When it comes to picking a CDL training school, it can be hard to figure out which one is right for you. And that’s just when it comes to choosing between good schools.
Adding to the confusion is that a legitimate school that will help you move forward into your career may seem to blend in with fly-by-night or scam schools, at least on the surface.
Fortunately, there are a few key steps you can take that will help you tell the right school from the wrong ones.
Here’s what you should do:
1. Create a list of questions that are important to you.
Writing out a list of questions can help in a couple of ways.
First, it lets you prioritize the things you’re looking for in a CDL training school. Let’s say, for example, that you want to keep working your regular job while you train. If so, then asking if there is any flexibility in the training schedule should be at the top of your list because it can be a determining factor in your choice of school.
Second, writing out a list of questions can help you to figure out if the school is a scam or not.
Asking how many locations a school has, for example, is a great place to start. If the school only has one location, you need to make sure it’s not a fly-by-night or mom-and-pop operation because if you have any issues with the school but the school suddenly packs up and disappears, you could be out of luck in a number of ways. If the school has multiple locations, though, it’s far less likely that the school will just disappear all of the sudden and leave you stuck.
Just be sure to avoid generalized questions, like “How much experience does the school have?” because a school can answer by giving you a lot of fluff without much substance. Instead, be specific. Ask things like, “How many years has the school been in business?” or “How many students has the school graduated?” Roadmaster Drivers School, for example, has been operating since 1992 and has trained over 70,000 students in that time. These are the types of solid answers you’ll want to try to get from a school.
For more on which specific questions to ask, check out Roadmaster’s article on “5 Questions You Didn’t Know To Ask When Choosing A CDL School.”
2. Check the school’s website for answers.
Once you have your list of questions, the first place you should look for answers is the school’s website. A good school will have many of the answers you’re looking for right on their site, so you should be able to get some good information just from browsing. Some other things to consider when looking online:
Does the school have an actual website, or is it just a Facebook page? The more web properties a school has, the more established the organization probably is.
If the school does have a website, does it look reputable? Pop-up ads, for example, should send up a red flag in your mind, as should a site with barely any information on it. If the site only has one page, and that page just has a sign-up sheet and a bunch of third-party advertisements, you should think twice about giving them your information.
3. Talk to the representatives.
The best way to get a feel for a school beyond the web is to speak directly to its representatives. Speaking to someone one-on-one can give you better answers to your questions because the representative can take into consideration your unique circumstances to give you the most helpful information that matters to you.
On top of answering the remaining questions on your list, those representatives also can give you a better sense of the type of people with whom you’re dealing. Are they nice, friendly and helpful? Or do they make you feel like it’s a chore even to speak to you? Either way, it’s likely that the instructors will treat you in a similar way so be mindful of the school’s attitude when dealing with its representatives on the phone. After all, they don’t call them “representatives” for nothing.
Now you know how to pick the CDL training school that will best prepare you for your new career. Doing these three steps may take a little more time up front, but by doing your homework and making an informed decision you can avoid choosing the wrong CDL school. And that can save you time and money in the long run.