How to Pick a CDL Training School Towanda Kansas
Congrats on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a trucking school near Towanda KS. Perhaps it has always been your ambition to hit the open road while driving a monster tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have done some analysis and have found that a career as a truck driver offers excellent income and flexible job opportunities. Whatever your reason is, it’s important to get the appropriate training by picking the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are several factors that you’ll want to consider before making your ultimate choice. Location will undoubtedly be an issue, especially if you have to commute from your Towanda residence. The expense will also be important, but choosing a school based exclusively on price is not the ideal way to guarantee you’ll receive the right education. Just remember, your objective is to master the knowledge and skills that will allow you to pass the CDL examinations and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that purpose in mind, just how do you pick a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to discuss in the balance of this article. But first, we are going to review a little bit about which CDL license you will ultimately need.
Which CDL Will You Require?
To drive commercial vehicles legally within the United States and Towanda KS, an operator needs to obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 license classes that a person can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the subject of this article is how to pick a truck driving school, we will focus on 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). Following are brief descriptions for the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License is needed to drive any vehicle that has a GCWR of more 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 Commercial Drivers License is needed to operate single vehicles having a GVWR of more 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 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 Commercial Drivers Licenses may also need endorsements to drive specific types of vehicles, for instance passenger or school buses. And a Class A license holder, with the appropriate needed endorsements, may operate any vehicle that a Class B license holder is qualified to drive.
How to Research a CDL School
Once you have decided which Commercial Drivers License you would like to obtain, you can begin the undertaking of assessing the Towanda KS truck driver schools that you are considering. As already discussed, location and cost will undoubtedly be your initial concerns. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they must not be your only concerns. Other factors, such as 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 should research while conducting your due diligence before choosing, and particularly paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Not many truck driver schools in the Towanda KS area are accredited due to the stringent 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. Prospective students recognize that the training will be of the highest standard, and that they will get plenty of driving time. As an 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 meet the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One clue to help determine the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in business. A negatively rated or a fly by night school normally will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. On the other hand, even the top Towanda KS schools had to start from their opening day of training, so use it as one of several qualifiers. You can also ask what the school’s history is relating to successful licensing and job placement of its graduates. If a school won’t provide those stats, search elsewhere. The schools should also have associations with regional and national trucking firms. Having numerous contacts not only affirms a superior 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 Kansas licensing department to make sure that the CDL trucker schools you are considering are in good standing.
How Good is the Training? At a minimum, the schools should be licensed in Kansas and hire teachers that are experienced and trained. We will talk more about the instructors in the next section. In addition, the student to instructor proportion should not be higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be receiving the individual attention 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 claims it can teach you to drive trucks in a relatively short period of time. Training to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer professionally takes time. Most Towanda KS schools provide training programs that range from three weeks to as long as two months, depending on the class of license or type of vehicle.
How Good are the Instructors? As already mentioned, it’s imperative that the teachers are qualified to teach driving methods and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Although several states have minimum driving time requirements to qualify as an instructor, the more successful driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also crucial that the instructors keep current with industry advancements or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Assessing instructors might be a little more subjective than other standards, and possibly the ideal method is to pay a visit to the school and talk to the instructors in person. You can also talk to some of the students going through the training and find out if they are satisfied with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
Plenty of Driving Time? Above all else, a good truck driving school will provide sufficient driving time to its students. After all, isn’t that what it’s all about? Driving time is the real time spent behind the wheel driving a truck. Although the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are essential training tools, they are no replacement for actual driving. The more instruction that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will be. Although driving time varies 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 Towanda KS schools you are considering and ask how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Captive or Independent ? It’s possible to get free or discounted training from some truck driver schools if you enter into an agreement to be a driver for a specified carrier for a defined time period. This is called contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So instead of maintaining relationships with a wide range of trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, 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 choose. Clearly contract training has the potential to limit your income opportunities when beginning your new career. But for many it may be the best way to receive affordable training. Just remember to find out if the Towanda KS schools you are considering are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Provide Onsite CDL Testing? There are a number of states that will permit third party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its grads. If onsite testing is permitted in Kansas, ask if the schools you are looking at are DMV certified to provide it. One benefit is that it is more accommodating than competing with graduates from competing schools for test times at Kansas testing centers. It is moreover an indicator that the DMV regards the approved schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Classes Convenient? As formerly mentioned, truck driver training is just one to two months in length. With such a brief duration, it’s important that the Towanda 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 spend more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still holding a job while attending training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other obligations.
Is Job Assistance Offered? Once you have obtained your CDL license after graduating from trucking school, you will be eager to start your new profession. Confirm that the schools you are reviewing have job assistance programs. Find out what their job placement ratio is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, find out which local and national trucking firms their graduates are referred to for hiring. If a school has a low job placement rate or not many Towanda KS employers hiring their graduates, it may be a sign to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Given? Trucking schools are much like colleges and other Towanda KS area technical or vocational schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being offered. Ask if the schools you are examining have a financial aid department, or at least someone who can help you get through the options and forms that need to be submitted.
Attending Truck Driving School near Towanda KS?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Towanda Kansas area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
In 2010, the Keystone-Cushing Pipeline (Phase II) was constructed a few blocks west of Towanda (immediately west of SW River Valley Rd), running north to south through Butler County, with much controversy over tax exemption and environmental concerns (if a leak ever occurs).
Towanda is located at 37°47′45″N 96°59′58″W / 37.79583°N 96.99944°W / 37.79583; -96.99944 (37.795921, -96.999380), along the Whitewater River. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 1.06 square miles (2.75 km2), all of it land.
As of the census of 2010, there were 1,450 people, 524 households, and 397 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,367.9 inhabitants per square mile (528.1/km2). There were 577 housing units at an average density of 544.3 per square mile (210.2/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 95.3% White, 0.3% African American, 1.1% Native American, 0.5% Asian, 0.4% Pacific Islander, 0.5% from other races, and 1.9% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.7% of the population.
Select the Best CDL School Towanda KS
Choosing the appropriate truck driver school is an important first step to starting your new occupation as a long distance or local truck driver. The skill sets that you will learn at school will be those that shape a new career behind the wheel. There are many options offered and understanding them is crucial to a new driver’s success. Most importantly, you must receive the appropriate training in order to drive a large commercial vehicle in a professional and safe fashion. If you are short on cash or financing, you may want to think about a captive school. You will pay a reduced or even 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 company of your choice, or one of several associated with the school. It’s your decision. But regardless of how you receive your training, you will soon be joining an industry that helps our country move as a professional truck driver in Towanda KS.
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