USA Truck Driving Schools - Costs, Training...etc
All aspiring truck drivers in the United States must obtain a Commercial Motor Vehicle Driver’s License. There may be a need for applicants to undergo training in order to qualify for the CDL. While not required, it is highly recommended to enroll in a truck driving school. This is because it helps people who want to get into the trucking industry gain the skills necessary to pass the test. In addition, owner operators prefer drivers who have formal training with certification and some experience in the field.
Important Facts about U.S. Truck Driving Schools
Types of Driving Schools and How to Choose
Potential truck drivers who plan on getting a CDL may choose from three different types of driving schools in the U.S. today. This includes private driving schools that are run for profit and state or locally-owned public driving schools. Another option is a truck company-owned training school that trains drivers to work for them after they complete the driving course.
The following are some factors to consider when choosing a driving school.
The price is a major factor that people are concerned with. However, it is important to understand that price should not be the ultimate deciding factor when choosing the best driving school.
The cost of truck driving schools is usually easy to compare. They tend to be similar in price. However, those that are over $1000 more or less than the others should be investigated prior to enrolling. The smartest thing to do is to compare schools according to the price and the quality of training they offer.
• Quality of Training and Instructors
Students should choose the driving school that offers the highest quality training. A good school has one instructor for every four students. With this, students can be sure that they will be given enough attention in every session. In addition, the instructors must monitor the students as they take the wheel. They must provide students honest evaluations and correct mistakes upfront in order to avoid turning them into habits.
There are truck driving schools that have practice areas and lots where instructors find it easy to check students from yard to yard. Meanwhile, the instructors should be experienced, capable of teaching, knowledgeable and caring.
• Job Opportunities
Truck driving schools should offer job placement assistance. Many students think that only trucker-owned training schools offer job assistance. Basically, students attend the training program in order to get a job. There must be a problem with a school if they do not offer these programs. Potential students should put more emphasis on this than anything else. Otherwise, they may end up spending a lot for training and not get a job.
Moreover, it is the school’s responsibility to inform students if they are not qualified to find employment. This is especially true for students who have a criminal background. Trucking companies want to hire safe and trustworthy drivers.
Truck driving schools that hold a third-party certification such as the one from the Professional Truck Driver Institute are often the best choice. The certification means the school has met industry standards. Graduates from these schools are all geared up to be an entry-level truck driver. PTDI certification is different from the state license. Although it is not a mandatory requirement, it is wise to consider truck driving schools with this certification.
Many students opt for company-sponsored CDL truck driving programs rather than private schools due to the following advantages.
• Students are already qualified for the job before they even start the training. This means they do not have to worry about spending time, effort and money to find a job.
• CDL training programs are generally expensive. With company-sponsored training, the owner operators pay for it.
• There is no need to apply for student loans or get someone to co-sign for them.
• The students undergo thorough training to get them on the road well-prepared and fully-equipped with all the skills and knowledge they need. Even after graduation, the company lets students practice on the road before they handle everything on their own.
• Usually, the company-sponsored programs only take three weeks. This means students are able to start a regular job within a month.
Length of Training
Typically, truck driving training requires about five to six weeks to complete. This is typical for students who can attend classes full-time. Meanwhile, part-time students may need to spend as much as 20 weeks in training.
Obtaining the CDL
In the U.S., obtaining the CDL requires students to go through the same procedures. They need to take the exam at the Department of Motor Vehicles. As soon as the student gets a CDL permit, they can drive a truck provided there is a CDL licensed driver in the passenger’s seat. The permit expires in six months. During this time, the students may attend truck driving school. After completing the training, they must take the driving exam that will include vehicle inspection demonstration and a break test. If they pass the exam, the DMV will issue their CDL license.
The Bottom Line
The best truck driving schools in the U.S. must provide students with a competitive price, quality training and instruction and job placement assistance. All these factors matter as most truck driving owner operators prefer those who come from reliable training centers. Most importantly, the school must guarantee that students will pass the CDL exam and provide options for continued training after.