How to Find a Truck Driving School near Stockton Utah
Congratulations on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a truck driving school near Stockton UT. Maybe it has always been your goal to hit the open highway while driving a big ole tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have done some analysis and have discovered that a career as a truck driver provides good income and flexible job prospects. Whatever your reason is, it’s important to obtain the proper training by picking the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are certain factors that you’ll need to think about prior to making your final selection. Location will no doubt be important, particularly if you have to commute from your Stockton home. The cost will also be of importance, but picking a school based only on price is not the best method to make certain you’ll receive the right training. Don’t forget, your objective is to master the skills and knowledge that will enable you to pass the CDL exams and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that purpose in mind, just how do you select a truck driving school? That is what we are going to discuss in the balance of this article. But first, we are going to review a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will eventually need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Will You Need?
To drive commercial vehicles legally within the United States and Stockton UT, a driver must obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 classes of licenses that a person can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the topic of this article is how to select a truck driving school, we will focus on Class A and Class B licenses. What distinguishes 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 descriptions of the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License is needed to drive any vehicle that has a GCWR of greater 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. 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 CDLs might also require endorsements to operate certain kinds of vehicles, for example passenger or school buses. And a Class A licensee, with the proper required endorsements, may operate any vehicle that a Class B license holder is authorized to operate.
How to Assess a CDL School
When you have decided which Commercial Drivers License you want to pursue, you can start the undertaking of assessing the Stockton UT truck driving schools that you are considering. As previously discussed, cost and location will certainly be your primary concerns. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they should not be your sole considerations. Other issues, such as the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are similarly or even more important. So following are a few more points that you should research while performing your due diligence prior to selecting, and especially paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Very few truck driver schools in the Stockton UT area are accredited due to the stringent 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 certain advantages. Prospective students know that the training will be of the highest caliber, and that they will receive an ample amount of driving time. As an example, PTDI mandates 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 measure up to the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One clue to help evaluate the quality of a trucking school is how long it has been in operation. A negatively ranked or a fly by night school typically will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. On the other hand, even the best of Stockton UT 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 graduates. If a school won’t supply those stats, look elsewhere. The schools should also maintain relationships with local and national trucking firms. Having a large number of contacts not only affirms an excellent reputation within the trade, but also boosts their job assistance program for graduates. It also wouldn’t hurt to contact the Utah licensing department to verify that the CDL trucker schools you are considering are in compliance.
How Effective is the Training? At a minimum, the schools should be licensed in Utah and employ teachers that are experienced and trained. We will talk more about the instructors in the following segment. Also, the student to instructor proportion should be no higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be receiving the individual instruction they will need. This is particularly true regarding 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 time frame. Learning to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer professionally requires time. Most Stockton UT schools provide training courses that range from three weeks to as long as 2 months, depending on the class of license or kind of vehicle.
How Good are the Instructors? As earlier mentioned, it’s important that the teachers are trained to teach driving techniques and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Although several states have minimum driving time requirements to qualify as a teacher, the more professional driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also crucial that the teachers keep current with industry advancements or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Assessing teachers may be a bit more intuitive than other criteria, and possibly the ideal approach is to visit the school and speak with the teachers face to face. You can also speak with a few of the students going through the training and ask if they are satisfied with the level of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Plenty of Driving Time? Most importantly, a great truck driver school will provide sufficient 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 driving a truck. While the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are essential training methods, they are no replacement for actual driving. The more instruction that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will be. And even though driving time can vary among schools, a reasonable benchmark is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Check with the Stockton UT schools you are researching and ask how much driving time they provide.
Are they Captive or Independent ? You can receive discounted or even free training from a number of truck driver schools if you make a commitment to drive for a particular 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 rather than maintaining relationships 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 surrendering the freedom to initially work wherever you have an opportunity. Clearly contract training has the potential to reduce your income prospects when beginning your new career. But for some it may be the ideal way to get affordable training. Just remember to ask if the Stockton UT schools you are looking at are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Provide CDL Testing Onsite? There are some states that will allow 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driver schools for its grads. If onsite testing is available in Utah, find out if the schools you are looking at are DMV certified to offer it. One advantage is that it is more convenient than battling with graduates from other schools for test times at Utah testing locations. It is moreover an indicator that the DMV views the approved schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Class Times Flexible? As formerly mentioned, CDL training is only about one to two months in length. With such a brief duration, it’s essential that the Stockton UT school you choose 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 instructor should be prepared to devote more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still employed while attending training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other responsibilities.
Is Job Placement Offered? The moment you have attained your commercial driver’s license after graduating from trucking school, you will be anxious to start your new career. Verify that the schools you are looking at have job assistance programs. Ask what their job placement percentage is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, ask which local and national trucking companies their graduates are placed with for hiring. If a school has a poor job placement rate or not many Stockton UT employers hiring their grads, it may be a clue to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Given? Trucking schools are much like colleges and other Stockton UT area trade or technical schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being available. Ask if the schools you are assessing have a financial assistance department, or at a minimum someone who can help you understand the options and forms that must be completed.
Enrolling in a Truck Driving School near Stockton UT?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Stockton Utah area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Stockton was born of the first mining boom in the Utah Territory. The mining industry began in the early 1860s with the arrival of Col. Patrick E. Connor, commander of the Third California Volunteers, who had been sent to the territory in 1862 to keep an eye on the overland mail routes during the Civil War. Connor wanted to counterbalance his perceived dominance of Mormon leaders in the area by exploring and developing the territory's mineral wealth. He posited that if precious metals could be discovered in Utah, the resulting flood of miners into the territory would overwhelm the Mormons, and outsiders would balance the Church's power. So he sent the men under his command out to prospect, and they almost singlehandedly opened the precious metals industry in Utah in 1863 by locating deposits, staking claims, and establishing mining districts. Mines were dug on the western slopes of the Oquirrh Mountains, and Stockton became a base camp for some these operations.
The small town was first settled in 1863. Under the growing influence of the mining industry, the population swelled to 4,000 residents. It was the first town in the Utah Territories to have its streets surveyed and named, and it later gained the distinction of being the first to get electric lights, and the first to get a telephone. A town cemetery (northwest of the settlement) was created shortly into the twentieth century. Other amenities were slowly addressed, and they now include a ball diamond, a city park, a city hall, a fire station, a municipal water system, and a centralized wastewater collection/disposal system.
A sesquicentennial commemoration was held on 27 April 2013 to mark the town's founding. Part of the ceremony was the unveiling of a welcome sign, mounted on the north end town and visible from the main highway through the town's business district, SR-36.
Choose the Right CDL School Stockton UT
Selecting the ideal trucking school is a critical first step to launching your new profession as a local or long distance truck driver. The skill sets 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 crucial if you are going to succeed as an operator. Most importantly, you must obtain the appropriate training in order to operate a big commercial vehicle in a safe and professional fashion. If you are short on funds or financing, you may need to think about a captive school. You will pay a lower or even no tuition in exchange for driving for their contracted carrier. Or you can enroll in an independent CDL school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking firm of your choosing, or one of many affiliated with the school. It’s your choice. But no matter how you get your training, you will soon be entering a profession that helps our country move as a professional trucker in Stockton UT.
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