How to Choose a CDL Training School Union Washington
Best wishes on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a CDL school near Union WA. Maybe it has always been your goal to hit the open road while operating a monster tractor trailer. Or maybe you have conducted some research and have found that an occupation as a truck driver provides excellent wages and flexible job opportunities. No matter what your reason is, it’s imperative to receive the appropriate training by selecting the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are several variables that you’ll want to examine before making your ultimate selection. Location will no doubt be an issue, especially if you have to commute from your Union residence. The expense will also be of importance, but choosing a school based solely on price is not the best means to make sure you’ll obtain the appropriate education. Just remember, your objective is to learn the knowledge and skills that will allow you to pass the CDL exams and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that purpose in mind, just how do you pick a truck driving school? That is what we are going to cover in the rest of this article. But first, we are going to discuss a little bit about which CDL license you will ultimately need.
Which CDL Will You Need?
To operate commercial vehicles legally within the USA and Union WA, a driver must get 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 select a truck driver school, we will highlight 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 explanations of 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 greater than 10,000 lbs. A few 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 needed to drive 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 CDLs may also need endorsements to drive specific types of vehicles, for example school or passenger buses. And a Class A licensee, with the proper required endorsements, may drive any vehicle that a Class B licensee is authorized to operate.
How to Research a Truck Driving School
As soon as you have determined which Commercial Drivers License you want to obtain, you can begin the process of evaluating the Union WA trucking schools that you are considering. As earlier discussed, location and cost will no doubt be your primary concerns. But it can’t be stressed 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 or even more important. So following are a few more things that you should research while performing your due diligence before choosing, and especially paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Not many truck driver schools in the Union WA 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. Prospective students recognize that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will be given lots of driving time. As an 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 satisfy the very high standards 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 rated or a fly by night school typically will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. Having said that, even the best of Union WA 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 track record is regarding successful licensing and employment of its graduates. If a school won’t share those numbers, search elsewhere. The schools should additionally maintain associations with local and national trucking companies. Having numerous contacts not only points to an excellent reputation within the industry, but also boosts their job placement program for students. It also wouldn’t hurt to contact the Washington licensing authority to make sure that the CDL trucking schools you are researching are in compliance.
How Good is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools should be licensed in Washington and hire instructors that are trained and experienced. We will discuss more about the instructors in the following section. Also, the student to instructor proportion 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 regarding the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And look out for any school that insists it can teach you to drive trucks in a relatively short time frame. Learning to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully requires time. The majority of Union WA schools provide training courses that run from 3 weeks to as long as two months, depending on the license class or type of vehicle.
How Good are the Trainers? As previously mentioned, it’s imperative that the teachers are trained to teach driving techniques and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Although several states have minimum driving time prerequisites to qualify as a teacher, the more successful driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also crucial that the instructors stay up to date with industry advancements or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Evaluating instructors may be a bit more intuitive than other criteria, and possibly the ideal method is to visit the school and speak with the teachers in person. You can also talk to some of the students going through the training and ask if they are satisfied with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Adequate Driving Time? Most importantly, a good truck driver school will provide sufficient driving time to its students. After all, 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 necessary training tools, they are no substitute for actual driving. The more training that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will be. And even though driving time can vary 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. Contact the Union WA schools you are researching and ask how much driving time they provide.
Are they Independent or Captive ? It’s possible to receive free or discounted training from some truck driver schools if you enter into an agreement to drive for a specific carrier for a defined amount of time. This is referred to as contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So rather than maintaining associations with a wide range of trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only work with one company. The tradeoff is receiving less expensive or even free training by giving up the flexibility to initially be a driver wherever you choose. Clearly contract training has the potential to limit your income prospects when beginning your new career. But for many it may be the only way to receive affordable training. Just make sure to inquire if the Union WA schools you are looking at are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Provide CDL Testing Onsite? There are some states that will permit third party CDL testing onsite of truck driver schools for its grads. If onsite testing is permitted in Washington, ask if the schools you are considering 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 Washington testing facilities. It is moreover an indication that the DMV regards the authorized schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Classes Convenient? As earlier noted, truck driving training is just one to two months long. With such a brief duration, it’s essential that the Union WA school you select offers flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. For example, if you’re having a hard time learning a particular driving maneuver, then the teacher should be willing to dedicate 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 Offered? Once you have attained your CDL license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be eager to begin your new profession. Make sure that the schools you are considering have job assistance programs. Ask what their job placement ratio is and what average salary their grads 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 few Union WA employers recruiting their graduates, it might be a clue to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Available? Trucking schools are much like colleges and other Union WA area trade or technical schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being offered. Find out if the schools you are assessing have a financial assistance department, or at least someone who can help you understand the options and forms that must be completed.
Attending Truck Driving School near Union WA?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Union Washington area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
In April 2000, the Trades & Labor Council of Western Australia became simply UnionsWA, to coincide with the consolidation of various union based operations within Western Australia and the opening of "Unity House" on May Day, 2000.
1947 - It continued in this guise for another twenty years when, in 1947, the name was changed once more, this time to the Trade Unions Industrial Council (ALP, WA) to more accurately delineate its trade union role from the political motives of the labour movement.
Although still acknowledged today as the Trades & Labor Council of Western Australia, an increasing association with 'white collar' unions had, by 2000, deemed this old title unreflective of all affiliated unions.
Choose the Right Trucking School Union WA
Choosing the ideal truck driver school is an important first step to starting your new profession 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 obtain the appropriate training in order to drive a big commercial vehicle in a safe and professional fashion. If you are lacking money or financing, you may want to consider a captive school. You will pay a reduced or even no tuition by agreeing to drive for their contracted carrier. Or you can enroll in an independent school and have the option of driving for the trucking company of your choosing, or one of several associated with the school. It’s your decision. But regardless of how you obtain your training, you will soon be entering a profession that helps our country move as a professional truck driver in Union WA.
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