How to Pick a Truck Driving School Victoria Kansas
Congrats on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a CDL school near Victoria KS. Perhaps it has always been your fantasy to hit the open highway while driving a huge tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have conducted some research and have discovered that a career as a truck driver offers good pay and flexible work prospects. Whatever your reason is, it’s important to receive the appropriate training by choosing the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are a number of factors that you’ll want to consider prior to making your final selection. Location will no doubt be an issue, especially if you have to commute from your Victoria residence. The cost will also be of importance, but picking a school based only on price is not the best way to make certain you’ll obtain the appropriate education. Don’t forget, 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 purpose in mind, just how do you select a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to discuss in the remainder of this article. But first, we are going to discuss a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will ultimately need.
Which CDL Should You Get?
To operate commercial vehicles lawfully within the United States and Victoria KS, a driver must attain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 license classes that a person can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the topic of this article is how to choose a truck driver 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). Following are short explanations for the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is needed to drive any vehicle that has a GCWR of more than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of greater than 10,000 lbs. Some 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 greater than 26,000 lbs., or a GCWR of more 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 require endorsements to drive certain kinds of vehicles, including school or passenger buses. And a Class A license holder, with the proper required endorsements, may operate any vehicle that a Class B licensee is authorized to operate.
How to Research a Trucking School
Once you have decided which Commercial Drivers License you want to obtain, you can start the undertaking of researching the Victoria KS trucking schools that you are considering. As previously mentioned, location and cost will undoubtedly be your primary concerns. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they must not be your sole concerns. Other variables, for example the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are similarly if not more important. So below are several more factors that you should research while carrying out your due diligence before choosing, and especially paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Very few trucking schools in the Victoria KS area are accredited because of the rigorous process and expense to the schools. However, certification is more commonplace and is provided by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not required to become certified, but there are certain advantages. Potential students recognize that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will be given an ample amount of driving time. For example, PTDI calls for 44 hours of real driving time, not simulations or ride-alongs. So if a school’s program is certified (the program, not the school is certified), students know that the training and curriculum will fulfill the very high benchmarks 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 business. A poorly reviewed or a fly by night school usually will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. On the other hand, even the top Victoria KS schools had to begin from their opening day of training, so consider it as one of multiple qualifiers. You can also learn what the school’s history is regarding successful licensing and job placement of its graduating students. If a school won’t share those stats, search elsewhere. The schools should additionally have associations with regional and national trucking firms. Having a large number of contacts not only affirms a superior reputation within the industry, but also bolsters their job assistance program for students. It also wouldn’t hurt to check with the Kansas licensing department to make sure that the CDL trucking schools you are reviewing are in compliance.
How Effective is the Training? At a minimum, the schools should be licensed in Kansas and employ instructors that are experienced and trained. We will talk more about the teachers in the following section. Also, the student to instructor proportion should not be greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be obtaining the personal instruction they will need. This is particularly true regarding the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And be critical of any school that insists it can teach you to drive trucks in a comparatively short time period. Learning to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully takes time. The majority of Victoria KS schools provide training programs that range from three weeks to as long as two months, depending on the class of license or kind of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Trainers? As previously stated, it’s essential that the instructors are qualified to teach driving techniques and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Although several states have minimum driving time prerequisites to be certified as an instructor, the more successful driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also important that the teachers stay current with industry advancements or any new laws or changes in regulations. Evaluating instructors might be a bit more intuitive than other criteria, and perhaps the best method is to pay a visit to the school and speak with the instructors in person. You can also talk to a few of the students completing the training and ask if they are satisfied with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Enough Driving Time? Above all else, a great truck driving school will furnish sufficient driving time to its students. Besides, isn’t that what it’s all about? Driving time is the actual time spent behind the wheel operating a truck. Even though the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are necessary training tools, they are no substitute for real driving. The more instruction that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will be. And even though driving time varies among schools, a good standard is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide at least 44 hours of driving time. Check with the Victoria KS schools you are considering and ask how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Captive or Independent ? You can get free or discounted training from certain trucking schools if you make a commitment to be a driver for a specific carrier for a defined period of time. This is what’s known as contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So rather than having affiliations with many different trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only work with one company. The tradeoff is receiving free or less expensive training by giving up the freedom to initially work wherever you have an opportunity. Obviously contract training has the potential to limit your income prospects when starting out. But for many it may be the best way to obtain affordable training. Just make sure to ask if the Victoria KS schools you are considering are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Offer Onsite CDL Testing? There are several states that will permit 3rd party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its grads. If onsite testing is available in Kansas, ask if the schools you are considering are DMV certified to provide it. One benefit is that it is more accommodating than contending with graduates of other schools for test times at Kansas testing locations. It is also an indicator that the DMV regards the authorized schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Classes Accessible? As formerly mentioned, truck driver training is just one to two months long. With such a brief duration, it’s imperative that the Victoria KS school you select offers flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. As an example, if you’re having a hard time learning a certain driving maneuver, then the teacher should be willing to dedicate more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still employed while attending training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other responsibilities.
Is Job Placement Offered? Once you have obtained your CDL license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be anxious to begin your new profession. Confirm that the schools you are contemplating have job assistance programs. Ask what their job placement ratio is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, ask which local and national trucking companies their graduates are placed with for hiring. If a school has a poor job placement rate or not many Victoria KS employers recruiting their grads, it might be a sign to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Truck driver schools are similar to colleges and other Victoria KS area vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being offered. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have a financial assistance department, or at least someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that must be completed.
Attending Truck Driving School near Victoria KS?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Victoria Kansas area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
A group of English and Scottish colonists led by a Scotsman named George Grant founded Victoria in 1873 on land he had purchased from the Kansas Pacific Railway. They named the settlement after Queen Victoria. Grant intended for Victoria to be a ranching community and was purportedly responsible for bringing the first Aberdeen Angus cattle to the United States. Most of the colonists, however, were remittance men more interested in sports and dancing than in raising livestock. Their families soon learned of this and reduced the remittances, driving most of the colonists to leave by 1880. Some returned to Britain; others left for South America.
In 1876, Volga Germans from villages near Saratov, Russia established the settlement of Herzog one half mile north of Victoria. Herzog's Roman Catholic settlers built a series of churches which culminated in the construction of St. Fidelis Catholic Church, known as "The Cathedral of the Plains," in 1911. Herzog grew rapidly and later absorbed Victoria, eventually adopting the older settlement's name. Herzog was officially renamed Victoria in 1913.
In 1942, the U.S. Army built Walker Army Airfield 3 miles northeast of Victoria. During World War II, thousands were stationed at the airfield, most for training in operation of the Boeing B-29 Superfortress bomber aircraft. The military closed the base in 1946.
Choose the Ideal Truck Driver School Victoria KS
Selecting the right trucking school is an important first step to beginning your new occupation as a local or long distance truck driver. The skill sets taught at school will be those that mold a new career behind the wheel. There are several options offered and understanding them is vital to a new driver’s success. But first and foremost, you must obtain the appropriate training in order to operate a big commercial vehicle in a professional and safe manner. If you are lacking money or financing, you may want to think about a captive school. You will pay a lower or even no tuition by agreeing to drive for their contracted carrier. Or you can choose an independent school and have the option of driving for the trucking company of your choosing, or one of many affiliated with the school. It’s your decision. But regardless of how you obtain your training, you will soon be part of a profession that helps our country move as a professional trucker in Victoria KS.
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