3 Questions to ask CDL School

3 Questions to ask CDL School
April 25 05:00 2017 Print This Article


Going to CDL school in order to get a commercial driver’s license is a fast-track way to get a good paying job in an industry desperately short of workers. And with hundreds of CDL schools to choose from, future drivers have a lot of choices. There are standalone local schools, regional schools with multiple locations, and nationally known schools that are affiliated with large employer-sponsors.

Before signing on with a CDL school, the future driver needs to fully know what he or she is getting into. And the only way to be familiar enough with a school to determine whether or not it’s worth enrolling is to ask a lot of questions. Those questions include the top three, listed below.

  • 1. What are your membership affiliations?

CDL schools of reputation tend to affiliate with other schools and trucking companies by way of industry trade groups. Examples of such groups include the Commercial Vehicle Training Association, the American Trucking Associations, and the National Truckers Association.

What drivers should understand is that industry trade organizations require members to uphold a particular set of standards. This is done in order to protect the reputation of the industry. Therefore, a CDL school that maintains membership in one or more such organizations is a school that is held accountable. This is the kind of school the driver can rely on to provide competent training and post-training support.

  • 2. Do you offer job placement assistance?

One of the biggest conundrums faced by new drivers is not being able to find a job after graduation, due to lack of experience. It is the age-old dichotomy of employers wanting experience but new drivers not being able to get any experience because they cannot get jobs. Job placement assistance mitigates this problem to some degree.

There are some CDL schools that work with dozens of employers that have agreed to hire their graduates, like C.R. England. Other schools are actually set up by trucking companies to train new drivers. These schools offer guaranteed employment as long as graduates meet all of the other hiring requirements established by the employer.

At any rate, job placement assistance is vital to finding a job as soon as the new driver has his or her license. The CDL school that doesn’t offer assistance is one the driver should think twice about training with.

  • 3. How much training time will be spent behind the wheel?

Lastly, CDL training consists of time both in the classroom and behind the wheel. Future drivers should inquire about how much of that time is hands-on training in an actual big rig. Along those same lines, drivers might want to ask about the kinds of equipment a school uses. The best possible scenario is one in which the student spends at least half of his or her training time behind the wheel of a late model vehicle typical of what he or she will drive in the real world.

Hands-on training is absolutely indispensable for any new driver. Why? Because there is only so much you can learn in the classroom. Drivers have to be able to take that knowledge and apply it to real-world settings by actually driving. The best CDL schools understand that; they give their students plenty of time to practice the skills they need to pass their tests and find work.

CDL schools are recruiting more aggressively today than they ever have. In order to answer the ongoing driver shortage, they need to recruit and train as many new drivers as possible. The important thing for drivers is to be very choosy about the schools they attend.

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Catalina Shook
Catalina Shook

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