How to Find a Trucking School near Shinnston West Virginia
Best wishes on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a CDL school near Shinnston WV. Perhaps it has always been your dream to hit the open road while driving a huge tractor trailer. Or maybe you have done some analysis and have found that a career as a truck driver provides excellent pay and flexible work opportunities. Whatever your reason is, it’s important to obtain the proper training by selecting the right CDL school in your area. When evaluating your options, there are a number of variables that you’ll want to examine before making your final selection. Location will undoubtedly be important, especially if you have to commute from your Shinnston residence. The expense will also be important, but picking a school based only on price is not the optimal method to guarantee you’ll get the appropriate education. Just remember, your goal is to master the skills and knowledge 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 discuss in the rest of this article. But first, we are going to review a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will eventually need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Will You Need?
In order to drive commercial vehicles legally in West Virginia and within the United States, an operator needs to attain 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. Since the topic of this article is how to choose a truck driver school near Shinnston WV, we will address 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 brief descriptions of the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is needed to operate any vehicle that has a GCWR of more than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of greater than 10,000 lbs. A few 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. A few 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 Commercial Drivers Licenses may also require endorsements to drive specific kinds of vehicles, for instance school or passenger buses. And a Class A license holder, with the appropriate required endorsements, may drive any vehicle that a Class B license holder is qualified to operate.
How to Research a Truck Driving School
Once you have decided which Commercial Drivers License you would like to pursue, you can start the undertaking of researching the Shinnston WV trucking schools that you are considering. As previously discussed, location and cost will no doubt be your primary concerns. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they must not be your sole considerations. Other variables, including the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are equally or even more important. So following are some additional factors that you should research while performing your due diligence before selecting, and particularly paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Not many Shinnston WV truck driver schools are accredited because of the stringent process and cost to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more prevalent and is provided by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not required to become certified, but there are several advantages. Potential students recognize that the training will be of the highest caliber, and that they will get 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 measure up to the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One indicator to help measure the quality of a truck driver school is how long it has been in operation. A poorly ranked or a fly by night school usually will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. On the other hand, even the top Shinnston WV schools had to begin from their opening day of training, so consider it as one of several qualifications. You can also ask what the school’s track record is concerning successful licensing and job placement of its graduating students. If a school won’t share those numbers, search elsewhere. The schools should also maintain relationships with regional and national trucking companies. Having a large number of contacts not only affirms a superior reputation within the profession, but also boosts their job placement program for graduates. It also wouldn’t hurt to get in touch with the West Virginia licensing department to make sure that the CDL trucker schools you are researching are in good standing.
How Effective is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools should be licensed in West Virginia and hire instructors that are trained and experienced. We will discuss more about the instructors in the next segment. Also, the student to instructor proportion 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 concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And look out for any school that claims it can teach you to drive trucks in a relatively short time frame. Training to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer professionally requires time. The majority of Shinnston WV schools provide training programs that run from 3 weeks to as long as two months, based on the license class or type of vehicle.
How Good are the Trainers? As already stated, it’s essential 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 criteria to qualify as an instructor, the more successful driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also important that the instructors keep current with industry developments or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Assessing teachers might be a little more subjective than other standards, and possibly the ideal method is to visit the Shinnston WV school and speak with the teachers in person. You can also talk to some of the students completing the training and find out if they are happy with the level of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Plenty of Driving Time? Above all else, an excellent truck driver school will provide plenty of driving time to its students. After all, isn’t that what it’s all about? Driving time is the real time spent behind the wheel driving a truck. Even though the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are essential training tools, they are no replacement for real driving. The more training that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will be. Although driving time fluctuates between schools, a reasonable standard is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Get in touch with the Shinnston WV schools you are considering and find out how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Captive or Independent ? It’s possible to receive discounted or even free training from a number of Shinnston WV truck driver schools if you make a commitment to be a driver for a specific carrier for a defined amount of time. This is what’s known as contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So rather than having affiliations with a wide range of trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only refer to one company. The tradeoff is receiving less expensive or even free training by surrendering the flexibility to initially work wherever you choose. Naturally contract training has the potential to restrict your income prospects when beginning your new career. But for some it may be the best way to obtain affordable training. Just make sure to ask if the schools you are considering are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Offer Onsite CDL Testing? There are some states that will permit 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its grads. If onsite testing is available in West Virginia, find out if the Shinnston WV schools you are reviewing are DMV certified to offer it. One advantage is that it is more convenient than competing with graduates of competing schools for test times at West Virginia testing centers. It is moreover an indication that the DMV considers the authorized schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Classes Convenient? As previously mentioned, CDL training is just 1 to 2 months long. With such a brief duration, it’s important that the Shinnston WV school you enroll in offers flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. For example, if you’re having a hard time learning a particular driving maneuver, then the instructor should be prepared to dedicate more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still employed while attending training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other responsibilities.
Is Job Placement Provided? As soon as you have attained your commercial driver’s license after graduating from trucking school, you will be anxious to start your new profession in Shinnston WV. Confirm that the schools you are reviewing 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 firms their graduates are placed with for employment. If a school has a poor job placement rate or few employers recruiting their graduates, it might be a clue to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Truck driving schools are similar to colleges and other technical or vocational schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being offered. Find out if the schools you are examining have a financial aid department, or at least someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that need to be completed in Shinnston WV.
Why Did You Want to Become a Truck Driver?When getting ready to interview for a Trucking position, it's advantageous to review questions you could be asked. One of the questions that recruiters often ask truck driving candidates is "What made you pick trucking as a profession?". What the interviewer is attempting to uncover is not merely the personal reasons you might have for becoming a truck driver, but additionally what characteristics and skills you possess that make you outstanding at what you do. You will likely be asked questions relating exclusively to trucking, in addition to a significant number of general interview questions, so you need to prepare some ideas about how you would like to answer them. Because there are numerous variables that go into selecting a career, you can answer this fundamental question in a multitude of ways. When preparing an answer, try to include the reasons the work interests you along with the strengths you have that make you an exceptional truck driver and the best candidate for the job. Don't try to memorize an answer, but write down a few ideas and anecdotes that relate to your own 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 interviewer.
Pick the Ideal Truck Driver School Shinnston WV
Choosing the ideal truck driver school is an important first step to beginning your new profession as a long distance or local truck driver. The skill sets that you will learn at school will be those that forge a new career behind the wheel. There are many options available and understanding them is vital if you are going to succeed as an operator. But first and foremost, you must obtain the proper training in order to operate a large commercial vehicle in a professional and safe manner. If you are lacking funds or financing, you might 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 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 in the near future be part of an industry that helps our country move as a professional trucker in Shinnston WV.
A Bit About Shinnston West Virginia
Shinnston, West Virginia
Shinnston is a city and former coal town in Harrison County, West Virginia, USA, along the West Fork River. In 1778 Levi Shinn constructed his log home along what is now Route 19, today it is the oldest standing structure in North Central West Virginia.
The roots of Shinnston date back to 1778, when Levi Shinn constructed his log home. The log house, located along Route 19, is the oldest standing structure in North Central West Virginia. It is maintained by the Shinnston Historical Association, which opens the home for tours by the general public.
In 1815, the town was laid out with three streets, running parallel with the river, and with four crossing streets running at right angles to them. The town was incorporated in 1852 as Shinn's Town by an act of the Virginia legislature, as West Virginia did not yet exist as an independent state. Solomon S. Fleming was elected as the first mayor.
A new charter was secured in 1877 and the town's name was changed to Shinnston. In 1915, Shinnston's charter provided for a Mayor-Council form of government. This model remained in place for over 70 years and in 1998, the citizens voted to revise the charter to adopt a City Manager-Council form of local government. That model was implemented on July 1, 1998 and remains in place today.
More Cities of Interest in West Virginia