How to Find a Trucking School near Richland Mississippi
Congratulations on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a trucking school near Richland MS. Perhaps it has always been your ambition to hit the open road while operating a monster tractor trailer. Or possibly you have done some analysis and have discovered that a career as a truck driver offers excellent income and flexible job opportunities. Whatever your reason is, it’s important to get the proper training by picking the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are several factors that you’ll want to think about prior to making your final choice. Location will undoubtedly be important, especially if you need to commute from your Richland home. The cost will also be of importance, but selecting a school based only on price is not the ideal way to guarantee you’ll obtain the right training. Just remember, 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 target in mind, just how do you choose a truck driving school? That is what we are going to address in the remainder of this article. But first, we are going to talk a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will ultimately need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Should You Get?
To drive commercial vehicles lawfully in Mississippi and within the United States, a driver must obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 classes of licenses that one can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the topic of this article is how to select a truck driving school near Richland 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 summaries for the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License 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 Commercial Drivers License is needed 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 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 drive specific kinds of vehicles, including passenger or school buses. And a Class A license holder, with the appropriate required endorsements, can operate any vehicle that a Class B licensee is authorized to operate.
How to Research a Truck Driving School
Once you have decided which CDL you want to pursue, you can begin the process of evaluating the Richland MS trucking schools that you are looking at. As previously mentioned, location and cost will undoubtedly be your initial concerns. But it can’t be stressed enough that they should not be your sole concerns. Other factors, for example the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are similarly or even more important. So below are several more points that you should research while conducting your due diligence before selecting, and especially paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Not many Richland MS truck driving schools are accredited due to the rigorous process and cost to the schools. However, certification is more typical and is offered by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not obligated to become certified, but there are certain advantages. Prospective students recognize that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will get plenty of driving time. As an 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 standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One clue 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 typically will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. On the other hand, even the best of Richland MS schools had to start from their opening day of training, so consider it as one of several qualifications. You can also ask what the school’s track record is concerning successful licensing and employment of its graduating students. If a school won’t provide those numbers, search elsewhere. The schools should additionally have relationships with regional and national trucking firms. Having numerous contacts not only points to a superior reputation within the industry, but also boosts their job placement program for students. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to check with the Mississippi licensing department to make sure that the CDL trucker schools you are researching are in compliance.
How Effective is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools should be licensed in Mississippi and hire instructors that are experienced and trained. We will discuss more about the instructors in the following segment. Also, the student to instructor ratio should be no higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be getting the individual instruction they will need. This is particularly true regarding the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And be critical of any school that professes it can teach you to drive trucks in a comparatively short time frame. Learning to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully requires time. Most Richland MS schools provide training programs that range from three weeks to as long as 2 months, based on the license class or type of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Instructors? As earlier stated, it’s important that the teachers are trained to teach driving techniques and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Even though several states have minimum driving time requirements to qualify as a teacher, the more successful 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 teachers might be a little more intuitive than other criteria, and perhaps the best approach is to check out the Richland MS school and speak with the instructors in person. You can also talk to some 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.
Adequate Driving Time? Above all else, a good trucking school will provide plenty 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 ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are important 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. Although driving time can vary between schools, a reasonable 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 Richland MS schools you are researching and find out how much driving time they provide.
Are they Captive or Independent ? It’s possible to obtain free or discounted training from certain Richland MS truck driving schools if you make a commitment to be a driver for a specific carrier for a defined amount of time. This is referred to as contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So instead of having relationships with a wide range of 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 surrendering the flexibility to initially work wherever you choose. Obviously contract training has the potential to reduce your income opportunities when beginning your new career. But for many it may be the best way to obtain affordable training. Just remember to ask if the schools you are looking at are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Offer CDL Testing Onsite? There are some states that will permit third party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is permitted in Mississippi, ask if the Richland MS schools you are looking at are DMV certified to provide it. One benefit is that it is more accommodating than competing with graduates of other schools for test times at Mississippi testing locations. It is moreover an indication that the DMV regards the approved schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Class Times Convenient? As formerly noted, truck driving training is only about one to two months in length. With such a short term, it’s important that the Richland MS school you enroll in offers 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 teacher should be prepared to dedicate more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still holding a job while attending training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other commitments.
Is Job Placement Provided? As soon as you have acquired your CDL license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be eager to start your new career in Richland MS. Confirm that the schools you are considering have job placement programs. Find out what their job placement ratio is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, find out which national and local trucking companies their graduates are referred to for employment. If a school has a lower job placement rate or not many employers recruiting their grads, it might be a clue to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Given? Truck driver schools are comparable to colleges and other technical or vocational schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being offered. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have a financial assistance department, or at a minimum someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that need to be submitted in Richland MS.
Why Did You Decide to Become a Tractor Trailer Operator?When preparing to interview for a Trucking job, it's advantageous to reflect on questions you might be asked. One of the things that interviewers often ask truck driving applicants is "What compelled you to choose trucking as a profession?". What the interviewer is hoping to discover is not just the personal reasons you might have for being a truck driver, but additionally what qualities and abilities you have that make you good at your profession. You will probably be asked questions relating specifically to trucking, as well as a certain number of routine interview questions, so you need to prepare a number of approaches about how you want to answer them. Since there are so many factors that go into selecting a career, you can address this primary question in a multitude of ways. When formulating an answer, try to include the reasons the work interests you in addition to the abilities you possess that make you an outstanding truck driver and the perfiect choice for the job. Don't make an effort to memorize a response, but write down some concepts and talking points that pertain to your personal strengths and experiences. Reading through sample answers can assist you to prepare your own concepts, and give you ideas of what to include to enthuse the interviewer.
Select the Ideal Truck Driver School Richland MS
Selecting the appropriate trucking school is an important first step to starting your new vocation as a long distance or local truck driver. The skill sets that you will learn at school will be those that mold 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. But first and foremost, you must receive the proper training in order to drive a large commercial vehicle in a safe and professional manner. If you are short on cash or financing, you might need to look into 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 choose an independent school and have the option of driving for the trucking firm of your choice, or one of many associated with the school. It’s your decision. But regardless of how you get your training, you will soon be part of an industry that helps our country move as a professional trucker in Richland MS.
A Bit About Richland Mississippi
Richland is located at 32°13′47″N 90°9′35″W / 32.22972°N 90.15972°W / 32.22972; -90.15972 (32.229844, -90.159724). According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 12.2 square miles (32 km2), of which 12.2 square miles (32 km2) is land and 0.04-square-mile (0.10 km2) (0.16%) is water.
As of the census of 2000, there were 6,027 people, 2,303 households, and 1,688 families residing in the city. The population density was 492.7 people per square mile (190.3/km²). There were 2,540 housing units at an average density of 207.6 per square mile (80.2/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 91.97% White, 5.28% African American, 0.08% Native American, 1.51% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.20% from other races, and 0.95% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.88% of the population.
There were 2,303 households out of which 37.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 54.8% were married couples living together, 13.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 26.7% were non-families. 21.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 6.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.62 and the average family size was 3.05.
In the city, the population was spread out with 27.3% under the age of 18, 9.8% from 18 to 24, 33.6% from 25 to 44, 20.1% from 45 to 64, and 9.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 32 years. For every 100 females there were 98.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 94.0 males.
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