How to Choose a CDL Driving School near Savannah Tennessee
Best wishes on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a trucking school near Savannah TN. Maybe it has always been your dream to hit the open highway while driving a monster tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have done some research and have found that a career as a truck driver provides good wages and flexible job opportunities. No matter what your reason is, it’s essential to receive the proper training by choosing the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are a number of variables that you’ll need to consider prior to making your ultimate choice. Location will no doubt be important, especially if you need to commute from your Savannah home. The expense will also be of importance, but choosing a school based solely on price is not the best method to ensure you’ll obtain the right training. Don’t forget, your objective is to master the knowledge and skills that will enable you to pass the CDL examinations and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that target in mind, just how do you decide on a truck driving school? The answer to that question 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?
In order to drive commercial vehicles lawfully in Tennessee and within the USA, a driver must obtain 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 Savannah TN, we will highlight Class A and Class 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). Below are short summaries of the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is required to drive 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 drive 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. Several 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 CDLs may 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 license holder is authorized to operate.
How to Assess a Truck Driving School
When you have decided which Commercial Drivers License you would like to obtain, you can start the undertaking of researching the Savannah TN trucking schools that you are considering. As already discussed, cost and location will certainly be your primary considerations. But it can’t be stressed enough that they should not be your sole considerations. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are equally if not more important. So following are a few more points that you need to research while carrying out your due diligence prior to selecting, and particularly paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Not many Savannah TN truck driver schools are accredited because of the demanding process and expense to the schools. On the other hand, 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 caliber, and that they will receive lots of driving time. As an example, PTDI calls for 44 hours of real 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 meet the very high benchmarks 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 poorly ranked or a fly by night school usually will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. On the other hand, even the top Savannah TN schools had to start from their opening day of training, so use it as one of multiple qualifiers. You can also learn what the school’s history is regarding successful licensing and employment of its graduating students. If a school won’t provide those stats, look elsewhere. The schools should also have relationships with regional and national trucking companies. Having numerous contacts not only points to a superior reputation within the trade, but also bolsters their job placement program for students. It also wouldn’t hurt to check with the Tennessee licensing authority to confirm that the CDL trucker schools you are reviewing are in good standing.
How Effective is the Training? At a minimum, the schools must be licensed in Tennessee and hire teachers that are trained and experienced. We will talk more about the instructors in the next segment. Also, the student to instructor proportion should be no higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, 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 look out for any school that insists it can train you to be a truck driver in a relatively short time frame. Learning to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer professionally requires time. Most Savannah TN schools provide training courses that run from 3 weeks to as long as 2 months, based on the license class or kind of vehicle.
How Good are the Instructors? As earlier mentioned, it’s important that the teachers are trained to teach driving techniques and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Even though a number of states have minimum driving time prerequisites to be certified as a teacher, the more successful driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also crucial that the instructors keep current with industry advancements or any new laws or changes in regulations. Evaluating instructors might be a bit more intuitive than other standards, and perhaps the ideal approach is to visit the Savannah TN school and talk to the teachers face to face. You can also speak with a few of the students completing the training and find out if they are satisfied with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Plenty of Driving Time? Above all else, a great trucking school will provide ample 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 essential training methods, they are no replacement for real driving. The more training 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 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish at least 44 hours of driving time. Check with the Savannah TN schools you are looking at and find out how much driving time they provide.
Are they Independent or Captive ? You can receive discounted or even free training from some Savannah TN truck driver schools if you enter into an agreement to drive for a particular carrier for a defined time period. This is what’s known as contract training, and the schools that offer 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 free or less expensive training by giving up 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 some it may be the only way to receive affordable training. Just remember to ask if the schools you are considering are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Is there CDL Testing Onsite? There are a number of states that will permit third party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its students. If onsite testing is allowed in Tennessee, ask if the Savannah TN schools you are considering are DMV certified to provide it. One advantage is that it is more convenient than competing with graduates from other schools for test times at Tennessee testing facilities. It is moreover an indicator that the DMV considers the authorized schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Classes Accessible? As previously noted, CDL training is only about 1 to 2 months long. With such a brief term, it’s imperative that the Savannah TN school you select offers flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. As an example, if you’re having difficulty learning a particular driving maneuver, then the teacher should be willing to commit 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 commitments.
Is Job Assistance Offered? As soon as you have attained your CDL license after graduating from trucking school, you will be keen to begin your new profession in Savannah TN. Make sure that the schools you are considering have job placement programs. Ask what their job placement rate is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, find out 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 hiring their graduates, it might be a sign to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Truck driver 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 examining 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 Savannah TN.
Why Did You Want to Be a Tractor Trailer Operator?When preparing to interview for a Trucking position, it's important to reflect on questions you may be asked. One of the questions that hiring managers often ask truck driving candidates is "What drove you to decide on trucking as a profession?". What the interviewer is trying to uncover is not only the private reasons you may have for becoming a trucker, but additionally what characteristics and abilities you possess that make you outstanding at what you do. You will undoubtedly be asked questions relating specifically to trucking, in addition to a significant number of routine interview questions, so you should organize several strategies about how you would like to answer them. Given that there are so many factors that go into choosing a career, you can address this primary question in a number of ways. When formulating an answer, attempt to include the reasons the work appeals to you as well as the abilities you possess that make you an excellent truck driver and the leading choice for the job. Don't make an effort to memorize a response, but take down some concepts and anecdotes that pertain to your personal experiences and strengths. Going over sample responses can help you to develop your own thoughts, and give you ideas of what to include to enthuse the recruiter.
Pick the Right Truck Driver School Savannah TN
Choosing the right truck driver school is an essential first step to launching your new profession as a local or long distance truck driver. The skill sets that you will learn at school will be those that mold a new career behind the wheel. There are several options offered and understanding them is crucial if you are going to succeed as an operator. Most importantly, you must obtain the proper training in order to operate a big commercial vehicle in a professional and safe manner. If you are short on funds 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 choose an independent school and have the option of driving for the trucking firm of your choice, or one of many affiliated with the school. It’s your decision. 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 Savannah TN.
A Bit About Savannah Tennessee
The city's original name was "Rudd's Ferry", named for James Rudd, an early settler who established a ferry at the site in the early 1820s. Rudd's Ferry was later purchased by a wealthy landowner, David Robinson. The city was renamed "Savannah" after Savannah, Georgia, the hometown of Rudd's wife, Elizabeth.
Hardin County was the site of the 1862 Battle of Shiloh (also known as the "Battle of Pittsburg Landing") during the Civil War. The battleground site is 10 miles (16 km) southwest of the city of Savannah. Union General Ulysses S. Grant commandeered the Cherry Mansion just off the city square for use as a headquarters during the battle.
Pickwick Landing State Park is 12 miles (19 km) south of Savannah. Originally a steamboat stop, the Tennessee Valley Authority bought the site in the 1930s during the Great Depression and constructed a dam so electricity could be generated. In 1969, Tennessee bought 681 acres (276 ha) from the TVA and made it a state park.
Savannah is located just west of the center of Hardin County at 35°13′25″N 88°14′13″W / 35.22361°N 88.23694°W / 35.22361; -88.23694 (35.223674, -88.237011), on the east bank of the Tennessee River. U.S. Route 64 passes through the center of town on Bridge Avenue, Main Street, and Wayne Road. US 64 leads east 30 miles (48 km) to Waynesboro and west 21 miles (34 km) to Selmer. Tennessee State Route 69 leads southeast 26 miles (42 km) to the Alabama border. Florence, Alabama, is 49 miles (79 km) southeast of Savannah via SR 69 and Alabama State Route 20.
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