Category Archives: South Carolina

Becoming A Truck Driver Springdale SC

How to Decide on the Best Trucking School near Springdale South Carolina

tractor truck in Springdale SC Congrats on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a truck driving school near Springdale SC. Maybe it has always been your goal to hit the open road while operating a huge tractor trailer. Or possibly you have done some analysis and have discovered that an occupation as a truck driver offers excellent income and flexible job prospects. Whatever your reason is, it’s important to receive the proper training by choosing the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are various factors that you’ll need to examine before making your ultimate choice. Location will no doubt be important, particularly if you need to commute from your Springdale home. The expense will also be of importance, but choosing a school based only on price is not the ideal method to ensure you’ll get the right education. Don’t forget, your objective is to learn the knowledge and skills that will allow you to pass the CDL examinations and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that target in mind, just how do you decide on a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to address in the balance of this article. But first, we are going to discuss a little bit about which CDL license you will eventually need.

Which CDL Will You Need?

Springdale SC long haul tractor trailerTo operate commercial vehicles lawfully within the United States and Springdale SC, a driver must attain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three license classes that one can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the subject of this article is how to pick a truck driving school, we will focus on Class A and Class 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). Below are brief summaries of the two classes.

Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License is required to operate any vehicle that has a GCWR of greater than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of more than 10,000 lbs. Some 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 needed to drive 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 may also need endorsements to operate certain kinds of vehicles, for example school or passenger buses. And a Class A license holder, with the appropriate required endorsements, can operate any vehicle that a Class B license holder is authorized to drive.

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How to Evaluate a Trucking School

Springdale SC truck driving schoolAfter you have determined which CDL you wish to pursue, you can start the undertaking of assessing the Springdale SC truck driving schools that you are looking at. As previously discussed, location and cost will undoubtedly be your primary considerations. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they must not be your sole considerations. Other factors, for instance the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are equally if not more important. So below are a few more things that you should research while conducting your due diligence prior to enrolling in, and particularly paying for, your truck driving training.

Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Not many truck driver schools in the Springdale SC area are accredited because of the demanding process and cost to the schools. However, certification is more common and is provided by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not required to become certified, but there are certain advantages. Prospective students recognize that the training will be of the highest caliber, and that they will receive lots 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 training and curriculum will fulfill the very high standards set by PTDI.

How Long in Operation? One indicator to help measure the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in business. A negatively rated or a fly by night school typically will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. Having said that, even the top Springdale SC schools had to begin from their opening day of training, so use it as one of multiple qualifications. You can also find out what the school’s track record is pertaining to successful licensing and employment of its graduates. If a school won’t supply those numbers, look elsewhere. The schools should also maintain associations with local and national trucking firms. Having a large number of contacts not only affirms a quality reputation within the industry, but also boosts their job placement program for graduates. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to contact the South Carolina licensing authority to verify that the CDL trucker schools you are considering are in good standing.

How Effective is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools must be licensed in South Carolina and employ teachers that are experienced and trained. We will discuss more about the instructors in the following section. Also, the student to instructor proportion should not be higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be obtaining the personal instruction 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 professes it can train you to be a truck driver in a relatively short time period. Training to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully takes time. The majority of Springdale SC schools provide training courses that run from 3 weeks to as long as two months, depending on the license class or type of vehicle.

How Good are the Trainers? As already mentioned, it’s important that the teachers are trained to teach driving methods and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Even though several states have minimum driving time prerequisites to be certified as an instructor, the more successful driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also crucial that the teachers stay up to date with industry developments or any new laws or changes in regulations. Evaluating teachers may be a bit more intuitive than other standards, and possibly the best approach is to visit the school and speak with the teachers face to face. You can also talk to some of the students completing 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 great trucking school will furnish sufficient 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. Although the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are necessary training tools, they are no replacement for real driving. The more training that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will be. And even though driving time varies 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 Springdale SC schools you are looking at and ask how much driving time they furnish.

Are they Captive or Independent ? You can obtain free or discounted training from certain trucking schools if you make a commitment 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 rather than maintaining relationships with a wide range of trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only refer to one company. The tradeoff is receiving free or less expensive training by surrendering the freedom to initially work wherever you choose. Naturally contract training has the potential to reduce your income prospects when beginning your new career. But for some it may be the only way to obtain affordable training. Just remember to find out if the Springdale SC schools you are looking at are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.

Provide 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 available in South Carolina, find out if the schools you are looking at are DMV certified to offer it. One advantage is that it is more accommodating than contending with graduates of competing schools for test times at South Carolina testing centers. It is moreover an indication that the DMV views the approved schools to be of a superior quality.

Are the Classes Flexible? As earlier noted, truck driver training is only about one to two months in length. With such a short duration, it’s imperative that the Springdale SC school you choose provides flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. As an example, if you’re having a hard time learning a particular driving maneuver, then the instructor should be willing to spend more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still working while going to training, then the class scheduling must 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 driver school, you will be impatient to start your new career. Confirm that the schools you are reviewing have job placement programs. Find out what their job placement percentage is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, find out which national and local trucking companies their graduates are placed with for employment. If a school has a low job placement rate or not many Springdale SC employers recruiting their graduates, it might be a clue to search elsewhere.

Is Financial Assistance Available? Truck driving schools are similar to colleges and other Springdale SC area technical or vocational schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being available. Ask if the schools you are assessing have a financial assistance department, or at least someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that need to be submitted.

Becoming A Truck Driver Springdale South Carolina

Springdale SC long haul truckSelecting the appropriate truck driving school is an important first step to beginning your new profession 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 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 Becoming A Truck Driver and wanting information on the topic How To Get CDL Class A.  However, you must obtain the appropriate training in order to operate a large commercial vehicle in a safe and professional manner. If you are short on funds or financing, you may want to consider a captive school. You will pay a reduced or even no tuition by agreeing to drive for their contracted carrier. Or you can choose an independent trucker school and have the option of driving for the trucking firm of your choice, or one of several associated with the school. It’s your choice. But regardless of how you obtain your training, you will soon be entering an industry that helps America move as a professional truck driver in Springdale SC.

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