How to Pick a CDL Driving School near Willow Hill Pennsylvania
Congrats on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a CDL school near Willow Hill PA. Maybe it has always been your fantasy to hit the open highway while driving a big ole tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have done some analysis and have found that an occupation as a truck driver offers excellent pay and flexible job prospects. No matter what your reason is, it’s important to obtain the proper training by picking the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are certain factors that you’ll want to consider prior to making your ultimate selection. Location will certainly be important, particularly if you need to commute from your Willow Hill home. The expense will also be important, but choosing a school based only on price is not the optimal way to guarantee you’ll obtain the right training. Just remember, your goal is to learn the skills and knowledge that will enable you to pass the CDL exams and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that target in mind, just how do you select a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to cover in the remainder of this article. But first, we are going to talk a little bit about which CDL license you will eventually need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Will You Require?
In order to drive commercial vehicles lawfully in Pennsylvania and within the United States, an operator needs to get a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three classes of licenses that a driver can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the topic of this article is how to pick a truck driving school near Willow Hill PA, we will focus on Class A and B licenses. What differentiates each class of CDL is the type of vehicle that the driver can operate in addition to the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Following are short summaries for the 2 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 greater than 10,000 lbs. Several 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 more 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 Commercial Drivers Licenses may also need endorsements to drive specific types of vehicles, such as school or passenger buses. And a Class A licensee, with the proper required endorsements, can operate any vehicle that a Class B licensee is qualified to drive.
How to Assess a CDL School
When you have decided which CDL you wish to pursue, you can begin the process of evaluating the Willow Hill PA trucking schools that you are considering. As already discussed, cost and location will certainly be your primary 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 if not more important. So below are several more things that you need to research while carrying out your due diligence before enrolling in, and particularly paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Very few Willow Hill PA truck driving schools are accredited due to the stringent process and cost to the schools. However, certification is more prevalent and is offered by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not required to become certified, but there are certain advantages. Prospective 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 actual 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 curriculum and training will measure up to the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One clue to help determine the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in operation. A negatively ranked or a fly by night school usually will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the best of Willow Hill PA schools had to start from their first day of training, so use it as one of multiple qualifiers. You can also find out what the school’s track record is concerning successful licensing and employment of its graduates. If a school won’t provide those stats, look 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 boosts their job assistance program for graduates. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to check with the Pennsylvania licensing department to verify that the CDL trucking schools you are considering are in compliance.
How Good is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools must be licensed in Pennsylvania and hire instructors that are trained and experienced. We will talk more about the instructors in the next section. Also, the student to instructor ratio should be no higher 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 concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And watch out for any school that insists it can teach you to drive trucks in a relatively short time frame. Learning to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer professionally requires time. Most Willow Hill PA schools offer training courses that run from 3 weeks to as long as 2 months, depending on the license class or kind of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Instructors? As already mentioned, it’s imperative that the teachers are trained to teach driving methods and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Although a number of states have minimum driving time requirements to be certified as a teacher, the more successful driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also important that the teachers keep up to date with industry advancements or any new laws or changes in regulations. Evaluating teachers may be a bit more intuitive than other criteria, and possibly the ideal approach is to pay a visit to the Willow Hill PA school and talk to 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 ability to train them.
How Much Driving Time? Above all else, a great truck driving school will provide lots 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 operating a truck. Even though the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are important training tools, they are no substitute for actual driving. The more instruction that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will be. Although driving time fluctuates between schools, a good benchmark is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish at least 44 hours of driving time. Contact the Willow Hill PA schools you are looking at and find out how much driving time they provide.
Are they Captive or Independent ? You can get discounted or even free training from some Willow Hill PA truck driver schools if you enter into an agreement to be a driver for a specified carrier for a defined amount of time. This is called contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So rather than having associations 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. Naturally contract training has the potential to restrict your income opportunities when beginning your new career. But for many it may be the only way to obtain affordable training. Just be sure to find out if the schools you are looking at are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Provide Onsite CDL Testing? There are some states that will permit third party CDL testing onsite of truck driver schools for its students. If onsite testing is available in Pennsylvania, find out if the Willow Hill PA schools you are considering are DMV certified to offer it. One benefit is that it is more accommodating than contending with graduates of competing schools for test times at Pennsylvania testing facilities. It is moreover an indicator that the DMV deems the approved schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Classes Convenient? As formerly mentioned, truck driver training is only about 1 to 2 months long. With such a brief term, it’s important that the Willow Hill PA school you select 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 willing to commit more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still holding a job while attending training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other commitments.
Is Job Placement Provided? As soon as you have received your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be anxious to start your new career in Willow Hill PA. Confirm that the schools you are looking at have job placement programs. Ask what their job placement rate is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, ask which local and national trucking firms their graduates are placed with for employment. If a school has a lower job placement rate or not many employers recruiting their grads, it might be a clue to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Truck driving schools are much like colleges and other trade or technical 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 completed in Willow Hill PA.
Why Did You Choose to Be a Truck Driver?When getting ready to interview for a Trucking job, it's a good idea to consider questions you could be asked. One of the questions that hiring managers often ask truck driving prospects is "What compelled you to choose trucking as a profession?". What the interviewer is hoping to uncover is not only the personal reasons you might have for being a trucking operator, but also what attributes and abilities you possess that make you good at what you do. You will undoubtedly be asked questions pertaining specifically to trucking, in addition to a certain number of typical interview questions, so you should ready some approaches about how you want to respond to them. Since there are so many variables that go into selecting a career, you can answer this primary question in a number of ways. When preparing an answer, attempt to include the reasons the profession appeals to you as well as the talents you have that make you an outstanding truck driver and the best candidate for the position. Don't try to memorize an answer, but take down some concepts and talking points that relate to your own strengths and experiences. Reviewing sample answers can assist you to develop your own concepts, and inspire ideas of what to include to wow the interviewer.
Select the Best Truck Driving School Willow Hill PA
Choosing the right trucking school is a critical first step to launching your new vocation as a long distance or local truck driver. The skills 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 crucial if you are going to succeed as an operator. Most importantly, you must get the appropriate training in order to drive a big commercial vehicle in a safe and professional manner. If you are lacking cash or financing, you might need to think about a captive school. You will pay a reduced or in some cases no tuition in exchange for driving for their contracted carrier. Or you can select an independent school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking firm of your choosing, or one of several affiliated with the school. It’s your choice. But no matter how you receive your training, you will soon be joining an industry that helps our country move as a professional trucker in Willow Hill PA.
A Bit About Willow Hill Pennsylvania
Willow Hill Covered Bridge
The Willow Hill Covered Bridge is a covered bridge located off U.S. Route 30 that spans Miller’s Run (which flows into Mill Creek, a tributary of the Conestoga River) in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, United States. It was built in 1962 by Roy Zimmerman as a reconstruction using parts of the Miller's Farm Covered Bridge, built in 1871 by Elias McMellen, and Good's Fording Covered Bridge, built in 1855. It crosses Mill Creek and is 93 feet long and 15 feet wide.
The bridge has a single span, wooden, double Burr arch trusses design with the addition of steel hanger rods. It is painted red, the traditional color of Lancaster County covered bridges, on the outside. The inside is unpainted. Both approaches to the bridge are painted in the traditional white color.
The bridge's WGCB Number is 38-36-43. Because it was constructed from two historic covered bridges, it is not listed on the National Register of Historic Places like most of the other covered bridges in the county. It is located at 40°1′30″N 76°12′11.9″W / 40.02500°N 76.203306°W / 40.02500; -76.203306.
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