How to Choose a Trucking School North Las Vegas Nevada
Congratulations on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a CDL school near North Las Vegas NV. Perhaps it has always been your goal to hit the open road while operating a huge tractor trailer. Or possibly you have conducted some analysis and have found that an occupation as a truck driver provides excellent wages and flexible work prospects. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s imperative to obtain the proper training by selecting the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are a number of variables that you’ll need to consider before making your final selection. Location will undoubtedly be an issue, particularly if you need to commute from your North Las Vegas residence. The cost will also be important, but choosing a school based exclusively on price is not the optimal means to make certain you’ll receive the proper training. Just remember, your goal is to master the knowledge and skills that will enable you to pass the CDL exams and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that goal in mind, just how do you decide on a truck driving school? That is what we are going to address in the rest of this article. But first, we are going to talk a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will ultimately need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Should You Get?
To operate commercial vehicles lawfully within the USA and North Las Vegas NV, a driver must attain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 license classes that one 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 highlight Class A and Class B licenses. What distinguishes 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 explanations of the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License 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. 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 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 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 might also need endorsements to drive certain types of vehicles, including passenger or school buses. And a Class A license holder, with the appropriate required endorsements, can drive any vehicle that a Class B license holder is qualified to operate.
How to Evaluate a Truck Driving School
When you have determined which Commercial Drivers License you wish to pursue, you can begin the process of researching the North Las Vegas NV trucking schools that you are considering. As earlier discussed, location and cost will no doubt be your initial concerns. But it can’t be stressed enough that they should not be your sole concerns. Other issues, for instance the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are similarly if not more important. So following are several additional points that you should research while carrying out your due diligence before enrolling in, and especially paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Very few truck driver schools in the North Las Vegas NV area are accredited because of the stringent process and expense to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more common and is offered by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not obligated to become certified, but there are a number of advantages. Potential students know that the training will be of the highest standard, and that they will be given plenty of driving time. As an example, PTDI requires 44 hours of real driving time, not simulations or ride-alongs. So if a school’s course is certified (the course, not the school is certified), students know that the curriculum and training will meet the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One indicator to help measure the quality of a trucking school is how long it has been in business. A poorly rated 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 best of North Las Vegas NV 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 regarding successful licensing and job placement of its graduating students. If a school won’t provide those numbers, look elsewhere. The schools should additionally maintain associations with local and national trucking firms. Having a large number of contacts not only confirms a quality reputation within the profession, but also bolsters their job placement program for students. It also wouldn’t hurt to check with the Nevada licensing authority to confirm that the CDL trucking schools you are reviewing are in good standing.
How Good is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools must be licensed in Nevada and employ instructors that are trained and experienced. We will discuss more about the teachers in the following section. Also, the student to instructor proportion should be no greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, 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 be critical of any school that professes it can train you to drive trucks in a comparatively short period of time. Learning to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer professionally requires time. Most North Las Vegas NV schools provide training courses that range from 3 weeks to as long as two months, depending on the class of license or type of vehicle.
How Good are the Instructors? As earlier mentioned, it’s essential that the teachers are qualified to teach driving techniques and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Even though a number of states have minimum driving time requirements to be certified as an instructor, the more professional driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also important that the teachers keep up to date with industry advancements or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Assessing instructors may be a little more subjective than other criteria, and possibly the ideal approach is to pay a visit to the school and talk to the instructors in person. You can also speak with 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 trucking school will furnish plenty of driving time to its students. Besides, isn’t that what it’s all about? Driving time is the actual time spent behind the wheel driving a truck. Even though the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are necessary training tools, they are no substitute for real driving. The more training that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will become. And even though driving time fluctuates between schools, a reasonable benchmark 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 North Las Vegas NV schools you are considering and ask how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Independent or Captive ? It’s possible to get discounted or even free training from some truck driving schools if you make a commitment to drive for a specific carrier for a defined amount of time. This is called contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So rather than maintaining associations with many different trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only refer to one company. The tradeoff is receiving free or less expensive training by surrendering the freedom to initially work wherever you have an opportunity. Obviously contract training has the potential to reduce 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 North Las Vegas NV schools you are looking at are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Offer CDL Testing Onsite? There are a number of states that will permit 3rd party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its students. If onsite testing is allowed in Nevada, ask if the schools you are looking at are DMV certified to offer it. One advantage is that it is more convenient than battling with graduates from competing schools for test times at Nevada testing facilities. It is moreover an indication that the DMV deems the approved schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Class Times Convenient? As previously mentioned, truck driver training is only about 1 to 2 months long. With such a short term, it’s imperative that the North Las Vegas NV school you choose offers flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. As an example, if you’re having difficulty 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 employed while attending training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other responsibilities.
Is Job Placement Offered? Once you have attained your CDL license after graduating from trucking school, you will be impatient to start your new profession. Verify that the schools you are considering have job placement programs. Ask what their job placement ratio 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 North Las Vegas NV employers hiring their grads, it may be a sign to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Given? Truck driver schools are similar to colleges and other North Las Vegas NV area technical or vocational schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being available. Find out if the schools you are evaluating have a financial aid department, or at a minimum someone who can help you get through the options and forms that must be submitted.
Attending Truck Driving School near North Las Vegas NV?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the North Las Vegas Nevada area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
North Las Vegas, Nevada
North Las Vegas is a city in Clark County, Nevada, United States, in the Las Vegas Valley. As of the 2010 census it had a population of 216,961, with an estimated population of 249,180 in 2017. The city was incorporated on May 16, 1946. It is in the Las Vegas–Paradise, NV MSA and is the fourth largest city in the state of Nevada.
Located in the southwestern United States in the Mojave Desert, North Las Vegas sits north and east of Las Vegas. According to the United States Census Bureau, North Las Vegas has a total area of 101.4 square miles (262.6 km2), of which 0.04 square miles (0.1 km2), or 0.04%, is water. In the Las Vegas Valley, several mountain ranges are nearby.
Due to its location within the Mojave Desert, North Las Vegas has a desert climate. Temperatures are generally mild in the winter and hot in the summer. Like most of the hot deserts of the United States, snowfall only occurs once every few years on average. In winter, temperatures rarely fall below freezing. In the summer, monsoons can reach the area, bringing heavy rain and thunderstorms.
Select the Best CDL School North Las Vegas NV
Choosing the right truck driver school is a critical first step to starting your new vocation as a long distance or local truck driver. The skill sets taught at school will be those that shape a new career behind the wheel. There are many options offered and understanding them is vital to a new driver’s success. Most importantly, you must receive the proper training in order to drive a large commercial vehicle in a professional and safe manner. If you are lacking cash 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 choosing, or one of several associated with the school. It’s your choice. But no matter how you receive your training, you will in the near future be joining a profession that helps our country move as a professional trucker in North Las Vegas NV.
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