Don’t Even Think About Choosing a Commercial Driving School Without Asking These Five Questions

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While modern conveniences like email and texting has sharply reduced the need for mailmen, the explosion of online shopping has made the need for shipping services greater than ever. If you want a career with great job stability with a median annual income of $40,000, becoming a truck driver for a shipping services company like FedEx, UPS, or DHL might be a great option for you. Most shipping services require that you get your commercial driver’s license (CDL) in order to get a job. While looking for schools to get your drivers training to prepare you for your CDL road test, you should pay attention to the following factors before making a decision:

  1. How long has the driving school been in business?
    A driving school who has been in business for an established amount of time will have a track record with the Department of Transportation and can offer you graduation and exam statistics for past students. They will have established connections with companies who hire commercial drivers, which will help you with job placement after you finish school.
  2. Does the school have a proven track record?
    A driving school worth the time and money of attending should be proud to inform you of their graduation and licensing statistics and job placement numbers. An organization who isn’t forthcoming with this information either is too new to have any statistics, or they might not be statistics that would make you want to attend their program. Either way, if the school cannot tell what percentage of students pass the road test and the average time it takes to get a job after graduating, tread lightly.
  3. What additional services does the school provide after completing the training?
    Attending a school that is dedicated to helping you find a job after graduation is an enormous benefit that you should pay particular attention to. Additionally, some schools offer resume and interview preparation and even provide with tax prep services for commercial drivers who work as independent contractors with more complicated tax implications.
  4. Does the school offer 3rd party CDL testing?
    Some states require that you take your road test at an official government facility. Other states allow some driving schools to offer 3rd party road testing onsite.

    If your state allows 3rd party testing, finding a school who offers it is a big bonus for two reasons. First of all, the State Licensing Agency has very strict qualifications for becoming a 3rd party tester. If your school has met those standards, it’s a good indication of their legitimacy. Secondly, being able to test as soon as you’ve completed your training will get you licensed and in your career much sooner than if you have to go through bureaucratic channels after you graduate to take your test.

  5. How many students are there for each instructor?
    Ideally, you should not be sharing your instructor with any more than three other students. If the ratio of instructors to students is greater than 1:4, the students get substantially less actual time behind the wheel and the education is less effective. It’s also a good idea to ask how many trucks the school has available for student drivers, as that also determines how much road time you get while in school.

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