Category Archives: Iowa

Become a Truck Driver | Truck Driving Schools Wadena IA

How to Choose a Truck Driving School near Wadena Iowa

Wadena IA truck driving school campusCongratulations on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a trucking school near Wadena IA. Perhaps it has always been your dream to hit the open highway while driving a monster tractor trailer. Or maybe you have done some research and have discovered that a career as a truck driver provides excellent pay and flexible work prospects. No matter what your reason is, it’s essential to obtain the appropriate training by picking the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are certain variables that you’ll need to think about prior to making your final choice. Location will no doubt be important, particularly if you need to commute from your Wadena home. The cost will also be important, but choosing a school based solely on price is not the optimal method to make certain you’ll obtain the proper education. Don’t forget, your goal is to master the skills and knowledge 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? The answer to that question is what we are going to address in the rest of this article. But first, we are going to discuss a little bit about which CDL license you will eventually need.

Which Commercial Drivers License Will You Require?

long haul tractor trailer in Wadena IATo operate commercial vehicles lawfully within the USA and Wadena IA, an operator needs to obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three classes of licenses that one can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the subject 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 type of vehicle that the driver can operate together with the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Following are short descriptions 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 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 Commercial Drivers License 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. Several 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 may also need endorsements to drive certain kinds of vehicles, including passenger or school buses. And a Class A license holder, with the appropriate required endorsements, may drive any vehicle that a Class B license holder is qualified to drive.

How to Research a Truck Driver School

Questions to ask Wadena IA truck driving schoolsAs soon as you have decided which Commercial Drivers License you want to pursue, you can start the undertaking of evaluating the Wadena IA truck driver schools that you are considering. As previously discussed, cost and location will certainly be your initial concerns. But it can’t be stressed enough that they must not be your sole considerations. Other factors, such as the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are similarly or even more important. So following are a few more points that you need to research while performing your due diligence before selecting, and particularly paying for, your truck driving training.

Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Very few truck driving schools in the Wadena IA area are accredited because of the stringent process and cost to the schools. However, certification is more common and is provided by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not required to become certified, but there are certain advantages. Potential students recognize that the training will be of the highest caliber, and that they will receive lots of driving time. For example, PTDI requires 44 hours of real 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 training and curriculum will comply with the very high standards set by PTDI.

How Long in Operation? One clue to help measure the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in business. A poorly rated or a fly by night school typically will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. Having said that, even the top Wadena IA 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 relating to successful licensing and job placement of its graduates. If a school won’t supply those numbers, search elsewhere. The schools should also have relationships with local and national trucking firms. Having a large number of contacts not only points to a quality reputation within the industry, but also boosts their job placement program for students. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to get in touch with the Iowa licensing authority to make sure that the CDL trucker schools you are reviewing are in compliance.

How Good is the Training? At a minimum, the schools should be licensed in Iowa and employ instructors that are trained and experienced. We will discuss more about the instructors in the next segment. Also, the student to instructor ratio should not be greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be getting the personal attention they will need. This is especially true concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And look out for any school that professes it can teach you to be a truck driver in a comparatively short time frame. Learning to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully takes time. The majority of Wadena IA schools provide training programs that run from three weeks to as long as 2 months, based on the license class or type of vehicle.

How Good are the Teachers? As earlier stated, it’s essential that the teachers are qualified to teach driving techniques and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Although a number of states have minimum driving time prerequisites to be certified as an instructor, the more professional driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also important that the teachers keep up to date with industry advancements or any new laws or changes in regulations. Assessing instructors may be a bit more subjective than other criteria, and possibly the ideal method is to pay a visit to the school and speak with the instructors face to face. You can also speak with a few of the students completing the training and find out if they are happy with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.

Plenty of Driving Time? Above all else, a great trucking school will provide lots 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. Although the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are essential training tools, they are no alternative for actual driving. The more instruction that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will become. Although driving time differs among schools, a reasonable standard is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish no less than 44 hours of driving time. Get in touch with the Wadena IA schools you are looking at and ask how much driving time they furnish.

Are they Captive or Independent ? You can obtain discounted or even free training from a number of truck driver schools if you enter into an agreement to be a driver for a specified 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 a wide range of 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 flexibility to initially work wherever you choose. Clearly contract training has the potential to limit your income opportunities when beginning your new career. But for some it may be the best way to obtain affordable training. Just be sure to find out if the Wadena IA schools you are looking at are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.

Offer CDL Testing Onsite? There are some states that will allow third party CDL testing onsite of truck driver schools for its grads. If onsite testing is allowed in Iowa, ask if the schools you are looking at are DMV certified to provide it. One benefit is that it is more accommodating than competing with graduates of other schools for test times at Iowa testing locations. It is also an indication that the DMV considers the authorized schools to be of a higher quality.

Are the Class Times Accessible? As previously mentioned, truck driver training is just one to two months long. With such a brief term, it’s essential that the Wadena IA school you choose offers flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. As an example, if you’re having difficulty learning a certain driving maneuver, then the instructor should be willing to commit more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still holding a job while attending training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other commitments.

Is Job Placement Provided? The moment you have attained your commercial driver’s license after graduating from trucking school, you will be impatient to start your new profession. Verify 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 companies their graduates are placed with for employment. If a school has a low job placement rate or not many Wadena IA employers hiring their grads, it might be a clue to search elsewhere.

Is Financial Assistance Available? Truck driver schools are much like colleges and other Wadena IA area vocational or trade 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 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 Wadena IA?

If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Wadena Iowa area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.

Wadena, Iowa

Wadena's electricity is supplied by Alliant Energy. Its land-line phone and DSL internet service is provided by Windstream. Cellular phone service is mainly provided by U.S. Cellular as they have a tower located just east of town. Wadena is located in a valley and other cellular phone providers have spotty coverage in town. Wadena no longer has a cable television provider. Any cable television services must be obtained through satellite service providers such as Dish Network or DirecTV.

Wadena is also known for its lighted cross which is located on the hill south of town. The cross overlooks Wadena and was erected during the bi-centennial celebrations in 1976. The lighted cross is maintained entirely by donations.

Wadena is one of the towns that make up the North Fayette Valley School System. In 2013, the Valley Community School District entered a Whole-Grade Sharing Agreement with neighboring North Fayette CSD to become North Fayette Valley. The new mascot is the Tigerhawk, a combination of both schools' former mascots, the Valley Tigers and the North Fayette Hawks. Grades 9-12 are located in West Union at the North Fayette Valley High School. Grades 7-8 are located at the North Fayette Valley Middle School between Elgin and Clermont. Unless open enrolled out, all elementary students in Wadena will attend Valley Elementary, located in the same building as the NFV Middle School.

Pick the Ideal Truck Driving School Wadena IA

tractor trailer hauling construction materials in Wadena IASelecting the ideal truck driving school is an essential 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 mold a new career behind the wheel. There are several options available and understanding them is critical to a new driver’s success. Most importantly, you must receive the proper training in order to operate a big commercial vehicle in a safe and professional manner. If you are lacking funds or financing, you might need to look into a captive school. You will pay a lower or in some cases no tuition in exchange for driving for their contracted carrier. Or you can enroll in an independent CDL school and have the option of driving for the trucking company of your choice, 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 part of a profession that helps our country move as a professional trucker in Wadena IA.

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