Truck Driving School Guide
Finding the right truck driving school can be quite a challenge for the newcomer. What questions should you ask and what should you be looking for in a truck driving school? Making the right choice can either make or break your career before you even get started. Before you hand over thousands of dollars for CDL training, let’s look at some important factors to consider.
First, is the school licensed by the State? Is it Accredited and more importantly, is it Certified? To understand these factors you must understand what each of these terms represent.
A State business license shows that the business in question has filed and paid the appropriate fees, and have met the guidelines set forth by the State, which allows them to legally operate that business within the State they reside.
Accreditation refers to schools that have been accredited by an agency that has been approved by the U.S. Department of Education. Only truck driving schools that have been accredited are entitled to have access to federal student grants and loans. There are very few truck driving schools that have achieved accreditation because of the tough standards and the expensive process. A truck driving school that has been accredited, shows that they have met the highest standards for education.
Certification, on the other hand, pertains to a truck driving truckingschool school that has met the training standards set forth by the trucking industry. Certification shows that an independent third party, unrelated to the truck driving school, has inspected the school and has officially “certified” that the training offered to the students have met the basic skills required to be a truck driver within the entry level. PTDI is the only organization that currently certifies truck driving schools. PTDI (Professional Truck Driver Institute) is based out of Alexandria, Virginia. Certification is voluntary and a truck driving school is not required to be certified by PTDI. Therefore, keep in mind, that just because a school is not PTDI certified, does not mean they are a “bad” school. Never the less, being PTDI certified only further justifies a school’s reputation.
Important questions to ask before signing on with a truck driving school are:
- How much is it going to cost? On the average, CDL training should cost between $2500.00 to $4500.00
- What is the student to truck ratio? The lower the number, the better!
- What is the student to instructor ratio? Again, the lower the number, the better.
- Will there be any “observation” time? This is a total waste of time and money.
- Is there an offer for job placement assistance after completing the course?
- What if the trucking company I’m placed with treats me badly…is there further assistance?
- If I fail the CDL test, is there a money-back guarantee?
- What is the maximum amount that I will be responsible for in payment?
Remember, ask anything and everything BEFORE you sign the paper work. Also, take the contract home and read every word, very carefully. If something is unclear, ask someone outside of the school. Be certain that you understand everything within the contract before signing. Once signed, you will be held responsible.
There are many good, reputable truck driving schools across the nation. Do your homework, make sure they are licensed, accredited and if possible, PTDI certified. Know your rights and understand the contract before you sign up for the truck driving school.