The Best Way to Choose a CDL School
To become a truck driver, you will need to go through CDL training. Choosing the right CDL program can be somewhat difficult, however, it is a task that should be carried out very carefully. When first starting out, you will notice that there are several ways to go about completing your CDL training. The two most popular avenues include company sponsored programs and private trucking schools.
Private schools usually require truck drivers to pay three to five thousand upfront before taking part in training. Company sponsored programs are usually far less expensive. In fact, many of them can be partaken in free of charge. Company sponsored programs usually guarantee you a job at the end of your training which is a definite plus. On the downside, these programs may require you to sign a contract; this contract may require you to stick with that particular company for one two years after you complete your training. Also, some sponsored programs may require you to pay back your training expenses out of your paychecks. For the programs that are completely free of charge, the catch is that you must fulfill your contract, or you will become responsible for paying back your training expenses.
Training expenses for truck driving school can range anywhere from one thousand to five thousand dollars. If you have the money to pay for your training expenses, it is best to do so; this way, you won't have to worry about being tied down to a contract after you receive your training. You will be free to work for any company of your choosing. On the other hand, if you don't have the funds, company sponsored programs, from a financial standpoint especially, are excellent to take advantage of.
Another factor to take into consideration when choosing a CDL training school is the type of truck driver training that each school offers. Oftentimes, you will discover that some schools only provide training on manual transmission trucks while others offer automatic transmission training. Sometimes, you can find a school that provides training on both types of transmissions. While many companies use trucks that have automatic transmissions, there are also many that still use manual transmissions. You will probably benefit the most from obtaining training on both types because this will provide you with more job opportunities.
When choosing a CDL school, you also need to consider the location. If you choose a school that is not located near your home, you will be lodged in a hotel for three to four weeks or more while completing your training. If you are taking part in a company sponsored program, chances are, these expenses will be covered. On the other hand, if you are attending a private school, you will most likely be responsible to pay for the lodging expenses upfront.
No matter the CDL training school that you decide to attend, make sure that it is a state accredited school. Unfortunately, there are many schools that are not accredited, and it would not be good for you to complete your training through one of these schools. The reasoning behind this is mostly because there are a wide range of companies that will not consider hiring you unless you have had training through an accredited program. A great place to begin your search for accredited programs is through your local community college.
Once you find a few schools that you are interested in attending, contact the schools' admissions counselors and ask questions. Such questions can include any of the following:
- How many students per instructor are there?
- How long does the training program take to complete?
- What type of credentials do the instructors have?
- What is the school's graduation rate?
- What is the school's tuition rate?
- What types of financial aid does the school accept?
Furthermore, ask the admissions counselor about what happens if you fail your CDL test. Ask if the test can be retaken. If so, how long do you have to wait between each test? How many times total can the test be taken? Are you charged a fee every time you take the test? A good school will be one that helps you in your weak areas, helping you to pass your test no matter how many times you have to take it.
In addition, you should make sure you attend a truck driving school that offers job placement programs. A great school will be one that promotes job placement by bringing in recruiters. Don't rest assured in what any school tells you. If it says it takes part in job placement programs, ask about verification for the programs, including a list of the companies that take part in them.
To prepare yourself for CDL training, if possible, take a tour of the schools that you are interested in attending. Check out the trucks that they will train you in as well as the service that is provided to you by the admissions counselor. If the instructors and counselors seem unprofessional, you should avoid attending the school. While visiting any particular school, talk to some of the students. Ask them about their opinions of the school, including whether or not the school has offered to help them find a job once they finish their training.
There is no right or wrong answer when it comes to you deciding which type of CDL training program to take part in. The best answer will be largely dependent on your preferences as well as your ability to pay for your training expenses. With a quick search online, you will find many people who have been completely satisfied with both types of training. The most important thing for you to do when choosing a school is not to rush through the process. With time and patience, you will easily be able to decide for yourself which type of training program will best suit your wants and needs.