How to Find a CDL Driving School near Soso Mississippi
Congratulations on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a trucking school near Soso MS. Maybe it has always been your dream to hit the open road while operating a huge tractor trailer. Or possibly you have conducted some research and have discovered that an occupation as a truck driver provides good pay and flexible work opportunities. Whatever your reason is, it’s important to get the appropriate training by picking the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are various factors that you’ll want to examine prior to making your ultimate selection. Location will undoubtedly be important, particularly if you have to commute from your Soso residence. The cost will also be of importance, but picking a school based only on price is not the best method to ensure you’ll get the right training. Just remember, your goal is to master the skills and knowledge that will allow you to pass the CDL examinations and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that goal in mind, just how do you select a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to cover in the balance of this article. But first, we are going to talk a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will eventually need.
Which CDL Should You Get?
In order to operate commercial vehicles lawfully in Mississippi and within the United States, an operator needs to attain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 classes of licenses that one can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the subject of this article is how to select a truck driver school near Soso MS, we will address Class A and Class B licenses. What differentiates each class of CDL is the kind of vehicle that the driver can operate as well as the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Following are brief explanations for the two 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 greater than 10,000 lbs. Several 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 more than 26,000 lbs., or a GCWR of more than 26,000 lbs. including a towed vehicle weighing up to 10,000 lbs. Several 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 need endorsements to operate specific types of vehicles, such as school or passenger buses. And a Class A license holder, with the proper required endorsements, may operate any vehicle that a Class B license holder is qualified to drive.
How to Research a Truck Driver School
Once you have determined which CDL you would like to pursue, you can start the undertaking of evaluating the Soso MS truck driving schools that you are considering. As already mentioned, cost and location will certainly be your initial considerations. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they must not be your sole concerns. Other variables, including the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are equally or even more important. So below are several additional points that you need to research while performing your due diligence before choosing, and especially paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Very few Soso MS trucking schools are accredited due to the stringent process and cost to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more prevalent and is provided by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not required to become certified, but there are a number of advantages. Interested students recognize that the training will be of the highest caliber, and that they will receive an ample amount of driving time. For example, PTDI mandates 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 measure up to the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One indicator to help measure the quality of a truck driver school is how long it has been in operation. A negatively reviewed or a fly by night school typically will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. On the other hand, even the top Soso MS schools had to begin from their first day of training, so consider it as one of several qualifiers. You can also ask what the school’s track record is pertaining to successful licensing and employment of its graduates. If a school won’t provide those stats, look elsewhere. The schools should additionally 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 boosts their job assistance program for students. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to contact the Mississippi licensing department to verify that the CDL trucking schools you are researching are in good standing.
How Effective is the Training? At a minimum, the schools must be licensed in Mississippi and hire instructors that are experienced and trained. We will cover more about the teachers in the next segment. In addition, the student to instructor ratio should be no greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be receiving the individual instruction they will need. This is especially true concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And look out for any school that insists it can train you to be a truck driver in a relatively short period of time. Learning to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer professionally requires time. Most Soso MS schools offer training courses that run from three weeks to as long as two months, based on the class of license or kind of vehicle.
How Good are the Trainers? As previously stated, it’s important that the instructors are trained to teach driving techniques and experienced as both instructors and drivers. 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 current with industry developments or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Assessing instructors may be a little more subjective than other criteria, and perhaps the best method is to pay a visit to the Soso MS school and talk to the instructors face to face. You can also speak with a few of the students completing the training and find out if they are satisfied with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
Enough Driving Time? Most importantly, a great truck driver school will furnish lots of driving time to its students. After all, isn’t that what it’s all about? Driving time is the actual 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 alternative for actual driving. The more instruction that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will become. Although driving time varies among schools, a reasonable benchmark is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Check with the Soso MS schools you are looking at and ask how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Captive or Independent ? You can receive discounted or even free training from a number of Soso MS trucking schools if you make a commitment to drive for a particular carrier for a defined amount of time. This is what’s known as contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So instead of having affiliations with many different trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only refer to one company. The tradeoff is receiving free or less expensive training by surrendering the flexibility to initially be a driver wherever you choose. Naturally 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 obtain affordable training. Just make sure to inquire if the schools you are considering 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 allow 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driver schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is permitted in Mississippi, ask if the Soso MS schools you are looking at are DMV certified to provide it. One benefit is that it is more convenient than competing with graduates of competing schools for test times at Mississippi testing centers. It is moreover an indicator that the DMV believes the authorized schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Class Times Accessible? As previously mentioned, truck driving training is just one to two months in length. With such a brief term, it’s imperative that the Soso MS school you enroll in provides flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. For example, if you’re having difficulty learning a particular driving maneuver, then the teacher should be willing to dedicate 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 Placement Offered? As soon as you have received your CDL license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be anxious to start your new career in Soso MS. Verify that the schools you are contemplating have job placement programs. Ask what their job placement ratio is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, ask which national and local trucking companies their graduates are referred to for hiring. If a school has a lower job placement rate or few employers recruiting their graduates, it might be a sign to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Truck driver schools are similar to 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 least someone who can help you get through the options and forms that need to be completed in Soso MS.
Why Did You Want to Be a Truck Driver?When getting ready to interview for a Trucking job, it's advantageous to consider questions you may be asked. One of the questions that hiring managers often ask truck driving applicants is "What drove you to pick trucking as a career?". What the interviewer is hoping to learn is not only the private reasons you might have for being a trucking operator, but also what qualities and skills you have that make you exceptional at what you do. You will undoubtedly be asked questions relating specifically to trucking, in addition to a significant number of general interview questions, so you must ready a number of ideas about how you would like to address them. Considering there are so many factors that go into selecting a career, you can answer this fundamental question in a multitude of ways. When formulating an answer, attempt to include the reasons the work appeals to you as well as the abilities you have that make you an outstanding truck driver and the ideal candidate for the job. Don't try to memorize an answer, but write down some ideas and anecdotes that pertain to your own strengths and experiences. Going over sample answers can assist you to prepare your own thoughts, and provide ideas of what to include to impress the interviewer.
Choose the Ideal Trucking School Soso MS
Picking the appropriate trucking school is an important first step to beginning your new vocation as a long distance or local truck driver. The skill sets taught at school will be those that mold a new career behind the wheel. There are several options available 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 professional and safe manner. If you are lacking cash or financing, you might need to look into a captive school. You will pay a reduced or even no tuition by agreeing to drive for their contracted carrier. Or you can select an independent school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking firm of your choice, or one of many affiliated with the school. It’s your decision. But no matter how you get your training, you will soon be joining a profession that helps our country move as a professional truck driver in Soso MS.
A Bit About Soso Mississippi
Soso is a town in northwest Jones County, Mississippi. The population was 408 at the 2010 census.
Paul Davis, a singer and songwriter from Rose Hill, Mississippi, wrote a song called "Sweet Magnolia Blues," which referred to Soso.
According to tradition, the name "Soso" was derived from an old settler's common response to a question about how he was doing: "so-so".
After the Civil War, yeoman farmers returned to the area. The town developed a small mixed-race community. Among its notable residents was Unionist Newton Knight, who lived there mostly after the Reconstruction era with his wife Rachel and family. Knight was known for having led the Knight Company in and around Jones County, Mississippi during 1863 and 1864 in resistance to Confederate authorities, trying to protect local farmers. After the war he was living in Jasper County for a time, where he was active in the Republican Party. In 1872 he was appointed as a deputy U.S. Marshal for the Southern District. After Reconstruction ended, Knight retired from politics, as white Democrats took over county and state offices.
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