News & Updates

Class A or Class B CDL? Which Is Right For You?

Jul 1, 2019

 

Starting a career in trucking can be intimidating, but learning the ins and outs of the industry can help you be prepared to make the best decisions for you. To begin your career, you will need to decide whether you want to obtain your Class A or Class B CDL. We will help you understand the differences between the two options so you can decide which option fits best for you.

What You Can Drive?

For both Class A or Class B commercial driver’s license, you must possess a Class C driver’s license and be at least 18-years-old. At Georgia Driving Academy (GDA), we offer exceptional programs to guide and instruct our students to become Class A or Class B commercial drivers.

Class A – Drive the Eighteen Wheelers

The Class A CDL allows you to drive “truck trailer or tractor-semitrailer combination in which the combined weight exceeds 26,001 and the unit being towed exceeds 10,000 pounds.” An example would be the typical semi truck you would see on the highway. Additionally, a Class A driver has the option to apply for both over-the-road and local jobs. However, please note although you can obtain a Class A CDL at 18, you are only allowed to drive within your state’s boundaries (intrastate) until you reach 21 years of age. Twenty-one (21) years of age is also the requirement for drivers to obtain CDL Endorsements.

Class B – Limited to Type and Weight

The Class B CDL allows you to drive “single vehicles weighing 26,001 or more pounds and the unit being towed is less than 10,000 pounds.” This training prepares students for employment as a passenger bus driver or straight truck driver (tow trucks, dump trucks, delivery trucks and utility trucks) in a local setting.

What You Can Make with a Class A CDL vs Class B CDL

As there is a weight, load, and vehicle difference, there is also pay differences for Class A versus Class B drivers. As the Class A curriculum requires more time and therefore Class A drivers usually qualify for higher paying jobs.

GDA is the Place to Train for Your CDL

If you’re ready to get your Class A or Class B CDL, we’re ready to hear from you. Start by completing our online application, and we’ll get the wheels turning.

How Long Does It Take To Get A CDL?

Jun 25, 2019

 

graphic with clocks and the verbiage "how long does it take to earn a cdl"

It Doesn’t Take Long to Get a CDL

If you’re looking for a rewarding career in the trucking industry, classroom and on-hands training is not a long, drawn-out process. At Georgia Driving Academy (GDA), we prepare you to become an excellent driver. Many companies trust our curriculum to train the drivers they want to join their team.

Class A CDL Course Total Time: 180 Hours

With the Class A CDL, you will be able to drive the big rigs, locally and over-the-road. When you become a truck driver, you become a part of a country-wide team that keeps our country moving. If you look at the 180 hours in a matter of 40 hours per week, you can be ready for a new career in the trucking industry in 4.5 weeks.

There is a lot to learn, and we have perfected our course since our beginnings in 1995 with our state-of-art classroom study followed by what every truck driver must know along the roads. If your schedule makes it hard to attend an on-campus class, we have designed two online-curriculum options.

  • 60 Hours: In-Classroom on GDA Campus
  • 120 Hours Hands-On: From the Driving Range to Road Training and Testing

Class B CDL Course Total Time: 70 Hours

You don’t have to drive the eighteen-wheelers to have a rewarding commercial driving career. The Class B  CDL will prepare you to be ready to drive a Motor Coach Class B rated bus or a 26-foot straight truck. Class B commercial drivers also keep America on the move. In less than two weeks, you can be ready to start a new career.

  • 70 Hours In-Classroom and Hands-On

GDA Brings the Driving Jobs to You

We know that preparing for a rewarding, driving career is why you have come to the Georgia Driving Academy, and we have gained the respect and trust of many regional and national companies. Part of our commitment to you is to help you find the driving career that is right for you. It’s always exciting on a GDA campus, and we’re at 770-918-8501 or 800-711-4301 to answer any questions. Let’s keep America on the move.

Your Guide to Becoming a Truck Driver: Tips for Getting Your Dream Job

Jun 18, 2019

 

graphic with image of truck and text that reads "Your Guide to Becoming a Truck Driver. Part 6: tips for getting your dream job"

Congratulations on earning that CDL!

 Now, what is the next step? Finding a job? The thought of getting a job may be overwhelming, but don’t stress. Here are some tips that could help you find your next career path.

1. Use Job Placement Services:

It is likely that your truck driving school provides job placement services to their students. You can contact your driving school to find out more information. These job placement services are put in place for your benefit, so do not let them go to waste. Driving schools usually have relationships with certain employers because they want their students to succeed. Job placement services could potentially give you a leg up from the competition.

2.  Use Online Job Resources

There are multiple online sites that can help you get a better understanding of the industry and what jobs are available. Job boards and online job-hunting sites can help you compare pay rates, job requirements, and company standards. Additionally, these sites usually have an application process built into their programs to make applying for jobs easy.

3. Apply!

The most important thing to remember is that the worst someone could say in “no”. Do not let the fear of getting a “no” keep you from applying. Most employers will not take the time to seek you out. You will need to do the leg work and diligently be on the lookout for job opportunities that look interesting to you. The more jobs you apply to the better chance you have of receiving an interview.

4. Nail Your Interview

The key to landing an interview, and then a job, is to make sure that they know why you are the best candidate for the job. Dress well and be prepared to talk about your strengths. You must sell your strengths to your interviewer, and explain why you are the person they should choose for the position. Using personal experience, giving strong references, and being relaxed can really work in your favor. Be confident in your abilities, know what you know and don’t know. Answer with confidence. Be sure to stand out in a positive way. Drawing attention to your added skills means you will draw the attention of more trucking companies. It will also set you apart from other applicants.

5. Know Your Worth

Do not let a lack of experience intimidate you. Remember that employers are seeking hardworking, honest individuals who are willing to grow professionally. Whichever job you find, will provide you with opportunities to gain experience and learn the ins and outs of driving professionally. Traits like responsibility, leadership, dedication, initiative, and professionalism can make all the difference. Remember, the difference between CDL drivers and most other jobs is that you are an independent contractor, until you sign a contract with a company. This means that you have an advantage on the bargaining front if you have the skills to back it up.

 

So get out there and explore your options! Be brave, sell yourself as the perfect candidate and you will be sure to land the perfect position!

Georgia Driving Academy: If you’re interested in learning more about the job placement assistance services at GDA Training, please contact one of our career advisors at 770-918-8501 or 800-711-4301 in our Conyers office or 706-507-4429 in our Columbus office.

Your Guide to Becoming a Truck Driver: The CDL Exam

Jun 10, 2019

 

graphic with image of truck and text that reads "Your Guide to Becoming a Truck Driver. Part 1: The CDL Exam"

Congratulations!  You have finished CDL training school, decided on your endorsements, and are ready to take your CDL Exam. Now, let’s get the ball rolling.

Your first stop is going to be your local Georgia Department Of Driver Services office to schedule your CDL exam. There will be two parts to your exam: written and skills. You have gained the driving skills during school, so now is the time to focus on the written exam and putting those driving schools to the test!

The key to success is to not study hard but to study smart. Here are six tips to help you prepare.

Be Specific

Know exactly what areas you will be tested on and focus on those areas. Don’t waste time studying for endorsements you aren’t seeking. Also, be sure to know details such as the DDS rules and regulations, other various driving regulations, minimum and maximum weights, and the order of how the DDS pre-trip inspection is done.

Weak Spots

Make a list of the areas you feel the weakest and spend extra time studying the material in those areas.

Be Rested

Don’t study harder material when you are tired or distracted. Only study when you are alert and focused because otherwise, you are wasting precious study time.

Practice Tests

Practice taking the exam with practice tests. Doing this will help you get a feel for the type of questions on the exam and also pinpoint your weak areas. You can find free practice exams online by just doing a quick Google search for “free CDL practice test” or by visiting the Georgia Department of Driver Services website.

Go Mobile

Make it easy to study on the go by putting study materials on your mobile device. You can use apps like Quizlet for flashcards that cover the engine, cab check, steering, suspension and more!

Written Test Tips

Don’t forget these important tips for actually taking the exam.

  • Get plenty of rest the night before.
  • Eat a substantial breakfast.
  • Take your time understanding each question.
  • Don’t leave any question blank.
  • Recheck your answers, if you have time.

Prepare for the On-the-Road Driving Test

For the CDL road test, you will be tested on the following:

Pre-trip Inspection. You will be tested to see if you know whether your vehicle is safe to drive. You will be asked to do a pre-trip inspection of your vehicle and explain to the examiner what you would inspect and why.

Basic Vehicle Control. You will be tested on your ability to control the vehicle. You will be asked to move your vehicle in a variety of directions and turn it within a defined area.

On-road Test. You will be tested on your skill to safely drive your vehicle in a variety of traffic situations. The situations may include turns, crossing intersections, railroads, and also different city road types and highways.

Once you have passed the exam, you have earned your CDL and can begin the next step—getting a truck driving job! That is what we will discuss in the sixth and final part of this guide next time.

Your Guide to Becoming a Truck Driver: CDL Endorsements

May 23, 2019

 

graphic with image of bus and text that reads "Your Guide to Becoming a Truck Driver. Part 4: License Endorsements"

 

CDL Endorsements Increase Your Skills and Job Opportunities

The Commercial Drivers License (CDL) you obtain from Georgia Driving Academy will only allow you to drive a single trailer vehicle. As you have heard in CDL class training, endorsements are additional, acquired certifications that prepare and qualify you to transport certain types of loads.  Found on GEORGIA GOV under “Commercial License,” you find the “License Endorsements” that will allow you to drive different types of loads, as illustrated by the FMCSA.

  • “C – For Hire” – Georgia requires anyone, even CDL drivers, driving for a limousine company must have this level of endorsement.
  • “P – Passenger Vehicles (sixteen or more, including the driver)”
  • “H – Hazardous Materials Haulers” – You have the authority to haul hazardous materials
  • “S – School Bus (no qualified for Permits)” – You can legally drive a school bus.
  • “T – Double/Triple-Trailers” – You can legally pull multiple trailers at the same time.
  • “N – Tank Vehicles” – You are allowed to haul liquids or gas that are otherwise restricted.
  • “X – Tank Vehicle + Hazardous Material” – You are certified to haul tanks with hazardous materials.

Be in Higher-Demand with One License Endorsement or More

The more qualified you are, the more truck driving opportunity you will have coming your way. You will find good advice on Smart Trucking. As you will read, “getting a CDL endorsement or taking continuing education courses can give your resume more appeal,” and also bring you a higher-paying job.

So which endorsement should you get? That’s up to you as an individual, but many truck drivers recommend getting all of them. Endorsements make you much more valuable to a trucking company because you can perform tasks that not everyone can perform. Employers like that kind of flexibility, and when it comes to being in the job market, vault you to the front of the line when it comes to desirability. Think about it: if you run a large outfit, and you see two similarly qualified applicants, but one can haul double trailers and do HAZMAT, which one has the advantage?

Once you’ve decided which endorsement you want to get, it’s time to take the CDL exam! Come back for Part 5 as we break down the ins and outs of the test…