How to Select a CDL Driving School near Santa Idaho
Congrats on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a truck driving school near Santa ID. Perhaps it has always been your ambition to hit the open highway while driving a monster tractor trailer. Or maybe you have done some analysis and have found that an occupation as a truck driver offers excellent income and flexible work prospects. No matter what your reason is, it’s imperative to receive the appropriate training by choosing the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are several factors that you’ll want to examine before making your final choice. Location will undoubtedly be important, particularly if you need to commute from your Santa residence. The expense will also be of importance, but picking a school based solely on price is not the ideal means to make certain you’ll obtain the appropriate education. Just remember, your objective is to learn the skills and knowledge that will allow you to pass the CDL examinations and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that goal in mind, just how do you decide on a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to discuss in the remainder 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 Need?
In order to operate commercial vehicles lawfully within the USA and Santa ID, an operator must obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 license classes that one can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the topic of this article is how to choose a truck driver 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 as well as the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Below are brief summaries for the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License is needed to drive any vehicle that has a GCWR of greater 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 CDL is required to drive 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. 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 may also need endorsements to operate certain types of vehicles, for example passenger or school buses. And a Class A licensee, with the proper required endorsements, can drive any vehicle that a Class B licensee is authorized to drive.
How to Research a Trucking School
After you have decided which Commercial Drivers License you wish to obtain, you can begin the undertaking of evaluating the Santa ID truck driver schools that you are considering. As already discussed, location and cost will no doubt be your initial concerns. But it can’t be stressed enough that they must not be your sole considerations. Other variables, such as the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are equally or even more important. So following are a few additional things that you need to research while carrying out your due diligence before enrolling in, and particularly paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Very few truck driver schools in the Santa ID area are accredited because of the stringent process and cost to the schools. However, certification is more typical 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. Prospective students recognize that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will get lots of driving time. As an example, PTDI requires 44 hours of actual 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 curriculum and training will measure up to the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One indicator to help determine the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in business. 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 Santa ID schools had to start from their first day of training, so consider it as one of several qualifications. You can also learn what the school’s track record is regarding successful licensing and employment of its graduating students. If a school won’t share those stats, search elsewhere. The schools should additionally maintain associations with regional and national trucking firms. Having numerous contacts not only confirms a quality reputation within the industry, but also bolsters their job assistance program for students. It also wouldn’t hurt to contact the Idaho licensing department to verify that the CDL trucking schools you are considering are in good standing.
How Effective is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools should be licensed in Idaho and employ instructors that are trained and experienced. We will cover more about the instructors in the next section. In addition, 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 instruction they will need. This is especially true regarding the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And be critical of any school that insists it can teach you to drive trucks in a relatively short period of time. Learning to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer professionally takes time. Most Santa ID schools offer training courses that range from 3 weeks to as long as two months, based on the license class or type of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Instructors? As previously mentioned, it’s imperative that the instructors are trained to teach driving techniques and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Although a number of states have minimum driving time criteria to be certified as a teacher, the more successful driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also crucial that the teachers stay up to date with industry developments or any new laws or changes in regulations. Evaluating instructors might be a bit more subjective than other criteria, and perhaps the best method is to pay a visit to the school and speak with the instructors in person. You can also talk to a few of the students completing 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 trucking school will furnish 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 operating a truck. While the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are necessary training methods, they are no alternative for actual driving. The more instruction that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will become. And even though driving time can vary among schools, a reasonable benchmark is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish no less than 44 hours of driving time. Check with the Santa ID schools you are looking at and find out how much driving time they provide.
Are they Independent or Captive ? It’s possible to obtain discounted or even free training from certain truck driver schools if you make a commitment to be a driver for a particular carrier for a defined time period. This is referred to as contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So instead of having affiliations with many different 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 surrendering the flexibility to initially be a driver wherever you choose. Naturally contract training has the potential to limit your income prospects when beginning your new career. But for many it may be the best way to receive affordable training. Just make sure to inquire if the Santa ID schools you are considering are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Is there Onsite CDL Testing? There are some states that will allow third party CDL testing onsite of truck driver schools for its grads. If onsite testing is permitted in Idaho, ask if the schools you are reviewing are DMV certified to offer it. One advantage is that it is more convenient than battling with graduates of other schools for test times at Idaho testing locations. It is moreover an indicator that the DMV regards the authorized schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Class Times Convenient? As formerly mentioned, truck driver training is just one to two months long. With such a brief term, it’s imperative that the Santa ID school you enroll in offers flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. As an example, if you’re having a hard time 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 going to training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other commitments.
Is Job Placement Offered? Once you have received your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be keen to begin your new profession. Verify that the schools you are looking at have job placement programs. Find out what their job placement rate is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, find out which national and local trucking companies their graduates are referred to for hiring. If a school has a poor job placement rate or few Santa ID employers recruiting their grads, it may be a clue to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Given? Truck driver schools are much like colleges and other Santa ID area technical or vocational schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being offered. Ask if the schools you are evaluating have a financial aid department, or at a minimum someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that must be submitted.
Enrolling in a Truck Driving School near Santa ID?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Santa Idaho area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
USS Santa Clara (ID-4523)
USS Santa Clara (ID-4523) was a Santa Cecilia-class freighter for the United States Navy during World War I. In service for the United States Army she was known as USAT Santa Clara. Both before and after her World War I service she was known as SS Santa Clara for the Grace Line.
SS Santa Clara, a single-screw, steel-hulled freighter built during 1913 by William Cramp & Sons Ship and Engine Building Company of Philadelphia, was chartered by the United States Army on 28 October 1917 for voyages to the European war zone and given a Naval Armed Guard. Santa Clara was acquired by the Navy on 17 September 1918 from the Grace Line of New York, and commissioned on 12 October 1918 at Baltimore, Maryland, with Lieutenant Commander F. S. Blackadar, USNRF, in command.
Assigned to the Naval Overseas Transportation Service, Santa Clara arrived at Marseille on 15 November 1918, four days after the Armistice was signed, bringing 6,655 tons of general cargo. After returning to Baltimore on 24 December 1918, Santa Clara was transferred, on 18 January 1919, to the Cruiser and Transport Force of the Atlantic Fleet.
Pick the Ideal Trucking School Santa ID
Picking the appropriate trucking school is a critical first step to beginning your new vocation as a long distance or local truck driver. The skills that you will learn at school will be those that shape a new career behind the wheel. There are many options available and understanding them is critical if you are going to succeed as an operator. But first and foremost, you must get the proper training in order to operate a large commercial vehicle in a safe and professional fashion. If you are lacking cash or financing, you might want to look into a captive school. You will pay a reduced or even no tuition in exchange for driving for their contracted carrier. Or you can select an independent trucking school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking company of your choice, or one of several affiliated with the school. It’s your decision. But regardless of how you get your training, you will soon be entering an industry that helps our country move as a professional trucker in Santa ID.
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