How to Find a Truck Driving School Westpoint Indiana
Congrats on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a CDL school near Westpoint IN. Maybe it has always been your ambition to hit the open highway while operating a huge tractor trailer. Or maybe you have done some research and have discovered that a career as a truck driver provides excellent pay and flexible job prospects. Whatever your reason is, it’s important to get the proper training by selecting the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are a number of factors that you’ll want to examine before making your ultimate selection. Location will certainly be important, particularly if you have to commute from your Westpoint home. The expense will also be of importance, but selecting a school based entirely on price is not the ideal means to make sure you’ll receive the right education. Just remember, your objective is to learn the knowledge and skills that will enable you to pass the CDL exams and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that objective in mind, just how do you decide on a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to address in the rest of this article. But first, we are going to discuss a little bit about which CDL license you will eventually need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Will You Need?
To operate commercial vehicles legally within the United States and Westpoint IN, a driver must attain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three license classes that one can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the topic of this article is how to select a truck driving school, we will highlight Class A and 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 brief explanations for the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License is required to operate any vehicle that has a GCWR of greater than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of more than 10,000 lbs. Some of the vehicles that operators may be able to drive 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 required to operate 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. Some of the vehicles that drivers may be qualified to operate 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 need endorsements to operate certain types of vehicles, for example school or passenger buses. And a Class A licensee, with the appropriate needed endorsements, can drive any vehicle that a Class B license holder is authorized to operate.
How to Research a Trucking School
As soon as you have decided which CDL you want to pursue, you can begin the undertaking of researching the Westpoint IN truck driver schools that you are looking at. As already discussed, location and cost will certainly be your primary considerations. But it can’t be stressed enough that they should not be your only concerns. Other variables, such as the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are similarly if not more important. So below are some more points that you should research while performing your due diligence prior to choosing, and especially paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Not many trucking schools in the Westpoint IN area are accredited because of the stringent process and cost to the schools. However, certification is more commonplace and is offered by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not required to become certified, but there are a number of advantages. Interested students recognize that the training will be of the highest standard, and that they will get an ample amount of driving time. As an example, PTDI requires 44 hours of real driving time, not ride-alongs or simulations. So if a school’s course is certified (the course, not the school is certified), students know that the curriculum and training will fulfill the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One indicator to help assess the quality of a trucking school is how long it has been in operation. A negatively reviewed 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 Westpoint IN schools had to begin from their opening day of training, so use it as one of several qualifications. 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 provide those stats, look elsewhere. The schools should additionally maintain relationships with local and national trucking companies. Having numerous contacts not only affirms an excellent reputation within the trade, but also bolsters their job assistance program for graduates. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to get in touch with the Indiana licensing department to verify that the CDL trucker schools you are reviewing are in good standing.
How Effective is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools should be licensed in Indiana and employ instructors that are experienced and trained. We will talk more about the instructors in the next segment. Also, the student to instructor ratio should not be greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be getting the personalized attention they will need. This is particularly true regarding the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And watch out for any school that claims it can train you to be a truck driver in a comparatively short time period. Learning to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer professionally requires time. The majority of Westpoint IN schools offer training courses that range from three weeks to as long as two months, depending on the class of license or kind of vehicle.
How Good are the Teachers? As already mentioned, it’s essential that the teachers are qualified to teach driving methods and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Although several states have minimum driving time prerequisites to qualify as a teacher, the more professional driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also important that the teachers stay up to date with industry developments or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Assessing instructors might be a little more intuitive than other standards, and perhaps the best approach is to check out the school and talk to the teachers face to face. You can also talk to some of the students completing the training and find out if they are happy with the level of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Adequate Driving Time? Above all else, an excellent truck driving school will provide plenty of driving time to its students. Besides, isn’t that what it’s all about? Driving time is the real time spent behind the wheel operating a truck. Even though the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are necessary training methods, they are no substitute for real driving. The more training that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will become. And even though driving time can vary among schools, a reasonable standard is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Check with the Westpoint IN schools you are looking at and ask how much driving time they provide.
Are they Captive or Independent ? It’s possible to obtain free or discounted training from some truck driver schools if you make a commitment to be a driver for a specified carrier for a defined amount of time. This is referred to 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 place their graduates with, captives only refer to one company. The tradeoff is receiving less expensive or even free training by surrendering the flexibility to initially be a driver wherever you choose. Naturally contract training has the potential to restrict your income prospects when beginning your new career. But for many it may be the ideal way to obtain affordable training. Just make sure to ask if the Westpoint IN schools you are considering are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Provide Onsite CDL Testing? There are some states that will allow 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driver schools for its students. If onsite testing is allowed in Indiana, find out if the schools you are looking at are DMV certified to provide it. One advantage is that it is more accommodating than competing with graduates from other schools for test times at Indiana testing facilities. It is moreover an indicator that the DMV regards the authorized schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Classes Accessible? As previously noted, truck driver training is just one to two months in length. With such a brief duration, it’s imperative that the Westpoint IN school you select provides flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. For example, if you’re having a hard time learning a particular driving maneuver, then the instructor should be willing to commit more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still working while going to training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other commitments.
Is Job Assistance Offered? The moment you have obtained your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be keen to start your new profession. Make sure that the schools you are looking at have job placement programs. Find out what their job placement rate is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, ask which local and national trucking companies their graduates are referred to for hiring. If a school has a poor job placement rate or few Westpoint IN employers hiring their grads, it may be a clue to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Truck driver schools are comparable to colleges and other Westpoint IN area trade or technical schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being available. Ask if the schools you are examining have a financial assistance department, or at a minimum someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that must be submitted.
Attending Truck Driving School near Westpoint IN?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Westpoint Indiana area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
The Westpoint (Chinese: 西港中心) is a skyscraper located in the Sai Ying Pun district of Hong Kong. The tower rises 41 floors and 186 metres (610 ft) in height. The building was completed in 1999. It was designed by architectural firm Ho & Partners Architects, and was developed by Chun Wo Construction & Engineering. The Westpoint, which stands as the 84th-tallest building in Hong Kong, is composed entirely of office space. The building is architecturally unique due to its ball structure that adorns the roof; the ball is home to a private club.
The building was originally meant to serve as the headquarters of the Chinese state-owned corporation China Merchants Group, but was sold to the Liaison Office of the Central People's Government in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region in the early 2000s. The entire building is occupied by this office and the ground level is heavily fortified and protected by security. The top level houses the director’s office, a clubhouse, and a grand ballroom. Other features of the building include a gym, a conference centre, banquet facilities, exhibition space, and a beauty salon with barbers from mainland China.
Pick the Right CDL School Westpoint IN
Choosing the appropriate trucking school is a critical first step to starting your new profession as a local or long distance truck driver. The skill sets that you will learn at school will be those that mold 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 receive the appropriate training in order to drive a large commercial vehicle in a safe and professional fashion. If you are short on money or financing, you might need to consider a captive school. You will pay a reduced or in some cases no tuition by agreeing to drive for their contracted carrier. Or you can select an independent school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking firm of your choice, or one of several associated with the school. It’s your choice. But regardless of how you get your training, you will in the near future be joining an industry that helps America move as a professional trucker in Westpoint IN.
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