How to Pick a CDL Training School Wiggins Colorado
Congratulations on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a trucking school near Wiggins CO. Perhaps it has always been your fantasy to hit the open highway while operating a big ole tractor trailer. Or maybe you have conducted some analysis and have found that an occupation as a truck driver provides excellent income and flexible job opportunities. No matter what your reason is, it’s essential to receive the proper training by enrolling in the right CDL school in your area. When evaluating your options, there are certain factors that you’ll need to consider before making your ultimate selection. Location will no doubt be important, especially if you need to commute from your Wiggins residence. The expense will also be of importance, but picking a school based entirely on price is not the best method to guarantee you’ll obtain the right training. Don’t forget, your objective is to learn the skills and knowledge that will enable you to pass the CDL exams and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that objective in mind, just how do you choose a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to cover in the balance of this article. But first, we are going to talk a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will ultimately need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Should You Get?
In order to drive commercial vehicles legally within the United States and Wiggins CO, an operator must get a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 classes of licenses that a person can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the subject of this article is how to select a truck driving school, we will address Class A and Class B licenses. What differentiates each class of CDL is the type of vehicle that the driver can operate together with the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Below are short explanations of the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is required to drive any vehicle that has a GCWR of more than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of more than 10,000 lbs. Several of the vehicles that drivers may be able to operate with Class A licenses are:
- Interstate or Intrastate Tractor Trailers
- Trucks with Double or Triple Trailers
- Tanker Trucks
- Livestock Carriers
- Class B and Class C Vehicles
Class B CDL. A Class B CDL is needed to drive single vehicles having a GVWR of more than 26,000 lbs., or a GCWR of greater than 26,000 lbs. including a towed vehicle weighing up to 10,000 lbs. A few of the vehicles that operators may be qualified to drive with Class B licenses are:
- Tractor Trailers
- Dump Trucks
- Cement Mixers
- Large Buses
- Class C Vehicles
Both Class A and Class B CDLs might also require endorsements to drive specific kinds of vehicles, for example passenger or school buses. And a Class A licensee, with the proper required endorsements, can drive any vehicle that a Class B licensee is qualified to drive.
How to Evaluate a Trucking School
After you have decided which Commercial Drivers License you want to pursue, you can start the process of assessing the Wiggins CO trucking schools that you are looking at. As already mentioned, cost and location will certainly be your initial concerns. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they should not be your only considerations. Other factors, including the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are similarly if not more important. So below are a few additional things that you need to research while performing your due diligence before choosing, and particularly paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Very few trucking schools in the Wiggins CO area are accredited due to the rigorous process and expense to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more typical and is offered by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not required to become certified, but there are several advantages. Interested students know that the training will be of the highest caliber, and that they will receive an ample amount of driving time. As an example, PTDI calls for 44 hours of actual driving time, not simulations or ride-alongs. So if a school’s course is certified (the course, not the school is certified), students know that the training and curriculum will meet the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One indicator to help determine the quality of a truck driver school is how long it has been in operation. A poorly rated or a fly by night school usually will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. On the other hand, even the best of Wiggins CO schools had to start from their first day of training, so consider it as one of several qualifiers. You can also ask what the school’s track record is regarding successful licensing and job placement of its graduates. If a school won’t supply those stats, search elsewhere. The schools should also have relationships with regional and national trucking firms. Having a large number of contacts not only points to an excellent reputation within the trade, but also boosts their job placement program for students. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to check with the Colorado licensing authority to make sure that the CDL trucker schools you are considering are in good standing.
How Good is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools should be licensed in Colorado and hire teachers that are experienced and trained. We will discuss more about the instructors in the next section. In addition, the student to instructor ratio should not be greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be receiving the personalized instruction they will need. This is especially true concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And look out for any school that professes it can teach you to drive trucks in a relatively short period of time. Learning to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer professionally takes time. Most Wiggins CO schools provide training programs that run from 3 weeks to as long as two months, based on the class of license or type of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Teachers? As already mentioned, it’s important that the instructors are trained to teach driving techniques and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Even though several states have minimum driving time requirements to be certified as an instructor, the more successful driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also vital that the instructors stay up to date with industry developments or any new laws or changes in regulations. Assessing teachers might be a little more intuitive than other standards, and possibly the ideal method is to pay a visit to the school and speak with the instructors in person. You can also speak with a few of the students going through the training and ask if they are happy with the level of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Adequate Driving Time? Most importantly, an excellent truck driving school will furnish lots of driving time to its students. Besides, isn’t that what it’s all about? Driving time is the actual time spent behind the wheel driving a truck. While the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are important training methods, they are no replacement for actual driving. The more instruction that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will be. Although driving time fluctuates between schools, a reasonable benchmark is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Contact the Wiggins CO schools you are researching and ask how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Captive or Independent ? It’s possible to obtain discounted or even free training from some truck driving schools if you make a commitment to drive for a particular carrier for a defined amount of time. This is what’s known as contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So instead of maintaining relationships with many different trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only work with one company. The benefit is receiving less expensive or even free training by surrendering the freedom to initially work wherever you choose. Clearly contract training has the potential to limit your income prospects when starting out. But for some it may be the ideal way to get affordable training. Just be sure to find out if the Wiggins CO schools you are looking at are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Provide CDL Testing Onsite? There are some states that will permit third party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is available in Colorado, ask if the schools you are reviewing are DMV certified to provide it. One advantage is that it is more convenient than contending with graduates from other schools for test times at Colorado testing locations. It is moreover an indicator that the DMV regards the authorized schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Classes Accessible? As formerly noted, truck driver training is only about one to two months long. With such a brief duration, it’s essential that the Wiggins CO school you choose provides flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. For example, if you’re having a hard time learning a certain driving maneuver, then the instructor should be prepared to dedicate more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still working while attending training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other obligations.
Is Job Assistance Provided? The moment you have acquired your CDL license after graduating from trucking school, you will be impatient to start your new profession. Verify that the schools you are reviewing have job placement programs. Ask what their job placement percentage is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, ask which national and local trucking companies their graduates are placed with for hiring. If a school has a low job placement rate or not many Wiggins CO employers hiring their grads, it may be a sign to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Given? Truck driver schools are comparable to colleges and other Wiggins CO area trade or technical schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being offered. Find out if the schools you are assessing have a financial assistance department, or at a minimum someone who can help you get through the options and forms that must be submitted.
Attending Truck Driving School near Wiggins CO?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Wiggins Colorado area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
The community was established in 1882 as the Burlington railroad depot of Corona. Around 1900, Corona was renamed in honor of Oliver P. Wiggins, who served as a guide and scout for Captain John C. Frémont, on some of his explorations through northern Colorado in the 1840s. He also accompanied Kit Carson for 12 years on his expeditions. Technically, there is still a portion of the town which is Corona. It is the north side of the railroad tracks. The part to the east was named after Oliver P. Wiggins, and that is Wiggins. The whole town was never officially renamed.
As of the census of 2000, there were 838 people, 265 households, and 210 families residing in the town. The population density was 938.4 people per square mile (363.5/km²). There were 279 housing units at an average density of 312.4 per square mile (121.0/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 82.10% White, 1.19% African American, 2.27% Native American, 12.89% from other races, and 1.55% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 25.06% of the population.
There were 265 households out of which 46.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 62.6% were married couples living together, 10.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 20.4% were non-families. 17.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.16 and the average family size was 3.52.
Choose the Right Trucking School Wiggins CO
Choosing the ideal truck driving school is an essential first step to starting your new profession as a long distance or local truck driver. The skill sets taught at school will be those that forge a new career behind the wheel. There are many options offered and understanding them is critical to a new driver’s success. Most importantly, you must obtain the appropriate training in order to drive a large commercial vehicle in a professional and safe manner. If you are lacking cash or financing, you might want to consider a captive school. You will pay a lower or even no tuition by agreeing to drive for their contracted carrier. Or you can select an independent school and have the option of driving for the trucking firm of your choosing, or one of several affiliated with the school. It’s your choice. But no matter how you receive your training, you will soon be joining an industry that helps America move as a professional trucker in Wiggins CO.
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