How to Choose a Truck Driver School near Ulen Minnesota
Congrats on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a CDL school near Ulen MN. Maybe it has always been your fantasy to hit the open highway while operating a big ole tractor trailer. Or maybe you have conducted some analysis and have discovered that an occupation as a truck driver provides excellent wages and flexible job opportunities. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s important to obtain the appropriate training by picking the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are a number of variables that you’ll want to consider before making your final selection. Location will undoubtedly be an issue, especially if you have to commute from your Ulen home. The cost will also be of importance, but picking a school based solely on price is not the best method to guarantee you’ll obtain the appropriate education. Just remember, your objective is to master the skills and knowledge that will allow you to pass the CDL examinations and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that objective in mind, just how do you select a truck driving school? That is what we are going to address in the remainder of this article. But first, we are going to discuss a little bit about which CDL license you will eventually need.
Which CDL Will You Require?
In order to operate commercial vehicles legally within the United States and Ulen MN, an operator needs to obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 classes of licenses that a driver can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the subject 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 summaries for the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License is required to operate any vehicle that has a GCWR of more than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of more than 10,000 lbs. Several 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 greater 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 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 might also need endorsements to operate certain types of vehicles, for example passenger or school buses. And a Class A license holder, with the proper required endorsements, may operate any vehicle that a Class B license holder is qualified to operate.
How to Assess a Truck Driver School
After you have determined which CDL you want to obtain, you can begin the process of evaluating the Ulen MN truck driver schools that you are looking at. As earlier discussed, location and cost will no doubt be your initial considerations. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they should not be your sole concerns. Other factors, for example the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are similarly if not more important. So below are some additional things that you should research while conducting your due diligence prior to choosing, and especially paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Not many trucking schools in the Ulen MN area are accredited due to the demanding process and cost to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more prevalent and is offered by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not obligated to become certified, but there are several advantages. Potential students recognize that the training will be of the highest caliber, and that they will receive plenty of driving time. As an example, PTDI mandates 44 hours of real driving time, not simulations or ride-alongs. So if a school’s course is certified (the course, 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 Business? One indicator to help measure the quality of a trucking school is how long it has been in business. A poorly reviewed or a fly by night school normally will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. Having said that, even the top Ulen MN schools had to begin from their opening day of training, so consider it as one of multiple qualifications. You can also ask what the school’s track record is pertaining to successful licensing and employment of its graduates. If a school won’t provide those numbers, search elsewhere. The schools should also maintain associations with regional and national trucking companies. Having a large number of contacts not only confirms a quality reputation within the profession, but also bolsters their job assistance program for graduates. It also wouldn’t hurt to contact the Minnesota licensing department to make sure that the CDL trucker schools you are researching are in good standing.
How Good is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools must be licensed in Minnesota and hire instructors that are experienced and trained. We will discuss more about the teachers in the next section. Also, 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 attention 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 professes it can train you to be a truck driver in a comparatively short time period. Learning to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully takes time. Most Ulen MN schools provide training programs that run from three weeks to as long as 2 months, based on the license class or kind of vehicle.
How Good are the Teachers? As earlier mentioned, it’s imperative that the instructors are qualified to teach driving techniques and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Although a number of states have minimum driving time requirements to qualify as a teacher, the more professional driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also vital that the instructors stay up to date with industry developments or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Assessing teachers may be a bit more subjective than other standards, and perhaps the ideal method is to visit the school and speak with the instructors in person. You can also speak with a few of the students going through the training and find out if they are happy with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
How Much Driving Time? Above all else, an excellent trucking school will furnish lots of 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 driving a truck. Although the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are important training tools, they are no substitute for real driving. The more training that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will be. Although driving time varies among schools, a good 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 Ulen MN schools you are researching and ask how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Captive or Independent ? You can receive free or discounted training from a number of truck driver schools if you enter into an agreement to drive for a specific carrier for a defined time period. This is referred to as contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So rather than maintaining relationships with many different trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only refer to one company. The tradeoff is receiving less expensive or even free training by giving up the flexibility to initially be a driver wherever you have an opportunity. Clearly contract training has the potential to restrict 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 Ulen MN schools you are looking at are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Provide CDL Testing Onsite? There are several states that will allow third party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is permitted in Minnesota, find out if the schools you are looking at are DMV certified to provide it. One advantage is that it is more accommodating than contending with graduates from competing schools for test times at Minnesota testing facilities. It is moreover an indicator that the DMV considers the authorized schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Classes Flexible? As formerly noted, truck driver training is just 1 to 2 months long. With such a short duration, it’s important that the Ulen MN school you select provides flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. As an example, if you’re having a hard time learning a certain driving maneuver, then the teacher should be prepared to dedicate more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still working while going to training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other commitments.
Is Job Assistance Offered? Once you have obtained your CDL license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be anxious to begin your new career. Make sure that the schools you are looking at have job assistance programs. Find out what their job placement ratio is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, ask which local and national trucking companies their graduates are placed with for hiring. If a school has a lower job placement rate or not many Ulen MN employers recruiting their graduates, it might be a clue to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Trucking schools are comparable to colleges and other Ulen MN area technical or vocational schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being offered. Find out if the schools you are examining have a financial assistance department, or at least someone who can help you understand the options and forms that must be submitted.
Enrolling in a Truck Driving School near Ulen MN?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Ulen Minnesota area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
As of the census of 2010, there were 547 people, 234 households, and 130 families residing in the city. The population density was 479.8 inhabitants per square mile (185.3/km2). There were 268 housing units at an average density of 235.1 per square mile (90.8/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 93.1% White, 0.4% African American, 3.7% Native American, 0.2% Asian, 0.5% from other races, and 2.2% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.5% of the population.
There were 234 households of which 26.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 43.2% were married couples living together, 8.1% had a female householder with no husband present, 4.3% had a male householder with no wife present, and 44.4% were non-families. 39.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 21.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.16 and the average family size was 2.89.
The median age in the city was 46.6 years. 21.2% of residents were under the age of 18; 5.3% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 21.5% were from 25 to 44; 23.9% were from 45 to 64; and 28% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 49.4% male and 50.6% female.
Select the Ideal CDL School Ulen MN
Choosing the ideal trucking school is an essential first step to starting your new profession as a local or long distance truck driver. The skill sets taught at school will be those that mold a new career behind the wheel. There are a number of options offered and understanding them is crucial to a new driver’s success. But first and foremost, you must get the appropriate training in order to drive a large commercial vehicle in a professional and safe fashion. If you are short on funds or financing, you may want to think about a captive school. You will pay a lower or in some cases no tuition by agreeing to drive for their contracted carrier. Or you can select an independent truck driving school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking company of your choice, or one of several associated with the school. It’s your choice. But no matter how you get your training, you will in the near future be joining a profession that helps America move as a professional truck driver in Ulen MN.
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