How to Decide on a CDL Training School Zimmerman Minnesota
Congrats on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a CDL school near Zimmerman MN. Maybe it has always been your fantasy to hit the open road while driving a monster tractor trailer. Or possibly you have done some analysis and have found that a career as a truck driver provides excellent pay and flexible work opportunities. No matter what your reason is, it’s important to obtain the appropriate training by selecting the right CDL school in your area. When evaluating your options, there are a number of variables that you’ll want to examine prior to making your ultimate choice. Location will certainly be important, particularly if you have to commute from your Zimmerman residence. The expense will also be of importance, but picking a school based exclusively on price is not the optimal method to guarantee you’ll obtain the proper training. Don’t forget, your objective is to learn the knowledge and skills that will enable you to pass the CDL exams and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that purpose in mind, just how do you select a truck driving school? That 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 eventually need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Will You Require?
In order to drive commercial vehicles lawfully within the United States and Zimmerman MN, an operator must get a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 classes of licenses 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 discuss Class A and Class B licenses. What differentiates each class of CDL is the kind of vehicle that the driver can operate in addition to 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 required to operate 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 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 greater than 26,000 lbs., or a GCWR of more than 26,000 lbs. including a towed vehicle weighing up to 10,000 lbs. A few 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 specific types of vehicles, including passenger or school buses. And a Class A licensee, with the proper needed endorsements, can operate any vehicle that a Class B licensee is qualified to operate.
How to Assess a Truck Driver School
When you have decided which Commercial Drivers License you want to pursue, you can begin the undertaking of researching the Zimmerman MN trucking schools that you are considering. As previously mentioned, location and cost will certainly be your primary concerns. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they should not be your sole considerations. Other issues, including the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are similarly or even more important. So below are a few additional things that you should research while performing your due diligence before choosing, and particularly paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Very few truck driver schools in the Zimmerman MN area are accredited because of the demanding process and expense to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more prevalent and is provided 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 quality, and that they will be given plenty of driving time. As an example, PTDI requires 44 hours of actual 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 measure up to the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? 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 typically will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. On the other hand, even the best of Zimmerman MN schools had to start from their opening day of training, so use it as one of several qualifications. You can also find out what the school’s history is concerning successful licensing and employment of its graduates. If a school won’t share those stats, search elsewhere. The schools should additionally maintain relationships with local and national trucking companies. Having a large number of contacts not only affirms an excellent reputation within the trade, but also bolsters their job placement program for students. It also wouldn’t hurt to check with the Minnesota licensing department to verify that the CDL trucker schools you are researching are in compliance.
How Effective is the Training? At a minimum, the schools must be licensed in Minnesota and hire instructors that are experienced and trained. We will cover more about the instructors in the following section. Also, the student to instructor ratio should be no higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be obtaining the personalized instruction 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 teach you to be a truck driver in a comparatively short time frame. Training to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully requires time. Most Zimmerman MN schools provide training courses that range from 3 weeks to as long as two months, depending on the license class or type of vehicle.
How Good are the Teachers? As previously mentioned, it’s essential that the instructors are qualified to teach driving methods and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Although several states have minimum driving time criteria to be certified as an instructor, the more successful driving experience a teacher 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 instructors might be a little more subjective than other criteria, and possibly the best method is to pay a visit to the school and speak with the teachers in person. You can also talk to a few of the students completing the training and ask if they are happy with the level of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Sufficient Driving Time? Most importantly, a good truck driving school will furnish lots of 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 operating a truck. Although the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are important training methods, they are no replacement for real driving. The more training that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will be. And even though driving time can vary between schools, a good standard is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Get in touch with the Zimmerman MN 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 a number of truck driver schools if you make a commitment to drive for a specified carrier for a defined time period. This is called contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So rather than maintaining associations with numerous trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only refer to one company. The benefit is receiving free or less expensive training by giving up the freedom to initially be a driver wherever you have an opportunity. Clearly contract training has the potential to reduce your income opportunities when starting out. But for many it may be the only way to obtain affordable training. Just make sure to find out if the Zimmerman MN schools you are looking at are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Is there Onsite CDL Testing? There are several states that will allow 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is allowed in Minnesota, ask if the schools you are looking at are DMV certified to offer it. One advantage is that it is more convenient than contending with graduates of other schools for test times at Minnesota testing locations. It is moreover an indicator that the DMV believes the authorized schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Class Times Flexible? As earlier mentioned, truck driver training is just one to two months in length. With such a short term, it’s important that the Zimmerman MN school you enroll in provides flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. For example, if you’re having difficulty learning a particular driving maneuver, then the instructor should be prepared to devote 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 accommodate working hours or other responsibilities.
Is Job Assistance Provided? Once you have obtained your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be anxious to start your new career. Verify that the schools you are considering have job assistance programs. Find out what their job placement percentage is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, ask which national and local trucking firms their graduates are referred to for hiring. If a school has a lower job placement rate or not many Zimmerman MN employers hiring their graduates, it may be a clue to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Truck driver schools are similar to colleges and other Zimmerman MN area technical or vocational 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 navigate the options and forms that must be submitted.
Attending Truck Driving School near Zimmerman MN?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Zimmerman Minnesota area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Zimmerman is mostly a rural community. U.S. Highway 169 serves as a main route in the area. The community is located 42 miles north-northwest of Minneapolis; and 33 miles east-southeast of St. Cloud.
The Village of Lake Fremont was incorporated in 1910. In 1967, the town was renamed the City of Zimmerman. Lake Fremont was named for the western explorer, John C. Frémont, and the name Zimmerman derives from Moses Zimmerman, a local farmer who was influential in promoting the idea of the Great Northern Railway coming through the area.
Every year in Zimmerman on Memorial Day weekend there is a community event called the "Wild West Days". This includes a carnival in Lion's Park, a parade, softball tournament, 5k charity run and many other activities. The parade usually includes the Elk River School District’s marching band cadets, the fire department from Zimmerman and surrounding areas and floats from the area's many businesses. Also, the weekend after Labor Day the Zimmerman/Livonia Fire Dept. has their annual open house with tours of the fire station, safety demonstrations and other activities that are followed by a street dance in front of the station. This event is usually complemented by events involving many of the area churches and organizations.
Pick the Ideal Truck Driver School Zimmerman MN
Selecting the appropriate trucking school is an essential first step to beginning your new profession as a local or long distance truck driver. The skills that you will learn at school will be those that mold a new career behind the wheel. There are a number of options available and understanding them is critical to a new driver’s success. Most importantly, you must receive the necessary training in order to operate a large commercial vehicle in a safe and professional manner. If you are short on funds or financing, you might need 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 choose an independent school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking firm of your choice, or one of several affiliated with the school. It’s your choice. But no matter how you get your training, you will in the near future be entering an industry that helps our country move as a professional trucker in Zimmerman MN.
Other Awesome Locations in Minnesota
Business Results 1 - 10 of 26