The truck driving school that you choose to attend could have a tremendous impact on your future career. While there are numerous truck driving schools to choose from, they are not created equal – and failure to get your certification from a good school could make it hard for you to get hired.
Things to consider when selecting a school
There are certain things that will make a good truck driving school stand out from a mediocre one. Some things to look for include:
- Accreditation – a good school will have sought out accreditation by an agency approved by the U.S. Department of Education
- Certification – meets or exceeds the Professional Truck Driver Institute standard, including a least 44 hours of actual drive time
- Cost – consider the cost of the school in relation to the number of hours behind the wheel, and look for hidden fees that may not be included, such as obtaining a permit, drug screening, insurance, and more
- Drive time – you should have at least 44 hours of actual driving time, not including observation time
- Equipment – well-maintained recent model tractors and trailers, including weighted trailers
- Facilities – clean classrooms with audio-visual capabilities, a library, and a practice driving range
- Financing – reputable schools will have financing options
- Instructors – teaching staff should have at least three years of driving experience, as well as educational experience
- Placement assistance – while no school can guarantee you a job, they can provide you with assistance in finding one after graduation
- Program length – a good truck driving school will be at least a month long to provide you with adequate drive time
- Student to truck ratio – the best schools will place just one student per truck, giving you individualized attention
Driving schools to consider
Some truck driving schools stand out above the rest. There are three top national truck driving schools you should consider; Roadmaster, Smith & Solomon, and TDDS Technical Institute
Roadmaster offers a three week course with nationally known, quality training. The training includes driving field courses for hands-on training. They also offer tuition assistance for qualified students, job placement assistance, and instructors with real-world experience.
Smith & Solomon has trained, graduated, and placed over 20,000 students to date. They offer behind-the-wheel training, including on the road and in the training yard, a comprehensive safety training program, and written permit examination. Training options vary, including 4-week full time courses, 10-week night courses, and 9-week weekend courses so you can train when it is convenient for you.
TDDS Technical Institute offers a variety of programs, including programs for new drivers and programs for current drivers who want to upgrade their skills. Classroom training includes CDL knowledge, D.O.T information, map reading, cargo handling, trip planning, accident reporting, and more. Hands-on training includes proper use of mirrors, brakes, shifting, road position, distance judgment and more. Maneuverability and skills training includes pre-trip inspection, turning, parking, backing, and more. For drivers with experience, TDDS offers refresher courses, alcohol testing, controlled substance recognition training, hazardous materials training, continuing education, and more.(truckersreport.com)