How to Select a Truck Driving School near Pickens South Carolina
Best wishes on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a CDL school near Pickens SC. Perhaps it has always been your dream to hit the open road while operating a huge tractor trailer. Or maybe you have conducted some research and have found that an occupation as a truck driver offers excellent income and flexible job prospects. No matter what your reason is, it’s important to obtain the appropriate training by picking the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are several variables that you’ll want to think about prior to making your ultimate selection. Location will certainly be important, especially if you have to commute from your Pickens residence. The cost will also be important, but choosing a school based solely on price is not the optimal way to make sure you’ll get the proper education. Don’t forget, your objective is to learn the knowledge and skills that will enable you to pass the CDL exams and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that goal in mind, just how do you choose a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to address in the remainder of this article. But first, we are going to review a little bit about which CDL license you will eventually need.
Which CDL Will You Need?
In order to operate commercial vehicles lawfully in South Carolina and within the USA, a driver must attain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three license classes that a driver can qualify 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 Pickens SC, 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 as well as the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Below are brief summaries of the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License is required to drive 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 needed 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. A few 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 require endorsements to operate specific kinds of vehicles, for example school or passenger buses. And a Class A licensee, with the proper required endorsements, can drive any vehicle that a Class B licensee is authorized to operate.
How to Research a Truck Driver School
After you have determined which CDL you would like to pursue, you can start the undertaking of evaluating the Pickens SC trucking schools that you are looking at. As previously mentioned, cost and location will no doubt be your initial considerations. But it can’t be stressed enough that they must not be your sole concerns. Other issues, including the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are equally if not more important. So following are several more things that you need to research while performing your due diligence before choosing, and particularly paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Not many Pickens SC trucking schools are accredited due to the stringent process and cost to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more typical and is provided by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not obligated to become certified, but there are certain advantages. Potential students know that the training will be of the highest caliber, and that they will be given an ample amount of driving time. For example, PTDI calls for 44 hours of real 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 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 usually will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. Having said that, even the best of Pickens SC schools had to start from their first day of training, so use it as one of several qualifications. You can also find out what the school’s history is concerning successful licensing and job placement of its graduating students. If a school won’t provide those stats, search elsewhere. The schools should also maintain relationships with local and national trucking companies. Having a large number of contacts not only points to a superior reputation within the profession, but also bolsters their job assistance program for graduates. It also wouldn’t hurt to check with the South Carolina licensing authority to verify that the CDL trucker schools you are researching are in good standing.
How Good is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools should be licensed in South Carolina and employ instructors that are trained and experienced. We will talk more about the instructors in the following section. In addition, the student to instructor ratio should not be greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be obtaining the individual 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 insists it can train you to drive trucks in a comparatively short period of time. Training to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer professionally requires time. The majority of Pickens SC schools offer training courses that range from 3 weeks to as long as 2 months, based on the license class or kind of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Trainers? As earlier stated, it’s imperative that the instructors are trained to teach driving methods and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Even though a number of states have minimum driving time prerequisites to qualify as a teacher, the more successful 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. Evaluating teachers might be a little more intuitive than other criteria, and perhaps the ideal approach is to pay a visit to the Pickens SC school and talk to the teachers face to face. You can also talk to some of the students going through the training and find out if they are happy with the level of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
How Much Driving Time? Most importantly, a great truck driving school will furnish lots 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 operating a truck. Even though the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are necessary training methods, they are no alternative for real driving. The more training that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will become. Although driving time fluctuates between schools, a reasonable standard is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish no less than 44 hours of driving time. Check with the Pickens SC schools you are researching and ask how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Independent or Captive ? It’s possible to obtain discounted or even free training from certain Pickens SC truck driver schools if you make a commitment to drive for a specified 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 relationships with numerous 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 giving up the flexibility to initially be a driver wherever you choose. Clearly contract training has the potential to limit your income opportunities when starting out. But for some it may be the ideal way to obtain affordable training. Just make sure to inquire if the schools you are considering are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Offer Onsite CDL Testing? There are several states that will allow third party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is available in South Carolina, find out if the Pickens SC schools you are reviewing are DMV certified to offer it. One advantage is that it is more convenient than contending with graduates of other schools for test times at South Carolina testing locations. It is also an indication that the DMV considers the approved schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Class Times Convenient? As previously noted, truck driving training is just 1 to 2 months in length. With such a short duration, it’s essential that the Pickens SC school you enroll in provides flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. For example, if you’re having a hard time learning a certain driving maneuver, then the teacher should be willing to spend 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 fit in working hours or other obligations.
Is Job Assistance Provided? The moment you have obtained your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be keen to start your new profession in Pickens SC. Confirm that the schools you are looking at have job placement programs. Find out what their job placement ratio is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, find out which local and national trucking firms their graduates are placed with for hiring. If a school has a lower job placement rate or few employers hiring their grads, it may be a clue to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Trucking schools are much like colleges and other trade or technical schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being available. Find out if the schools you are evaluating have a financial aid department, or at least someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that must be completed in Pickens SC.
Why Did You Decide to Become a Tractor Trailer Operator?When prepping to interview for a Trucking position, it's helpful to consider questions you may be asked. One of the questions that hiring managers typically ask truck driving prospects is "What made you pick trucking as a career?". What the interviewer is hoping to learn is not just the personal reasons you might have for becoming a trucking operator, but additionally what qualities and talents you have that make you outstanding at what you do. You will probably be asked questions relating primarily to trucking, in addition to a significant number of routine interview questions, so you must ready a number of strategies about how you would like to respond to them. Given that there are several variables that go into selecting a career, you can respond to this fundamental question in a multitude of ways. When readying an answer, aim to include the reasons the work interests you along with the talents you have that make you an excellent truck driver and the leading candidate for the job. Don't attempt to memorize an answer, but write down several concepts and anecdotes that relate to your personal experiences and strengths. Going over sample responses can assist you to formulate your own thoughts, and provide ideas of what to discuss to enthuse the recruiter.
Pick the Right CDL School Pickens SC
Picking the appropriate truck driving school is an essential first step to beginning your new vocation as a long distance or local truck driver. The skills that you will learn at school will be those that shape 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 obtain the appropriate training in order to drive a large commercial vehicle in a professional and safe fashion. If you are lacking money or financing, you might need to consider a captive school. You will pay a lower or even 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 company of your choice, or one of several associated with the school. It’s your decision. But no matter how you receive your training, you will soon be part of an industry that helps our country move as a professional trucker in Pickens SC.
A Bit About Pickens South Carolina
Pickens County, South Carolina
Pickens County is a county in the northwest part of the U.S. state of South Carolina. As of the 2010 census, its population was 119,224. Its county seat is Pickens. The county was created in 1826.
It is part of the Greenville-Anderson-Mauldin, SC Metropolitan Statistical Area.
Pickens County was Cherokee Indian Territory until the American Revolution. The Cherokees sided with the British, suffered defeat, and surrendered their South Carolina lands. This former Cherokee territory was included in the Ninety-Six Judicial District. In 1791 the state legislature established Washington District, a judicial area composed of present-day Greenville, Anderson, Pickens, and Oconee counties, and then composed of Greenville and Pendleton counties. Streets for the courthouse town of Pickensville (near present-day Easley) were laid off, and soon a cluster of buildings arose that perhaps included a large wooden hotel, which served as a stagecoach stop. In 1798 Washington District was divided into Greenville and Pendleton districts. The latter included what eventually became Anderson, Oconee, and Pickens counties. A new courthouse was erected at Pendleton to accommodate the Court of General Sessions and Common Pleas, and soon thereafter Pickensville began to decline.
In view of the growing population and poor transportation facilities in Pendleton District, the legislature divided it into counties in 1826, and a year later decided instead to divide the area into districts. The legislation went into effect in 1828. The lower part became Anderson and the upper Pickens, named in honor of the Revolutionary soldier, Brigadier General Andrew Pickens, whose home Hopewell was on the southern border of the district. A courthouse was established on the west bank of the Keowee River, and a small town called Pickens Court House soon developed
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