How to Select a CDL Driving School near Sutton West Virginia
Congrats on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a CDL school near Sutton WV. Maybe it has always been your ambition to hit the open highway while operating a huge tractor trailer. Or possibly you have conducted some research and have discovered that a career as a truck driver provides excellent pay and flexible job opportunities. Whatever your reason is, it’s important to get the appropriate training by enrolling in the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are various factors that you’ll want to examine before making your final choice. Location will certainly be important, especially if you have to commute from your Sutton home. The cost will also be of importance, but choosing a school based only on price is not the best method to make sure you’ll obtain the appropriate training. Just remember, your goal 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 objective in mind, just how do you select a truck driving school? That is what we are going to address in the balance of this article. But first, we are going to discuss a little bit about which CDL license you will eventually need.
Which CDL Will You Need?
In order to operate commercial vehicles legally in West Virginia and within the USA, a driver needs to obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 license classes that a person can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the subject of this article is how to pick a truck driving school near Sutton WV, we will highlight Class A and Class 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 brief summaries for 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. Some 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 more 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, for instance passenger or school buses. And a Class A licensee, with the appropriate required endorsements, may operate any vehicle that a Class B license holder is authorized to drive.
How to Assess a CDL School
After you have determined which Commercial Drivers License you would like to pursue, you can start the process of assessing the Sutton WV truck driving schools that you are considering. As previously discussed, cost and location will no doubt be your primary concerns. But it can’t be stressed enough that they must not be your sole concerns. Other factors, for example the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are similarly if not more important. So following are a few more points that you should research while carrying out your due diligence prior to selecting, and particularly paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Very few Sutton WV truck driving schools are accredited because of the demanding process and cost to the schools. However, certification is more common and is offered by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not obligated to become certified, but there are several advantages. Potential students recognize that the training will be of the highest standard, and that they will be given plenty of driving time. As an example, PTDI calls for 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 fulfill the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One clue to help assess the quality of a truck driver school is how long it has been in business. A poorly reviewed or a fly by night school normally will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the best of Sutton WV 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 track record is regarding successful licensing and employment of its graduating students. If a school won’t provide those stats, search elsewhere. The schools should additionally have relationships with regional and national trucking companies. Having numerous contacts not only confirms a superior reputation within the profession, but also boosts their job assistance program for graduates. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to check with the West Virginia licensing department to confirm that the CDL trucker schools you are researching are in compliance.
How Good is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools should be licensed in West Virginia and employ teachers 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 greater, then students will not be receiving the individual instruction they will need. This is particularly true regarding the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And look out for any school that professes it can train you to be a truck driver in a relatively short time period. Learning to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully requires time. Most Sutton WV schools provide training courses that run from 3 weeks to as long as 2 months, depending on the license class or kind of vehicle.
How Good are the Trainers? As previously stated, it’s important that the instructors are qualified to teach driving methods and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Although several states have minimum driving time criteria to be certified as an instructor, the more successful driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also vital that the teachers stay up to date with industry developments or any new laws or changes in regulations. Evaluating instructors might be a little more subjective than other criteria, and perhaps the ideal method is to check out the Sutton WV school and talk to the teachers in person. You can also speak with some 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.
Sufficient Driving Time? Above all else, a great truck driving 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 operating a truck. While the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are essential training methods, they are no substitute for real driving. The more instruction that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will become. Although driving time fluctuates between schools, a reasonable benchmark is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Contact the Sutton WV schools you are considering and find out how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Captive or Independent ? You can receive free or discounted training from a number of Sutton WV truck driver schools if you enter into an agreement 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 affiliations with many different trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only refer to one company. The benefit is receiving free or less expensive training by surrendering the flexibility to initially be a driver wherever you have an opportunity. Clearly contract training has the potential to limit your income prospects when starting out. But for many it may be the ideal way to obtain affordable training. Just be sure to ask if the schools you are contemplating 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 allow 3rd party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its grads. If onsite testing is allowed in West Virginia, find out if the Sutton WV schools you are considering are DMV certified to offer it. One advantage is that it is more accommodating than battling with graduates of other schools for test times at West Virginia testing centers. It is also an indicator that the DMV considers the authorized schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Classes Flexible? As earlier noted, CDL training is only about 1 to 2 months long. With such a short duration, it’s imperative that the Sutton WV school you enroll in provides flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. For example, if you’re having difficulty learning a particular driving maneuver, then the teacher should be prepared to spend more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still holding a job while going to training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other obligations.
Is Job Assistance Offered? As soon as you have obtained your CDL license after graduating from trucking school, you will be impatient to begin your new career in Sutton WV. Confirm that the schools you are contemplating have job assistance programs. Find out what their job placement percentage is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, find out which local and national trucking companies their graduates are placed with for employment. If a school has a low job placement rate or not many employers hiring their graduates, it may be a sign to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Truck driving schools are much like 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 assessing have a financial aid department, or at least someone who can help you understand the options and forms that must be submitted in Sutton WV.
Why Did You Decide to Be a Truck Driver?When preparing to interview for a Trucking position, it's important to consider questions you might be asked. One of the things that hiring managers often ask truck driving prospects is "What drove you to decide on trucking as a career?". What the interviewer is trying to learn is not only the personal reasons you might have for being a truck driver, but additionally what attributes and talents you have that make you exceptional at what you do. You will likely be asked questions pertaining specifically to trucking, in addition to a certain number of routine interview questions, so you should organize some strategies about how you want to respond to them. Given that there are numerous factors that go into choosing a career, you can address this primary question in a variety of ways. When formulating an answer, try to include the reasons the profession interests you as well as the talents you have that make you an outstanding truck driver and the best choice for the position. Don't attempt to memorize an answer, but take down a few concepts and talking points that relate to your own experiences and strengths. Going over sample answers can assist you to formulate your own thoughts, and give you ideas of what to discuss to enthuse the interviewer.
Choose the Right CDL School Sutton WV
Selecting the appropriate truck driver school is an essential first step to starting your new vocation as a long distance or local truck driver. The skill sets taught at school will be those that forge a new career behind the wheel. There are many options offered and understanding them is crucial if you are going to succeed as an operator. Most importantly, you must receive the necessary training in order to operate a big commercial vehicle in a professional and safe fashion. If you are lacking money or financing, you may want to look into a captive school. You will pay a reduced or even no tuition by agreeing to drive for their contracted carrier. Or you can select an independent school and have the option of driving for the trucking firm of your choice, or one of several associated with the school. It’s your decision. But regardless of how you get your training, you will soon be part of an industry that helps America move as a professional trucker in Sutton WV.
A Bit About Sutton West Virginia
G. Sutton Breiding
G. Sutton Breiding (born August 17, 1950) is an American poet and zine publisher of Speculative poetry, science fiction, dark fantasy, and horror poetry characterized by mysticism, black humor and references to San Francisco.
Born in Elkins, WV, G. Sutton Breiding lived at Oglebay Park in Wheeling, WV until 1962, in Morgantown, WV from 1962 until 1968, San Francisco, CA from 1968 to 1986. Between 1968 and 1986 he lived in Greenbank, WV during 1971 and in Morgantown WV and near Orono, ME during 1977. He returned to Morgantown WV in 1986, moved to Columbiana, OH in 2007 and returned to Morgantown in 2009.
"He began writing at age fourteen, and in a Catholic high school outraged his teachers with his first newsletter. Breiding's poetry and essays have been featured in Foxfire (magazine), Star*Line, Bleak December, The Romantist, The Diversifier, Nyctalops, Fantôme, Grue, Grue Magazine, and Figment.
He won the 1990 Rhysling Award for Best Short Poem for "Epitaph for Dreams" which first appeared in Narcopolis & Other Poems edited by Peggy Nadramia. His poems were nominated for the Rhysling Award in 1993, 2005, 2011, and 2014.
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