How to Pick a Truck Driver School near Woodruff Wisconsin
Congrats on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a CDL school near Woodruff WI. Perhaps it has always been your fantasy to hit the open highway while operating a big ole tractor trailer. Or maybe you have conducted some analysis and have discovered that a career as a truck driver provides excellent income and flexible job opportunities. Whatever your reason is, it’s imperative to receive the proper training by picking the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are a number of variables that you’ll want to consider before making your ultimate choice. Location will certainly be important, particularly if you have to commute from your Woodruff home. The expense will also be of importance, but choosing a school based only on price is not the ideal means to make certain you’ll receive the right education. Don’t forget, your goal is to learn the skills and knowledge that will allow you to pass the CDL exams and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that target in mind, just how do you decide on a truck driving school? That is what we are going to address in the remainder of this article. But first, we are going to talk a little bit about which CDL license you will ultimately need.
Which CDL Will You Need?
In order to operate commercial vehicles legally within the United States and Woodruff WI, an operator must attain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 classes of licenses that a driver can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the subject of this article is how to choose a truck driving school, we will address Class A and B licenses. What differentiates 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). Below are brief descriptions of the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License is needed to operate any vehicle that has a GCWR of more than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of more 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 required 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. Some 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 need endorsements to drive certain kinds of vehicles, for example school or passenger buses. And a Class A licensee, with the proper required endorsements, may operate any vehicle that a Class B licensee is authorized to operate.
How to Assess a CDL School
Once you have decided which Commercial Drivers License you want to pursue, you can begin the process of researching the Woodruff WI truck driver schools that you are considering. As previously discussed, location and cost will certainly be your initial concerns. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they should not be your sole concerns. Other variables, including the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are similarly if not more important. So below are some additional factors that you need to research while performing your due diligence before enrolling in, and particularly paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Not many truck driver schools in the Woodruff WI area are accredited because of the stringent process and expense to the schools. However, 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 several advantages. Interested students know that the training will be of the highest standard, and that they will get 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 curriculum and training will measure up to the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One clue to help assess the quality of a trucking school is how long it has been in operation. A poorly rated or a fly by night school usually will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the best of Woodruff WI schools had to start from their opening day of training, so consider it as one of multiple qualifiers. You can also ask what the school’s track record is concerning successful licensing and job placement of its graduates. If a school won’t supply those numbers, look elsewhere. The schools should also have relationships with regional and national trucking firms. Having numerous contacts not only affirms an excellent reputation within the trade, but also bolsters their job placement program for graduates. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to get in touch with the Wisconsin licensing authority 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 Wisconsin and hire teachers that are trained and experienced. We will cover more about the teachers in the next section. In addition, the student to instructor ratio should be no higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be getting the personal instruction they will need. This is particularly true concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And watch out for any school that insists 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 takes time. Most Woodruff WI schools provide training courses that range from three weeks to as long as 2 months, depending on the license class or type of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Instructors? As already mentioned, it’s imperative that the teachers are qualified to teach driving techniques and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Although several states have minimum driving time requirements to qualify as a teacher, the more successful driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also vital that the teachers keep current with industry developments or any new laws or changes in regulations. Evaluating teachers may be a bit more subjective than other standards, and perhaps the ideal approach is to visit the school and talk to the teachers in person. You can also talk to some of the students going through the training and find out if they are satisfied with the level of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Plenty of Driving Time? Above all else, an excellent truck driver school will provide lots of driving time to its students. Besides, isn’t that what it’s all about? Driving time is the real time spent behind the wheel driving a truck. Although the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are essential training tools, they are no alternative for actual driving. The more training that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will become. Although driving time fluctuates among schools, a good benchmark is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish no less than 44 hours of driving time. Contact the Woodruff WI schools you are considering and find out how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Captive or Independent ? You can receive free or discounted training from some truck driver 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 offer it are called captives. So instead of having affiliations with numerous trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only work with one company. The benefit is receiving free or less expensive training by giving up the flexibility to initially be a driver wherever you have an opportunity. Obviously contract training has the potential to limit your income prospects when starting out. But for some it may be the best way to obtain affordable training. Just remember to find out if the Woodruff WI schools you are looking at are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Offer Onsite CDL Testing? There are several states that will permit third party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its grads. If onsite testing is available in Wisconsin, ask if the schools you are looking at are DMV certified to provide it. One benefit is that it is more accommodating than contending with graduates from competing schools for test times at Wisconsin testing locations. It is moreover an indication that the DMV believes the authorized schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Classes Convenient? As earlier mentioned, truck driver training is just one to two months long. With such a short duration, it’s important that the Woodruff WI school you choose provides flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. As an example, if you’re having a hard time learning a certain driving maneuver, then the teacher should be willing to dedicate more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still holding a job while going to training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other obligations.
Is Job Assistance Provided? The moment you have attained your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be eager to begin your new career. Verify 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 companies their graduates are placed with for employment. If a school has a low job placement rate or not many Woodruff WI employers recruiting their grads, it might be a clue to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Available? Trucking schools are much like colleges and other Woodruff WI area technical or vocational schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being available. Ask if the schools you are evaluating have a financial assistance department, or at least someone who can help you understand the options and forms that need to be completed.
Enrolling in a Truck Driving School near Woodruff WI?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Woodruff Wisconsin area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 35.6 square miles (92.1 km²), of which, 28.5 square miles (73.9 km²) of it is land and 7.0 square miles (18.2 km²) of it (19.79%) is water.
As of the census of 2000, there were 1,982 people, 866 households, and 538 families residing in the town. The population density was 69.5 people per square mile (26.8/km²). There were 1,515 housing units at an average density of 53.1 per square mile (20.5/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 96.72% White, 0.25% African American, 1.51% Native American, 0.15% Asian, 0.10% Pacific Islander, 0.50% from other races, and 0.76% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.06% of the population.
There were 866 households out of which 25.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 52.5% were married couples living together, 6.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 37.8% were non-families. 33.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 15.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.22 and the average family size was 2.83.
Pick the Right Truck Driver School Woodruff WI
Selecting the right trucking school is a critical first step to starting your new occupation as a local or long distance truck driver. The skills taught at school will be those that mold a new career behind the wheel. There are several options available and understanding them is critical to a new driver’s success. But first and foremost, you must obtain the appropriate 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 look into a captive school. You will pay a reduced or even no tuition by agreeing to drive for their contracted carrier. Or you can select an independent truck driving school and have the option of driving for the trucking firm of your choosing, or one of many affiliated with the school. It’s your decision. But no matter how you receive your training, you will in the near future be entering a profession that helps our country move as a professional trucker in Woodruff WI.
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