How to Pick the Right Truck Driving School near Union City Tennessee
Congratulations on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a truck driving school near Union City TN. Maybe it has always been your goal to hit the open road while operating a monster tractor trailer. Or maybe you have done some analysis and have discovered that an occupation as a truck driver provides good pay and flexible work opportunities. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s imperative to receive the appropriate training by picking the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are a number of factors that you’ll need to examine prior to making your final selection. Location will undoubtedly be an issue, particularly if you have to commute from your Union City home. The expense will also be important, but selecting a school based solely on price is not the ideal method to make sure you’ll receive the appropriate education. Don’t forget, your objective is to master the knowledge and skills that will allow you to pass the CDL examinations and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that target in mind, just how do you decide on a truck driving school? That is what we are going to discuss 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 operate commercial vehicles legally within the United States and Union City TN, a driver must get a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three license classes that a person can qualify 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 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). Following are short descriptions of the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is required to operate 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. 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 need endorsements to operate specific types of vehicles, for example school or passenger buses. And a Class A license holder, with the proper needed endorsements, can operate any vehicle that a Class B licensee is qualified to drive.
How to Evaluate a CDL School
Once you have decided which Commercial Drivers License you would like to pursue, you can begin the undertaking of researching the Union City TN truck driving schools that you are considering. As already mentioned, location and cost will certainly be your primary considerations. But it can’t be stressed enough that they should not be your only concerns. Other issues, including the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are similarly or even more important. So following are several additional factors that you need to research while performing your due diligence before enrolling in, and especially paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Very few truck driver schools in the Union City TN area are accredited because of the demanding process and cost to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more prevalent 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 caliber, and that they will get plenty of driving time. As an 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 training and curriculum will fulfill the very high standards 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 business. A poorly ranked or a fly by night school typically will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the top Union City TN schools had to begin from their opening day of training, so use it as one of several qualifications. You can also ask what the school’s track record is concerning successful licensing and job placement of its graduates. If a school won’t share those stats, search elsewhere. The schools should also have relationships with regional and national trucking companies. Having numerous contacts not only affirms an excellent reputation within the industry, but also boosts their job assistance program for graduates. It also wouldn’t hurt to contact the Tennessee licensing department to verify that the CDL trucker schools you are reviewing are in compliance.
How Good is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools should be licensed in Tennessee and hire instructors that are trained and experienced. We will cover more about the instructors 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 obtaining the personal attention they will need. This is especially true concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And be critical of any school that insists it can teach you to be a truck driver in a relatively short time period. Learning to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer professionally requires time. Most Union City TN schools offer training courses that range from 3 weeks to as long as two months, based on the class of license or kind of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Instructors? As earlier stated, it’s essential that the instructors are qualified to teach driving techniques and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Even though several states have minimum driving time requirements to be certified as an instructor, the more professional driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also important that the teachers stay current with industry advancements or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Evaluating teachers might be a little more subjective than other standards, 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 going through the training and find out if they are happy with the level of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
How Much Driving Time? Above all else, a good trucking school will furnish 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 operating a truck. While the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are essential training methods, they are no substitute for actual driving. The more training that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will become. Although driving time differs between schools, a reasonable standard is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide at least 44 hours of driving time. Check with the Union City TN schools you are considering and find out how much driving time they provide.
Are they Captive or Independent ? It’s possible to receive discounted or even free training from a number of truck driver schools if you make a commitment to drive for a specified carrier for a defined amount of time. This is called contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So instead of having associations with numerous trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only refer to 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. Clearly contract training has the potential to limit your income prospects when beginning your new career. But for some it may be the ideal way to obtain affordable training. Just be sure to ask if the Union City TN schools you are looking at are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Is there Onsite CDL Testing? There are some states that will permit 3rd party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its grads. If onsite testing is allowed in Tennessee, find out if the schools you are reviewing are DMV certified to provide it. One benefit is that it is more convenient than battling with graduates of competing schools for test times at Tennessee testing locations. It is moreover an indicator that the DMV considers the authorized schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Class Times Flexible? As previously mentioned, CDL training is only about 1 to 2 months long. With such a brief duration, it’s essential that the Union City TN school you select provides flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. For example, if you’re having a hard time learning a certain driving maneuver, then the teacher should be willing to dedicate more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still working while going to training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other commitments.
Is Job Assistance Offered? The moment you have attained your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be impatient to start your new profession. Make sure that the schools you are reviewing have job placement programs. Ask what their job placement rate is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, find out which national and local trucking firms their graduates are placed with for employment. If a school has a low job placement rate or few Union City TN employers recruiting their grads, it might be a sign to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Available? Trucking schools are similar to colleges and other Union City TN area trade or technical 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 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 Union City TN?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Union City Tennessee area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Union City, Tennessee
Union City is a city located in Obion County, Tennessee, United States. The 2010 census reported the population of the town as 10,895. Union City is the principal city of the surrounding micropolitan area, which includes Obion County and Fulton County, Kentucky.
Union City is recognized for the following: It was the site of a minor American Civil War battle in March 1864, and it was the site of a Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company/Goodyear Tire plant, which generated a large amount of the city's economy. It is also the hometown of Congressman John S. Tanner and Jerry L. Gurien, the inventor of stone washed jeans and Gurien Finishing Corp., which developed a process in the 1980s that stone-washed jeans and denims.
The Discovery Park of America serves as a major attraction in the state of Tennessee and is located within city limits. It was founded by Robert Kirkland and opened its doors in 2013. Union City is approximately 30–45 minutes from Reelfoot Lake. This well-known lake was formed from the 1811–12 New Madrid earthquakes and is a popular recreational boating and fishing location in the state. Union City is also approximately 15–20 minutes from the University of Tennessee at Martin.
Weekend CDL Training Union City TN
Choosing the appropriate trucking school is a critical first step to launching your new occupation as a long distance or local truck driver. The skills taught at school will be those that shape a new career behind the wheel. There are several options offered and understanding them is crucial to a new driver’s success. You originally came to our website because of your interest in Weekend CDL Training. However, you must get the necessary training in order to operate a big commercial vehicle in a professional and safe manner. If you are lacking cash or financing, you might want 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 company of your choosing, or one of several affiliated with the school. It’s your decision. But no matter how you receive your training, you will soon be joining a profession that helps our country move as a professional trucker in Union City TN.
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