How to Find a Trucking School near West Jefferson Ohio
Congrats on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a CDL school near West Jefferson OH. Perhaps it has always been your dream to hit the open highway while driving a big ole tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have conducted some analysis and have discovered that an occupation as a truck driver offers excellent income and flexible work opportunities. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s essential to receive the proper training by enrolling in the right CDL school in your area. When evaluating your options, there are several factors that you’ll need to examine before making your ultimate choice. Location will undoubtedly be important, particularly if you have to commute from your West Jefferson home. The expense will also be important, but picking a school based solely on price is not the ideal method to guarantee you’ll get the right training. Just remember, your goal is to learn the skills and knowledge 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 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 talk a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will eventually need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Will You Require?
To drive commercial vehicles legally in Ohio and within the USA, a driver must attain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 license classes that a driver can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the topic of this article is how to pick a truck driver school near West Jefferson OH, 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 together with the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Below are short summaries for the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License 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 drivers may be able to operate 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 drive single vehicles having a GVWR of greater 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 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 Commercial Drivers Licenses may also need endorsements to operate specific types of vehicles, for example passenger or school buses. And a Class A license holder, with the proper needed endorsements, can drive any vehicle that a Class B license holder is qualified to drive.
How to Evaluate a Trucking School
When you have decided which CDL you wish to obtain, you can begin the undertaking of researching the West Jefferson OH truck driving schools that you are considering. As previously discussed, location and cost will undoubtedly be your primary concerns. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they must not be your sole considerations. Other issues, for instance the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are similarly if not more important. So below are several additional points 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 Accredited or Certified ? Not many West Jefferson OH trucking schools are accredited because of the stringent 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 several advantages. Interested students know that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will get plenty of driving time. For example, PTDI mandates 44 hours of actual driving time, not simulations or ride-alongs. So if a school’s course is certified (the course, not the school is certified), students know that the training and curriculum will fulfill the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One clue to help assess the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in business. A negatively rated or a fly by night school typically will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. Having said that, even the top West Jefferson OH schools had to start from their opening day of training, so use it as one of several qualifiers. You can also learn what the school’s track record is pertaining to successful licensing and job placement of its graduating students. If a school won’t provide those numbers, look elsewhere. The schools should also have relationships with regional and national trucking firms. Having numerous contacts not only confirms a quality reputation within the trade, but also bolsters their job placement program for graduates. It also wouldn’t hurt to contact the Ohio licensing department to make sure that the CDL trucking schools you are researching are in good standing.
How Good is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools must be licensed in Ohio and hire teachers that are experienced and trained. We will discuss 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 greater, then students will not be getting the individual attention they will need. This is especially true concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And be critical of any school that insists it can train you to be a truck driver in a comparatively short time period. Learning to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer professionally takes time. Most West Jefferson OH schools offer training courses that run from three weeks to as long as 2 months, based on the license class or kind of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Teachers? As already stated, it’s important that the instructors are trained to teach driving methods and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Although a number of states have minimum driving time prerequisites to be certified as an instructor, the more professional driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also important that the instructors keep up to date with industry advancements or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Evaluating instructors may be a little more subjective than other criteria, and perhaps the ideal approach is to check out the West Jefferson OH school and talk to the instructors in person. You can also speak with a few of the students completing 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 trucking school will provide plenty of driving time to its students. Besides, isn’t that what it’s all about? Driving time is the real time spent behind the wheel operating a truck. Even though the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are necessary training methods, they are no replacement for real driving. The more instruction that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will become. Although driving time varies among schools, a good benchmark is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Check with the West Jefferson OH schools you are considering and find out how much driving time they provide.
Are they Independent or Captive ? It’s possible to receive free or discounted training from certain West Jefferson OH truck driving schools if you enter into an agreement to drive for a particular 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 having relationships with numerous trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only work with one company. The benefit is receiving less expensive or even free training by surrendering the flexibility to initially be a driver wherever you choose. Clearly contract training has the potential to reduce your income prospects when starting out. But for many 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.
Is there Onsite CDL Testing? There are some states that will permit 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is allowed in Ohio, ask if the West Jefferson OH schools you are considering are DMV certified to provide it. One advantage is that it is more convenient than competing with graduates of competing schools for test times at Ohio testing facilities. It is moreover an indication that the DMV views the approved schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Class Times Accessible? As earlier mentioned, CDL training is only about one to two months in length. With such a short duration, it’s essential that the West Jefferson OH school you enroll in provides flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. As an example, if you’re having difficulty learning a certain driving maneuver, then the teacher should be willing to dedicate more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still working while attending training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other obligations.
Is Job Placement Offered? As soon as you have obtained your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be keen to begin your new career in West Jefferson OH. Confirm that the schools you are looking at have job assistance programs. Find out what their job placement percentage is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, find out which national and local trucking firms their graduates are placed with for employment. If a school has a low job placement rate or not many employers recruiting their graduates, it may be a clue to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Given? Truck driver schools are similar to colleges and other vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being offered. 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 West Jefferson OH.
Why Did You Choose to Be a Truck Driver?When preparing to interview for a Trucking position, it's advantageous to consider questions you might be asked. Among the questions that hiring managers frequently ask truck driving prospects is "What drove you to select trucking as a career?". What the interviewer is hoping to discover is not only the private reasons you may have for becoming a trucking operator, but also what qualities and abilities you have that make you outstanding at your profession. You will undoubtedly be asked questions relating primarily to trucking, along with a certain number of routine interview questions, so you must prepare several approaches about how you would like to respond to them. Considering there are numerous factors that go into selecting a career, you can respond to this primary question in a number of ways. When readying an answer, attempt to include the reasons the work appeals to you as well as the strengths you possess that make you an exceptional truck driver and the leading choice for the job. Don't attempt to memorize an answer, but jot down a few concepts and anecdotes that pertain to your own strengths and experiences. Reviewing sample answers can assist you to formulate your own thoughts, and give you ideas of what to include to wow the interviewer.
Choose the Ideal Truck Driving School West Jefferson OH
Choosing the right truck driving school is a critical 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 many options available and understanding them is crucial to a new driver’s success. Most importantly, you must get the necessary training in order to operate a large commercial vehicle in a safe and professional manner. If you are short on funds or financing, you may need 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 choose an independent school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking firm of your choosing, or one of several associated with the school. It’s your choice. But no matter how you obtain your training, you will soon be joining an industry that helps America move as a professional truck driver in West Jefferson OH.
A Bit About West Jefferson Ohio
Jefferson County, Ohio
Jefferson County is a county located in the U.S. state of Ohio. As of the 2010 census, the population was 69,709. Its county seat is Steubenville. The county is named for Thomas Jefferson, who was at the time of its creation Vice President.
Jefferson County is part of the Weirton-Steubenville, WV-OH Metropolitan Statistical Area, which is also included in the Pittsburgh-New Castle-Weirton, PA-WV-OH Combined Statistical Area.
Jefferson County was organized on July 29, 1797 by proclamation of Governor Arthur St. Clair, six years before Ohio was granted statehood.
In 1786, the United States built Fort Steuben to protect the government surveyors mapping the land west of the Ohio River. When the surveyors completed their task a few years later, the fort was abandoned. In the meantime, settlers had built homes around the fort; they named their settlement La Belle. When the County was created in 1797, La Belle was selected as the County seat. The town was subsequently renamed Steubenville, in honor of the abandoned fort.
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