It’s not enough that you enroll in just any institution, especially if you want to pass your Commercial Driver’s Licensure exam with flying colors. Get the best educations possible by considering these factors when looking for a truck driving schools.
I have been in the truck driver training industry for several years now and it still dumbfounds me as to how individuals choose their truck driving school. Often times they make the least important factor a priority, while failing to evaluate the most important factors properly. You want the best quality education you can get for the money, and most importantly you want to be able to land a job after graduation. Here are some important factors to consider when comparing truck driving schools.
A lot of people choose their CDL training based on the price or on their buddies advice . I won’t disagree; sometimes price is the best way to make a decision, especially if the comparisons are generic. Not all truck driving schools are equal and if you base your enrollment on pricing alone you are making a very “snap” decision that could affect the rest of your career. If you call a truck driving school to see if you can afford the training and the price is more than you had expected, then ask about financing, grants, and how others pay for the class. Know the differences between the schools so you can make a decision based on value, not simply on price.
The Major Factors That Separate the Best Schools from the Rest
Driving time, quality of training, job placement, and the quality of the instructors should all be major factors influencing your decision. Your thorough research into these areas will show you which schools are the best.
Interestingly enough, you may have been informed that one-on-one training is the best because if you’re observing instead of driving you are being cheated out of driving time. This advice is actually incorrect. The observation time is remedial time and does not count against your driving time. If you weren’t in the truck observing another student you would be sitting at a computer or studying the pre-trip; you would not be driving. Students attending schools with remedial observation time actually spend more time in and around the trucks than students with one-on-one training.
Truck Driving School Accreditation
Accreditation is an important thing to consider when shopping for a truck driving school. When a school is accredited, it means that it has met the highest standard required by Canadian agencies.
- (Saferway Driver Training School Ltd. has been a BBB Accredited Business since 12/01/1984. Saferway has a BBB A+ Rating) See: http://www.bbb.org/vancouver-island/business-reviews/driving-instruction/saferway-driver-training-school-ltd-in-victoria-bc-51.
- (On June 25, 2015 – Saferway Driver Training School Ltd. received a letter of recognition and a BCTA plaque in recognition of 30 Years of commitment to the BCTA and our industry.)
Course certification is another thing to look for in a driving school. When a school’s program is certified, it means that it has met the three standards (curriculum, knowledge and skills) put up by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI,) the only governing body that certifies truck driving courses.
(Saferway’s courses are; Certified by the Federal Government, this means the courses are exempt from GST, tax deductible and meet requirements for funding. We teach using Tractor-Trailer Driver Training Manual, Based on the FHWA Model Curriculum; follows Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI) curriculum standards. The Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI) is a 501(c)(3) organization established for the purposes of developing uniform skill, curriculum, and course standards for entry-level commercial motor vehicle (CMV) driver training, and certifying training courses that, at a minimum, meet those standards.)
Truck Driving School Facilities
When looking for a driving school, you should make sure that it has all the facilities that you will need. Of course, it should have learning-conducive classrooms. The area should be clean and well-lit, with adequate heating/cooling. Enough desk space and comfortable seating should be provided to the students as well. All the needed learning aids should be accessible to the students as well.
A good truck driving school should also have a practice driving area, preferably with a space of half an acre per truck. It should be closed to public drivers to promote the safety of the drivers and instructors.
- Saferway uses its own learning-conducive classrooms. Saferway does not out source its training or use others facilities to train in their certified courses, we only do this on in-house training/Corporate training.
Since you want to learn how to drive a truck, it is but essential that you choose a school with well-maintained trucks. The school should have a variety of vehicles, ranging from trailers and tractors to weighted trailers.
- (Saferway uses mechanical and repair services specialized in providing the very best mechanical and repair services to the construction and transportation industry.)
- (Saferway provides training in a wide variety of equipment and configurations for best student learning and experience into the industry. We are not a one size fits all institution.)
In order to get an excellent education, you need to pick a school with competent instructors. The minimum requirement for teachers should be three years of driving and educational experience. Add to that, the school should help make sure that their instructors are updated with the latest practices by requiring them to attend professional development programs.
- (Saferway consistently upgrades the instructor training providing the instructors with professional development programs.)
The last point is the most difficult to judge - the instructors. A good truck driving school will have instructors that are experienced, knowledgeable, caring, and capable of teaching. Instructors should also be knowledgeable about the industry; keeping up with the trends, changes, and new regulations. A school should require their instructors to stay current with the industry and to share their knowledge with the students. There are many great truck drivers out there with pins and patches for safety and years of following the rules, but not all of them make good teachers. Any teacher can become a better teacher, but you have to have that desire and ability to begin with. It is hard to assess instructors’ abilities, but you should meet with one or two instructors and even with some students from the class to get a better idea of what to expect.
- (Saferway is not just a driver training institute, we provide Insurance Corporation of British Columbia ( ICBC) Certified Instructor Courses as well. We offer several courses: Class 1/5, Class 5, and Class 1 Upgrades from Class 5 and Class 6.)
Studies have shown that small class sizes are more conducive for learning. So if you want to absorb all the info you can get, choose a school with a low student to instructor ratio. For classroom lectures, the recommended ratio is 15:1 (maximum of 20:1.)
Truck Driving School Cost
If you are short on funds, cost is another thing you should consider when browsing for a truck driving school. In order to get the best value for your money, make sure to analyze the following:
- The cost of the course in relation to the hours of instruction time.
- Flexibility of training.
- Any hidden fees you might incur for insurance, drug screening and driver’s permit, to name a few.
Happy school picking!
Randy A. Eckert
Saferway Driver Training School Ltd.
What to Look for in a Truck Driving School | Randy A. Eckert | LinkedIn