How to Pick the Right Truck Driving School near Wood Dale Illinois
Congratulations on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a CDL school near Wood Dale IL. Perhaps 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 provides excellent wages and flexible work opportunities. No matter what your reason is, it’s essential to obtain the appropriate training by picking the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are a number of variables that you’ll want to consider prior to making your ultimate choice. Location will undoubtedly be important, particularly if you have to commute from your Wood Dale home. The cost will also be important, but choosing a school based entirely on price is not the best method to make sure you’ll receive the appropriate training. Don’t forget, your objective is to master the knowledge and skills that will allow you to pass the CDL exams and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that goal in mind, just how do you choose a truck driving school? That is what we are going to discuss 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 Will You Require?
In order to operate commercial vehicles lawfully within the United States and Wood Dale IL, a driver must attain 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 driver school, we will discuss Class A and Class B licenses. What distinguishes each class of CDL is the kind of vehicle that the driver can operate together with the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Below are short descriptions for the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is needed to drive 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 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 more 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, including passenger or school buses. And a Class A licensee, with the proper required endorsements, can operate any vehicle that a Class B licensee is authorized to operate.
How to Evaluate a Truck Driver School
As soon as you have decided which Commercial Drivers License you wish to pursue, you can begin the process of assessing the Wood Dale IL truck driver schools that you are looking at. As previously discussed, cost and location will undoubtedly be your primary concerns. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they must not be your only considerations. Other variables, for example the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are similarly if not more important. So following are some more things that you need to 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 trucking schools in the Wood Dale IL area are accredited due to the rigorous process and expense to the schools. However, certification is more typical and is offered by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not obligated to become certified, but there are certain advantages. Interested students know that the training will be of the highest standard, and that they will receive plenty of driving time. As an example, PTDI calls for 44 hours of real driving time, not ride-alongs or simulations. So if a school’s program is certified (the program, not the school is certified), students know that the curriculum and training will fulfill the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One indicator to help evaluate the quality of a trucking school is how long it has been in operation. A poorly ranked or a fly by night school normally will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the top Wood Dale IL schools had to start from their first day of training, so consider it as one of multiple qualifications. You can also learn what the school’s track record is pertaining to successful licensing and job placement of its graduating students. If a school won’t provide those numbers, search elsewhere. The schools should also maintain associations with local and national trucking companies. Having numerous contacts not only affirms a superior reputation within the trade, but also boosts their job assistance program for students. It also wouldn’t hurt to get in touch with the Illinois licensing authority to confirm that the CDL trucker schools you are reviewing are in compliance.
How Effective is the Training? At a minimum, the schools must be licensed in Illinois and employ instructors that are trained and experienced. We will discuss more about the teachers in the following section. Also, the student to instructor ratio should be no higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be getting the personal attention they will need. This is particularly true concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And watch out for any school that professes it can train you to drive trucks in a comparatively short time period. Learning to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer professionally requires time. The majority of Wood Dale IL schools offer training programs that run from three weeks to as long as 2 months, based on the license class or kind of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Teachers? As earlier mentioned, it’s important 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 instructors keep current with industry advancements or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Evaluating instructors may be a bit more subjective than other standards, and possibly the ideal method is to visit the school and talk to the teachers in person. You can also talk to a few of the students going through the training and ask if they are satisfied with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Plenty of Driving Time? Most importantly, an excellent trucking school will furnish 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 driving a truck. While the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are essential training tools, they are no alternative for real driving. The more instruction that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will become. And even though driving time can vary between schools, a reasonable standard is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Check with the Wood Dale IL schools you are researching and ask how much driving time they provide.
Are they Independent or Captive ? You can obtain free or discounted training from a number of 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 instead of maintaining relationships with numerous trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only refer to one company. The benefit is receiving less expensive or even free training by surrendering the flexibility to initially work wherever you have an opportunity. Obviously contract training has the potential to reduce your income prospects when beginning your new career. But for many it may be the best way to obtain affordable training. Just be sure to inquire if the Wood Dale IL schools you are looking at are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Provide CDL Testing Onsite? There are a number of states that will permit 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its students. If onsite testing is permitted in Illinois, find out if the schools you are looking at are DMV certified to provide it. One benefit is that it is more convenient than battling with graduates from other 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 Classes Flexible? As earlier mentioned, CDL training is only about one to two months in length. With such a brief duration, it’s imperative that the Wood Dale IL school you choose provides flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. As an example, if you’re having a hard time learning a particular driving maneuver, then the teacher should be willing to commit more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still holding a job while attending training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other responsibilities.
Is Job Placement Provided? Once you have obtained your CDL license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be keen to begin your new career. Confirm that the schools you are reviewing have job assistance programs. Find out what their job placement ratio is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, ask which local and national trucking companies their graduates are placed with for hiring. If a school has a low job placement rate or few Wood Dale IL employers hiring their graduates, it may be a clue to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Truck driving schools are similar to colleges and other Wood Dale IL area technical or vocational schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being offered. Find out if the schools you are evaluating have a financial aid department, or at least someone who can help you get through the options and forms that need to be submitted.
Thinking of a Truck Drivier School near Wood Dale IL?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Wood Dale Illinois area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Wood Dale, Illinois
According to the 2010 census, Wood Dale has a total area of 4.834 square miles (12.52 km2), of which 4.72 square miles (12.22 km2) (or 97.64%) is land and 0.114 square miles (0.30 km2) (or 2.36%) is water. Wood Dale shares borders with Elk Grove Village (on the north), Bensenville (east), Addison (south, southwest) and Itasca (west.)
As of the census of 2000, there were 13,535 people, 5,117 households, and 3,663 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,897.8 people per square mile (1,119.0/km²). There were 5,220 housing units at an average density of 1,117.6 per square mile (431.6/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 89.22 percent White, 0.58 percent African American, 0.15 percent Native American, 3.24 percent Asian, 0.07 percent Pacific Islander, 4.80 percent from other races, and 1.94 percent from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 13.06 percent of the population.
There were 5,117 households out of which 29.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 58.9% were married couples living together, 8.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 28.4% were non-families. 23.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.64 and the average family size was 3.15.
CDL School Cost Wood Dale IL
Choosing the appropriate trucking school is an essential first step to launching your new vocation as a local or long distance truck driver. The skills taught at school will be those that shape a new career behind the wheel. There are a number of options available and understanding them is vital to a new driver’s success. You originally came to our website because of your interest in CDL School Cost. However, you must obtain the proper training in order to operate a big commercial vehicle in a safe and professional manner. If you are short on money or financing, you may need to think about a captive school. You will pay a reduced or in some cases no tuition by agreeing to drive for their contracted carrier. Or you can choose an independent truck driving school and have the option of driving for the trucking firm of your choosing, or one of several associated with the school. It’s your decision. But regardless of how you get your training, you will in the near future be entering an industry that helps America move as a professional truck driver in Wood Dale IL.
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