How to Find the Right Trucking School near Woodstock Illinois
Congrats on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a truck driving school near Woodstock IL. Perhaps it has always been your ambition to hit the open highway while driving a monster tractor trailer. Or maybe you have conducted some analysis and have found that an occupation as a truck driver provides good pay and flexible work opportunities. Whatever your reason is, it’s essential to receive the appropriate training by enrolling in the right CDL school in your area. When evaluating your options, there are various factors that you’ll want to examine before making your ultimate choice. Location will undoubtedly be an issue, especially if you need to commute from your Woodstock residence. The cost will also be of importance, but choosing a school based only on price is not the ideal method to make certain you’ll obtain the proper education. Just remember, your objective 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 objective in mind, just how do you choose a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to cover in the balance of this article. But first, we are going to discuss a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will ultimately need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Should You Get?
To drive commercial vehicles lawfully within the USA and Woodstock IL, a driver needs to get a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three license classes that one can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the subject of this article is how to select a truck driving school, we will address 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 short descriptions of the 2 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. 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 Commercial Drivers License is required to operate single vehicles having a GVWR of more than 26,000 lbs., or a GCWR of greater 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 might also require endorsements to operate specific types of vehicles, for example passenger or school buses. And a Class A licensee, with the proper required endorsements, may operate any vehicle that a Class B licensee is authorized to drive.
How to Assess a Truck Driving School
After you have determined which Commercial Drivers License you wish to obtain, you can start the undertaking of evaluating the Woodstock IL truck driving schools that you are considering. As already mentioned, cost and location will certainly be your initial concerns. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they must not be your sole concerns. Other factors, for instance the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are similarly or even more important. So below are a few additional factors that you need to research while carrying out your due diligence prior to enrolling in, and especially paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Very few truck driver schools in the Woodstock IL area are accredited because of the stringent process and cost to the schools. However, certification is more typical and is provided by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not required to become certified, but there are certain advantages. Prospective students know that the training will be of the highest standard, and that they will get 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 course is certified (the course, not the school is certified), students know that the curriculum and training will comply with the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One indicator to help determine the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in operation. A poorly reviewed or a fly by night school typically will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. Having said that, even the top Woodstock IL schools had to begin from their opening day of training, so use it as one of multiple qualifications. You can also learn what the school’s history is pertaining to successful licensing and job placement of its graduates. If a school won’t share those numbers, search elsewhere. The schools should additionally maintain relationships with regional and national trucking firms. Having numerous contacts not only affirms a superior reputation within the profession, but also boosts their job assistance program for graduates. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to contact the Illinois licensing authority to verify that the CDL trucker schools you are researching are in compliance.
How Effective is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools must be licensed in Illinois and hire teachers that are experienced and trained. We will discuss more about the instructors in the next segment. Also, the student to instructor proportion should not be higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be obtaining 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 claims it can train you to drive trucks in a comparatively short time frame. Learning to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer professionally takes time. The majority of Woodstock IL schools offer training programs that run from 3 weeks to as long as 2 months, depending on the class of license or type of vehicle.
How Good 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 requirements to be certified as a teacher, the more professional driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also crucial that the teachers keep current with industry developments or any new laws or changes in regulations. Assessing teachers may be a bit more subjective than other criteria, and perhaps the best approach is to pay a visit to the school and speak with the teachers face to face. You can also talk to a few of the students completing the training and ask if they are happy with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Sufficient Driving Time? Above all else, an excellent trucking 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. Even though the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are necessary training methods, they are no substitute for actual driving. The more training that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will be. Although driving time varies between schools, a good benchmark is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Get in touch with the Woodstock IL schools you are researching and ask how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Independent or Captive ? It’s possible to get free or discounted training from certain trucking schools if you enter into an agreement to drive for a particular carrier for a defined time period. This is referred to as contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So rather than maintaining affiliations with a wide range of trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, 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. Clearly contract training has the potential to restrict your income opportunities when beginning your new career. But for many it may be the best way to get affordable training. Just remember to ask if the Woodstock IL schools you are looking at are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Provide Onsite CDL Testing? There are a number of states that will permit 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is permitted in Illinois, ask if the schools you are considering are DMV certified to provide it. One advantage is that it is more accommodating than competing with graduates of competing schools for test times at Illinois testing centers. It is moreover an indicator that the DMV views the authorized schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Class Times Flexible? As formerly mentioned, truck driver training is only about one to two months in length. With such a short term, it’s important that the Woodstock IL school you select provides flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. As an example, if you’re having difficulty learning a certain driving maneuver, then the teacher 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 accommodate working hours or other responsibilities.
Is Job Assistance Offered? Once you have acquired your CDL license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be impatient to start your new career. Confirm that the schools you are looking at have job placement programs. Ask what their job placement percentage is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, find out which national and local trucking companies their graduates are placed with for employment. If a school has a low job placement rate or few Woodstock IL employers hiring their graduates, it may be a sign to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Given? Truck driving schools are similar to colleges and other Woodstock IL area vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being offered. Ask if the schools you are assessing have a financial assistance department, or at a minimum someone who can help you understand the options and forms that need to be completed.
Thinking of a Truck Drivier School near Woodstock IL?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Woodstock Illinois area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Woodstock is a city in and the county seat of McHenry County, Illinois, United States, located 51 miles (82 km) northwest of Chicago. The population was 25,528 at the start of 2017. The city's downtown includes a historic, turn-of-the-century town square, which is anchored by the landmark Woodstock Opera House and the Old McHenry County Courthouse. The city was named one of the nation's Dozen Distinctive Destinations in 2007 by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
Woodstock was originally known as Centerville because of its location at the geographic center of McHenry County. It was chosen as the county seat on September 4, 1843. Early settler Alvin Judd developed a plat for the town, which incorporated a two-acre public square, near which a 2-story frame courthouse and jail were constructed the following year by George C. Dean and Daniel Blair. In 1845, prominent resident Joel Johnson proposed that Centerville be given a more original name, and so the town was renamed Woodstock after Johnson's hometown of Woodstock, Vermont. (The town was listed as "Center" on the 1850 Federal Census, however.) In 1852, Woodstock was incorporated as a village with Judd as president. In response to a growing population following the end of the Civil War, Woodstock was incorporated as a city in 1873. John S. Wheat was elected as Woodstock's first mayor. A vital artery for the growing town was the train line to and from Chicago, which allowed for a substantial industrial presence early in the town's history.
In 1895, Eugene V. Debs served a short federal prison sentence in the Woodstock Jail following the 1894 Pullman labor strike in Chicago. Debs, the former president of the American Railway Union, was held in Woodstock instead of Chicago because federal officials feared that he would be surrounded with too many sympathizers in a Chicago prison and therefore could have still incited further violence. Debs was instead assigned to a cell in the newly constructed Woodstock Jail, which occupied the lowest floor of the Woodstock Courthouse on the town square. During his time in the jail, Debs received several influential socialist visitors and encountered the works of Karl Marx. He is said to have considered the Woodstock Jail one of the "greatest school[s]," and passed his time reading and writing many letters from his cell. By the time he was released in November 1895 (to great fanfare and before crowds of onlookers assembled in the Woodstock Square), Debs had become a socialist and a national celebrity. He later ran for the United States Presidency five times between 1900 and 1920 as the candidate for the newly formed Social Democratic Party.
Class A License School Woodstock IL
Choosing the ideal trucking school is a critical first step to beginning your new vocation as a long distance or local truck driver. The skills taught at school will be those that forge a new career behind the wheel. There are a number of options offered and understanding them is vital to a new driver’s success. You originally came to our website because of your interest in Class A License School. However, you must obtain the necessary training in order to operate a big commercial vehicle in a professional and safe fashion. If you are short on cash or financing, you might need to think about a captive school. You will pay a reduced or even no tuition by agreeing to drive for their contracted carrier. Or you can enroll in an independent trucker school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking company 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 a profession that helps America move as a professional trucker in Woodstock IL.
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