How to Find the Right Truck Driver School near Weber City Virginia
Congrats on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a CDL school near Weber City VA. Perhaps it has always been your ambition to hit the open road while driving a big ole tractor trailer. Or possibly you have done some research and have found that an occupation as a truck driver offers good income and flexible job prospects. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s essential to get the proper training by choosing the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are a number of variables that you’ll need to consider prior to making your ultimate selection. Location will no doubt be an issue, particularly if you have to commute from your Weber City home. The expense will also be important, but selecting a school based exclusively on price is not the optimal way to make sure you’ll get the right training. Just remember, your goal 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 goal 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 discuss a little bit about which CDL license you will eventually need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Should You Get?
To operate commercial vehicles lawfully within the USA and Weber City VA, an operator must get a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three license classes that one can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the topic of this article is how to pick a truck driving school, we will address Class A and Class B licenses. What distinguishes each class of CDL is the type 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 of the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License is needed to drive any vehicle that has a GCWR of more 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 Commercial Drivers License is required to operate 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 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 Commercial Drivers Licenses might also need endorsements to operate certain kinds of vehicles, for instance school or passenger buses. And a Class A licensee, with the appropriate needed endorsements, can operate any vehicle that a Class B license holder is authorized to drive.
How to Evaluate a CDL School
Once you have determined which Commercial Drivers License you want to obtain, you can begin the undertaking of evaluating the Weber City VA truck driving schools that you are looking at. As already discussed, 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 factors, such as the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are similarly if not more important. So below are several more factors that you should research while conducting your due diligence prior to choosing, and particularly paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Very few truck driver schools in the Weber City VA area are accredited because of the stringent process and expense to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more common and is provided by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not obligated to become certified, but there are certain advantages. Interested students recognize that the training will be of the highest caliber, and that they will get plenty of driving time. For example, PTDI requires 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 curriculum and training will measure up to the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One clue to help determine the quality of a truck driver school is how long it has been in operation. A negatively reviewed or a fly by night school normally will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. On the other hand, even the best of Weber City VA schools had to start from their opening day of training, so use it as one of multiple qualifiers. You can also learn what the school’s history is pertaining to successful licensing and job placement of its graduating students. If a school won’t supply those numbers, look elsewhere. The schools should also have associations with local and national trucking firms. Having a large number of contacts not only confirms an excellent reputation within the trade, but also bolsters their job assistance program for graduates. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to contact the Virginia licensing authority to make sure that the CDL trucking schools you are researching are in compliance.
How Effective is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools should be licensed in Virginia and hire instructors that are experienced and trained. We will talk more about the teachers in the following segment. Also, the student to instructor proportion should be no greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be obtaining the personal attention they will need. This is particularly true regarding 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 time period. Training to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer professionally requires time. The majority of Weber City VA schools provide training courses that range from 3 weeks to as long as 2 months, depending on the license class or kind of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Teachers? As previously stated, it’s essential that the instructors are trained to teach driving techniques and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Although several states have minimum driving time prerequisites to qualify as a teacher, the more professional driving experience a teacher 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 criteria, and possibly the ideal approach is to pay a visit to the school and talk to the instructors in person. You can also talk to a few of the students completing the training and find out if they are happy with the level of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Enough Driving Time? Most importantly, an excellent trucking school will provide plenty of driving time to its students. Besides, isn’t that what it’s all about? Driving time is the real time spent behind the wheel driving a truck. Even though the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are necessary training tools, 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 differs among schools, a reasonable standard is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide at least 44 hours of driving time. Get in touch with the Weber City VA schools you are researching and ask how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Captive or Independent ? You can receive free or discounted training from some trucking schools if you enter into an agreement to drive for a particular carrier for a defined period of time. This is referred to as contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So instead of having affiliations with many different trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only work with one company. The benefit is receiving free or less expensive training by surrendering the freedom to initially work wherever you choose. Obviously contract training has the potential to limit your income opportunities when beginning your new career. But for some it may be the ideal way to get affordable training. Just be sure to ask if the Weber City VA schools you are contemplating are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Is there CDL Testing Onsite? There are several states that will permit third party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its students. If onsite testing is allowed in Virginia, find out if the schools you are looking at are DMV certified to offer it. One advantage is that it is more convenient than battling with graduates of other schools for test times at Virginia testing locations. It is also an indication that the DMV views the authorized schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Class Times Flexible? As previously mentioned, truck driving training is just one to two months in length. With such a brief term, it’s essential that the Weber City VA school you select offers flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. For example, if you’re having a hard time learning a particular driving maneuver, then the instructor should be prepared to devote more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still working while going to training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other obligations.
Is Job Placement Offered? The moment you have received your CDL license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be eager to start your new career. Make sure that the schools you are reviewing have job placement programs. Ask what their job placement percentage is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, ask which local and national trucking firms their graduates are placed with for employment. If a school has a low job placement rate or not many Weber City VA employers hiring their graduates, it might be a sign to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Given? Trucking schools are comparable to colleges and other Weber City VA area technical or vocational schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being available. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have a financial assistance department, or at a minimum someone who can help you understand the options and forms that need to be submitted.
Thinking of a Truck Drivier School near Weber City VA?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Weber City Virginia area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Weber City, Virginia
Weber City is an incorporated town in Scott County, Virginia, United States. The population was 1,327 at the 2010 census. It is part of the Kingsport–Bristol (TN)–Bristol (VA) Metropolitan Statistical Area, which is a component of the Johnson City–Kingsport–Bristol, TN-VA Combined Statistical Area – commonly known as the "Tri-Cities" region.
Weber City is unique in how it received its name. The area was known as "Moccasin Gap" after the local gap that US 23 runs through. Local businessman Frank Parker, Sr., heard the future name on the Amos 'n' Andy radio show during a skit involving the upscale real estate development of "Weber City." As a joke, Parker erected a sign outside his service station on US 23 that read "Welcome to Weber City." However, by the time the town was incorporated in 1954, the area had become known locally as "Weber City." As such, the name was chosen for the new town.
Weber City is located on the southern side of Moccasin Gap, a natural break in the mountains caused by Big Moccasin Creek, which was used by pioneers headed into Tennessee. To the south of Weber City, another gap leads into Tennessee. US 23 is the main road through Weber City and a primary north/south corridor for western Virginia.
CDL Driver Training Weber City VA
Selecting the right truck driving school is an essential first step to launching your new occupation as a long distance or local truck driver. The skill sets that you will learn at school will be those that forge a new career behind the wheel. There are several 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 Driver Training. But first and foremost, you must obtain the necessary training in order to drive a big commercial vehicle in a professional and safe fashion. If you are lacking funds or financing, you may need to consider a captive school. You will pay a reduced or in some cases no tuition in exchange for driving for their contracted carrier. Or you can select an independent trucking school and have the option of driving for the trucking company of your choosing, or one of several affiliated with the school. It’s your decision. But regardless of how you get your training, you will soon be joining a profession that helps our country move as a professional trucker in Weber City VA.
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