How to Choose a Truck Driver School near Shady Side Maryland
Best wishes on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a CDL school near Shady Side MD. Perhaps it has always been your goal to hit the open road while driving a monster tractor trailer. Or maybe you have conducted some analysis and have found that an occupation as a truck driver offers good pay and flexible job prospects. Whatever your reason is, it’s essential to obtain the appropriate training by enrolling in the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are various variables that you’ll want to examine prior to making your final selection. Location will undoubtedly be important, especially if you have to commute from your Shady Side home. The cost will also be of importance, but picking a school based entirely on price is not the best way to guarantee you’ll get the appropriate education. Don’t forget, your objective is to learn the knowledge and skills that will enable you to pass the CDL exams and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that objective in mind, just how do you pick a truck driving school? That is what we are going to address in the balance of this article. But first, we are going to discuss a little bit about which CDL license you will ultimately need.
Which CDL Will You Need?
To operate commercial vehicles lawfully in Maryland and within the United States, a driver needs to obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three classes of licenses that one can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the subject of this article is how to select a truck driving school near Shady Side MD, we will address Class A and Class B licenses. What differentiates each class of CDL is the type of vehicle that the driver can operate together with the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Following are short descriptions of 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 more than 10,000 lbs. A few of the vehicles that drivers may be able to operate 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 needed to operate 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 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 specific types of vehicles, for example passenger or school buses. And a Class A licensee, with the appropriate required endorsements, can operate any vehicle that a Class B license holder is authorized to drive.
How to Research a Truck Driving School
After you have determined which Commercial Drivers License you want to pursue, you can start the process of evaluating the Shady Side MD truck driving schools that you are considering. As already discussed, location and cost will undoubtedly be your initial concerns. But it can’t be stressed enough that they should not be your only considerations. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are equally if not more important. So below are a few more factors that you need to research while carrying out your due diligence before choosing, and especially paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Not many Shady Side MD trucking schools are accredited due to the rigorous 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 obligated to become certified, but there are several advantages. Potential students know that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will get an ample amount 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 curriculum and training will comply with the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One indicator to help measure the quality of a trucking school is how long it has been in business. A negatively reviewed 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 Shady Side MD schools had to begin from their first day of training, so consider it as one of multiple qualifications. You can also learn what the school’s track record is relating to successful licensing and employment of its graduating students. If a school won’t provide those numbers, look elsewhere. The schools should additionally maintain associations with local and national trucking companies. Having a large number of contacts not only confirms a superior reputation within the profession, but also bolsters their job placement program for graduates. It also wouldn’t hurt to contact the Maryland licensing department to make sure that the CDL trucking schools you are reviewing are in compliance.
How Good is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools must be licensed in Maryland and employ teachers that are experienced and trained. We will talk more about the teachers in the next section. Also, the student to instructor ratio should not be higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be obtaining the individual instruction they will need. This is especially true regarding the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And be critical of any school that insists it can train you to be a truck driver in a relatively short period of time. Training to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer professionally requires time. The majority of Shady Side MD schools offer training courses that run from 3 weeks to as long as two months, based on the class of license or type of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Teachers? As previously stated, it’s essential that the instructors are qualified to teach driving methods and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Even though several states have minimum driving time prerequisites to qualify as an instructor, the more successful driving experience a teacher 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 possibly the ideal method is to visit the Shady Side MD school and talk to the instructors in person. You can also talk to some of the students completing the training and ask if they are satisfied with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Adequate Driving Time? Above all else, a good truck driver school will provide 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 simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are essential training methods, they are no substitute for real driving. The more training that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will become. Although driving time fluctuates among schools, a reasonable standard is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Get in touch with the Shady Side MD schools you are researching and find out how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Independent or Captive ? It’s possible to get free or discounted training from some Shady Side MD truck driving schools if you enter into an agreement to drive for a specified carrier for a defined period of time. This is what’s known as contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So rather than having associations with numerous 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 flexibility to initially work wherever you choose. Clearly contract training has the potential to limit your income prospects when beginning your new career. But for some it may be the ideal way to get affordable training. Just remember to ask if the schools you are contemplating are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Is there CDL Testing Onsite? There are a number of states that will permit 3rd party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its grads. If onsite testing is available in Maryland, ask if the Shady Side MD schools you are looking at are DMV certified to offer it. One benefit is that it is more convenient than battling with graduates of competing schools for test times at Maryland testing facilities. It is also an indication that the DMV views the approved schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Classes Convenient? As earlier mentioned, CDL training is just one to two months long. With such a short duration, it’s important that the Shady Side MD school you enroll in provides flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. As an example, if you’re having a hard time learning a particular driving maneuver, then the instructor should be willing to devote more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still working while attending training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other responsibilities.
Is Job Assistance Provided? The moment you have attained your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be eager to start your new career in Shady Side MD. Confirm that the schools you are looking at have job assistance programs. Ask what their job placement percentage is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, ask which local and national trucking companies their graduates are placed with for employment. If a school has a lower job placement rate or not many employers hiring their graduates, it might be a clue to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Available? Trucking schools are much like colleges and other technical or vocational 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 a minimum someone who can help you understand the options and forms that must be submitted in Shady Side MD.
Why Did You Want to Be a Trucker?When preparing to interview for a Trucking position, it's helpful to reflect on questions you might be asked. One of the things that recruiters typically ask truck driving candidates is "What made you choose trucking as a profession?". What the interviewer is hoping to learn is not just the private reasons you may have for being a trucker, but also what qualities and abilities you have that make you good at what you do. You will probably be asked questions relating specifically to trucking, in addition to a certain number of general interview questions, so you should prepare a number of ideas about how you would like to respond to them. Given that there are so many variables that go into selecting a career, you can answer this primary question in a variety of ways. When formulating an answer, attempt to include the reasons the work interests you as well as the abilities you have that make you an outstanding truck driver and the perfiect candidate for the position. Don't try to memorize a response, but take down several concepts and anecdotes that relate to your personal experiences and strengths. Reviewing sample answers can assist you to develop your own concepts, and inspire ideas of what to discuss to enthuse the recruiter.
Choose the Best Truck Driving School Shady Side MD
Picking the right trucking school is an essential first step to beginning your new vocation as a local or long distance truck driver. The skills that you will learn at school will be those that shape a new career behind the wheel. There are many options available 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 large commercial vehicle in a professional and safe manner. If you are short on cash or financing, you may want to consider a captive school. You will pay a reduced 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 firm of your choosing, or one of several affiliated with the school. It’s your decision. But regardless of how you receive your training, you will in the near future be part of a profession that helps our country move as a professional truck driver in Shady Side MD.
A Bit About Shady Side Maryland
Shady Side, Maryland
Shady Side is located at 38°50′6″N 76°31′2″W / 38.83500°N 76.51722°W / 38.83500; -76.51722 (38.834965, -76.517326) in southern Anne Arundel County, on the western shore of Chesapeake Bay. It is bordered to the north and west by the West River, a wide tidal inlet of the bay. To the south is the CDP of Deale, and to the west, across the West River, is Galesville. The community is served by Maryland Route 468 (Shady Side Road), which runs south, then west, then north, towards the Annapolis area. The center of Annapolis is 20 miles (32 km) north by road and 14 miles (23 km) north by water.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP has a total area of 8.0 square miles (20.7 km2), of which 6.8 square miles (17.5 km2) is land and 1.2 square miles (3.2 km2), or 15.57%, is water.
As of the census of 2000, there were 5,559 people, 2,064 households, and 1,537 families residing in the CDP. The population density was 757.8 people per square mile (292.4/km²). There were 2,306 housing units at an average density of 314.3/sq mi (121.3/km²). The racial makeup of the CDP was 86.18% White, 11.21% African American, 0.47% Native American, 0.47% Asian, 0.40% from other races, and 1.28% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.26% of the population.
There were 2,064 households out of which 37.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 61.1% were married couples living together, 9.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 25.5% were non-families. 19.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 5.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.69 and the average family size was 3.10.
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