How to Decide on a CDL Driving School near Springdale Utah
Congrats on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a trucking school near Springdale UT. Perhaps it has always been your goal to hit the open road while driving a big ole tractor trailer. Or possibly you have done some research and have discovered that an occupation as a truck driver offers good pay and flexible work opportunities. Whatever your reason is, it’s imperative to obtain the appropriate training by choosing the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are a number of factors that you’ll want to think about prior to making your final selection. Location will undoubtedly be important, particularly if you have to commute from your Springdale residence. The expense will also be important, but selecting a school based entirely on price is not the best way to make certain you’ll obtain the right education. Just remember, your goal is to learn the knowledge and skills that will enable you to pass the CDL examinations and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that target in mind, just how do you pick a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to discuss in the balance of this article. But first, we are going to talk 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 Springdale UT, an operator must get a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three classes of licenses that a person can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the topic of this article is how to pick a truck driving school, we will highlight Class A and Class B licenses. What differentiates each class of CDL is the kind of vehicle that the driver can operate together with the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Below are brief explanations for the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License is required to operate any vehicle that has a GCWR of more than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of more than 10,000 lbs. Several 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 CDL is required to drive 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. Some 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 need endorsements to drive specific types of vehicles, including passenger or school buses. And a Class A license holder, with the proper needed endorsements, can drive any vehicle that a Class B license holder is qualified to drive.
How to Research a CDL School
Once you have determined which CDL you want to obtain, you can begin the process of evaluating the Springdale UT truck driving schools that you are considering. As earlier discussed, cost and location will certainly be your primary considerations. But it can’t be stressed enough that they must not be your sole considerations. Other issues, including the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are equally or even more important. So below are a few more factors that you need to research while carrying out your due diligence before selecting, and especially paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Not many truck driving schools in the Springdale UT area are accredited due to the rigorous process and expense to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more typical 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 standard, and that they will be given an ample amount of driving time. As an example, PTDI requires 44 hours of real 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 comply with the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One clue to help evaluate the quality of a trucking school is how long it has been in business. A negatively reviewed or a fly by night school normally will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. Having said that, even the best of Springdale UT schools had to begin from their opening day of training, so consider it as one of several qualifiers. You can also find out what the school’s history is pertaining to successful licensing and employment of its graduating students. If a school won’t provide those numbers, search elsewhere. The schools should also have relationships with local and national trucking companies. Having numerous contacts not only confirms a superior reputation within the trade, but also bolsters their job placement program for students. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to contact the Utah licensing authority to verify that the CDL trucker schools you are researching are in good standing.
How Good is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools should be licensed in Utah and employ instructors that are experienced and trained. We will talk more about the teachers in the following section. In addition, the student to instructor ratio should not be greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be getting the personal attention they will need. This is especially true regarding the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And be critical of any school that claims it can teach you to be a truck driver in a relatively short period of time. Learning to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully requires time. Most Springdale UT schools offer training programs that run from three weeks to as long as two months, depending on the class of license or kind of vehicle.
How Good are the Instructors? As previously mentioned, it’s imperative that the teachers are trained to teach driving techniques and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Even though several states have minimum driving time criteria to qualify as an instructor, the more successful 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. Evaluating teachers may be a little more intuitive than other criteria, and perhaps the ideal approach is to check out the school and speak with the teachers face to face. You can also speak with a few of the students completing the training and ask if they are happy with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
Plenty of Driving Time? Above all else, a great truck driving 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 ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are important training tools, they are no substitute for real driving. The more training that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will be. Although driving time can vary among schools, a reasonable standard is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide no less than 44 hours of driving time. Contact the Springdale UT schools you are looking at and find out how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Captive or Independent ? It’s possible to get discounted or even free training from certain trucking schools if you make a commitment to drive for a specific carrier for a defined period of time. This is called contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So rather than maintaining relationships with many different trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only work with one company. The tradeoff 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 only way to obtain affordable training. Just be sure to inquire if the Springdale UT schools you are considering are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Offer CDL Testing Onsite? There are a number of states that will permit third party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its grads. If onsite testing is permitted in Utah, find out 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 Utah testing locations. It is moreover an indication that the DMV views the approved schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Class Times Convenient? As earlier noted, truck driving training is just 1 to 2 months long. With such a brief term, it’s essential that the Springdale UT 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 particular driving maneuver, then the instructor should be prepared to spend more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still employed 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? As soon as you have attained your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be keen to begin your new career. Make sure that the schools you are considering have job placement programs. Find out what their job placement rate is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, find out which national and local trucking companies their graduates are referred to for hiring. If a school has a poor job placement rate or not many Springdale UT employers recruiting their graduates, it may be a clue to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Given? Truck driver schools are comparable to colleges and other Springdale UT 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 assessing have a financial assistance department, or at least someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that must be submitted.
Enrolling in a Truck Driving School near Springdale UT?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Springdale Utah area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Springdale is a town in Washington County, Utah, United States. The population was 529 at the 2010 census. It is located immediately outside the boundaries of Zion National Park, and is oriented around the resulting tourist industry. It was originally settled as a Mormon farming community in 1862 by evacuees from the flooding of nearby Northrop. Springdale was named one of the 20 'prettiest towns' in the United States by Forbes Traveler in 2008.
As of the census of 2010, there were 529 people, 252 households, and 137 families residing in the town. The population density was 115 people per square mile (44.1/km²). There were 327 housing units at an average density of 71.1 per square mile (27.3/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 90.2% White, 0.9% African American, 0.6% Native American, 0.8% Asian, 5.7% from other races, and 1.9% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 11.2% of the population.
There were 252 households out of which 15.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 44.0% were married couples living together, 6.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 45.6% were non-families. 34.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 8.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.38 and the average family size was 2.67.
Choose the Ideal Trucking School Springdale UT
Selecting the ideal trucking school is an essential first step to starting your new vocation as a long distance or local truck driver. The skills taught at school will be those that shape 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. Most importantly, you must obtain the proper training in order to operate a large commercial vehicle in a professional and safe manner. If you are lacking funds or financing, you might want to consider 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 trucker school and have the option of driving for the trucking firm of your choosing, or one of several affiliated with the school. It’s your choice. But regardless of how you get your training, you will soon be joining a profession that helps our country move as a professional truck driver in Springdale UT.
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