If you have been thinking about a career as a commercial truck driver, you are already on your way to a well-paying and rewarding career. Like any professional position, you should anticipate need a certain level of education and training before hitting the road. In the case of trucking careers, a commercial truck driving school can get you up to speed and out on the road sooner than you may think. Read on to find out what to expect in driving school before you commit to a program for your training.
Learn the Different Types of CDLs
Do you know what kind of CDL license you need for the kind of truck driving you want to do? Commercial drivers’ licenses are necessary to work with anything from motor coaches to heavy equipment, and there are three main classifications, depending on the type of vehicle you operate.
- Class A CDL jobs are heaviest loads, over 26,001 pounds. This can include tractor trailers, flatbed trucks, and even livestock carriers. You may be able to operate certain vehicles with a B or C classification.
- Class B is intended for maximum loads of 26,000 pounds or for towing a vehicle that does not go over 10,000 pounds. While you may not operate Class A vehicles, you can drive large passenger buses, dump trucks with trailers, box trucks, and straight trucks with this kind of license.
- Class C is designated for those vehicles that do not fall under A or B types. Transporting hazardous chemicals or more than 16 passengers in a large van falls into this category.
You may want to decide which kind of CDL you may need before you sign up for truck driving school. Not every school can prepare you for every vehicle, so you may want to concentrate on the license for the work you would like to do.
Find Your Seat
CDL truck driving school typically involves both classroom work and practical driving training. Big rigs and other large trucks are more complicated than a regular car, truck, or SUV, so you want to learn all you can both about how to handle the semi-truck as well as trucking laws and regulations to keep you safe and compliant.
Another thing to keep in mind is that while you have federal requirements to know, you should also learn the state rules for the area in which you plan to work. For example, you may be required to obtain a CDL permit before you can begin road training. A reputable truck driving school should be able to assist you with permits as well as local regulations.
In the classroom, you should cover the basic road signs, rules and regulations, and proper signals for safe truck operation. You may also learn the administrative responsibilities that go along with driving, such as how to read maps and navigate, how to plan trip logs, and how to complete logs of hours driven and deliveries made. Every job, even truck driving, may have some paperwork to do, and you want to be sure you know what record keeping is expected before you apply for a trucking job.
Behind the Wheel
Once you finish your classroom instruction, you should learn operation and truck maintenance techniques to be safe on the road. A truck driving school program should include some or all the following skills:
- How to execute left and right turns
- Mastering driving in reverse and on hills
- Safe lane changes and gear shifting
- Pre- and post-drive inspections
- Coupling and uncoupling a trailer
- What to do in the event of a breakdown
- Other maneuvers specific to different kinds of equipment
Depending on the state, you may need to earn a minimum of hours in training or with supervision before you can drive on your own.
Find The Right Truck Driving School
Not all truck driving schools are the same, and you should do a little research before you sign up for a CDL training program. At a minimum, a CDL truck driving school should be licensed by the state, but you can also seek out a school that has been either certified or accredited by a regulating agency to get the best education you can.
You may also want to consider the truck driving school cost, as the tuition can vary greatly. You may not want to settle for the least expensive, but rather consider what is included in the cost so that you don’t have any unexpected expenses. In some cases the federal government will pick up the tab, and trucking schools may offer financial aid or other assistance to make your training program affordable.
It is a lot to think about, but now that you understand more about the aspects of job training, you may be better prepared to embark on this road to a new career as a commercial truck driver. Once you’ve earned your CDL license, you can rely on CDLjobs.com to find truck driving jobs that appeal to you.