How to Pick a Trucking School near Wind Gap Pennsylvania
Congratulations on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a CDL school near Wind Gap PA. Perhaps it has always been your dream to hit the open highway while driving a big ole tractor trailer. Or maybe you have conducted some research and have discovered that an occupation as a truck driver provides excellent pay and flexible work opportunities. Whatever your reason is, it’s important to get the proper training by picking the right CDL school in your area. When evaluating your options, there are a number of factors that you’ll need to consider prior to making your final selection. Location will undoubtedly be an issue, especially if you have to commute from your Wind Gap residence. The expense will also be of importance, but selecting a school based entirely on price is not the ideal way to ensure you’ll obtain the appropriate education. Don’t forget, your goal is to learn the knowledge and skills 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 choose 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 commercial driver’s license you will ultimately need.
Which CDL Should You Get?
In order to operate commercial vehicles legally in Pennsylvania and within the USA, an operator needs to obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three classes of licenses that a person can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the topic of this article is how to choose a truck driving school near Wind Gap PA, we will address Class A and B licenses. What distinguishes 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 summaries for the 2 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 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 CDL is needed to operate single vehicles having a GVWR of greater 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 might also need endorsements to operate specific types of vehicles, for instance school or passenger buses. And a Class A license holder, with the proper required endorsements, can operate any vehicle that a Class B licensee is authorized to drive.
How to Research a Truck Driving School
Once you have decided which CDL you want to obtain, you can start the process of assessing the Wind Gap PA truck driving schools that you are looking at. As already discussed, location and cost will undoubtedly be your initial considerations. But it can’t be stressed enough that they must not be your sole concerns. Other issues, for instance the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are similarly if not more important. So following are a few additional factors that you need to research while performing your due diligence before selecting, and especially paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Not many Wind Gap PA truck driving schools are accredited due to the demanding process and cost to the schools. On the other hand, 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. Potential 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 actual 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 comply with the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One indicator to help assess the quality of a trucking school is how long it has been in business. A negatively reviewed or a fly by night school usually will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. Having said that, even the best of Wind Gap PA schools had to start from their first day of training, so consider it as one of several qualifiers. You can also ask what the school’s track record is concerning successful licensing and employment of its graduating students. If a school won’t provide those numbers, look elsewhere. The schools should also have associations with local and national trucking firms. Having a large number of contacts not only points to an excellent reputation within the profession, but also boosts their job placement program for students. It also wouldn’t hurt to get in touch with the Pennsylvania licensing department to verify that the CDL trucking schools you are reviewing are in compliance.
How Effective is the Training? At a minimum, the schools must be licensed in Pennsylvania and hire teachers that are experienced and trained. We will cover more about the teachers in the following segment. In addition, the student to instructor proportion should not be higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be getting the personalized attention they will need. This is particularly true concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And look out for any school that claims it can teach you to be a truck driver in a relatively short period of time. Training to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer professionally takes time. The majority of Wind Gap PA schools provide training programs that range from three weeks to as long as 2 months, based on the class of license or type of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Instructors? As earlier stated, it’s important that the instructors are trained to teach driving methods and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Even though several states have minimum driving time requirements to qualify as an instructor, the more professional driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also important that the teachers keep current with industry developments or any new laws or changes in regulations. Evaluating instructors might be a little more subjective than other criteria, and possibly the ideal approach is to visit the Wind Gap PA school and speak with the instructors in person. You can also talk to some of the students completing the training and ask if they are happy with the level of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Enough Driving Time? Most importantly, a good trucking school will provide plenty of 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 driving a truck. While the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are important training methods, they are no alternative 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 varies among schools, a reasonable benchmark is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Get in touch with the Wind Gap PA schools you are considering and ask how much driving time they provide.
Are they Independent or Captive ? You can receive free or discounted training from certain Wind Gap PA trucking schools if you enter into an agreement 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 provide it are called captives. So rather than having associations with many different trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only refer to one company. The tradeoff is receiving free or less expensive training by surrendering the flexibility to initially work wherever you choose. Obviously contract training has the potential to limit your income prospects when beginning your new career. But for many it may be the only way to get affordable training. Just make sure to ask if the schools you are looking at are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Offer Onsite CDL Testing? There are several states that will allow 3rd party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its grads. If onsite testing is available in Pennsylvania, find out if the Wind Gap PA schools you are looking at are DMV certified to provide it. One advantage is that it is more convenient than competing with graduates of other schools for test times at Pennsylvania testing facilities. It is also an indication that the DMV deems the authorized schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Classes Flexible? As earlier mentioned, CDL training is just 1 to 2 months in length. With such a brief term, it’s imperative that the Wind Gap PA school you enroll in offers 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 instructor should be willing to dedicate more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still employed while going to training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other commitments.
Is Job Assistance Offered? Once you have acquired your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be eager to start your new profession in Wind Gap PA. Make sure that the schools you are contemplating have job assistance programs. Find out what their job placement rate is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, ask which local and national trucking companies their graduates are placed with for employment. If a school has a poor job placement rate or few employers recruiting their graduates, it may be a sign to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Available? Truck driver schools are comparable to colleges and other technical or vocational schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being available. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have a financial assistance department, or at least someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that need to be completed in Wind Gap PA.
Why Did You Decide to Be a Tractor Trailer Operator?When getting ready to interview for a Trucking position, it's helpful to reflect on questions you might be asked. One of the things that hiring managers frequently ask truck driving candidates is "What compelled you to decide on trucking as a profession?". What the interviewer is attempting to learn is not only the personal reasons you might have for being a trucking operator, but additionally what qualities and skills you have that make you good at what you do. You will probably be asked questions relating specifically to trucking, along with a certain number of standard interview questions, so you need to ready a number of approaches about how you would like to answer them. Considering there are several variables that go into selecting a career, you can answer this primary question in a multitude of ways. When formulating an answer, aim to include the reasons the profession appeals to you along with the strengths you possess that make you an excellent truck driver and the perfiect candidate for the position. Don't try to memorize a response, but take down some concepts and anecdotes that relate 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 impress the interviewer.
Pick the Right Trucking School Wind Gap PA
Selecting the ideal truck driver school is an essential first step to starting your new profession as a local or long distance 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 offered and understanding them is critical to a new driver’s success. Most importantly, you must obtain the appropriate training in order to operate a large commercial vehicle in a professional and safe fashion. If you are lacking money or financing, you may need to think about 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 select an independent school and have the option of driving for the trucking company of your choice, or one of several associated with the school. It’s your decision. But no matter how you obtain your training, you will soon be part of an industry that helps America move as a professional truck driver in Wind Gap PA.
A Bit About Wind Gap Pennsylvania
Wind Gap, Pennsylvania
Wind Gap (Pennsylvania Dutch: Gratdaal) is a borough in Northampton County, Pennsylvania, United States. Wind Gap is located in the Lehigh Valley region of the state. It is part of Pennsylvania's Slate Belt.
As of the census of 2000, there were 2,812 people, 1,221 households, and 765 families residing in the borough. The population density was 2,061.8 people per square mile (798.3/km2). There were 1,294 housing units at an average density of 948.8 per square mile (367.4/km2). The racial makeup of the borough was 97.62% White, 0.46% African American, 0.04% Native American, 0.68% Asian, 0.53% from other races, and 0.68% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.60% of the population.
There were 1,221 households, out of which 26.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 49.4% were married couples living together, 10.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 37.3% were non-families. 30.9% of all households were made up of individuals, and 13.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.25 and the average family size was 2.84.
In the borough the population was spread out, with 20.8% under the age of 18, 7.5% from 18 to 24, 29.6% from 25 to 44, 22.8% from 45 to 64, and 19.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39 years. For every 100 females there were 88.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 84.6 males.
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