How to Pick a CDL Training School near Tussy Oklahoma
Congratulations on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a truck driving school near Tussy OK. Perhaps it has always been your goal to hit the open highway while driving a big ole tractor trailer. Or possibly you have conducted some research and have found that a career as a truck driver offers excellent income and flexible job opportunities. No matter what your reason is, it’s important to get the proper training by choosing the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are certain variables that you’ll need to examine prior to making your final selection. Location will no doubt be an issue, especially if you have to commute from your Tussy home. The cost will also be of importance, but selecting a school based solely on price is not the best method to make certain you’ll receive the right training. Don’t forget, your goal is to learn the skills and knowledge that will allow you to pass the CDL exams and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that objective in mind, just how do you choose a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to cover in the rest of this article. But first, we are going to review a little bit about which CDL license you will eventually need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Will You Need?
To drive commercial vehicles lawfully within the USA and Tussy OK, an operator must obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 license classes that one can apply 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 highlight Class A and Class B licenses. What differentiates each class of CDL is the type of vehicle that the driver can operate together with the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Following are short explanations for the two 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. 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 CDL is needed to operate 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. A few 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 Commercial Drivers Licenses might also require endorsements to drive certain kinds of vehicles, including passenger or school buses. And a Class A license holder, with the proper needed endorsements, can operate any vehicle that a Class B licensee is authorized to drive.
How to Research a CDL School
Once you have decided which CDL you wish to obtain, you can begin the process of evaluating the Tussy OK trucking schools that you are considering. As already mentioned, cost and location will certainly be your primary considerations. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they should not be your sole considerations. Other factors, such as the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are similarly or even more important. So below are some additional points that you should research while carrying out your due diligence before selecting, and especially paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Very few truck driver schools in the Tussy OK area are accredited because of the demanding 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 obligated to become certified, but there are several advantages. Interested students know that the training will be of the highest standard, and that they will be given plenty of driving time. As an example, PTDI mandates 44 hours of actual 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 training and curriculum will comply with the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One indicator to help measure the quality of a truck driver school is how long it has been in business. A poorly reviewed or a fly by night school usually will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the best of Tussy OK schools had to begin from their first day of training, so use it as one of multiple qualifiers. You can also learn what the school’s track record is relating to successful licensing and job placement of its graduates. If a school won’t share those numbers, look elsewhere. The schools should also have relationships with local and national trucking companies. Having a large number of contacts not only affirms a quality reputation within the trade, but also boosts their job assistance program for students. It also wouldn’t hurt to check with the Oklahoma licensing department to confirm that the CDL trucking schools you are considering are in good standing.
How Effective is the Training? At a minimum, the schools must be licensed in Oklahoma and hire instructors that are trained and experienced. We will discuss more about the teachers in the following section. Also, the student to instructor ratio should not be greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be receiving the individual instruction 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 insists it can train you to drive trucks in a comparatively short period of time. Learning to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer professionally requires time. The majority of Tussy OK schools offer training programs that run from three weeks to as long as 2 months, depending on the class of license or kind of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Teachers? As earlier mentioned, it’s important that the teachers are qualified to teach driving techniques and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Even though a number of 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 vital that the instructors keep current with industry advancements or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Assessing teachers may be a bit more subjective than other standards, and perhaps the ideal approach is to pay a visit to the school and talk to the instructors face to face. You can also talk to some of the students completing the training and find out if they are happy with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
How Much Driving Time? Above all else, a good truck driver school will furnish plenty of 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 simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are necessary training tools, they are no replacement for actual driving. The more training that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will become. Although driving time fluctuates between schools, a good standard is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Check with the Tussy OK schools you are looking at and find out how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Independent or Captive ? You can receive discounted or even free training from a number of truck driving schools if you make a commitment to drive for a particular carrier for a defined amount of time. This is called contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So instead of 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 freedom to initially be a driver wherever you have an opportunity. Obviously contract training has the potential to restrict your income prospects when beginning your new career. But for some it may be the ideal way to receive affordable training. Just remember to inquire if the Tussy OK schools you are considering are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Provide CDL Testing Onsite? There are some states that will permit third party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its students. If onsite testing is available in Oklahoma, ask if the schools you are considering are DMV certified to provide it. One advantage is that it is more accommodating than competing with graduates from other schools for test times at Oklahoma testing centers. It is also an indication that the DMV deems the authorized schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Classes Convenient? As previously mentioned, truck driving training is just one to two months long. With such a short term, it’s essential that the Tussy OK school you enroll in 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 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 fit in working hours or other responsibilities.
Is Job Assistance Offered? As soon as you have acquired your CDL license after graduating from trucking school, you will be anxious to start your new profession. Make sure that the schools you are reviewing have job assistance programs. Ask what their job placement rate is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, ask which local and national trucking firms their graduates are referred to for hiring. If a school has a poor job placement rate or few Tussy OK employers recruiting their grads, it may be a sign to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Available? Truck driving schools are much like colleges and other Tussy OK area vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being available. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have a financial aid department, or at a minimum someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that must be completed.
Enrolling in a Truck Driving School near Tussy OK?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Tussy Oklahoma area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Area codes 918 and 539
Area codes 918 and 539 are telephone area codes serving Tulsa and northeast Oklahoma. Besides Tulsa, these area codes cover cities such as Bartlesville, Broken Arrow, Claremore, Gore, Jenks, McAlester, Muskogee, Okmulgee, Pryor, Sapulpa, Tahlequah, Tulsa, and northeastern Oklahoma.
Area code 918 was created in 1953 as a split from area code 405. Area code 539 was created as an overlay for 918. It became active on April 1, 2011 (although 539 numbers could have been assigned for activation before that date). Mandatory dialing of ten-digit area codes became active on March 5, 2011. It is the first overlay in Oklahoma.
Pick the Ideal Trucking School Tussy OK
Choosing the appropriate truck driving school is an essential first step to starting your new vocation as a local or long distance truck driver. The skills taught at school will be those that forge a new career behind the wheel. There are several options offered and understanding them is vital to a new driver’s success. But first and foremost, you must get the necessary training in order to operate a large commercial vehicle in a professional and safe fashion. If you are short on cash or financing, you may need to look into a captive school. You will pay a reduced or in some cases no tuition in exchange for driving for their contracted carrier. Or you can choose an independent truck driver 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 decision. But regardless of how you receive your training, you will soon be joining a profession that helps our country move as a professional truck driver in Tussy OK.
More Trucking Locations in Oklahoma