To become a truck driver, you are required to obtain your Commercial Driver’s License (CDL). There are different classifications of CDLs that are segregated by the type of vehicle. Each state has its own application and training procedures, but it is essential to have the proper education. Attending a CDL school will give you the instruction and experience needed to become a trucker. Here’s a run-down of what a basic CDL school is like and what to look for in a school.
The Basics of CDL School
Truck driving schools and company training both usually entail participation in two phases: Classroom and Field. Typically, you will spend about 72 hours in the classroom and around 160 hours training in the field. Of course, the time it takes will vary depending on the school, state, and personnel availability.
Stage 1: Classroom Training
In the classroom, you will prepare for a written exam that must be passed before entering field training. You will learn about safety precautions, regulations, terminology, and other information that is essential for obtaining your learner’s permit. You should also be aware of the big “no-no’s” that could result in CDL suspension. To prepare more outside of the classroom, there are practice tests available on multiple websites for your preparation.
Stage 2: Field Training
Once you have completed the classroom training of CDL school, you can take your learner’s permit and move on to the hands-on training. You will learn how to operate the vehicle, how to react in certain situations and conditions, and different driving techniques.
Choosing the right CDL School
There are many different factors that go into choosing a school for any purpose. For truck driving, there are similar reasons for choosing/not choosing specific schools. Below are a few things to look into when deciding where to pursue your CDL training.
To get an idea of the school’s reputation, visit the actual school if you can. You will get an idea of the standards held as well as the type of instructors and students. Also, be sure to look at reviews online of past students and see what they have to say. Sometimes, these can be the deciding factor if you are stuck between a few.
Here are a few other things to research when looking at the reputation:
- Job Placement– opportunities available after training and past records
- Pass/fail rate
- If it is licensed or accredited
- Quality of instruction
The amount of money you are willing to put into training is obviously an important factor. It should not be the deciding element, but it is still something to consider. Usually, you will get what you pay for. If you are really interested in a school but it seems to be a bit out of your price range, try looking for financial assistance or scholarships to make it more affordable.
You can also consider company sponsored CDL training. The training can basically be free as long as the company employs you. There can be other things that play into this, so check that out before you take this route.
When choosing a CDL school, location can be a large or small factor depending on personal preference. If you want to have convenient access to the school, it might be better to choose a place near home. If you don’t have too many things tying you down at home, you may be looking to go further. Keep in mind that sometimes the best school for you might not be the most conveniently located.