Commercial Driver Education in New Jersey
A resource for new jersey CDL drivers, with trucking schools, application information, and more.
New Jersey CDL drivers education info. Trucking schools, colleges, the application process and more explained here.
A commercial driver’s license (CDL) is required to operate a commercial vehicle like a truck, a tractor-trailer or a school bus. CDL school are not mandatory in New Jersey to get a CDL. However not technically mandatory, commercial driver’s education is particularly useful to understand the intricacies that you need to have in order to get a CDL and to drive a commercial vehicle successfully.
FEDERAL REGULATIONS FOR COMMERCIAL DRIVING
Federal regulations for commercial driving are the same for all states in the US. The regulations are administered by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and are designed for the safety of the drivers and that of the general public.
STATE REGULATIONS FOR COMMERCIAL DRIVING
The state of New Jersey requires you to successfully complete certain tests to obtain your CDL before you can legally drive a commercial vehicle. The exams depend on the type of CDL and the number and type of endorsements on it. You will need to perform written knowledge, air brake inspection, and road, tests. Apart from these driver exams, the test vehicle also has to undergo an examiner inspection. For all the requirements go to our application page.
There is also mandatory training and testing for commercial driver transporting hazardous materials, under the U.S. Division of Motor Vehicles Hazardous Materials regulations.
For school bus driving you require a special school bus endorsement on your CDL that authorizes driving 15 people or more apart from themselves. Separate knowledge and practical driving safety tests are required for bus driving. The knowledge test must also include an air brakes section if there are air brakes on the school bus. A skills test must be completed.
CERTIFIED TRUCK DRIVING PROGRAMS IN THE US
The Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI) certifies truck driving courses across the US. They set standards that programs may opt to adhere to, which indicates their program meets the criteria set out by PTDI. The criteria is based on driving skills taught, theoretical knowledge, and curriculum.
Below are the three types of training schools:
- Private schools – privately owned companies aimed at training people to join the truck driving industry. They are usually high quality.
- There are public schools run by the government which offer training through classes in specific colleges or institutes at lower cost.
- The third type is on the job training offered by carriers themselves with an aim to get the trainees to work for them. These training programs are usually not the best and only impart enough knowledge and skills to get a CDL.
The PTDI standard curriculum outlines what is required for certification under their standards, and provides other info and basic training for CDL drivers.
HOW TO PICK A GOOD TRAINING SCHOOL FOR TRUCK DRIVING
A good first step in finding info is look at program brochures or catalogues. Most decent school will present everything that is offered from the course, in the booklet. The catalogue should inform you about:
- the school and its involvement with truck driving training – how it will help you get licensed and recruited.
- what the facilities are like and the code of conduct.
- the courses that are offered and the process for admission to the school.
- the cost of the course as well as costs associated with getting the CDL.
- what the refund police is in case you have to leave the course.
- what the evaluation method is, i.e. grading, graduation.
The length of commercial education courses offered by various school is different as there are no set standards for the same. Quality schools will break down how time is allocated among driving and in class training. The training given behind the wheel is the most important part of this training program. As per PTDI standards, each student should get at least 44 hours of actual driving experience and 104 hours of classroom and laboratory training to be able to drive a truck safely and competently. This standard is good to keep in mind when selecting programs.
It is recommended by experts to complete training that takes 4-6 weeks, with daily classes. Good schools have longer courses to enable students to get more personal attention and more driving experience behind the wheels, rather than observing other students driving.
GRADUATION AND PLACEMENT AFTER TRAINING PROGRAM
In most cases, programs will give out a certificate or diploma upon completion of the course. These certificates and diplomas provide a good value for comparison of workers when employers are deciding on positions. This proof is also required by their insurance providers as part of the new hire processes. Programs that are done by companies themselves, in house, typically do not offer a diploma, and give the employee less options for mobility.
Good schools help their students to find good jobs at the end of their training program. They usually have placement services on campus which arrange recruiting events with prospective employers to come and make presentations to the students and interview them.
Placement rates are shown by some schools detailing what the rate of employment is for graduates upon completion of the course. They target to increase these rates through interview and resume prep and networking. Some programs offer lifetime placement assistance.
- Since training schools are evaluated on the basis of their placement rates, it is important to complete a commercial driver’s education program from a good school before you apply for a CDL. This ensures that you become a safe driver and are also able to get a good job.
- See CDL Basics and How to Renew a CDL.