How to Pick a Truck Driver School near Salem New Hampshire
Congratulations on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a CDL school near Salem NH. Perhaps it has always been your goal to hit the open road while operating a big ole tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have conducted some research and have found that a career as a truck driver offers excellent income and flexible work prospects. No matter what your reason is, it’s imperative to receive the appropriate training by choosing the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are various factors that you’ll want to think about before making your final selection. Location will undoubtedly be important, especially if you have to commute from your Salem home. The cost will also be of importance, but selecting a school based entirely on price is not the ideal way to guarantee you’ll receive the proper education. Just remember, your goal is to learn the skills and knowledge that will allow you to pass the CDL examinations and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that purpose in mind, just how do you select a truck driving school? That is what we are going to address in the balance of this article. But first, we are going to talk a little bit about which CDL license you will ultimately need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Should You Get?
To operate commercial vehicles lawfully in New Hampshire and within the United States, an operator needs to attain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 license classes that a person can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the topic of this article is how to pick a truck driving school near Salem NH, we will highlight Class A and Class B licenses. What differentiates each class of CDL is the kind of vehicle that the driver can operate in addition to the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Below are brief explanations for the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is needed to operate any vehicle that has a GCWR of more than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of greater 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 required to operate 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. Several 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 might also require endorsements to drive specific types of vehicles, including passenger or school buses. And a Class A licensee, with the appropriate needed endorsements, may operate any vehicle that a Class B license holder is qualified to drive.
How to Research a CDL School
When you have determined which CDL you wish to pursue, you can start the process of researching the Salem NH truck driving schools that you are considering. As already discussed, location and cost will undoubtedly be your primary considerations. But it can’t be stressed enough that they must not be your sole considerations. Other variables, for example the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are similarly if not more important. So following are a few additional points that you need to research while carrying out your due diligence prior to enrolling in, and particularly paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Very few Salem NH truck driving schools are accredited because of the stringent process and cost 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 several advantages. Interested 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 ride-alongs or simulations. So if a school’s course is certified (the course, not the school is certified), students know that the curriculum and training will satisfy the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One clue to help assess the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in operation. A poorly reviewed or a fly by night school normally will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. On the other hand, even the best of Salem NH schools had to begin from their first day of training, so consider it as one of multiple qualifiers. You can also learn what the school’s track record is regarding successful licensing and job placement of its graduates. If a school won’t provide those numbers, look elsewhere. The schools should also maintain associations with local and national trucking firms. Having a large number of contacts not only confirms a superior reputation within the industry, but also bolsters their job assistance program for graduates. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to contact the New Hampshire licensing department to verify that the CDL trucking schools you are considering are in good standing.
How Effective is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools should be licensed in New Hampshire and hire instructors that are trained and experienced. We will talk more about the instructors in the following section. In addition, the student to instructor proportion should not be greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be getting the personalized 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 claims it can teach you to be a truck driver in a comparatively short time frame. Learning to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully requires time. The majority of Salem NH 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 earlier mentioned, it’s important that the teachers are trained to teach driving methods and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Although several states have minimum driving time requirements to qualify as an instructor, the more successful driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also vital that the instructors stay up to date with industry advancements or any new laws or changes in regulations. Evaluating teachers might be a bit more subjective than other criteria, and possibly the best method is to check out the Salem NH school and talk to the instructors in person. You can also speak with a few of the students going through the training and find out if they are happy with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Sufficient Driving Time? Most importantly, an excellent truck driving 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. Even though the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are necessary training methods, they are no alternative for actual driving. The more training that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will be. Although driving time varies among schools, a good standard is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide no less than 44 hours of driving time. Check with the Salem NH schools you are looking at and find out how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Captive or Independent ? You can get discounted or even free training from some Salem NH trucking schools if you make a commitment to drive for a specific carrier for a defined period of time. This is referred to as contract training, and the schools that provide 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 free or less expensive training by surrendering the freedom to initially be a driver wherever you have an opportunity. Clearly contract training has the potential to restrict your income opportunities when beginning your new career. But for some it may be the ideal way to get affordable training. Just remember to inquire if the schools you are considering are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Offer CDL Testing Onsite? There are several states that will allow third party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its grads. If onsite testing is permitted in New Hampshire, find out if the Salem NH schools you are looking at are DMV certified to provide it. One benefit is that it is more accommodating than battling with graduates of competing schools for test times at New Hampshire testing facilities. It is moreover an indication that the DMV views the approved schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Classes Accessible? As previously noted, CDL training is just one to two months long. With such a brief duration, it’s imperative that the Salem NH school you select offers flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. For example, if you’re having difficulty learning a certain driving maneuver, then the teacher should be prepared to commit more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still holding a job while going to training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other obligations.
Is Job Assistance Provided? Once you have acquired your CDL license after graduating from trucking school, you will be anxious to begin your new career in Salem NH. Confirm that the schools you are contemplating have job placement programs. Ask what their job placement ratio is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, find out which local and national trucking companies their graduates are referred to for employment. If a school has a poor job placement rate or not many employers recruiting their grads, it might be a clue to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Available? Trucking schools are comparable to colleges and other trade or technical 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 least someone who can help you understand the options and forms that need to be submitted in Salem NH.
Why Did You Choose to Be a Tractor Trailer Operator?When getting ready to interview for a Trucking position, it's important to consider questions you might be asked. Among the questions that hiring managers typically ask truck driving prospects is "What made you select trucking as a career?". What the interviewer is attempting to uncover is not merely the private reasons you might have for becoming a truck driver, but also what characteristics and abilities you have that make you outstanding at your profession. You will probably be asked questions relating exclusively to trucking, along with a significant number of general interview questions, so you must ready a number of strategies about how you want to address them. Given that there are numerous factors that go into selecting a career, you can respond to this fundamental question in a multitude of ways. When readying an answer, aim to include the reasons the work appeals to you in addition to the strengths you have that make you an excellent truck driver and the best choice for the position. Don't try to memorize a response, but take down a few ideas and anecdotes that relate to your personal experiences and strengths. Going over sample responses can help you to formulate your own concepts, and provide ideas of what to discuss to enthuse the interviewer.
Choose the Right Truck Driving School Salem NH
Choosing the ideal trucking school is an important first step to starting your new occupation as a local or long distance truck driver. The skills taught at school will be those that shape a new career behind the wheel. There are several options available and understanding them is vital to a new driver’s success. But first and foremost, you must obtain the necessary training in order to drive a big commercial vehicle in a professional and safe manner. If you are lacking cash or financing, you may need to consider a captive school. You will pay a lower or in some cases 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 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 trucker in Salem NH.
A Bit About Salem New Hampshire
Salem, New Hampshire
Salem is a town in Rockingham County, New Hampshire, United States. The population was 28,776 at the 2010 census. Salem is a marketing and distributing center north of Boston, with a major amusement attraction, Canobie Lake Park, and a large shopping mall, the Mall at Rockingham Park.
The area was first settled in 1652. As early as 1736, Salem was the "North Parish" of Methuen, Massachusetts, or "Methuen District." In 1741, when the boundary line between Massachusetts and New Hampshire was fixed, the "North Parish" became part of New Hampshire, and was given the name "Salem," taken from nearby Salem, Massachusetts. The town was incorporated in 1750 by Colonial Governor Benning Wentworth. The meetinghouse of the old north parish, erected in 1738, still stands, eventually becoming the Town Hall of Salem before it was turned into the Salem Historical Society Museum.
In 1902, Canobie Lake Park was established in Salem by the Massachusetts Northeast Street Railway Company, to encourage leisure excursions on its trolleys. The plan was successful, and the enterprise quickly became one of the leading resorts of its type in New England. Crowds arrived from all over, including the nearby mill towns of Haverhill, Lawrence, Lowell and Methuen in Massachusetts, and Manchester and Nashua in New Hampshire. Factory workers and others found respite strolling along tree-lined promenades, between flower-beds or beside the lake. Rides, arcades and a dance hall provided lively entertainments. The rise of the automobile, however, brought the decline of the trolley. But Canobie Lake Park, one of the few former street railway amusement resorts still in existence, continues to be popular.
Other features of Salem's tourism history include America's Stonehenge, a curiosity (formerly "Mystery Hill"). A recent attraction in town is the Icenter, a skating arena.
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