How to Choose a CDL Driving School near Woodside New York
Best wishes on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a CDL school near Woodside NY. Maybe it has always been your ambition to hit the open highway while operating a big ole tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have conducted some analysis and have discovered that a career as a truck driver offers good income and flexible job prospects. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s important to get the proper training by selecting the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are various variables that you’ll need to think about prior to making your final choice. Location will certainly be an issue, especially if you have to commute from your Woodside home. The expense will also be important, but picking a school based only on price is not the optimal means to ensure you’ll get the right training. Just remember, your objective is to master the knowledge and skills that will allow you to pass the CDL examinations and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that purpose in mind, just how do you decide on a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to discuss in the balance 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 Should You Get?
To operate commercial vehicles lawfully in New York and within the United States, a driver must get a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 license classes that a person can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the topic of this article is how to select a truck driver school near Woodside NY, we will focus on Class A and Class B licenses. What differentiates each class of CDL is the type of vehicle that the driver can operate as well as the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Following are short explanations of the two 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 drive 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. A few 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 certain kinds of vehicles, including passenger or school buses. And a Class A license holder, with the proper needed endorsements, may operate any vehicle that a Class B license holder is authorized to operate.
How to Assess a Truck Driver School
After you have decided which CDL you wish to obtain, you can start the process of researching the Woodside NY truck driver schools that you are considering. As earlier discussed, cost and location will undoubtedly be your primary concerns. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they must not be your only concerns. Other variables, such as 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 prior to choosing, and especially paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Not many Woodside NY truck driver schools are accredited because of 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 a number of advantages. Interested 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 actual 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 fulfill the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One indicator to help assess the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in business. A poorly reviewed or a fly by night school normally will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. Having said that, even the best of Woodside NY schools had to start from their opening day of training, so consider it as one of multiple qualifications. You can also find out what the school’s track record is relating to successful licensing and job placement of its graduates. If a school won’t provide those numbers, search elsewhere. The schools should also have associations with local and national trucking companies. Having numerous contacts not only affirms an excellent reputation within the industry, but also bolsters their job assistance program for students. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to contact the New York licensing authority to verify that the CDL trucker schools you are researching are in good standing.
How Effective is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools must be licensed in New York and employ teachers that are experienced and trained. We will talk more about the instructors in the following segment. In addition, the student to instructor proportion should not be higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be getting the personal attention they will need. This is especially true regarding the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And watch out for any school that professes it can teach you to drive trucks in a relatively short time period. Learning to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully requires time. Most Woodside NY schools provide training programs that range from three weeks to as long as two months, based on the license class or kind of vehicle.
How Good are the Teachers? As earlier mentioned, it’s important that the teachers are trained to teach driving methods and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Even though a number of states have minimum driving time requirements to be certified as a teacher, the more professional driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also crucial that the teachers stay up to date with industry advancements or any new laws or changes in regulations. Assessing instructors may be a bit more subjective than other standards, and possibly the best method is to check out the Woodside NY school and speak with the instructors face to face. You can also talk to some of the students going through the training and find out if they are satisfied with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
How Much Driving Time? Most importantly, an excellent truck driver school will provide ample 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 operating a truck. While the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are important training methods, they are no alternative for real driving. The more instruction that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will become. And even though driving time varies between schools, a good benchmark is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide no less than 44 hours of driving time. Get in touch with the Woodside NY schools you are looking at and ask how much driving time they provide.
Are they Independent or Captive ? It’s possible to get discounted or even free training from a number of Woodside NY truck driver schools if you make a commitment to drive for a particular carrier for a defined time period. This is referred to as contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So instead of having associations with many different trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only work with one company. The benefit is receiving free or less expensive training by surrendering the flexibility to initially work wherever you choose. Clearly contract training has the potential to limit your income opportunities when beginning your new career. But for some it may be the only way to get affordable training. Just be sure to inquire if the schools you are considering are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Is there Onsite CDL Testing? There are a number of states that will allow 3rd party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its students. If onsite testing is allowed in New York, ask if the Woodside NY schools you are considering are DMV certified to provide it. One advantage is that it is more accommodating than battling with graduates from other schools for test times at New York testing facilities. It is also an indicator that the DMV regards the approved schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Classes Flexible? As earlier noted, CDL training is only about 1 to 2 months long. With such a brief duration, it’s important that the Woodside NY school you enroll in offers 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 prepared to commit more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still employed while going to training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other commitments.
Is Job Assistance Offered? Once you have acquired your commercial driver’s license after graduating from trucking school, you will be anxious to start your new profession in Woodside NY. Make sure that the schools you are contemplating have job assistance programs. Ask what their job placement rate is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, find out 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 hiring their graduates, it might be a clue to look 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. Ask if the schools you are evaluating have a financial assistance department, or at a minimum someone who can help you understand the options and forms that need to be completed in Woodside NY.
Why Did You Choose to Be a Tractor Trailer Operator?When preparing to interview for a Trucking job, it's helpful to review questions you may be asked. Among the things that recruiters frequently ask truck driving candidates is "What drove you to pick trucking as a career?". What the interviewer is trying to learn is not only the personal reasons you might have for being a truck driver, but also what qualities and talents you possess that make you exceptional at what you do. You will undoubtedly be asked questions relating primarily to trucking, along with a certain number of standard interview questions, so you must organize a number of approaches about how you want to answer them. Considering there are so many variables that go into choosing a career, you can respond to this fundamental question in a multitude of ways. When readying an answer, try to include the reasons the profession appeals to you as well as the strengths you have that make you an outstanding truck driver and the best choice for the position. Don't attempt to memorize an answer, but jot down a few concepts and topics that pertain to your personal strengths and experiences. Reviewing sample responses can help you to formulate your own concepts, and inspire ideas of what to discuss to impress the recruiter.
Select the Best Trucking School Woodside NY
Picking the ideal truck driver school is an important first step to starting your new profession as a long distance or local truck driver. The skill sets that you will learn at school will be those that forge a new career behind the wheel. There are a number of options available and understanding them is vital if you are going to succeed as an operator. Most importantly, you must receive the appropriate training in order to drive a large commercial vehicle in a professional and safe manner. If you are short on funds or financing, you may want to look into a captive school. You will pay a reduced or even 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 many affiliated with the school. It’s your choice. But no matter how you get your training, you will in the near future be entering an industry that helps our country move as a professional truck driver in Woodside NY.
A Bit About Woodside New York
Woodside is a residential and commercial neighborhood in the western portion of the borough of Queens in New York City. It is bordered on the south by Maspeth, on the north by Astoria, on the west by Sunnyside, and on the east by Elmhurst and Jackson Heights. Some areas are widely residential and very quiet, while other parts, especially the ones around Roosevelt Avenue, are busier. The neighborhood is located in Queens Community Board 1 and Queens Community Board 2.
In the 19th century the area was part of the Town of Newtown (now Elmhurst). The adjacent area of Winfield was largely incorporated into the post office serving Woodside and as a consequence Winfield lost much of its identity distinct from Woodside. However, with large-scale residential development in the 1860s, Woodside became the largest Irish American community in Queens, being approximately 80% Irish by the 1930s and maintaining a strong Irish culture today. In the early 1990s, many Asian American families moved into the area, with the population being 30% Asian American. South Asians and Latinos have also moved to Woodside in recent years.
Reflecting its longtime diverse foods and drink, the neighborhood is filled with many cultural restaurants and pubs. It is also home to some of the city's most popular Thai, Filipino, and South American eateries.
For two centuries following the arrival of settlers from England and the Netherlands, the area where the village of Woodside would be established was sparsely populated. The land was fertile but also wet. Its Native American inhabitants called it a place of "bad waters" and it was known to early European settlers as a place of "marshes, muddy flats and bogs," where "wooded swamps" and "flaggy pools" were fed by flowing springs." Until drained in the nineteenth century, one of these wet woodlands was called Wolf Swamp after the predators that infested it. This swamp was not the only place where settlers might fear for the safety of their livestock, and even themselves. One of the oldest recorded locations in Woodside was called Rattlesnake Spring on the property of a Captain Bryan Newton. The vicinity came to be called Snake Woods and one source maintains that "during New York’s colonial period, the area was known as 'suicide’s paradise,' as it was largely snake-infested swamps and wolf-ridden woodlands."
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