How to Select a CDL Driving School near Ridgely Maryland
Congratulations on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a trucking school near Ridgely MD. Maybe it has always been your fantasy to hit the open highway while operating a monster tractor trailer. Or maybe you have done some analysis and have found that a career as a truck driver offers excellent income and flexible job opportunities. No matter what your reason is, it’s imperative to get the proper training by choosing the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are various factors that you’ll need to examine before making your final choice. Location will no doubt be an issue, particularly if you need to commute from your Ridgely home. The cost will also be of importance, but picking a school based exclusively on price is not the best method to guarantee you’ll get the proper training. Don’t forget, your goal 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 purpose in mind, just how do you select a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to discuss in the rest of this article. But first, we are going to review a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will eventually need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Will You Need?
To drive commercial vehicles legally in Maryland and within the United States, a driver must obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three license classes that a driver can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the topic of this article is how to choose a truck driving school near Ridgely MD, 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 in addition to the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Below are short explanations for the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is required to operate 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 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 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 Commercial Drivers Licenses may also require endorsements to operate specific types of vehicles, for example passenger or school buses. And a Class A license holder, with the appropriate needed endorsements, can drive any vehicle that a Class B license holder is authorized to operate.
How to Evaluate a Trucking School
As soon as you have determined which Commercial Drivers License you would like to obtain, you can start the process of assessing the Ridgely MD truck driving schools that you are looking at. As previously discussed, cost and location will no doubt be your primary concerns. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they should not be your only concerns. Other factors, including the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are equally if not more important. So below are a few more points that you should research while carrying out your due diligence before enrolling in, and particularly paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Not many Ridgely MD truck driving schools are accredited due to the stringent process and expense to the schools. However, certification is more common 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. Potential students know that the training will be of the highest standard, 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 curriculum and training will measure up to the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One clue to help assess the quality of a trucking school is how long it has been in business. A poorly reviewed 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 best of Ridgely MD schools had to start from their opening day of training, so use it as one of several qualifications. You can also ask what the school’s track record is relating to successful licensing and job placement of its graduates. If a school won’t share those stats, look elsewhere. The schools should also have associations with regional and national trucking firms. Having a large number of contacts not only points to an excellent reputation within the trade, but also bolsters their job placement program for graduates. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to contact the Maryland licensing authority to make sure that the CDL trucking schools you are considering are in compliance.
How Good is the Training? At a minimum, the schools should be licensed in Maryland and hire teachers that are experienced and trained. We will talk more about the instructors in the following segment. 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 personalized instruction they will need. This is particularly 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 frame. Training to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer professionally requires time. The majority of Ridgely MD schools offer training courses that run from 3 weeks to as long as two months, based on the class of license or kind of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Instructors? As earlier stated, it’s essential that the teachers are qualified to teach driving techniques and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Although several states have minimum driving time requirements to qualify as an instructor, the more professional driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also crucial that the instructors stay up to date with industry advancements or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Evaluating instructors might be a bit more intuitive than other criteria, and perhaps the ideal method is to pay a visit to the Ridgely MD school and speak with the teachers in person. You can also speak with a few of the students going through the training and find out if they are satisfied with the level of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
Enough Driving Time? Most importantly, a good 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 driving a truck. Although the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are essential training methods, they are no alternative for actual driving. The more training that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will become. And even though driving time varies between schools, a reasonable benchmark is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish at least 44 hours of driving time. Contact the Ridgely MD schools you are considering and ask how much driving time they provide.
Are they Captive or Independent ? You can receive discounted or even free training from some Ridgely MD truck driving schools if you make a commitment to drive for a specified carrier for a defined period of time. This is called contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So rather than maintaining associations with a wide range of trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only refer to 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 receive affordable training. Just be sure to inquire if the schools you are looking at are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Provide CDL Testing Onsite? There are a number of states that will allow 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its students. If onsite testing is permitted in Maryland, ask if the Ridgely MD schools you are looking at are DMV certified to provide it. One advantage is that it is more convenient than contending with graduates from competing schools for test times at Maryland testing facilities. It is moreover an indicator that the DMV considers the authorized schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Class Times Flexible? As previously mentioned, truck driving training is just 1 to 2 months in length. With such a brief duration, it’s important that the Ridgely MD school you select offers flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. For example, if you’re having a hard time learning a particular driving maneuver, then the teacher should be willing to devote more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still working while going to training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other obligations.
Is Job Placement Provided? The moment you have attained your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be keen to begin your new career in Ridgely MD. Verify that the schools you are looking at have job assistance programs. Find out what their job placement ratio is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, ask which national and local trucking firms their graduates are placed with for hiring. If a school has a poor job placement rate or not many employers recruiting their graduates, it might be a sign to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Truck driving schools are much like 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 evaluating have a financial aid department, or at a minimum someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that need to be completed in Ridgely MD.
Why Did You Desire to Be a Tractor Trailer Operator?When prepping to interview for a Trucking job, it's a good idea to consider questions you might be asked. Among the questions that recruiters typically ask truck driving applicants is "What compelled you to decide on trucking as a career?". What the interviewer is trying to learn is not just the personal reasons you may have for being a trucking operator, but additionally what attributes and talents you possess that make you outstanding at your profession. You will probably be asked questions relating specifically to trucking, along with a certain number of typical interview questions, so you need to ready several strategies about how you want to address them. Given that there are several variables that go into selecting a career, you can address this primary question in a variety of ways. When readying an answer, try to include the reasons the work interests you as well as the strengths you possess that make you an outstanding truck driver and the best candidate for the job. Don't try to memorize an answer, but write down a few concepts and topics that pertain to your personal experiences and strengths. Going over sample answers can help you to formulate your own thoughts, and give you ideas of what to discuss to impress the recruiter.
Choose the Best CDL School Ridgely MD
Picking the appropriate truck driving school is a critical first step to beginning your new occupation as a local or long distance truck driver. The skills taught at school will be those that mold a new career behind the wheel. There are a number of options offered and understanding them is vital if you are going to succeed as an operator. Most importantly, you must obtain 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 want to consider a captive school. You will pay a reduced or in some cases no tuition by agreeing to drive for their contracted carrier. Or you can enroll in an independent school and have the option of driving for the trucking firm of your choosing, or one of many associated with the school. It’s your choice. But regardless of how you receive your training, you will soon be part of a profession that helps our country move as a professional trucker in Ridgely MD.
A Bit About Ridgely Maryland
The town was established on May 13, 1867 by the Maryland and Baltimore Land Association. The land around present day Ridgely was purchased by the Maryland and Baltimore Land Association from Thomas Bell and the Reverend Greenbury W. Ridgely. The town was named after the Rev. Greenbury W. Ridgely.
A railroad boom in the 1860s on the Delmarva Peninsula was fueling land speculation. Civil engineer J.J. Sickler from Philadelphia was commissioned to design the town's layout. The Land Association began construction and built four buildings, including a railroad station, hotel, and two private residences during the first year. James K. Saulsbury constructed a combined store and residence, now known as the Ridgely House.
During the Land's Association's first year, it went bankrupt; Ridgely was left unfinished and sparsely populated. Most properties were sold at public auction, and Ridgely began to grow gradually as a result of its location on the railroad line now called the Maryland and Delaware.
Ridgely's economy flourished as a result of its local crop production, including strawberries, huckleberries, vegetables, eggs, and poultry. Most crops were processed in Ridgely or sent to various locations on the railroad. As the nation began to rely on highways instead of railroads for transportation and industry began to concentrate in larger urban areas, Ridgely's economy declined.
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