How to Choose a CDL Training School near Rutherford Tennessee
Congratulations on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a trucking school near Rutherford TN. Perhaps it has always been your fantasy to hit the open highway while driving a big ole tractor trailer. Or maybe you have conducted some analysis and have found that a career as a truck driver offers excellent wages and flexible work prospects. Whatever your reason is, it’s important to get the appropriate training by choosing the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are various factors that you’ll need to consider before making your ultimate selection. Location will certainly be an issue, especially if you have to commute from your Rutherford residence. The expense will also be of importance, but choosing a school based only on price is not the best means to make sure you’ll obtain the proper education. Just remember, your objective 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 objective in mind, just how do you pick 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 eventually need.
Which CDL Should You Get?
To drive commercial vehicles legally in Tennessee and within the USA, an operator needs to get a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three license classes that one can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the topic of this article is how to choose a truck driver school near Rutherford TN, we will discuss 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). Following are short descriptions 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 more than 10,000 lbs. Several 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 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 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 may also need endorsements to operate certain kinds of vehicles, such as school or passenger buses. And a Class A license holder, with the proper needed endorsements, may drive any vehicle that a Class B license holder is qualified to drive.
How to Evaluate a Truck Driver School
Once you have decided which Commercial Drivers License you wish to pursue, you can begin the undertaking of researching the Rutherford TN truck driving schools that you are looking at. As earlier mentioned, location and cost will no doubt be your primary concerns. But it can’t be stressed enough that they must not be your sole concerns. Other issues, such as the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are similarly or even more important. So following are a few additional points that you should research while carrying out your due diligence prior to enrolling in, and particularly paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Not many Rutherford TN truck driver schools are accredited due to the stringent process and cost to the schools. However, certification is more commonplace and is offered by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not obligated to become certified, but there are a number of advantages. Prospective students recognize that the training will be of the highest caliber, and that they will be given lots of driving time. As an example, PTDI mandates 44 hours of actual driving time, not ride-alongs or simulations. So if a school’s course is certified (the course, not the school is certified), students know that the training and curriculum will satisfy the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One clue to help evaluate the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in operation. 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 Rutherford TN schools had to begin from their first day of training, so use it as one of several qualifications. You can also ask what the school’s track record is pertaining to successful licensing and employment of its graduating students. If a school won’t supply those stats, look elsewhere. The schools should additionally maintain relationships with regional and national trucking companies. Having numerous contacts not only confirms an excellent reputation within the profession, but also bolsters their job placement program for students. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to get in touch with the Tennessee licensing authority to confirm that the CDL trucker schools you are considering are in good standing.
How Effective is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools should be licensed in Tennessee and employ teachers that are trained and experienced. We will cover more about the instructors in the following segment. Also, the student to instructor ratio should not be higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be receiving the personal attention they will need. This is especially true regarding the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And look out for any school that insists it can train you to be a truck driver in a comparatively short time period. Training to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer professionally takes time. Most Rutherford TN schools provide training programs that run from 3 weeks to as long as 2 months, based on the license class or kind of vehicle.
How Good are the Teachers? As already stated, it’s imperative that the instructors are trained to teach driving methods and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Even though several states have minimum driving time prerequisites to be certified as an instructor, the more successful driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also vital that the teachers keep up to date with industry advancements 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 pay a visit to the Rutherford TN school and talk to the teachers face to face. You can also speak with a few of the students going through the training and ask if they are happy with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
How Much Driving Time? Above all else, a good truck driver school will furnish sufficient 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. Although the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are important training methods, they are no substitute for actual driving. The more training that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will become. Although driving time differs between schools, a good standard is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Check with the Rutherford TN schools you are looking at and find out how much driving time they provide.
Are they Independent or Captive ? You can obtain discounted or even free training from certain Rutherford TN truck driver schools if you enter into an agreement to be a driver for a particular carrier for a defined amount of time. This is what’s known as contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So rather than having associations with many different trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only refer to one company. The benefit is receiving less expensive or even free training by surrendering the flexibility to initially be a driver wherever you choose. Naturally contract training has the potential to reduce your income opportunities when starting out. But for some it may be the best way to obtain affordable training. Just be sure to find out if the schools you are considering are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Offer CDL Testing Onsite? There are a number of states that will allow 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its students. If onsite testing is available in Tennessee, find out if the Rutherford TN schools you are considering 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 Tennessee testing centers. It is also an indicator that the DMV deems the authorized schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Class Times Convenient? As formerly noted, truck driver training is only about one to two months long. With such a short duration, it’s essential that the Rutherford TN school you choose provides flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. As an example, if you’re having difficulty learning a certain driving maneuver, then the instructor should be prepared to spend more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still working while going to training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other obligations.
Is Job Placement Provided? The moment you have attained your CDL license after graduating from trucking school, you will be anxious to start your new career in Rutherford TN. Confirm that the schools you are reviewing have job assistance programs. Find out what their job placement rate is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, ask which national and local trucking companies their graduates are referred to for hiring. If a school has a poor job placement rate or few employers hiring their graduates, it may be a sign to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Available? Trucking schools are comparable to colleges and other technical or vocational schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being offered. Find out if the schools you are evaluating have a financial aid department, or at a minimum someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that need to be submitted in Rutherford TN.
Why Did You Decide to Be a Trucker?When preparing to interview for a Trucking position, it's a good idea to reflect on questions you could be asked. Among the questions that hiring managers frequently ask truck driving applicants is "What made you decide on trucking as a profession?". What the interviewer is attempting to uncover is not only the private reasons you may have for becoming a truck driver, but additionally what qualities and skills you possess that make you exceptional at your profession. You will probably be asked questions relating exclusively to trucking, as well as a certain number of general interview questions, so you must ready several strategies about how you want to address them. Since there are several variables that go into choosing a career, you can address this primary question in a number of ways. When readying an answer, try to include the reasons the profession appeals to you as well as the abilities you have that make you an exceptional truck driver and the ideal candidate for the position. Don't attempt to memorize an answer, but write down some concepts and anecdotes that pertain to your own strengths and experiences. Going over sample responses can help you to formulate your own concepts, and give you ideas of what to discuss to wow the interviewer.
Choose the Right Truck Driving School Rutherford TN
Selecting the right truck driving school is a critical 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 forge a new career behind the wheel. There are a number of options available and understanding them is vital to a new driver’s success. Most importantly, you must receive the necessary training in order to operate a big commercial vehicle in a professional and safe manner. If you are lacking money or financing, you may want to consider a captive school. You will pay a reduced or in some cases no tuition by agreeing to drive 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 obtain your training, you will in the near future be joining an industry that helps our country move as a professional trucker in Rutherford TN.
A Bit About Rutherford Tennessee
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 2.3 square miles (6.0 km2), of which 2.2 square miles (5.7 km2) is land and 0.44% is water. The current mayor (2018) is Robert White.
As of the census of 2010, there were 1,151 people, 500 households, and 329 families residing in the town. The population density was 500.4 people per square mile (195.1/km2). There were 569 housing units at an average density of 247.4 per square mile (96.4/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 82.5% White, 16.1% African American, 0.1% Native American, and 0.8% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1% of the population.
There were 500 households out of which 26.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 43.8% were married couples living together, 16.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 34.2% were non-families. 32.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 15.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.3 and the average family size was 2.91.
In the town, the population was spread out with 25% under the age of 20, 4.4% from 20 to 24, 22.8% from 25 to 44, 26.7% from 45 to 64, and 21% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 43.5 years. For every 100 females, there were 82.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 78.7 males.
More Cities of Interest in Tennessee