How to Choose a CDL Training School near Wyoming Illinois
Congratulations on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a trucking school near Wyoming IL. Perhaps it has always been your goal to hit the open road while driving a huge tractor trailer. Or maybe you have done some analysis and have discovered that an occupation as a truck driver provides excellent income and flexible job prospects. No matter what your reason is, it’s imperative to get the appropriate training by picking the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are a number of factors that you’ll need to think about prior to making your final choice. Location will undoubtedly be important, especially if you need to commute from your Wyoming residence. The expense will also be important, but choosing a school based only on price is not the best means to ensure you’ll receive the right training. Don’t forget, your goal 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 target in mind, just how do you choose a truck driving school? That is what we are going to address in the remainder of this article. But first, we are going to talk a little bit about which CDL license you will eventually need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Will You Need?
In order to operate commercial vehicles legally within the USA and Wyoming IL, a driver needs to get a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three classes of licenses that one can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the topic of this article is how to choose a truck driver school, we will discuss Class A and Class B licenses. What distinguishes each class of CDL is the kind of vehicle that the driver can operate together with the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Following are brief descriptions for the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License is needed to drive any vehicle that has a GCWR of more than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of greater than 10,000 lbs. Several 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 Commercial Drivers License 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 CDLs may also need endorsements to operate certain kinds of vehicles, such as passenger or school buses. And a Class A licensee, with the proper needed endorsements, may drive any vehicle that a Class B licensee is authorized to operate.
How to Research a Truck Driver School
As soon as you have decided which CDL you want to obtain, you can begin the process of researching the Wyoming IL trucking schools that you are looking at. As already mentioned, location and cost will undoubtedly be your primary concerns. But it can’t be stressed enough that they must not be your only considerations. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are equally if not more important. So following are a few additional factors that you should research while carrying out your due diligence prior to selecting, and especially paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Very few truck driving schools in the Wyoming IL area are accredited because of the stringent process and expense to the schools. However, certification is more commonplace and is offered by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not required to become certified, but there are several advantages. Potential students know that the training will be of the highest standard, and that they will be given plenty of driving time. For example, PTDI calls for 44 hours of real 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 comply with the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One indicator to help measure the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in operation. A negatively reviewed or a fly by night school usually will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the best of Wyoming IL schools had to start from their first day of training, so use it as one of multiple qualifiers. You can also ask what the school’s history is regarding successful licensing and employment of its graduates. If a school won’t provide those stats, search elsewhere. The schools should also have associations with regional and national trucking companies. Having a large number of contacts not only points to a superior reputation within the trade, but also bolsters their job assistance program for students. It also wouldn’t hurt to get in touch with the Illinois licensing authority to confirm that the CDL trucking schools you are reviewing are in good standing.
How Effective is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools must be licensed in Illinois and hire instructors that are experienced and trained. We will talk more about the teachers in the next 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 individual 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 time frame. Learning to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer professionally requires time. The majority of Wyoming IL schools provide training courses that range from three weeks to as long as two months, based on the class of license or kind of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Teachers? As earlier stated, it’s important that the instructors are qualified to teach driving methods and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Even though a number of states have minimum driving time requirements to qualify as an instructor, the more professional driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also important that the teachers stay up to date with industry developments or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Evaluating instructors might be a little more subjective than other standards, and perhaps the best method is to visit the school and speak with the instructors face to face. You can also speak with a few 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.
Sufficient Driving Time? Above all else, an excellent trucking school will provide ample 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. While the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are necessary training tools, they are no alternative 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 varies among schools, a good benchmark is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide no less than 44 hours of driving time. Check with the Wyoming IL schools you are looking at and find out how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Independent or Captive ? You can obtain free or discounted training from certain truck driving schools if you enter into an agreement to drive for a particular carrier for a defined amount of time. This is what’s known as contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So rather than having associations with a wide range of trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only work with one company. The tradeoff is receiving less expensive or even free training by giving up the freedom to initially work wherever you choose. Obviously contract training has the potential to limit your income prospects when beginning your new career. But for some it may be the ideal way to receive affordable training. Just make sure to ask if the Wyoming IL schools you are considering are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Is there CDL Testing Onsite? There are several states that will permit 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its grads. If onsite testing is available in Illinois, ask if the schools you are reviewing are DMV certified to provide it. One benefit is that it is more accommodating than contending with graduates from other schools for test times at Illinois testing facilities. It is moreover an indicator that the DMV regards the approved schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Classes Accessible? As earlier noted, truck driving training is only about 1 to 2 months long. With such a short term, it’s important that the Wyoming IL school you choose provides 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 instructor should be prepared 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 Provided? Once you have obtained your commercial driver’s license after graduating from trucking school, you will be eager to begin your new career. Verify that the schools you are reviewing have job placement programs. Ask what their job placement ratio is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, ask which local and national trucking companies their graduates are placed with for hiring. If a school has a poor job placement rate or few Wyoming IL employers hiring their graduates, it may be a clue to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Trucking schools are similar to colleges and other Wyoming IL area vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being available. Ask if the schools you are assessing have a financial aid department, or at a minimum someone who can help you understand the options and forms that must be submitted.
Enrolling in a Truck Driving School near Wyoming IL?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Wyoming Illinois area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Wyoming is a city in Stark County, Illinois, United States. The population was 1,429 at the 2010 census, up from 1,424 in 2000. It is the headquarters of the Rock Island Trail State Park. Wyoming is part of the Peoria, Illinois Metropolitan Statistical Area. The former CB&Q Railroad depot in town is the Rock Island Trail State Park's headquarters.
The city of Wyoming was founded on May 3, 1836 by General Samuel Thomas who was a veteran of the War of 1812. General Thomas was born in 1787 and died in 1879. He is buried in the Wyoming City Cemetery where a plaque below his stone denotes that he was the founder and benefactor of the town of Wyoming. The main city park in Wyoming is Thomas Park and there is also a Thomas Street in honor of General Thomas. Samuel Thomas as well as many of the other early settlers came from the state of Pennsylvania. It is for the Wyoming Valley in Pennsylvania that the city is named.
Stark County is in the central portion of the state and is rural, consisting mostly of farm land. Stark County was established on March 2, 1839 and named for John Stark a soldier of the French and Indian wars and a Major General of the Revolution serving with great distinction at Bunker Hill, Trenton, Princeton, and Bennington.
Pick the Ideal Truck Driving School Wyoming IL
Choosing the ideal trucking school is an essential first step to starting your new occupation as a long distance or local truck driver. The skill sets taught at school will be those that mold a new career behind the wheel. There are several options offered and understanding them is crucial if you are going to succeed as an operator. But first and foremost, you must obtain the appropriate training in order to operate a large commercial vehicle in a professional and safe manner. If you are lacking money or financing, you might want to look into 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 enroll in an independent trucker school and have the option of driving for the trucking firm of your choosing, or one of many associated with the school. It’s your decision. But no matter how you get your training, you will soon be joining an industry that helps America move as a professional trucker in Wyoming IL.
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