How to Find a Trucking School near Whitman Nebraska
Congrats on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a truck driving school near Whitman NE. Perhaps it has always been your goal to hit the open highway while operating a monster tractor trailer. Or possibly you have conducted some analysis and have discovered that a career as a truck driver offers excellent income and flexible job opportunities. No matter what your reason is, it’s important to receive the proper training by selecting the right CDL school in your area. When evaluating your options, there are a number of factors that you’ll need to examine prior to making your final selection. Location will certainly be an issue, especially if you have to commute from your Whitman residence. The expense will also be of importance, but choosing a school based solely on price is not the optimal method to make sure you’ll receive the proper education. Just remember, your goal is to master the knowledge and skills that will allow you to pass the CDL examinations and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that goal in mind, just how do you pick a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to discuss in the rest of this article. But first, we are going to review a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will eventually need.
Which CDL Will You Require?
To drive commercial vehicles legally within the United States and Whitman NE, a driver must obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three classes of licenses that a driver can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the subject of this article is how to pick a truck driving school, we will address Class A and B licenses. What differentiates each class of CDL is the type of vehicle that the driver can operate in addition to the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Following are brief explanations for the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License is required to operate any vehicle that has a GCWR of greater than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of greater 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 Commercial Drivers License is needed 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. 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 Commercial Drivers Licenses may also require endorsements to drive specific types of vehicles, for instance passenger or school buses. And a Class A license holder, with the appropriate needed endorsements, can drive any vehicle that a Class B licensee is qualified to operate.
How to Research a Trucking School
After you have determined which CDL you would like to obtain, you can start the undertaking of assessing the Whitman NE trucking schools that you are considering. As already discussed, location and cost will certainly be your initial considerations. But it can’t be stressed enough that they should not be your only considerations. Other variables, including the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are equally or even more important. So below are some more things that you need to research while conducting your due diligence prior to selecting, and especially paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Not many trucking schools in the Whitman NE area are accredited because of the demanding process and expense to the schools. However, certification is more common 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 recognize that the training will be of the highest standard, and that they will get an ample amount 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 curriculum and training will comply with the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One clue to help evaluate the quality of a truck driver school is how long it has been in business. A negatively rated or a fly by night school usually will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. Having said that, even the best of Whitman NE schools had to start from their first day of training, so use it as one of several qualifiers. You can also find out what the school’s history is concerning successful licensing and job placement of its graduating students. If a school won’t provide those stats, search elsewhere. The schools should also maintain relationships with local and national trucking companies. Having a large number of contacts not only confirms a quality reputation within the profession, but also boosts their job assistance program for students. It also wouldn’t hurt to get in touch with the Nebraska licensing department to make sure that the CDL trucking schools you are reviewing are in good standing.
How Good is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools should be licensed in Nebraska and hire instructors that are trained and experienced. We will cover more about the teachers in the following section. In addition, the student to instructor ratio should be no greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be receiving the personalized attention they will need. This is especially true regarding the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And look out for any school that claims it can teach you to drive trucks in a comparatively short time frame. Learning to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer professionally takes time. The majority of Whitman NE schools offer training programs that run from three weeks to as long as two months, based on the license class or type of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Trainers? As earlier stated, it’s imperative that the teachers are qualified to teach driving methods and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Even though several states have minimum driving time requirements to be certified as an instructor, the more successful driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also crucial that the teachers keep up to date with industry advancements or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Evaluating teachers may be a bit more intuitive than other standards, and possibly the best approach is to check out the school and speak with the instructors face to face. You can also talk to a few of the students going through the training and ask if they are happy with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Adequate Driving Time? Above all else, a good trucking school will provide ample driving time to its students. Besides, 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 ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are essential training methods, they are no substitute for actual driving. The more instruction that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will be. And even though driving time can vary between schools, a reasonable standard is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Contact the Whitman NE schools you are considering and find out how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Independent or Captive ? It’s possible to receive free or discounted training from some trucking schools if you enter into an agreement to be a driver for a specific carrier for a defined period of time. This is what’s known as contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So instead of maintaining affiliations with numerous 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 freedom to initially be a driver wherever you have an opportunity. Naturally contract training has the potential to restrict your income opportunities when beginning your new career. But for some it may be the only way to get affordable training. Just make sure to ask if the Whitman NE schools you are contemplating are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Offer Onsite CDL Testing? There are a number of states that will allow third party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its students. If onsite testing is permitted in Nebraska, ask if the schools you are looking at are DMV certified to provide it. One advantage is that it is more convenient than competing with graduates from competing schools for test times at Nebraska testing centers. It is also an indicator that the DMV views the approved schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Class Times Convenient? As earlier noted, CDL training is just one to two months long. With such a short term, it’s imperative that the Whitman NE school you select provides flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. For example, if you’re having difficulty learning a certain driving maneuver, then the teacher should be willing 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 needs to be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other responsibilities.
Is Job Assistance Provided? As soon as you have attained your CDL license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be eager to start your new profession. Verify that the schools you are contemplating have job placement programs. Ask 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 employment. If a school has a lower job placement rate or not many Whitman NE employers recruiting their grads, it might be a clue to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Given? Trucking schools are similar to colleges and other Whitman NE area technical or vocational schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being available. Ask if the schools you are evaluating have a financial aid 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 Whitman NE?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Whitman Nebraska area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Whitman College is a private liberal arts college located in Walla Walla, Washington. Initially founded as a seminary by a territorial legislative charter in 1859, the school became a four-year degree-granting institution in 1882. Whitman College is accredited by the Northwest Association of Schools and Colleges and competes athletically in the NCAA Division III Northwest Conference. The school offers 48 majors and 33 minors in the liberal arts and sciences, and has a student-to-faculty ratio of 9:1. Whitman was the first college in the Pacific Northwest to install a Phi Beta Kappa chapter, and the first school in the United States to require comprehensive exams for graduation. Whitman was ranked tied for 41st in the nation in the 2017 U.S. News & World Report list of Best Liberal Arts Colleges. Whitman's acceptance rate for 2015 was 41%.
In 1859, soon after the United States military declared that the land east of the Cascade Mountains was open for settlement by American pioneers, Cushing Eells traveled from the Willamette Valley to Waiilatpu, near present-day Walla Walla, where 12 years earlier, Christian missionaries Dr. Marcus Whitman and Narcissa Whitman, along with 12 others were killed by a group of Cayuse Indians during the Whitman Massacre. While at the site, Eells became determined to establish a "monument" to his former missionary colleagues in the form of a school for pioneer boys and girls. Eells obtained a charter for Whitman Seminary, a pre-collegiate school, from the territorial legislature. From the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, he acquired the Whitman mission site. Eells soon moved to the site with his family and began working to establish Whitman Seminary.
Despite Eells's desire to locate Whitman Seminary at the Whitman mission site, local pressure and resources provided a way for the school to open in the burgeoning town of Walla Walla. In 1866, Walla Walla's wealthiest citizen, Dorsey Baker, donated land near his house to the east of downtown. A two-story wood-frame building was quickly erected and classes began later that year. The school's first principal, local Congregational minister Peasly B. Chamberlin, resigned within a year and Cushing Eells was called upon to serve as principal, which he did until 1869. After Eells's resignation in 1869, the school struggled—and often failed—to attract students, pay teachers, and stay open for each term.
Choose the Right Trucking School Whitman NE
Selecting 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 crucial if you are going to succeed as an operator. Most importantly, you must receive the necessary training in order to drive a big commercial vehicle in a professional and safe manner. If you are lacking funds or financing, you may need to look into a captive school. You will pay a reduced or even no tuition by agreeing to drive for their contracted carrier. Or you can choose an independent truck driving school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking firm of your choice, or one of many affiliated with the school. It’s your decision. But no matter how you obtain your training, you will soon be entering an industry that helps our country move as a professional trucker in Whitman NE.
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