How to Find a CDL Training School near Woodhaven New York
Congratulations on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a trucking school near Woodhaven NY. Perhaps it has always been your dream to hit the open road while driving a monster tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have conducted some research and have discovered that a career as a truck driver offers excellent wages and flexible job opportunities. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s imperative to receive the appropriate training by picking the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are various variables that you’ll need to examine before making your ultimate choice. Location will certainly be important, particularly if you need to commute from your Woodhaven home. The cost will also be of importance, but picking a school based only on price is not the best way to guarantee you’ll obtain the right training. Just remember, your goal is to learn the knowledge and skills that will enable you to pass the CDL examinations and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that objective in mind, just how do you pick a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to discuss in the remainder of this article. But first, we are going to review a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will ultimately need.
Which CDL Should You Get?
To operate commercial vehicles legally in New York and within the USA, an operator needs to attain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 license classes that one can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the topic of this article is how to select a truck driver school near Woodhaven NY, we will address Class A and 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 short explanations of the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is needed to operate any vehicle that has a GCWR of greater than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of more 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 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. 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 certain types of vehicles, including school or passenger buses. And a Class A license holder, with the appropriate required endorsements, may drive any vehicle that a Class B license holder is authorized to operate.
How to Evaluate a Trucking School
Once you have decided which Commercial Drivers License you would like to pursue, you can start the undertaking of researching the Woodhaven NY truck driving schools that you are looking at. As previously discussed, location and cost will undoubtedly be your initial concerns. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they should not be your sole considerations. Other factors, for instance the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are equally or even more important. So below are some additional factors that you should research while conducting your due diligence before selecting, and particularly paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Not many Woodhaven NY trucking schools are accredited due to the stringent process and cost to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more commonplace and is provided by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not obligated to become certified, but there are certain advantages. Interested students know that the training will be of the highest standard, and that they will receive plenty of driving time. For example, PTDI calls for 44 hours of real driving time, not ride-alongs or simulations. So if a school’s program is certified (the program, not the school is certified), students know that the training and curriculum will measure up to the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One clue to help determine the quality of a truck driver school is how long it has been in business. A negatively ranked or a fly by night school typically will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the top Woodhaven NY schools had to begin from their first day of training, so use it as one of multiple qualifiers. You can also learn what the school’s history is regarding successful licensing and job placement of its graduating students. If a school won’t provide those numbers, search elsewhere. The schools should additionally have associations with regional and national trucking companies. Having a large number of contacts not only points to a superior reputation within the industry, but also bolsters their job placement program for graduates. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to check with the New York licensing authority to confirm that the CDL trucking schools you are considering are in compliance.
How Effective is the Training? At a minimum, the schools must be licensed in New York and employ teachers that are experienced and trained. We will discuss more about the instructors in the following section. In addition, 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 professes it can teach you to drive trucks in a comparatively short time period. Training to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer professionally requires time. Most Woodhaven NY schools provide training programs that range from three weeks to as long as two months, based on the license class or type of vehicle.
How Good are the Instructors? As earlier stated, it’s imperative that the teachers are trained to teach driving methods and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Although several states have minimum driving time criteria to qualify as an instructor, the more professional driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also crucial that the teachers keep up to date with industry developments or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Assessing teachers might be a bit more subjective than other standards, and possibly the best approach is to visit the Woodhaven NY school and talk to the instructors in person. You can also talk to a few of the students going through the training and find out if they are satisfied with the level of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Adequate Driving Time? Most importantly, a good trucking school will provide sufficient driving time to its students. Besides, isn’t that what it’s all about? Driving time is the actual time spent behind the wheel driving a truck. While the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are necessary training methods, they are no replacement for actual driving. The more instruction that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will become. And even though driving time can vary between schools, a good benchmark is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish at least 44 hours of driving time. Get in touch with the Woodhaven NY schools you are researching and find out how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Independent or Captive ? You can obtain free or discounted training from some Woodhaven NY trucking schools if you make a commitment to be a driver for a specified carrier for a defined time period. This is what’s known as contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So instead of having associations with many different trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only refer to one company. The tradeoff is receiving less expensive or even free training by giving up the freedom to initially work wherever you choose. Naturally contract training has the potential to limit your income prospects when starting out. But for some it may be the ideal way to receive affordable training. Just make sure to ask if the schools you are considering are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Offer Onsite CDL Testing? There are some states that will allow 3rd party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is available in New York, ask if the Woodhaven NY schools you are looking at are DMV certified to provide it. One benefit is that it is more convenient than battling with graduates from competing schools for test times at New York testing facilities. It is also an indication that the DMV considers the authorized schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Class Times Flexible? As earlier mentioned, truck driver training is just 1 to 2 months long. With such a brief term, it’s imperative that the Woodhaven NY school you enroll in offers flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. As an example, if you’re having a hard time learning a certain driving maneuver, then the instructor should be willing to spend more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still working while going to 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 attained your commercial driver’s license after graduating from trucking school, you will be eager to start your new career in Woodhaven NY. Verify 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, ask which local and national trucking firms their graduates are referred to for hiring. If a school has a low job placement rate or not many employers hiring their grads, it might be a clue to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Truck driver 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 assessing have a financial assistance department, or at least someone who can help you get through the options and forms that need to be submitted in Woodhaven NY.
Why Did You Want to Be a Tractor Trailer Operator?When getting ready to interview for a Trucking position, it's a good idea to consider questions you may be asked. One of the questions that hiring managers typically ask truck driving candidates is "What compelled you to select trucking as a career?". What the interviewer is trying to learn is not only the private reasons you may have for becoming a trucker, but additionally what attributes and talents you possess that make you good at your profession. You will likely be asked questions relating specifically to trucking, along with a certain number of routine interview questions, so you need to prepare a number of approaches about how you would like to respond to them. Because there are several factors that go into choosing a career, you can answer this fundamental question in a variety of ways. When formulating an answer, attempt to include the reasons the profession interests you in addition to the strengths you possess that make you an excellent truck driver and the perfiect choice for the position. Don't try to memorize a response, but take down several concepts and anecdotes that pertain to your personal strengths and experiences. Reviewing sample responses can assist you to develop your own concepts, and give you ideas of what to discuss to enthuse the interviewer.
Select the Best Truck Driving School Woodhaven NY
Choosing the right truck driving school is a critical first step to beginning your new vocation as a local or long distance truck driver. The skill sets that you will learn at school will be those that shape a new career behind the wheel. There are several options offered and understanding them is crucial if you are going to succeed as an operator. But first and foremost, you must get the necessary training in order to operate a large commercial vehicle in a professional and safe manner. If you are short on cash or financing, you may want to think about a captive school. You will pay a reduced or even no tuition in exchange for driving for their contracted carrier. Or you can select an independent school and have the option of driving for the trucking company of your choice, 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 part of a profession that helps our country move as a professional truck driver in Woodhaven NY.
A Bit About Woodhaven New York
Woodhaven is a middle-class neighborhood located in the central section of the New York City borough of Queens. Woodhaven, once known as Woodville, has one of the greatest tree populations in the borough and is known for its proximity to the hiking trails of Forest Park. It retains the small-town feel of bygone days and is home to people of many different ethnicities.
Woodhaven is bordered on the north by the public Forest Park, and Park Lane South. Woodhaven also borders Richmond Hill to the east, and Ozone Park to the south at Atlantic Avenue. Its western border is the borough of Brooklyn.
The ethnically diverse neighborhood is part of Queens Community Board 9. Woodhaven's ZIP Code is 11421. Woodhaven is served by New York City Department of Education School District #27 (Bounded by Nassau County on one side and Brooklyn on the other).
The Wisconsin Glacier retreated from Long Island some 20,000 years ago, leaving behind the hills to the north of Woodhaven that now are part of Forest Park, the third largest park in Queens. Southern Woodhaven is mostly flat (the lowest elevation is just under 30 feet (9.1 m) ), while northern Woodhaven gradually rises to about 105 feet (32 m) as it approaches Forest Park.
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