How to Pick a Truck Driver School near Union City Oklahoma
Congratulations on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a CDL school near Union City OK. Maybe it has always been your dream to hit the open highway while driving a monster tractor trailer. Or maybe you have done some research and have found that an occupation as a truck driver offers excellent wages and flexible job prospects. No matter what your reason is, it’s important to obtain the appropriate training by enrolling in 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 undoubtedly be an issue, particularly if you have to commute from your Union City home. The cost will also be of importance, but choosing a school based only on price is not the best way to make certain you’ll obtain the proper education. Don’t forget, your objective is to learn 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 select a truck driving school? That is what we are going to discuss in the remainder of this article. But first, we are going to discuss a little bit about which CDL license you will ultimately need.
Which CDL Should You Get?
In order to drive commercial vehicles legally within the United States and Union City OK, a driver needs to obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three classes of licenses that one can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the subject of this article is how to select a truck driving school, we will address Class A and Class 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). Following are brief descriptions for the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License is needed to operate any vehicle that has a GCWR of greater 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 Commercial Drivers License is needed to operate 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 operate certain kinds of vehicles, such as passenger or school buses. And a Class A license holder, with the appropriate needed endorsements, can operate any vehicle that a Class B licensee is qualified to drive.
How to Research a Trucking School
Once you have decided which Commercial Drivers License you want to obtain, you can start the process of researching the Union City OK trucking schools that you are looking at. As earlier mentioned, cost and location will undoubtedly be your primary concerns. But it can’t be stressed enough that they should not be your only considerations. Other variables, such as the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are equally if not more important. So following are a few additional points that you should research while carrying out your due diligence before enrolling in, and particularly paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Very few truck driver schools in the Union City OK area are accredited because of the rigorous process and cost 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. Potential students know that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will be given an ample amount of driving time. For example, PTDI requires 44 hours of actual 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 curriculum and training will fulfill the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One indicator to help assess the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in business. A negatively ranked or a fly by night school typically will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the top Union City OK schools had to start from their opening day of training, so use it as one of several qualifications. You can also find out what the school’s history is regarding successful licensing and job placement of its graduating students. If a school won’t provide those stats, search elsewhere. The schools should additionally maintain relationships with regional and national trucking firms. Having a large number of contacts not only points to a superior reputation within the profession, but also bolsters their job placement program for students. It also wouldn’t hurt to get in touch with the Oklahoma licensing department to verify that the CDL trucking schools you are considering are in compliance.
How Effective is the Training? At a minimum, the schools should be licensed in Oklahoma and employ instructors that are experienced and trained. We will cover more about the teachers in the following 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 individual instruction they will need. This is especially true concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And look out for any school that claims it can train you to be a truck driver in a comparatively short period of time. Training to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully requires time. The majority of Union City OK schools provide training programs that range from 3 weeks to as long as 2 months, depending on the license class or type of vehicle.
How Good are the Trainers? As previously stated, it’s imperative that the instructors are qualified to teach driving methods and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Although several states have minimum driving time criteria to be certified as a teacher, the more professional driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also important that the teachers keep up to date with industry advancements or any new laws or changes in regulations. Evaluating instructors might be a little more subjective than other criteria, and perhaps the ideal approach is to pay a visit to 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 qualification to train them.
Plenty of Driving Time? Above all else, a good truck driver school will provide ample driving time to its students. Besides, isn’t that what it’s all about? Driving time is the actual time spent behind the wheel driving a truck. Even though the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are essential training methods, they are no replacement for actual driving. The more instruction that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will become. And even though driving time fluctuates between schools, a reasonable standard is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish at least 44 hours of driving time. Get in touch with the Union City OK schools you are looking at and find out how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Independent or Captive ? You can receive free or discounted training from some truck driver schools if you enter into an agreement to be a driver 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 maintaining relationships with a wide range of trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only work with one company. The tradeoff is receiving less expensive or even free training by surrendering the freedom to initially work wherever you choose. Obviously contract training has the potential to limit your income prospects when starting out. But for some it may be the only way to receive affordable training. Just remember to ask if the Union City OK schools you are contemplating are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Is there CDL Testing Onsite? There are a number of states that will permit third party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is permitted in Oklahoma, find out if the schools you are considering are DMV certified to provide it. One advantage is that it is more convenient than competing with graduates from other schools for test times at Oklahoma testing facilities. It is moreover an indicator that the DMV considers the approved schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Class Times Accessible? As previously noted, truck driving training is just one to two months long. With such a brief duration, it’s essential that the Union City OK school you enroll in provides flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. For example, if you’re having difficulty learning a particular 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 needs to be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other commitments.
Is Job Placement Provided? As soon as you have received your CDL license after graduating from trucking school, you will be impatient to begin your new profession. Make sure that the schools you are considering have job assistance programs. Find out what their job placement rate is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, find out which local and national trucking firms their graduates are referred to for employment. If a school has a lower job placement rate or few Union City OK employers hiring their graduates, it may be a clue to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Available? Truck driver schools are similar to colleges and other Union City OK area trade or technical schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being available. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have a financial assistance department, or at least someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that need to be submitted.
Enrolling in a Truck Driving School near Union City OK?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Union City Oklahoma area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Union City, Oklahoma
Union City is a town in Canadian County, Oklahoma, United States. The population was 1,645 at the 2010 census, a 19.6 percent increase from 1,375 at the 2000 census. It is part of the Oklahoma City Metropolitan Statistical Area.
In 1889, a post office opened for the community of Union. A townsite plat was filed during the following year. Union City began in 1890 with the arrival of the Chicago, Kansas and Nebraska Railway (acquired by the Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad in 1891). The local economy was based on agriculture, and within four years the town had three grain elevators and a farm machinery dealership.
On May 24, 1973, a tornado rated F4 struck the Union City area and was the first tornado widely documented by science as part of storm chasing field research. NSSL out of Norman, Oklahoma placed numerous storm chasers around it to capture the life cycle on film.
Pick the Ideal Truck Driving School Union City OK
Selecting the appropriate truck driver school is a critical first step to starting your new vocation as a local or long distance truck driver. The skills that you will learn at school will be those that shape a new career behind the wheel. There are many options offered and understanding them is critical to a new driver’s success. But first and foremost, you must obtain the proper training in order to operate a big commercial vehicle in a professional and safe manner. If you are short on funds or financing, you might want to think about a captive school. You will pay a lower or even no tuition by agreeing to drive for their contracted carrier. Or you can select an independent CDL school and have the option of driving for the trucking company of your choice, or one of many associated with the school. It’s your decision. But regardless of how you obtain your training, you will in the near future be entering an industry that helps America move as a professional trucker in Union City OK.
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