How to Find the Right Truck Driving School near Toccoa Georgia
Congrats on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a CDL school near Toccoa GA. Maybe it has always been your fantasy to hit the open road while driving a monster tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have conducted some analysis and have discovered that a career as a truck driver offers good wages and flexible work opportunities. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s essential to get the proper training by enrolling in the right CDL school in your area. When evaluating your options, there are various factors that you’ll want to consider before making your final selection. Location will undoubtedly be important, particularly if you need to commute from your Toccoa home. The expense will also be of importance, but choosing a school based exclusively on price is not the ideal method to ensure you’ll obtain the proper education. Don’t forget, your objective is to master the knowledge and skills that will enable you to pass the CDL exams and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that purpose in mind, just how do you decide on a truck driving school? That is what we are going to discuss in the remainder of this article. But first, we are going to review a little bit about which CDL license you will eventually need.
Which CDL Will You Require?
In order to operate commercial vehicles legally within the USA and Toccoa GA, a driver must obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 classes of licenses that a person can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the subject of this article is how to pick a truck driver school, we will discuss Class A and 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). Following are short descriptions of the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License is required to drive any vehicle that has a GCWR of more than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of greater than 10,000 lbs. Several of the vehicles that operators may be able to drive 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 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 Commercial Drivers Licenses may also require endorsements to drive certain types of vehicles, for example passenger or school buses. And a Class A license holder, with the proper needed endorsements, can operate any vehicle that a Class B license holder is qualified to drive.
How to Evaluate a Truck Driver School
When you have determined which Commercial Drivers License you would like to obtain, you can start the process of evaluating the Toccoa GA trucking schools that you are looking at. As previously mentioned, location and cost will certainly be your primary considerations. But it can’t be stressed enough that they should not be your only concerns. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are equally if not more important. So below are some additional things that you need to research while conducting your due diligence before selecting, and especially paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Not many truck driver schools in the Toccoa GA area are accredited due to the stringent process and expense to the schools. However, 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. Interested students know that the training will be of the highest standard, and that they will be given an ample amount 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 training and curriculum will satisfy the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One clue to help measure the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in business. A poorly rated or a fly by night school typically will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the best of Toccoa GA schools had to begin from their opening day of training, so use it as one of several qualifications. You can also find out what the school’s track record is concerning successful licensing and employment of its graduating students. If a school won’t provide those numbers, look elsewhere. The schools should also have relationships with local and national trucking companies. Having numerous contacts not only confirms an excellent reputation within the profession, but also bolsters their job placement program for graduates. It also wouldn’t hurt to check with the Georgia licensing department to verify 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 Georgia and employ teachers that are trained and experienced. We will discuss more about the instructors in the next segment. In addition, the student to instructor proportion should not be greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be getting the personalized instruction they will need. This is particularly true concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And be critical of any school that professes it can train you to drive trucks in a comparatively short time frame. Training to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully requires time. Most Toccoa GA schools offer training courses that range from three weeks to as long as two months, based on the license class or type of vehicle.
How Good are the Instructors? As previously mentioned, it’s imperative that the instructors are trained to teach driving techniques and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Even though several states have minimum driving time requirements to qualify as an instructor, the more successful driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also vital that the instructors stay up to date with industry developments or any new laws or changes in regulations. Evaluating instructors may be a bit more subjective than other criteria, and possibly the ideal approach is to check out the school and speak with the instructors face to face. You can also talk to some of the students completing the training and ask if they are happy with the level of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
Adequate Driving Time? Most importantly, a great truck driver school will provide sufficient 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. Although the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are important training tools, they are no alternative for real driving. The more training that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will be. Although driving time differs between schools, a good benchmark is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish no less than 44 hours of driving time. Get in touch with the Toccoa GA schools you are considering and ask how much driving time they provide.
Are they Captive or Independent ? It’s possible to obtain discounted or even free training from a number of truck driving schools if you make a commitment to be a driver for a specified carrier for a defined period of time. This is called contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So instead of having associations with many different trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only work with one company. The tradeoff is receiving free or less expensive training by surrendering the freedom to initially be a driver wherever you choose. Obviously contract training has the potential to limit your income opportunities when starting out. But for some it may be the only way to get affordable training. Just be sure to find out if the Toccoa GA schools you are considering are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Is there CDL Testing Onsite? There are several states that will permit 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driver schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is available in Georgia, find out if the schools you are reviewing are DMV certified to provide it. One benefit is that it is more accommodating than contending with graduates of competing schools for test times at Georgia testing facilities. It is moreover an indication that the DMV deems the authorized schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Classes Flexible? As formerly mentioned, truck driver training is only about 1 to 2 months in length. With such a brief term, it’s essential that the Toccoa GA school you select provides flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. For example, if you’re having a hard time learning a certain driving maneuver, then the instructor should be prepared to commit more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still holding a job while going to training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other commitments.
Is Job Assistance Provided? The moment you have obtained your CDL license after graduating from trucking school, you will be impatient to begin your new career. Make sure that the schools you are considering have job assistance programs. Find out what their job placement percentage is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, find out which national and local trucking firms their graduates are placed with for hiring. If a school has a lower job placement rate or few Toccoa GA employers hiring their graduates, it may be a sign to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Truck driver schools are much like colleges and other Toccoa GA area technical or vocational schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being available. Ask if the schools you are evaluating have a financial assistance department, or at a minimum someone who can help you understand the options and forms that must be submitted.
Thinking of a Truck Drivier School near Toccoa GA?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Toccoa Georgia area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Toccoa is a city in, and the county seat of, Stephens County, Georgia, United States, located about 50 miles (80 km) from Athens and about 90 miles (140 km) northeast of Atlanta. The population was 8,491 as of the 2010 census.
Indian agent Col. George Chicken was one of the first people to mention Toccoa in his journal from 1725. The first residents of European descent were a small number of American Revolutionary War veterans led by Col. William H. Wofford who moved to the area when the war ended. The area was referred to as Wofford's Tract, or Wofford's Settlement. Col. Wofford is buried near Toccoa Falls. His son, William T. Wofford, was born near Toccoa (then part of Habersham County), and was an officer during the Mexican–American War and a general in the Confederate States Army during the American Civil War.
The Georgia Land Lottery of 1820 spurred the migration of Scots-Irish from North Carolina and the Georgia coast. The Georgia Gold Rush, starting in 1828, and the 1838 removal of the Cherokee on the infamous "Trail of Tears" further changed settlement patterns in the area.
Area Truck Driving School Toccoa GA
Choosing the right truck driving school is an important first step to launching your new vocation 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 several options offered and understanding them is vital to a new driver’s success. You originally came to our website because of your interest in Area Truck Driving School. However, you must obtain the appropriate training in order to operate a big commercial vehicle in a professional and safe fashion. If you are lacking funds or financing, you may need to look into a captive school. You will pay a lower or in some cases no tuition in exchange for driving for their contracted carrier. Or you can choose an independent truck driver school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking company of your choice, or one of several affiliated with the school. It’s your decision. But no matter how you obtain your training, you will soon be entering a profession that helps America move as a professional trucker in Toccoa GA.
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