How to Choose a CDL Training School near Woodland Wisconsin
Congratulations on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a CDL school near Woodland WI. Maybe it has always been your ambition to hit the open road while operating a monster tractor trailer. Or maybe you have done some research and have discovered that an occupation as a truck driver provides good wages and flexible work opportunities. Whatever your reason is, it’s essential to obtain the proper training by choosing the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are various factors that you’ll want to consider prior to making your ultimate choice. Location will no doubt be an issue, particularly if you have to commute from your Woodland home. The cost will also be important, but selecting a school based entirely on price is not the best means to make sure you’ll obtain the appropriate training. Don’t forget, your objective is to master the knowledge and skills that will enable you to pass the CDL examinations and become a professional 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 address 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 Commercial Drivers License Will You Require?
To operate commercial vehicles lawfully within the United States and Woodland WI, an operator needs to get a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three license classes that one can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the subject of this article is how to select a truck driver school, we will highlight Class A and B licenses. What distinguishes each class of CDL is the type of vehicle that the driver can operate in addition to the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Following are brief explanations for the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License is required to drive any vehicle that has a GCWR of greater 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 needed to drive 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. 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 specific types of vehicles, including school or passenger buses. And a Class A licensee, with the appropriate required endorsements, may operate any vehicle that a Class B licensee is authorized to operate.
How to Assess a Truck Driver School
When you have decided which CDL you wish to pursue, you can start the undertaking of assessing the Woodland WI truck driving schools that you are considering. As earlier mentioned, cost and location will no doubt be your primary considerations. But it can’t be stressed enough that they must not be your only considerations. Other issues, for example the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are equally if not more important. So below are a few additional points that you need to research while conducting your due diligence prior to choosing, and particularly paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Not many truck driver schools in the Woodland WI area are accredited due to the stringent process and cost to the schools. However, certification is more prevalent and is offered by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not required to become certified, but there are a number of advantages. Prospective students recognize that the training will be of the highest standard, and that they will be given an ample amount of driving time. For example, PTDI requires 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 benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One clue to help assess 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 stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. Having said that, even the top Woodland WI schools had to start from their opening day of training, so use it as one of several qualifiers. You can also ask what the school’s track record is concerning successful licensing and employment of its graduates. If a school won’t supply those numbers, search elsewhere. The schools should additionally have associations with regional and national trucking companies. Having a large number of contacts not only confirms an excellent reputation within the profession, but also bolsters their job assistance program for graduates. It also wouldn’t hurt to get in touch with the Wisconsin licensing department to make sure that the CDL trucking schools you are reviewing are in compliance.
How Effective is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools must be licensed in Wisconsin and employ teachers that are experienced and trained. We will cover more about the instructors in the following section. In addition, the student to instructor ratio should be no higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be obtaining the personal instruction 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 insists it can train you to drive trucks in a comparatively short period of time. Training to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully requires time. Most Woodland WI schools provide training programs that run from three weeks to as long as two months, depending on the license class or kind of vehicle.
How Good are the Teachers? As already mentioned, it’s important that the teachers are trained to teach driving techniques and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Although a number of states have minimum driving time prerequisites to be certified as an instructor, the more successful driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also important that the teachers stay up to date with industry developments or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Assessing instructors may be a little more subjective than other standards, and perhaps the best approach is to visit the school and speak with the teachers in person. You can also speak with some of the students completing the training and ask if they are happy with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Adequate Driving Time? Most importantly, a great truck driver school will provide plenty of driving time to its students. After all, isn’t that what it’s all about? Driving time is the actual time spent behind the wheel operating a truck. Although the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are essential training tools, they are no replacement for actual driving. The more instruction that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will be. Although driving time differs among schools, a good standard is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide at least 44 hours of driving time. Contact the Woodland WI schools you are researching and find out how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Independent or Captive ? You can obtain discounted or even free training from certain trucking schools if you make a commitment to be a driver for a specified carrier for a defined period of time. This is referred to as contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So instead of maintaining affiliations with numerous trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only work with one company. The tradeoff is receiving free or less expensive training by surrendering 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 receive affordable training. Just make sure to ask if the Woodland WI schools you are looking at are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Offer Onsite CDL Testing? There are a number of states that will permit 3rd party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its students. If onsite testing is available in Wisconsin, ask if the schools you are reviewing are DMV certified to offer it. One benefit is that it is more convenient than competing with graduates from other schools for test times at Wisconsin testing facilities. It is also an indication that the DMV views the approved schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Class Times Convenient? As previously mentioned, CDL training is only about 1 to 2 months in length. With such a brief duration, it’s imperative that the Woodland WI school you enroll in provides flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. For example, if you’re having difficulty learning a particular driving maneuver, then the instructor should be prepared to dedicate more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still holding a job while attending training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other responsibilities.
Is Job Assistance Offered? The moment you have attained your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be impatient to begin your new profession. Verify that the schools you are considering have job placement programs. Ask 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 lower job placement rate or not many Woodland WI employers recruiting their graduates, it might be a sign to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Truck driving schools are similar to colleges and other Woodland WI area trade or technical schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being offered. Ask if the schools you are examining have a financial aid department, or at a minimum someone who can help you get through the options and forms that must be submitted.
Enrolling in a Truck Driving School near Woodland WI?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Woodland Wisconsin area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Woodland is a town in Sauk County, Wisconsin, United States. The population was 783 at the 2000 census. The unincorporated community of Valton is located in the town. The town was named from the adjacent dense forests.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 36.2 square miles (93.7 km²), of which, 36.1 square miles (93.4 km²) of it is land and 0.1 square miles (0.2 km²) of it (0.25%) is water.
As of the census of 2000, there were 783 people, 247 households, and 206 families residing in the town. The population density was 21.7 people per square mile (8.4/km²). There were 302 housing units at an average density of 8.4 per square mile (3.2/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 98.21% White, 0.13% African American, and 1.66% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.30% of the population.
Choose the Best Trucking School Woodland WI
Selecting the ideal truck driving school is an important first step to beginning your new vocation as a long distance or local truck driver. The skill sets that you will learn at school will be those that shape a new career behind the wheel. There are several options available and understanding them is crucial to a new driver’s success. Most importantly, you must obtain the appropriate training in order to drive a big commercial vehicle in a safe and professional fashion. If you are short on funds or financing, you might want to think about a captive school. You will pay a lower or in some cases no tuition by agreeing to drive for their contracted carrier. Or you can choose an independent trucking school and have the option of driving for the trucking company of your choice, or one of many affiliated with the school. It’s your decision. But regardless of how you receive your training, you will in the near future be part of an industry that helps our country move as a professional truck driver in Woodland WI.
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