How to Decide on a CDL Training School near Reeder North Dakota
Congratulations on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a trucking school near Reeder ND. Perhaps it has always been your dream to hit the open road while operating a monster tractor trailer. Or possibly you have conducted some research and have discovered that an occupation as a truck driver offers good pay and flexible work prospects. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s essential to receive the appropriate training by enrolling in the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are a number of factors that you’ll need to examine before making your ultimate choice. Location will certainly be important, especially if you have to commute from your Reeder residence. The expense will also be important, but choosing a school based exclusively on price is not the best means to ensure you’ll get the proper training. Just remember, your objective is to master the skills and knowledge that will enable you to pass the CDL exams and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that target in mind, just how do you decide on a truck driving school? The answer to that question 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 Commercial Drivers License Will You Need?
In order to operate commercial vehicles legally within the United States and Reeder ND, a driver must obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 classes of licenses that a driver can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the subject of this article is how to pick a truck driver school, we will focus on 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 short explanations for the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is needed 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 operate 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. Several 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 require endorsements to drive certain types of vehicles, for example passenger or school buses. And a Class A licensee, with the appropriate required endorsements, can drive any vehicle that a Class B license holder is qualified to drive.
How to Evaluate a Trucking School
After you have decided which CDL you would like to obtain, you can begin the undertaking of evaluating the Reeder ND truck driving schools that you are considering. As previously mentioned, location and cost will undoubtedly be your initial considerations. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they should not be your sole considerations. Other variables, including the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are equally or even more important. So following are a few additional things that you should research while performing your due diligence before enrolling in, and especially paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Very few truck driving schools in the Reeder ND area are accredited because of the rigorous process and cost to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more typical and is provided by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not required to become certified, but there are several advantages. Prospective students recognize that the training will be of the highest standard, and that they will receive plenty of driving time. As an example, PTDI mandates 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 meet the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One indicator to help assess the quality of a trucking school is how long it has been in business. A negatively reviewed or a fly by night school typically will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. On the other hand, even the best of Reeder ND schools had to begin from their first day of training, so use it as one of several qualifications. You can also find out what the school’s track record is regarding successful licensing and employment of its graduates. If a school won’t share those stats, search elsewhere. The schools should additionally have relationships with regional and national trucking firms. Having numerous contacts not only confirms an excellent reputation within the industry, but also bolsters their job assistance program for graduates. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to check with the North Dakota licensing authority to verify that the CDL trucker schools you are reviewing are in good standing.
How Effective is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools must be licensed in North Dakota and hire instructors that are trained and experienced. We will cover more about the teachers in the next section. In addition, the student to instructor proportion should not be higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be receiving the individual instruction they will need. This is especially 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 comparatively short time period. Learning to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer professionally takes time. Most Reeder ND schools provide training courses that range from 3 weeks to as long as two months, depending on the license class or type of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Trainers? As already stated, it’s imperative that the instructors are trained to teach driving methods and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Although several states have minimum driving time prerequisites to be certified as a teacher, the more successful driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also vital that the instructors stay current with industry advancements or any new laws or changes in regulations. Evaluating instructors might be a little more subjective than other standards, and perhaps the best 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 ask if they are satisfied with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
Adequate Driving Time? Most importantly, a good trucking school will furnish plenty of driving time to its students. After all, isn’t that what it’s all about? Driving time is the real time spent behind the wheel operating a truck. Although the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are necessary training tools, they are no replacement for actual driving. The more instruction that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will become. Although driving time can vary 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. Get in touch with the Reeder ND schools you are researching and ask how much driving time they provide.
Are they Captive or Independent ? You can get free or discounted training from some truck driver schools if you make a commitment to be a driver for a particular carrier for a defined time period. This is called contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So instead of maintaining associations with a wide range of trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only work with one company. The benefit 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 limit your income opportunities when starting out. But for some it may be the ideal way to get affordable training. Just be sure to ask if the Reeder ND schools you are looking at are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Provide Onsite CDL Testing? There are a number of states that will permit 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driver schools for its students. If onsite testing is allowed in North Dakota, find out if the schools you are looking at are DMV certified to provide it. One advantage is that it is more convenient than contending with graduates of competing schools for test times at North Dakota testing centers. It is moreover an indication that the DMV views the authorized schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Class Times Flexible? As earlier noted, CDL training is just one to two months long. With such a short term, it’s essential that the Reeder ND school you select provides 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 teacher 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 needs to be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other commitments.
Is Job Placement Offered? The moment you have attained your CDL license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be eager to start your new profession. Make sure that the schools you are contemplating have job assistance programs. Ask what their job placement ratio is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, find out which local and national trucking companies their graduates are placed with for employment. If a school has a lower job placement rate or few Reeder ND employers hiring their graduates, it may be a clue to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Truck driving schools are similar to colleges and other Reeder ND area vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being offered. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have a financial assistance department, or at a minimum someone who can help you get through the options and forms that must be completed.
Enrolling in a Truck Driving School near Reeder ND?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Reeder North Dakota area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Reeder, North Dakota
Reeder was founded in 1907 along the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific Railroad and named after E. O. Reeder, the railroad's assistant chief engineer. Reeder is a stop along the old Yellowstone Trail, the first transcontinental automobile highway in the Northern United States.
In 1907, two brothers, Albert and Charles Leff, founded and operated a post office, among other enterprises, one and one-half miles east  of the present town of Reeder. The Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific Railroad later platted the current townsite and named it Reeder. The Leff post office was relocated to the new town March 13, 1908, and the name Leff was used until July 1, 1908.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 0.62 square miles (1.61 km2), all of it land. The city is located along U.S. Highway 12 at its junction with North Dakota Highway 22.
Select the Right Truck Driving School Reeder ND
Choosing the appropriate trucking school is a critical first step to starting your new occupation as a long distance or local truck driver. The skill sets that you will learn at school will be those that forge a new career behind the wheel. There are several options offered and understanding them is critical to a new driver’s success. Most importantly, you must obtain the proper training in order to drive a big commercial vehicle in a professional and safe manner. If you are lacking funds or financing, you may want to consider 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 no matter how you receive your training, you will in the near future be part of a profession that helps America move as a professional trucker in Reeder ND.
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