How to Find the Right Truck Driver School near Windsor Colorado
Congrats on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a CDL school near Windsor CO. Maybe it has always been your goal to hit the open road while operating a monster tractor trailer. Or possibly you have done some analysis and have found that an occupation as a truck driver offers good wages and flexible work opportunities. Whatever your reason is, it’s important to obtain the proper training by enrolling in 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 ultimate choice. Location will no doubt be important, especially if you need to commute from your Windsor residence. The cost will also be of importance, but picking a school based solely on price is not the best way to ensure 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 examinations and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that target in mind, just how do you decide on a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to discuss in the rest of this article. But first, we are going to talk a little bit about which CDL license you will eventually need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Will You Require?
In order to operate commercial vehicles lawfully within the United States and Windsor CO, a driver must obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three license classes that a person can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the subject of this article is how to choose a truck driving 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 as well as 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 needed to drive any vehicle that has a GCWR of more 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 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. 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 may also need endorsements to drive certain types of vehicles, including passenger or school buses. And a Class A licensee, with the proper required endorsements, can operate any vehicle that a Class B license holder is authorized to drive.
How to Research a Truck Driver School
As soon as you have decided which Commercial Drivers License you want to obtain, you can start the process of assessing the Windsor CO truck driver schools that you are looking at. As already discussed, cost and location will no doubt be your primary concerns. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they should not be your only concerns. Other variables, including the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are similarly if not more important. So below are a few additional points that you should research while conducting your due diligence prior to enrolling in, and particularly paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Very few trucking schools in the Windsor CO area are accredited due to the demanding process and expense to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more common and is offered by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not obligated to become certified, but there are a number of advantages. Prospective students recognize that the training will be of the highest caliber, and that they will get plenty of driving time. For example, PTDI calls for 44 hours of actual 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 training and curriculum will measure up to the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One indicator to help determine the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in operation. A negatively reviewed or a fly by night school typically will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. Having said that, even the best of Windsor CO schools had to start from their opening day of training, so use it as one of several qualifications. You can also learn what the school’s track record is regarding successful licensing and employment of its graduates. If a school won’t supply those numbers, look elsewhere. The schools should additionally maintain relationships with local and national trucking firms. Having a large number of contacts not only confirms a superior reputation within the industry, but also boosts their job assistance program for students. It also wouldn’t hurt to contact the Colorado licensing authority to confirm that the CDL trucking schools you are considering are in good standing.
How Good is the Training? At a minimum, the schools should be licensed in Colorado and employ instructors that are experienced and trained. We will cover more about the teachers in the following section. In addition, the student to instructor ratio should not be higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be obtaining the individual instruction they will need. This is especially true regarding the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And look out for any school that professes it can train you to be a truck driver in a relatively short time period. Learning to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully requires time. Most Windsor CO schools provide training courses that range from three weeks to as long as two months, based on the license class or kind of vehicle.
How Good are the Instructors? As earlier stated, it’s essential that the teachers are qualified to teach driving methods and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Although several states have minimum driving time requirements to qualify as an instructor, the more successful driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also crucial that the instructors keep current with industry developments or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Assessing teachers might be a little more subjective than other criteria, and possibly the best method is to visit the school and talk to 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 quality of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
Enough Driving Time? Above all else, an excellent truck driving 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 operating a truck. Even though the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are essential training tools, they are no substitute for actual driving. The more instruction that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will become. And even though driving time fluctuates between schools, a good benchmark is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish at least 44 hours of driving time. Contact the Windsor CO schools you are looking at and find out how much driving time they provide.
Are they Captive or Independent ? You can get free or discounted training from certain truck driver schools if you enter into an agreement to be a driver for a particular carrier for a defined time period. 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 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 work wherever you choose. Clearly contract training has the potential to limit your income opportunities when starting out. But for some it may be the ideal way to obtain affordable training. Just be sure to ask if the Windsor CO schools you are contemplating are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Provide Onsite CDL Testing? There are several states that will allow third party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its grads. If onsite testing is available in Colorado, ask if the schools you are considering are DMV certified to provide it. One benefit is that it is more accommodating than battling with graduates from competing schools for test times at Colorado testing facilities. It is moreover an indicator that the DMV believes the authorized schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Class Times Flexible? As earlier noted, truck driving training is only about one to two months in length. With such a brief duration, it’s essential that the Windsor CO school you select offers 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 instructor should be willing to spend more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still employed while going to training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other responsibilities.
Is Job Assistance Offered? The moment you have acquired your commercial driver’s license after graduating from trucking school, you will be impatient to start your new profession. Verify that the schools you are contemplating have job assistance programs. Ask what their job placement rate is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, find out which local and national trucking companies their graduates are placed with for hiring. If a school has a lower job placement rate or not many Windsor CO employers recruiting their grads, it might be a sign to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Given? Truck driving schools are much like colleges and other Windsor CO area technical or vocational schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being offered. Find out if the schools you are assessing have a financial aid department, or at least someone who can help you get through the options and forms that must be completed.
Thinking of a Truck Drivier School near Windsor CO?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Windsor Colorado area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
The Town of Windsor is a Home Rule Municipality in Larimer and Weld counties in the U.S. state of Colorado. According to June 2016 estimates, the population of the town was 24,500. Windsor is located in the region known as Northern Colorado. Windsor is situated 59 miles (95 km) north of the Colorado State Capitol in Denver.
In 1873, a settler named J.L. Hilton built a small house situated half-way between Greeley and Fort Collins. The “half-way” house, as it became known, directed travelers along a route, which was soon adopted by the Greeley, Salt Lake and Pacific railway. The railroad brought investors and farmers to Windsor in increasing numbers. Windsor’s rich alluvial plains lent themselves to extensive wheat production and the establishment of one of the town’s first commercial enterprises, a flour mill, which through a subsequent fire in 1899, was rebuilt and became the Windsor Milling and Elevator Company.
A rich wheat farming district, the area around Windsor first drew permanent residents in the early 1870s. Two factors were to play a critical role in stimulating Windsor's early development: irrigation and the railroad. Irrigation increased crop variety and production and the railroad shipped this bounty to market. The town was platted in 1882, the same year the Windsor Railroad Depot was built, and incorporated in 1890. It was named for the Rev. Samuel Asa Windsor. By 1900, tariffs on foreign sugar had created a market for new sources of sugar. Research in the improved cultivation of sugar beets was taking place at Colorado Agricultural College in Fort Collins, and the capital to advance production and manufacture of beet sugar was coming together. In 1903 a factory for producing sugar from sugar beets was built in Windsor. Sugar beet cultivation required large numbers of "stoop laborers," a need that was met by ethnic German immigrants from Russia. With large families and a strong work ethic, the German-Russians who settled in Windsor and other sugar beet areas would achieve financial success within one generation and own the highest producing beet farms. The Great Western Sugar Company fueled Windsor's economy through the mid-1960s, when the Windsor factory closed. Plentiful water and land drew Kodak to Windsor where it opened a manufacturing plant on the heels of the sugar factory's closing.
CDL Classes Windsor CO
Choosing the appropriate truck driving school is an important first step to starting your new occupation as a long distance or local truck driver. The skills taught at school will be those that mold 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. You originally came to our website because of your interest in CDL Classes. However, you must obtain the proper training in order to drive a large commercial vehicle in a safe and professional fashion. If you are lacking funds or financing, you may want to think about a captive school. You will pay a lower or in some cases no tuition in exchange for driving for their contracted carrier. Or you can enroll in an independent truck driver school and have the option of driving for the trucking firm of your choice, or one of several associated with the school. It’s your decision. But regardless of how you obtain your training, you will in the near future be entering a profession that helps our country move as a professional truck driver in Windsor CO.
Keep On Trucking in These Other Colorado Locations