How to Enroll in the Right Truck Driver School near Kekaha Hawaii
Congratulations on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a trucking school near Kekaha HI. Maybe it has always been your fantasy to hit the open highway while driving a monster tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have done some research and have discovered that a career as a truck driver provides good wages and flexible work prospects. Regardless of what 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 various factors that you’ll want to think about before making your final selection. Location will no doubt be an issue, especially if you have to commute from your Kekaha home. The expense will also be important, but choosing a school based solely on price is not the optimal means to ensure you’ll receive the right education. 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 objective in mind, just how do you choose a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to cover in the remainder of this article. But first, we are going to discuss a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will ultimately need.
Which CDL Will You Require?
To drive commercial vehicles lawfully within the USA and Kekaha HI, a driver must attain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 license classes that a driver can qualify 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 focus on Class A and Class B licenses. What differentiates each class of CDL is the kind of vehicle that the driver can operate in addition to the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Below are short explanations of the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is needed to operate any vehicle that has a GCWR of greater than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of greater 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 Commercial Drivers License is needed to operate single vehicles having a GVWR of more 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 CDLs may also require endorsements to operate certain types of vehicles, for example passenger or school buses. And a Class A license holder, with the appropriate required endorsements, may drive any vehicle that a Class B license holder is qualified to operate.
How to Evaluate a CDL School
Once you have determined which Commercial Drivers License you would like to obtain, you can start the undertaking of evaluating the Kekaha HI truck driving schools that you are looking at. As earlier discussed, location and cost will undoubtedly be your initial considerations. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they must not be your sole considerations. Other variables, such as the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are equally if not more important. So following are a few more factors that you should research while conducting your due diligence prior to choosing, and particularly paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Very few truck driving schools in the Kekaha HI area are accredited due to the stringent process and cost to the schools. On the other hand, 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 several advantages. Prospective students recognize that the training will be of the highest standard, and that they will get lots 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 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 business. A negatively reviewed or a fly by night school usually will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the top Kekaha HI schools had to begin from their first day of training, so use it as one of multiple qualifiers. You can also learn what the school’s track record is concerning successful licensing and job placement of its graduates. If a school won’t provide those numbers, search elsewhere. The schools should also have relationships with local and national trucking companies. Having a large number of contacts not only affirms a superior reputation within the trade, but also boosts their job assistance program for graduates. It also wouldn’t hurt to check with the Hawaii licensing department to make sure that the CDL trucking schools you are researching are in compliance.
How Effective is the Training? At a minimum, the schools should be licensed in Hawaii and hire instructors that are experienced and trained. We will talk more about the instructors in the next section. Also, the student to instructor proportion should not be greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be receiving the individual attention they will need. This is particularly 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 comparatively short time period. Learning to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully takes time. The majority of Kekaha HI schools offer training programs that range from three weeks to as long as 2 months, based on the class of license or type of vehicle.
How Good are the Instructors? As previously stated, it’s imperative that the teachers are trained to teach driving methods and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Although several 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 crucial that the instructors stay up to date with industry developments or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Evaluating teachers might be a bit more subjective than other standards, and possibly the best method is to pay a visit to the school and speak with the instructors face to face. You can also talk to some of the students completing the training and find out if they are happy with the level of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Adequate Driving Time? Above all else, an excellent trucking school will provide plenty 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 operating a truck. Although the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are essential training methods, they are no alternative for real driving. The more instruction that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will be. And even though driving time fluctuates among schools, a good benchmark is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide at least 44 hours of driving time. Contact the Kekaha HI schools you are considering and find out how much driving time they provide.
Are they Captive or Independent ? It’s possible to obtain free or discounted training from some truck driver schools if you make a commitment to be a driver for a specified carrier for a defined amount of time. This is referred to as contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So rather than having associations with numerous trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only refer to one company. The benefit is receiving less expensive or even free training by giving up the freedom to initially be a driver wherever you choose. Obviously contract training has the potential to limit your income opportunities when beginning your new career. But for many it may be the ideal way to obtain affordable training. Just be sure to find out if the Kekaha HI schools you are contemplating are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Offer Onsite CDL Testing? There are several states that will allow third party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its students. If onsite testing is available in Hawaii, ask if the schools you are considering are DMV certified to provide it. One advantage is that it is more convenient than competing with graduates from other schools for test times at Hawaii testing facilities. It is moreover an indicator that the DMV believes the approved schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Class Times Flexible? As earlier mentioned, truck driving training is only about 1 to 2 months in length. With such a short term, it’s important that the Kekaha HI school you select offers flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. As an example, if you’re having difficulty learning a certain driving maneuver, then the teacher 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 obtained your CDL license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be keen to start your new career. Verify that the schools you are looking at have job assistance programs. Find out what their job placement rate is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, ask which local and national trucking firms their graduates are referred to for hiring. If a school has a low job placement rate or not many Kekaha HI employers hiring their grads, it might be a clue to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Truck driving schools are comparable to colleges and other Kekaha HI area vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being offered. Ask if the schools you are assessing have a financial assistance department, or at least someone who can help you get through the options and forms that need to be submitted.
Thinking of a Truck Drivier School near Kekaha HI?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Kekaha Hawaii area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
For most of the 20th century, the Kekaha Sugar Mill (owned by Amfac) was the centerpiece of agriculture on Kauaʻi's west side. The sugar mill had a major influence in Kekaha's development, including banking, employment, transportation, housing and utilities such as water and electricity. The mill employed several generations of local families. It closed in 2000 when the entire sugar industry in Hawaiʻi collapsed. The mill was purchased in 2005 by mainland investors who sold off its heavy machinery to other mills as far away as Africa.
Hawaiʻi's first (and only) train robbery occurred here in February 1920, when a masked gunman stopped a slow-moving sugar train and escaped with the locomotive and $11,000 taken from the labor paymaster on board. Police recovered the money in a swamp near the home of a local fisherman, whose suspicious behavior soon resulted in his arrest and conviction. The fisherman was a big fan of Western movies, and was thought to have been inspired by some of the films he had seen.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP has a total area of 1.2 square miles (3.1 km2), of which, 1.0 square mile (2.6 km2) of it is land and 0.2 square miles (0.52 km2) of it (18.03%) is water.
Tractor Trailer Training School Kekaha HI
Selecting the appropriate truck driver 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 mold a new career behind the wheel. There are several 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 Tractor Trailer Training School. But first and foremost, you must obtain the proper training in order to drive a big commercial vehicle in a professional and safe fashion. If you are lacking cash or financing, you might need to consider a captive school. You will pay a lower or even no tuition in exchange for driving for their contracted carrier. Or you can select an independent trucker school and have the option of driving for the trucking firm of your choosing, or one of several associated with the school. It’s your decision. But regardless of how you receive your training, you will soon be joining a profession that helps America move as a professional truck driver in Kekaha HI.
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