How to Enroll in the Right Trucker School near Varnville South Carolina
Congratulations on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a CDL school near Varnville SC. Maybe it has always been your goal to hit the open road while operating a monster tractor trailer. Or maybe you have done some research and have found that a career as a truck driver provides good pay and flexible job opportunities. Whatever your reason is, it’s imperative to receive the proper training by choosing the right CDL school in your area. When evaluating your options, there are various factors that you’ll need to consider prior to making your final choice. Location will no doubt be an issue, particularly if you need to commute from your Varnville home. The expense will also be of importance, but picking a school based only on price is not the ideal way to guarantee you’ll receive the right training. Don’t forget, your goal is to master the skills and knowledge that will enable you to pass the CDL examinations and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that purpose in mind, just how do you pick a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to discuss in the rest of this article. But first, we are going to discuss a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will ultimately need.
Which CDL Will You Need?
To operate commercial vehicles lawfully within the USA and Varnville SC, an operator needs to get a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 classes of licenses that a person can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the topic of this article is how to choose a truck driver school, we will highlight Class A and B licenses. What differentiates 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 explanations for the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is needed to drive any vehicle that has a GCWR of greater than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of greater than 10,000 lbs. Some 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 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. 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 example school or passenger buses. And a Class A licensee, with the appropriate required endorsements, may drive any vehicle that a Class B licensee is authorized to operate.
How to Assess a Trucking School
As soon as you have determined which CDL you wish to pursue, you can start the process of assessing the Varnville SC truck driver schools that you are looking at. As earlier mentioned, cost and location will undoubtedly be your primary considerations. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they must not be your only concerns. Other issues, for instance the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are equally if not more important. So below are several additional points that you need to research while performing your due diligence before enrolling in, and particularly paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Very few trucking schools in the Varnville SC area are accredited due to the rigorous process and cost to the schools. However, 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 recognize that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will get lots of driving time. As an example, PTDI mandates 44 hours of actual 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 training and curriculum will comply with the very high standards 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 negatively ranked or a fly by night school typically will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. On the other hand, even the top Varnville SC schools had to begin from their first day of training, so use 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 graduates. If a school won’t provide those numbers, look elsewhere. The schools should also have associations with regional and national trucking companies. Having numerous contacts not only points to a superior reputation within the trade, but also boosts their job assistance program for graduates. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to get in touch with the South Carolina licensing authority to verify that the CDL trucking schools you are reviewing are in compliance.
How Effective is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools should be licensed in South Carolina and employ teachers that are trained and experienced. We will discuss more about the teachers in the next section. Also, the student to instructor ratio should not be greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be receiving 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 claims it can train you to drive trucks in a comparatively short period of time. Learning to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully takes time. Most Varnville SC schools offer training courses that run from three weeks to as long as two months, depending on the license class or kind of vehicle.
How Good are the Instructors? As previously mentioned, it’s important that the instructors are qualified to teach driving methods and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Although several states have minimum driving time prerequisites 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 advancements or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Assessing teachers may be a bit more subjective than other criteria, and perhaps the best method is to visit the school and talk to the instructors in person. You can also speak with a few of the students completing the training and ask if they are satisfied with the level of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
Adequate Driving Time? Above all else, an excellent trucking school will provide lots of driving time to its students. Besides, isn’t that what it’s all about? Driving time is the actual time spent behind the wheel driving a truck. Even though the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are important training tools, they are no replacement for real driving. The more training that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will be. Although driving time fluctuates between schools, a reasonable standard is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish no less than 44 hours of driving time. Contact the Varnville SC schools you are researching and find out how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Captive or Independent ? You can get free or discounted training from a number of truck driving schools if you make a commitment to be a driver for a particular carrier for a defined time period. This is what’s known as contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So instead of maintaining affiliations with numerous trucking lines that they can refer their students to, 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 reduce your income opportunities when starting out. But for many it may be the best way to obtain affordable training. Just make sure to find out if the Varnville SC schools you are contemplating are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Offer CDL Testing Onsite? There are several states that will permit 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its students. If onsite testing is allowed in South Carolina, ask if the schools you are looking at are DMV certified to offer it. One benefit is that it is more accommodating than battling with graduates of competing schools for test times at South Carolina testing locations. It is moreover an indicator that the DMV views the approved schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Classes Accessible? As formerly mentioned, truck driving training is only about 1 to 2 months in length. With such a brief term, it’s imperative that the Varnville SC school you choose provides flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. As an example, if you’re having difficulty learning a certain driving maneuver, then the instructor should be willing to devote more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still working while attending training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other responsibilities.
Is Job Placement Offered? The moment you have attained your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be eager to begin your new career. Confirm that the schools you are reviewing have job assistance programs. Ask what their job placement ratio is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, ask which local and national trucking companies their graduates are placed with for hiring. If a school has a lower job placement rate or few Varnville SC employers hiring their graduates, it may be a clue to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Truck driving schools are much like colleges and other Varnville SC area vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being available. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have a financial aid 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 Varnville SC?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Varnville South Carolina area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Varnville, South Carolina
Varnville is a town in Hampton County, South Carolina, United States. The population was 2,162 as of the 2010 census. Varnville forms a twin town with Hampton, the county seat; the two towns often share civic and cultural events.
Varnville was founded by the Varn Brothers, who sold the right-of-way for railroad tracks through their sawmill in 1872, prior to Hampton County's founding. In 1878, Hampton County was created from Beaufort County, and the site for the county seat was located 3 miles (5 km) northwest of Varnville, eventually becoming the town of Hampton. Varnville grew as a result of its close proximity to the county seat as well as its connections with surrounding agricultural areas. In 1993, several scenes from the film Forrest Gump were shot in Varnville, of which some were used to create the fictional town of Greenbow, Alabama.
Varnville is located in north-central Hampton County at 32°51′9″N 81°4′46″W / 32.85250°N 81.07944°W / 32.85250; -81.07944 (32.852489, -81.079367). It is bordered to the northwest by the town of Hampton. U.S. Route 278 (Carolina Avenue) is the main street through the town, leading northwest into Hampton (where it becomes Elm Street) and south 28 miles (45 km) to Ridgeland. South Carolina Highway 63 leads east from Varnville 27 miles (43 km) to Walterboro. Yemassee is 17 miles (27 km) to the southeast via US 278 and SC 68.
CDL Driving Schools Varnville SC
Choosing the right truck driving school is an important first step to beginning your new profession as a local or long distance truck driver. The skills that you will learn at school will be those that mold a new career behind the wheel. There are many options available and understanding them is critical if you are going to succeed as an operator. You originally came to our website because of your interest in CDL Driving Schools. But first and foremost, you must obtain the appropriate training in order to drive a big commercial vehicle in a safe and professional fashion. If you are short on cash or financing, you may want to look into a captive school. You will pay a lower or even no tuition by agreeing to drive for their contracted carrier. Or you can enroll in an independent trucking 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 get your training, you will soon be part of a profession that helps America move as a professional truck driver in Varnville SC.
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