How to Select a Truck Driver School near Sugar Grove West Virginia
Congratulations on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a CDL school near Sugar Grove WV. Perhaps it has always been your ambition to hit the open road while driving a monster tractor trailer. Or maybe you have done some analysis and have discovered that an occupation as a truck driver provides good income and flexible work opportunities. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s essential to obtain the proper training by picking the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are several factors that you’ll need to examine before making your final choice. Location will undoubtedly be important, particularly if you have to commute from your Sugar Grove residence. The expense will also be of importance, but choosing a school based exclusively on price is not the best way to make sure you’ll get the appropriate education. Don’t forget, your objective is to master the knowledge and skills that will enable you to pass the CDL examinations and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that goal in mind, just how do you select 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 discuss a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will eventually need.
Which CDL Will You Require?
To operate commercial vehicles legally in West Virginia and within the USA, an operator must attain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 classes of licenses that a driver can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the topic of this article is how to select a truck driver school near Sugar Grove WV, we will address Class A and B licenses. What distinguishes each class of CDL is the type of vehicle that the driver can operate together with the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Following are short descriptions of the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License 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. 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 Commercial Drivers License 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. 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 need endorsements to drive certain types of vehicles, for instance passenger or school buses. And a Class A licensee, with the proper needed endorsements, may drive any vehicle that a Class B licensee is qualified to operate.
How to Research a Truck Driver School
After you have determined which CDL you want to obtain, you can start the undertaking of assessing the Sugar Grove WV trucking schools that you are looking at. As already mentioned, cost and location will no doubt be your initial considerations. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they must not be your only considerations. Other factors, including the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are equally or even more important. So following are several more points that you should research while carrying out your due diligence before choosing, and particularly paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Very few Sugar Grove WV truck driver schools are accredited because of the demanding process and expense to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more commonplace and is offered by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not required to become certified, but there are certain advantages. Prospective students recognize that the training will be of the highest caliber, and that they will receive plenty of driving time. As an example, PTDI calls for 44 hours of actual driving time, not simulations or ride-alongs. So if a school’s program is certified (the program, not the school is certified), students know that the curriculum and training will meet the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One indicator to help assess the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in business. A negatively reviewed 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 Sugar Grove WV schools had to start from their opening day of training, so consider it as one of several qualifications. You can also ask what the school’s history is relating to successful licensing and job placement of its graduating students. If a school won’t supply those numbers, search elsewhere. The schools should also have relationships with regional and national trucking firms. Having numerous contacts not only points to a quality reputation within the profession, but also bolsters their job placement program for graduates. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to get in touch with the West Virginia licensing department to confirm that the CDL trucker schools you are considering are in compliance.
How Effective is the Training? At a minimum, the schools should be licensed in West Virginia and employ instructors that are experienced and trained. We will talk more about the teachers in the next segment. In addition, the student to instructor proportion should not be higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be receiving 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 professes 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 takes time. Most Sugar Grove WV schools provide training courses that range from 3 weeks to as long as two months, depending on the license class or type of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Instructors? As already stated, it’s imperative that the instructors are trained to teach driving techniques and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Although several states have minimum driving time criteria to be certified as a teacher, the more professional driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also important that the teachers stay up to date with industry developments or any new laws or changes in regulations. Assessing instructors might be a little more intuitive than other standards, and possibly the best method is to pay a visit to the Sugar Grove WV 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 satisfied with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Plenty of Driving Time? Most importantly, a good truck driver school will provide 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 driving a truck. While the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are essential training methods, they are no replacement for actual driving. The more instruction that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will be. Although driving time differs between schools, a good standard is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish no less than 44 hours of driving time. Contact the Sugar Grove WV schools you are looking at and ask how much driving time they provide.
Are they Independent or Captive ? You can receive free or discounted training from some Sugar Grove WV truck driving schools if you enter into an agreement to drive for a specified carrier for a defined period of time. This is referred to as contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So instead of 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 free or less expensive training by giving up the flexibility to initially work wherever you choose. Obviously contract training has the potential to limit your income prospects when beginning your new career. But for many it may be the best way to obtain affordable training. Just make sure to find out if the schools you are contemplating are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Provide Onsite CDL Testing? There are several states that will permit third party CDL testing onsite of truck driver schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is permitted in West Virginia, ask if the Sugar Grove 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 locations. It is also an indication that the DMV views the authorized schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Classes Convenient? As formerly mentioned, truck driver training is just 1 to 2 months long. With such a short term, it’s important that the Sugar Grove WV school you choose offers flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. For example, if you’re having difficulty learning a certain driving maneuver, then the instructor should be willing to dedicate more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still employed while going to training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other responsibilities.
Is Job Placement Provided? The moment you have attained your commercial driver’s license after graduating from trucking school, you will be eager to begin your new profession in Sugar Grove WV. Verify that the schools you are looking at have job assistance programs. Find out what their job placement rate is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, find out which national and local trucking companies their graduates are placed with for hiring. If a school has a poor job placement rate or not many employers recruiting their graduates, it might be a clue to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Truck driver schools are much like colleges and other technical or vocational schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being offered. Ask if the schools you are evaluating have a financial aid department, or at least someone who can help you understand the options and forms that must be submitted in Sugar Grove WV.
Why Did You Decide to Become a Tractor Trailer Operator?When getting ready to interview for a Trucking job, it's helpful to review questions you may be asked. One of the questions that interviewers typically ask truck driving applicants is "What drove you to select trucking as a profession?". What the interviewer is hoping to uncover is not merely the personal reasons you may have for being a trucker, but additionally what qualities and talents you possess that make you exceptional at your profession. You will probably be asked questions pertaining primarily to trucking, in addition to a certain number of general interview questions, so you must organize several strategies about how you want to respond to them. Since there are so many factors that go into selecting a career, you can respond to this primary question in a multitude of ways. When preparing an answer, attempt to include the reasons the profession appeals to you along with the talents you possess that make you an outstanding truck driver and the best candidate for the job. Don't attempt to memorize a response, but write down several ideas and topics that pertain to your personal strengths and experiences. Reviewing sample responses can assist you to prepare your own concepts, and give you ideas of what to include to wow the recruiter.
Choose the Right CDL School Sugar Grove WV
Selecting the ideal trucking school is an important first step to beginning your new occupation as a local or long distance truck driver. The skills taught at school will be those that mold a new career behind the wheel. There are many options available and understanding them is crucial if you are going to succeed as an operator. Most importantly, you must receive the appropriate training in order to operate a large commercial vehicle in a professional and safe fashion. If you are short on money or financing, you may want to think about a captive school. You will pay a lower or in some cases 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 company of your choice, or one of several associated with the school. It’s your choice. But no matter how you get your training, you will soon be joining a profession that helps our country move as a professional trucker in Sugar Grove WV.
A Bit About Sugar Grove West Virginia
Sugar Grove, West Virginia
Sugar Grove is a small community located in Pendleton County, West Virginia. Its population was 758 as of the 2010 U.S. Census. Its ZIP Code is 26815. It is located within the United States National Radio Quiet Zone.
In 2017, the Navy Operations Information Command base in Sugar Grove was auctioned off by the General Services Administration. It was purchased by an Alabama-based investment group with plans to convert the base into a healthcare facility for active-duty military, veterans, and their families 
More Cities of Interest in West Virginia