vehicle in a safe and professional manner. If you are short on funds or financing, you may 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 choose an independent school and have the option of driving for the trucking company of your choosing, or one of several affiliated with the school. It’s your choice. But regardless of how you obtain your training, you will soon be part of a profession that helps America move as a professional truck driver in Tompkinsville KY.
A Bit About Tompkinsville Kentucky
Tompkinsville is a home rule-class city in and the county seat of Monroe County, Kentucky, United States. The population was 2,402 at the 2010 census, down from 2,660 in 2000. The city was named after Vice President Daniel D. Tompkins who served under President James Monroe, for whom the county was named.
Site of Confederate Gen. John Hunt Morgan's first raid of his famous First Kentucky Raid. July 9, 1862, Morgan's Raiders, coming from Tennessee on their first raid into Kentucky, attacked Major Thomas J. Jordan's 9th Pennsylvania Cavalry at USA garrison. Raiders captured 30 of retreating enemy and destroyed tents and stores. They took 20 wagons, 50 mules, 40 horses, sugar and coffee supplies. At Glasgow they burned supplies, then went north, raiding 16 other towns before returning to Tennessee.
Tompkinsville is located at 36°41′58″N 85°41′31″W / 36.69944°N 85.69194°W / 36.69944; -85.69194 (36.699508, -85.692005).
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 3.8 square miles (9.8 km2), of which, 3.7 square miles (9.6 km2) of it is land and 0.2 square miles (0.52 km2) of it (4.69%) is water.
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