How to Select the Right Trucker School near Summit New Jersey
Congratulations on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a CDL school near Summit NJ. Perhaps it has always been your ambition to hit the open highway while driving a big ole tractor trailer. Or possibly you have conducted some analysis and have discovered that a career as a truck driver offers excellent pay and flexible work opportunities. No matter what your reason is, it’s essential to get the appropriate training by enrolling in the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are several variables that you’ll need to examine prior to making your final choice. Location will certainly be an issue, especially if you have to commute from your Summit home. The cost will also be important, but selecting a school based only on price is not the best way to ensure you’ll receive the appropriate education. Don’t forget, your objective is to master the skills and knowledge that will enable you to pass the CDL exams and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that purpose 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 eventually need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Will You Need?
To operate commercial vehicles lawfully within the United States and Summit NJ, a driver must get a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 classes of licenses that a driver can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the topic of this article is how to select a truck driver school, we will highlight Class A and 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). Following are short descriptions of the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License is needed to drive any vehicle that has a GCWR of greater than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of more 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 required 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. Several 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 might also need endorsements to drive certain types of vehicles, including school or passenger buses. And a Class A licensee, with the appropriate required endorsements, may operate any vehicle that a Class B license holder is qualified to operate.
How to Evaluate a Trucking School
After you have decided which Commercial Drivers License you want to pursue, you can start the undertaking of assessing the Summit NJ trucking schools that you are considering. As earlier discussed, location and cost will certainly be your initial considerations. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they must not be your only considerations. Other factors, for example the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are similarly or even more important. So following are several more points that you need to research while performing your due diligence prior to enrolling in, and particularly paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Not many truck driving schools in the Summit NJ area are accredited because of the rigorous 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 a number of advantages. Prospective students know that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will get lots of driving time. For example, PTDI mandates 44 hours of real 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 satisfy the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One indicator to help evaluate the quality of a truck driver school is how long it has been in operation. 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 Summit NJ schools had to start from their opening day of training, so consider it as one of several qualifiers. You can also learn what the school’s track record is pertaining to successful licensing and employment of its graduates. If a school won’t provide those numbers, look elsewhere. The schools should also have associations with regional and national trucking firms. Having a large number of contacts not only points to an excellent reputation within the profession, but also boosts their job placement program for students. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to get in touch with the New Jersey licensing authority to confirm that the CDL trucker schools you are researching are in compliance.
How Good is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools must be licensed in New Jersey and employ teachers that are trained and experienced. We will discuss more about the teachers in the following section. 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 obtaining 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 insists it can teach you to be a truck driver in a relatively short period of time. Training to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully takes time. Most Summit NJ schools offer training programs that range from three weeks to as long as 2 months, depending on the license class or type of vehicle.
How Good are the Teachers? As earlier stated, it’s essential that the teachers are qualified to teach driving methods and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Although several states have minimum driving time criteria to be certified as an instructor, the more professional driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also vital that the teachers keep current with industry advancements or any new laws or changes in regulations. Evaluating instructors might be a little more subjective than other standards, and perhaps the best approach is to visit the school and speak with the teachers face to face. You can also speak with some of the students completing 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? Above all else, a great truck driving school will furnish ample 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. While the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are necessary training tools, they are no substitute 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 can vary between schools, a reasonable benchmark is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide no less than 44 hours of driving time. Contact the Summit NJ schools you are considering and ask how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Independent or Captive ? You can get discounted or even free training from some truck driver schools if you enter into an agreement to be a driver for a particular 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 a wide range of 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 surrendering the freedom to initially be a driver wherever you have an opportunity. 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 get affordable training. Just make sure to ask if the Summit NJ schools you are considering are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Provide Onsite CDL Testing? There are some states that will allow 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driver schools for its students. If onsite testing is permitted in New Jersey, ask if the schools you are reviewing are DMV certified to offer it. One benefit is that it is more accommodating than competing with graduates from other schools for test times at New Jersey testing locations. It is also an indicator that the DMV deems the authorized schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Class Times Flexible? As previously noted, truck driver training is just one to two months in length. With such a brief duration, it’s essential that the Summit NJ school you select provides flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. For example, if you’re having difficulty learning a particular driving maneuver, then the teacher should be prepared to spend more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still working while attending training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other commitments.
Is Job Assistance Offered? Once you have obtained your commercial driver’s license after graduating from trucking school, you will be eager to start your new career. Confirm that the schools you are reviewing have job assistance programs. Find out what their job placement rate is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, find out which local and national trucking companies their graduates are placed with for employment. If a school has a lower job placement rate or not many Summit NJ employers recruiting their grads, it might be a clue to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Available? Truck driving schools are much like colleges and other Summit NJ area technical or vocational schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being offered. Ask if the schools you are reviewing 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 Summit NJ?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Summit New Jersey area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Summit, New Jersey
Summit is a city in Union County, New Jersey, United States. At the 2010 United States Census, the city's population was 21,457, reflecting an increase of 326 (+1.5%) from the 21,131 counted in the 2000 Census, which had in turn increased by 1,374 (+7.0%) from the 19,757 counted in the 1990 Census. Summit had the 16th-highest per capita income in the state as of the 2000 Census  According to Bloomberg, Summit ranked as the 72nd richest town in America in 2018, with an average household income of $220,971.
Originally incorporated as Summit Township by an act of the New Jersey Legislature on March 23, 1869, from portions of New Providence Township (now Berkeley Heights) and Springfield Township, Summit was reincorporated as a city on March 8, 1899.
Possible derivations of Summit's name include its location atop the Second Watchung Mountain; the Summit Lodge, the house to which jurist James Kent moved in 1837 and which stands today at 50 Kent Place Boulevard; and to a local sawmill owner who granted passage to the Morris and Essex Railroad for a route to "the summit of the Short Hills".
Truck Drivers School Summit NJ
Choosing the right truck driving school is an important first step to beginning your new profession as a long distance or local truck driver. The skill sets that you will learn 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 Truck Drivers School. However, you must receive the appropriate training in order to operate a large commercial vehicle in a professional and safe manner. If you are lacking cash or financing, you may need to consider 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 select an independent truck driving 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 choice. But regardless of how you receive your training, you will soon be entering a profession that helps our country move as a professional truck driver in Summit NJ.
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