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Truck Driving Schools Near Me | CDL Training Topeka KS 66601

How to Decide on a CDL Driving School Topeka Kansas

Topeka KS truck driving schoolCongratulations on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a trucking school near Topeka KS. Maybe it has always been your dream to hit the open road while operating a huge tractor trailer. Or possibly you have conducted some research and have found that a career as a truck driver provides excellent pay and flexible job opportunities. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s essential to receive the proper training by selecting the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are various variables that you’ll need to examine before making your ultimate selection. Location will no doubt be important, particularly if you have to commute from your Topeka home. The cost will also be of importance, but picking a school based entirely on price is not the best means to guarantee you’ll receive the right training. Don’t forget, your objective is to learn the skills and knowledge that will allow you to pass the CDL exams and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that objective in mind, just how do you select a truck driving school? That is what we are going to address 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 Commercial Drivers License Will You Require?

tractor trailer in Topeka KSIn order to drive commercial vehicles lawfully within the United States and Topeka KS, a driver needs to obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three classes of licenses that one can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the topic of this article is how to pick a truck driving school, we will discuss Class A and B licenses. What distinguishes each class of CDL is the type of vehicle that the driver can operate as well as the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Below are short descriptions for the 2 classes.

Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is needed to operate any vehicle that has a GCWR of more than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of greater than 10,000 lbs. A few 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 operate single vehicles having a GVWR of greater 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 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 certain types of vehicles, including passenger or school buses. And a Class A licensee, with the proper required endorsements, may drive any vehicle that a Class B licensee is authorized to drive.

How to Research a Truck Driving School

big red tractor in Topeka KSWhen you have determined which CDL you would like to obtain, you can begin the process of evaluating the Topeka KS truck driver schools that you are looking at. As previously discussed, location and cost will no doubt be your primary considerations. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they should not be your sole concerns. Other factors, for instance the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are similarly or even more important. So following are some more points that you should research while conducting your due diligence prior to enrolling in, and particularly paying for, your truck driving training.

Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Not many truck driving schools in the Topeka KS area are accredited because of the demanding process and expense to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more prevalent and is offered by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not obligated to become certified, but there are certain advantages. Potential students recognize that the training will be of the highest standard, and that they will receive lots of driving time. For example, PTDI calls for 44 hours of real driving time, not ride-alongs or simulations. So if a school’s program is certified (the program, not the school is certified), students know that the training and curriculum will measure up to the very high standards set by PTDI.

How Long in Business? One clue to help assess the quality of a trucking school is how long it has been in operation. A poorly reviewed or a fly by night school normally will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. Having said that, even the best of Topeka KS schools had to begin from their opening day of training, so use it as one of multiple qualifiers. You can also find out what the school’s history is pertaining to successful licensing and job placement of its graduates. If a school won’t supply those numbers, look elsewhere. The schools should also maintain relationships with regional and national trucking firms. Having numerous contacts not only affirms a quality reputation within the industry, but also boosts their job assistance program for students. It also wouldn’t hurt to contact the Kansas licensing authority to make sure that the CDL trucking schools you are considering are in good standing.

How Effective is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools must be licensed in Kansas and employ teachers that are experienced and trained. We will discuss more about the instructors in the next segment. In addition, 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 concerning 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 relatively short time frame. Learning to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer professionally takes time. Most Topeka KS schools offer training courses that run from three weeks to as long as 2 months, depending on the class of license or type of vehicle.

How Good are the Trainers? As previously mentioned, it’s important that the teachers are qualified to teach driving techniques and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Although a number of states have minimum driving time requirements to qualify as a teacher, the more successful driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also important that the instructors stay up to date with industry advancements or any new laws or changes in regulations. Evaluating teachers might be a bit more intuitive than other criteria, and possibly the ideal method is to pay a visit to the school and talk to the teachers face to face. You can also speak with a few of the students completing the training and find out if they are satisfied with the level of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.

Sufficient Driving Time? Most importantly, a great truck driving school will provide 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. While the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are essential training methods, they are no substitute for real driving. The more instruction that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will be. And even though driving time differs between schools, a reasonable benchmark is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish at least 44 hours of driving time. Check with the Topeka KS schools you are researching and ask how much driving time they provide.

Are they Captive or Independent ? It’s possible to get discounted or even free training from some truck driving schools if you enter into an agreement to be a driver for a specific carrier for a defined amount of time. This is called contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So rather than maintaining affiliations with numerous 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 surrendering the flexibility to initially be a driver wherever you have an opportunity. Naturally contract training has the potential to restrict your income prospects when starting out. But for many it may be the best way to obtain affordable training. Just make sure to find out if the Topeka KS schools you are considering are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.

Provide CDL Testing Onsite? There are several states that will allow third party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its grads. If onsite testing is allowed in Kansas, find out if the schools you are reviewing are DMV certified to offer it. One benefit is that it is more convenient than contending with graduates from competing schools for test times at Kansas testing facilities. It is moreover an indication that the DMV considers the authorized schools to be of a superior quality.

Are the Class Times Convenient? As previously mentioned, truck driver training is just one to two months in length. With such a brief term, it’s important that the Topeka KS 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 commit more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still holding a job while going to training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other obligations.

Is Job Placement Offered? As soon as you have obtained your CDL license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be eager to start your new profession. Make sure that the schools you are looking at have job assistance programs. Find out what their job placement percentage is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, ask which local and national trucking companies their graduates are referred to for hiring. If a school has a lower job placement rate or not many Topeka KS employers recruiting their graduates, it may be a clue to look elsewhere.

Is Financial Assistance Given? Trucking schools are comparable to colleges and other Topeka KS area technical or vocational schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being offered. Ask if the schools you are evaluating have a financial assistance department, or at least someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that need to be submitted.

Attending Truck Driving School near Topeka KS?

If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Topeka Kansas area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.

Topeka, Kansas

Topeka (/toʊˈpiːkə/;[9][10]Kansa: Tó Pee Kuh) is the capital city of the U.S. state of Kansas and the seat of Shawnee County.[2] It is situated along the Kansas River in the central part of Shawnee County, in northeast Kansas, in the Central United States. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 127,473.[11] The Topeka Metropolitan Statistical Area, which includes Shawnee, Jackson, Jefferson, Osage, and Wabaunsee counties, had a population of 233,870 in the 2010 census.

The name Topeka is a Kansa-Osage sentence that means "place where we dug potatoes",[12] or "a good place to dig potatoes".[13] As a placename, Topeka was first recorded in 1826 as the Kansa name for what is now called the Kansas River. Topeka's founders chose the name in 1855 because it "was novel, of Indian origin and euphonious of sound."[14][15] The mixed-blood Kansa Native American, Joseph James, called Jojim, is credited with suggesting the name of Topeka.[16] The city, laid out in 1854, was one of the Free-State towns founded by Eastern antislavery men immediately after the passage of the Kansas–Nebraska Bill. In 1857, Topeka was chartered as a city.

The city is well known for the landmark U.S. Supreme Court case Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, which overturned Plessy vs. Ferguson and declared racial segregation in public schools to be unconstitutional.[17] Three ships of the U.S. Navy have been named USS Topeka after the city.

Pick the Right Truck Driving School Topeka KS

Picking the ideal truck driving school is a critical first step to starting your new occupation as a long distance or local truck driver. The skills taught at school will be those that forge a new career behind the wheel. There are many options available and understanding them is crucial to a new driver’s success. Most importantly, you must get the proper training in order to drive a big commercial vehicle in a professional and safe fashion. If you are lacking funds 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 decision. But regardless of how you obtain your training, you will in the near future be entering a profession that helps America move as a professional truck driver in Topeka KS.

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