How to Select a Trucking School near The Lakes Nevada
Congrats on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a truck driving school near The Lakes NV. Maybe it has always been your goal to hit the open highway while operating a monster tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have conducted some research and have discovered that a career as a truck driver offers good pay and flexible work opportunities. Whatever your reason is, it’s essential 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 consider prior to making your final choice. Location will no doubt be important, especially if you have to commute from your The Lakes home. The cost will also be of importance, but choosing a school based entirely on price is not the optimal means to make certain you’ll receive the proper education. Just remember, your objective 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 select a truck driving school? That is what we are going to address in the balance of this article. But first, we are going to discuss a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will ultimately need.
Which CDL Will You Need?
To operate commercial vehicles lawfully within the United States and The Lakes NV, an operator needs to get a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three license classes that a driver can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the topic of this article is how to select a truck driver 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 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 drive 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. 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 CDLs may also need endorsements to drive certain types of vehicles, for instance passenger or school buses. And a Class A license holder, with the appropriate needed endorsements, may drive any vehicle that a Class B licensee is qualified to drive.
How to Research a Trucking School
Once you have decided which CDL you would like to obtain, you can begin the process of researching the The Lakes NV truck driving schools that you are considering. As previously discussed, cost and location will certainly be your primary considerations. But it can’t be stressed enough that they should not be your sole concerns. Other variables, including the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are equally if not more important. So following are some additional things that you should research while carrying out your due diligence before choosing, and especially paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Not many trucking schools in the The Lakes NV area are accredited because of the rigorous process and cost to the schools. However, 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 certain advantages. Interested students recognize that the training will be of the highest caliber, and that they will be given lots of driving time. As an example, PTDI calls for 44 hours of actual 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 curriculum and training will measure up to the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One clue to help assess the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in operation. A negatively reviewed or a fly by night school normally will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. On the other hand, even the best of The Lakes NV schools had to start from their first day of training, so consider it as one of multiple qualifications. You can also find out what the school’s track record is concerning successful licensing and job placement of its graduates. If a school won’t share those stats, look elsewhere. The schools should additionally maintain associations with local and national trucking firms. Having numerous contacts not only affirms a quality reputation within the trade, but also boosts their job assistance program for students. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to contact the Nevada licensing department to make sure 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 Nevada and employ teachers that are experienced and trained. We will talk more about the instructors in the next segment. Also, the student to instructor proportion should not be greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be obtaining the personalized attention they will need. This is particularly true concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And look out for any school that professes it can train you to be a truck driver in a comparatively short period of time. Learning to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer professionally requires time. Most The Lakes NV schools offer training courses that run from 3 weeks to as long as 2 months, depending on the license class or kind of vehicle.
How Good are the Trainers? As earlier stated, it’s essential that the teachers are trained to teach driving techniques and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Even though a number of states have minimum driving time prerequisites to qualify as an instructor, the more professional driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also important that the teachers keep current with industry advancements or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Evaluating teachers may be a bit more subjective than other criteria, and possibly the best approach is to check out the school and speak with the teachers face to face. You can also speak with some of the students completing the training and ask if they are happy with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Sufficient Driving Time? Most importantly, a good truck driving school will provide lots 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. Even though the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are necessary training methods, they are no alternative for real driving. The more instruction that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will become. Although driving time differs among schools, a reasonable standard is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish no less than 44 hours of driving time. Get in touch with the The Lakes NV schools you are considering and ask how much driving time they provide.
Are they Independent or Captive ? It’s possible to get free or discounted training from certain truck driver schools if you enter into an agreement to be a driver 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 instead of maintaining relationships with a wide range of 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 surrendering the freedom to initially work wherever you have an opportunity. Clearly contract training has the potential to reduce your income prospects when starting out. But for some it may be the only way to get affordable training. Just remember to inquire if the The Lakes NV schools you are contemplating are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Offer CDL Testing Onsite? There are a number of states that will allow third party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its grads. If onsite testing is available in Nevada, find out if the schools you are reviewing are DMV certified to offer it. One benefit is that it is more accommodating than battling with graduates of competing schools for test times at Nevada testing centers. It is also an indication that the DMV considers the authorized schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Classes Convenient? As earlier mentioned, truck driving training is just one to two months in length. With such a short duration, it’s imperative that the The Lakes NV school you select offers flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. As an example, if you’re having a hard time learning a certain driving maneuver, then the teacher should be willing to dedicate more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still holding a job while going to training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other responsibilities.
Is Job Placement Offered? Once you have attained your CDL license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be anxious to start your new career. Confirm that the schools you are reviewing have job assistance programs. Find out what their job placement percentage is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, ask which national and local trucking firms their graduates are placed with for hiring. If a school has a poor job placement rate or not many The Lakes NV employers hiring their graduates, it might be a sign to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Trucking schools are much like colleges and other The Lakes NV area technical or vocational 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 assistance department, or at a minimum someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that need to be completed.
Enrolling in a Truck Driving School near The Lakes NV?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the The Lakes Nevada area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Lake Mead is a lake on the Colorado River, about 24 mi (39 km) from the Las Vegas Strip, southeast of the city of Las Vegas, Nevada, in the states of Nevada and Arizona. It is the largest reservoir in the United States in terms of water capacity. Formed by the Hoover Dam, the reservoir serves water to the states of Arizona, California, and Nevada, as well as some of Mexico providing sustenance to nearly 20 million people and large areas of farmland.
At maximum capacity, Lake Mead is 112 miles (180 km) long, 532 feet (162 m) at its greatest depth, has a surface elevation of 1,221.4 feet (372.3 m) above sea level and 247 square miles (640 km2) of surface area, and contains 26.12 million acre feet (32.22 km3) of water.
The lake has not reached full capacity, however, since 1983 due to a combination of drought and increased water demand. As of August 2017[update], Lake Mead was at approximately 40% of full capacity with 10 million acre feet (12 km3) of held water. It has been smaller than Lake Powell (the second largest US reservoir when both are full) since 2013.
Pick the Right Truck Driving School The Lakes NV
Selecting the right truck driver school is an important first step to launching your new profession as a long distance or local truck driver. The skill sets that you will learn at school will be those that mold a new career behind the wheel. There are a number of options available and understanding them is vital if you are going to succeed as an operator. But first and foremost, you must get the necessary training in order to drive a big commercial vehicle in a professional and safe fashion. If you are short on cash or financing, you might need to look into a captive school. You will pay a lower or even no tuition in exchange for driving for their contracted carrier. Or you can select an independent trucker school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking firm of your choice, or one of many associated with the school. It’s your choice. But regardless of how you obtain your training, you will in the near future be part of a profession that helps our country move as a professional truck driver in The Lakes NV.
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