How to Decide on the Right CDL Driving School near Washington Grove Maryland
Congratulations on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a CDL school near Washington Grove MD. Perhaps it has always been your dream to hit the open highway while operating a huge tractor trailer. Or possibly you have done some analysis and have discovered that a career as a truck driver provides good pay and flexible work prospects. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s important to obtain the appropriate training by choosing the right CDL school in your area. When evaluating your options, there are several variables that you’ll need to think about prior to making your ultimate selection. Location will undoubtedly be important, particularly if you need to commute from your Washington Grove residence. The cost will also be important, but picking a school based solely on price is not the best method to guarantee you’ll obtain the proper training. Don’t forget, your goal is to learn the knowledge and skills that will allow you to pass the CDL examinations and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that objective in mind, just how do you decide on a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to cover in the rest of this article. But first, we are going to talk a little bit about which CDL license you will ultimately need.
Which CDL Will You Need?
To drive commercial vehicles legally within the United States and Washington Grove MD, an operator must attain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three license classes that a driver can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the topic of this article is how to select a truck driver school, we will discuss Class A and B licenses. What distinguishes each class of CDL is the type 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 explanations of the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License is required to operate any vehicle that has a GCWR of greater than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of more 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 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. 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 CDLs may also need endorsements to operate specific types of vehicles, for instance passenger or school buses. And a Class A licensee, with the appropriate needed endorsements, can drive any vehicle that a Class B licensee is qualified to operate.
How to Assess a Trucking School
When you have determined which CDL you would like to pursue, you can begin the undertaking of evaluating the Washington Grove MD trucking schools that you are considering. As previously mentioned, location and cost will certainly be your initial considerations. But it can’t be stressed enough that they should not be your sole concerns. Other factors, for example the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are equally if not more important. So below are some more things 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 trucking schools in the Washington Grove MD area are accredited because of the rigorous process and cost to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more common and is offered by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not obligated to become certified, but there are several advantages. Prospective students know that the training will be of the highest standard, and that they will receive plenty of driving time. As an example, PTDI mandates 44 hours of real driving time, not ride-alongs or simulations. So if a school’s course is certified (the course, 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 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 usually will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the best of Washington Grove MD schools had to start from their first day of training, so consider it as one of multiple qualifiers. You can also learn what the school’s history is concerning successful licensing and job placement of its graduates. If a school won’t supply those stats, search elsewhere. The schools should also maintain associations with regional and national trucking companies. Having a large number of contacts not only points to an excellent reputation within the industry, but also bolsters their job assistance program for graduates. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to contact the Maryland licensing authority to confirm that the CDL trucking schools you are researching are in compliance.
How Good is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools should be licensed in Maryland and hire teachers that are trained and experienced. We will discuss more about the instructors in the following section. Also, the student to instructor ratio 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 particularly true regarding the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And be critical of any school that claims it can teach you to be a truck driver in a comparatively short time frame. Training to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer professionally requires time. Most Washington Grove MD schools offer training courses that range from three weeks to as long as 2 months, depending on the class of license or type of vehicle.
How Good are the Trainers? As previously mentioned, it’s important that the teachers are trained to teach driving methods and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Even though a number of states have minimum driving time prerequisites to be certified as an instructor, the more successful driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also crucial that the teachers keep current with industry advancements or any new laws or changes in regulations. Assessing teachers might be a little more subjective than other criteria, and possibly the ideal approach is to check out the school and talk to the teachers face to face. You can also speak with 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.
How Much Driving Time? Most importantly, an excellent truck driving school will provide lots 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. While the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are necessary training methods, they are no alternative for actual driving. The more instruction that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will become. And even though driving time varies between schools, a reasonable benchmark 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 Washington Grove MD schools you are looking at and ask how much driving time they provide.
Are they Independent or Captive ? It’s possible to obtain discounted or even free training from some 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 maintaining associations with numerous trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only work with one company. The tradeoff is receiving less expensive or even free training by giving up the freedom to initially be a driver wherever you choose. Naturally contract training has the potential to reduce your income opportunities when beginning your new career. But for some it may be the only way to obtain affordable training. Just make sure to ask if the Washington Grove MD schools you are contemplating are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Offer Onsite CDL Testing? There are some states that will allow third party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its students. If onsite testing is allowed in Maryland, find out if the schools you are reviewing are DMV certified to offer it. One benefit is that it is more accommodating than contending with graduates of competing schools for test times at Maryland testing centers. It is moreover an indicator that the DMV views the authorized schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Class Times Accessible? As previously mentioned, CDL training is just one to two months long. With such a short duration, it’s essential that the Washington Grove MD school you enroll in offers 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 spend 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 needs to be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other commitments.
Is Job Assistance Offered? Once you have obtained your CDL license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be eager to start your new profession. Verify that the schools you are considering have job placement programs. Ask what their job placement ratio is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, find out which local and national trucking firms their graduates are placed with for hiring. If a school has a poor job placement rate or few Washington Grove MD employers recruiting their graduates, it might be a sign to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Truck driver schools are much like colleges and other Washington Grove MD area trade or technical schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being offered. Ask if the schools you are evaluating have a financial assistance department, or at a minimum someone who can help you get through the options and forms that need to be completed.
Thinking of a Truck Drivier School near Washington Grove MD?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Washington Grove Maryland area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Washington Grove, Maryland
Washington Grove is a town in Montgomery County, Maryland. The population was 555 at the 2010 United States Census. The Washington Grove Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980.
A group of Methodists began the tradition of having camp meetings in the area around 1800. Camp meetings were a tradition where a group of Methodists would gather in a forest clearing to worship and socialize. Benches were arranged in a circle or oval with an elevated preachers' stand in the middle. Tents surrounded the area along with carriages and wagons behind them. Services lasted well into the night. The camp meetings provided cultural and spiritual improvement to those who attended.
In 1873, a committee from the Foundry Methodist Church, located at 14th and G streets NW in Washington, D.C., began a search for a permanent location to hold annual camp meetings. They wanted a location with sufficient space for thousands of attendees, a supply of clean water, and a shaded location to provide relief from the summer sun. They wanted the location to be less than a day's trip from Washington, D.C., and protection from the sale of liquor, because Methodists did not believe in drinking alcohol.
Class B Driving School Washington Grove MD
Selecting the appropriate truck driver school is a critical first step to starting your new profession as a long distance or local truck driver. The skill sets taught at school will be those that shape a new career behind the wheel. There are several options available and understanding them is vital to a new driver’s success. You originally came to our website because of your interest in Class B Driving School. However, you must receive the appropriate training in order to drive a large commercial vehicle in a professional and safe fashion. If you are lacking cash or financing, you may need to look into a captive school. You will pay a lower or even no tuition in exchange for driving for their contracted carrier. Or you can enroll in an independent truck driver school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking firm of your choosing, or one of several associated with the school. It’s your choice. But regardless of how you obtain your training, you will soon be entering an industry that helps our country move as a professional trucker in Washington Grove MD.
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