Your future could depend upon the truck driving school you attend. There can be a big difference among schools in the objectives and quality of the training offered. Here are the basic characteristics you should look for:FACILITIES:
Classrooms should be adequate for instruction, clean, have audio-visual capabilities, and training aids.EQUIPMENT:
The school should provide well-maintained recent model tractors and trailers.CERTIFICATION:
Look for a program that follows a curriculum that meets or exceeds the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI) standards and also follows the Federal Motor Carriers requirements. Make sure they have a minimum of 44 hours of actual behind the wheel driving time (driving time does not include “observation”). Make sure that you will actual driving time of 44 hours. A good school will guarantee the number of driving hours in their curriculum.
This is the most important part of your training. Many schools mislead students by including “observation time ” as part of the time spent driving. Observation is NOT driving and provides little or no training at all. Demand the full amount of actual driving time. Make the school show you in writing how much driving is included in the course.STUDENT-TO-TRUCK RATIO:
Many school cut cost and quality by training 3 to 5 students per truck. The best schools provide private, one-on-one instruction (one student per truck). This way, the focus is on you. It may be unsafe to be distracted by other students when you are just learning to drive a truck.
Teaching staff should have a minimum of five years driving experience. Instructors should have a background in education or have participated in a formal “ train the trainer” program. Make sure the instructors are accredited and certified. Ask current students what they think of the instructional staff.PLACEMENT ASSISTANCE:
The school should have personnel dedicated to assisting you in finding a good job in the trucking industry. It is illegal for any school to guarantee you a job.
Look for a program that is the right length for you and the right hours for training. At some schools, a training hour includes only 50 minutes of actual training (plus a ten minute break). This means that if they tell you your course is 160 hours long, you lose 10 minutes of training off each hour. Get your money's worth from schools that trains based on a 60 minute hour.
Truck driving training can be expensive because schools have to pay for instructors, insurance, trucks, fuel, rent, and advertising to name a few. But as a general rule, training should not cost more than about $4,300.00.BEWARE OF CDL MILLS:
Many tractor trailer driving schools only want to produce as many licensed drivers as soon as possible with the least cost to them. That would include minimal driving time and several students crowded in one truck. Avoid these at all cost! Just because you get a license does not mean you are well trained.