How to Pick a CDL Driving School near Webster Kentucky
Congratulations on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a trucking school near Webster KY. Perhaps it has always been your ambition to hit the open road while operating a huge tractor trailer. Or possibly you have done some analysis and have found that a career as a truck driver provides excellent income and flexible job prospects. Whatever your reason is, it’s important to obtain the proper training by selecting the right CDL school in your area. When evaluating your options, there are a number of variables that you’ll need to consider prior to making your ultimate selection. Location will no doubt be an issue, especially if you need to commute from your Webster home. The cost will also be of importance, but picking a school based only on price is not the ideal method to ensure you’ll receive the right training. Just remember, 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 target in mind, just how do you select a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to address in the remainder of this article. But first, we are going to review a little bit about which CDL license you will ultimately need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Should You Get?
To drive commercial vehicles legally within the United States and Webster KY, an operator must get a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 license classes that one can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the topic of this article is how to pick a truck driving school, we will focus on Class A and Class B licenses. What differentiates each class of CDL is the kind of vehicle that the driver can operate in addition to the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Below are short explanations for the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is required to drive any vehicle that has a GCWR of more than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of more than 10,000 lbs. A few 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 drive 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. Some 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 Commercial Drivers Licenses might also need endorsements to drive certain types of vehicles, for instance passenger or school buses. And a Class A license holder, with the proper needed endorsements, can operate any vehicle that a Class B licensee is qualified to operate.
How to Research a Trucking School
Once you have decided which Commercial Drivers License you want to pursue, you can begin the undertaking of researching the Webster KY trucking schools that you are considering. As previously mentioned, cost and location will undoubtedly be your primary concerns. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they must not be your only concerns. Other variables, including the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are similarly or even more important. So below are some more factors that you need to research while performing your due diligence before choosing, and particularly paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Not many truck driver schools in the Webster KY area are accredited due to the stringent process and expense to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more prevalent and is provided by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not obligated to become certified, but there are a number of advantages. Interested students know that the training will be of the highest caliber, and that they will receive plenty of driving time. As an example, PTDI requires 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 training and curriculum will satisfy the very high benchmarks 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 business. A negatively ranked or a fly by night school usually will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. On the other hand, even the top Webster KY schools had to start from their opening day of training, so use it as one of several qualifiers. You can also ask what the school’s history is relating to successful licensing and employment of its graduating students. If a school won’t provide those stats, search elsewhere. The schools should additionally maintain associations with local and national trucking companies. Having a large number of contacts not only confirms an excellent reputation within the profession, but also bolsters their job placement program for students. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to get in touch with the Kentucky licensing department to verify that the CDL trucking schools you are researching are in good standing.
How Good is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools must be licensed in Kentucky and hire instructors that are trained and experienced. We will discuss more about the teachers in the following section. Also, the student to instructor proportion should not be greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be receiving the personal instruction 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 claims it can train you to drive trucks in a relatively short time period. Training to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully takes time. Most Webster KY schools provide training courses that range from three weeks to as long as two months, depending on the class of license or type of vehicle.
How Good are the Teachers? As already stated, it’s imperative that the teachers are qualified to teach driving techniques and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Although several states have minimum driving time prerequisites to be certified as an instructor, the more successful driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also crucial that the instructors keep up to date with industry developments or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Assessing teachers may be a little more intuitive than other standards, and perhaps the ideal method is to visit the school and talk to the teachers face to face. You can also talk to a few of the students going through the training and ask if they are satisfied with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
Sufficient Driving Time? Most importantly, a great trucking school will furnish plenty of driving time to its students. Besides, isn’t that what it’s all about? Driving time is the real time spent behind the wheel driving a truck. While the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are essential training tools, they are no alternative for real driving. The more instruction that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will be. And even though driving time can vary between schools, a good benchmark is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Get in touch with the Webster KY schools you are looking at and find out how much driving time they provide.
Are they Independent or Captive ? You can obtain free or discounted training from some trucking schools if you enter into an agreement to drive for a specific carrier for a defined amount of time. This is what’s known 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 less expensive or even free training by surrendering the freedom to initially be a driver wherever you have an opportunity. Obviously contract training has the potential to limit your income prospects when beginning your new career. But for some it may be the best way to get affordable training. Just remember to inquire if the Webster KY schools you are considering are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Offer CDL Testing Onsite? There are some states that will permit third party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its students. If onsite testing is available in Kentucky, find out if the schools you are reviewing are DMV certified to provide it. One benefit is that it is more convenient than battling with graduates from competing schools for test times at Kentucky testing locations. It is moreover an indication that the DMV considers the authorized schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Classes Convenient? As earlier noted, truck driving training is only about 1 to 2 months long. With such a short duration, it’s important that the Webster KY school you select provides flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. For example, if you’re having a hard time learning a certain driving maneuver, then the instructor should be prepared to spend more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still holding a job while attending training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other commitments.
Is Job Placement Provided? The moment you have received your CDL license after graduating from trucking school, you will be eager to start your new career. Confirm that the schools you are reviewing have job assistance programs. Ask what their job placement ratio is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, find out which national and local trucking companies their graduates are referred to for hiring. If a school has a low job placement rate or few Webster KY employers hiring their graduates, it may be a clue to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Given? Truck driver schools are much like colleges and other Webster KY area vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being offered. Ask if the schools you are assessing have a financial assistance department, or at least someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that must be submitted.
Enrolling in a Truck Driving School near Webster KY?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Webster Kentucky area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Webster County, Kentucky
Webster County is a county located in the U.S. state of Kentucky. As of the 2010 census, the population was 13,621. Its county seat is Dixon. It is the southernmost county in the Evansville, IN–KY Metropolitan Statistical Area. The county was formed in 1860 from parts of Henderson, Hopkins, and Union Counties and named for American statesman Daniel Webster (1782-1852). It was mainly pro-Confederate during the American Civil War and was the site several skirmishes and some guerrilla warfare. It is a prohibition or dry county.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 336 square miles (870 km2), of which 332 square miles (860 km2) is land and 3.7 square miles (9.6 km2) (1.1%) is water. Webster County is part of the Western Coal Fields region of Kentucky.
As of the census of 2010, 5,272 households, and 3,716 families residing in the county. The population density was 42 per square mile (16/km2). There were 5,936 housing units at an average density of 19 per square mile (7.3/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 91.4% White, 4.1% Black or African American, 0.2% Native American, 0.3% Asian, 0.3% Pacific Islander, 2.3% from other races, and 1.4% from two or more races. 4.3% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
Choose the Right Truck Driver School Webster KY
Selecting the right truck driver school is a critical first step to launching your new occupation as a long distance or local truck driver. The skill sets taught at school will be those that forge a new career behind the wheel. There are several options offered and understanding them is crucial to a new driver’s success. But first and foremost, you must receive the proper training in order to drive a big commercial vehicle in a safe and professional manner. If you are short on funds or financing, you may want to think about 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 CDL school and have the option of driving for the trucking firm of your choosing, or one of several associated with the school. It’s your decision. But no matter how you get your training, you will in the near future be joining an industry that helps America move as a professional truck driver in Webster KY.
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