How to Choose the Right CDL Training School near Walker Louisiana
Congrats on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a truck driving school near Walker LA. Maybe it has always been your goal to hit the open road while operating a monster tractor trailer. Or maybe you have done some analysis and have found that an occupation as a truck driver offers excellent wages and flexible work opportunities. Whatever your reason is, it’s important to get the appropriate training by enrolling in the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are a number of factors that you’ll need to examine before making your ultimate selection. Location will undoubtedly be an issue, especially if you need to commute from your Walker residence. The cost will also be of importance, but selecting a school based exclusively on price is not the best way to guarantee you’ll get the right education. Just remember, your goal is to master the knowledge and skills that will allow you to pass the CDL exams and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that purpose in mind, just how do you pick a truck driving school? That is what we are going to cover in the balance of this article. But first, we are going to discuss a little bit about which CDL license you will ultimately need.
Which CDL Will You Need?
In order to drive commercial vehicles lawfully within the USA and Walker LA, an operator needs to obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three license classes that a person can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the topic of this article is how to choose a truck driver school, we will highlight Class A and Class B licenses. What distinguishes 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). Following are brief descriptions 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 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 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 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 CDLs might also require endorsements to operate certain types of vehicles, for example passenger or school buses. And a Class A licensee, with the appropriate required endorsements, may operate any vehicle that a Class B licensee is qualified to operate.
How to Assess a Truck Driver School
When you have decided which Commercial Drivers License you would like to pursue, you can start the undertaking of evaluating the Walker LA truck driver schools that you are considering. As already discussed, location and cost will certainly be your primary concerns. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they must not be your only considerations. Other variables, for example the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are equally or even more important. So following are several additional factors that you should research while performing your due diligence prior to selecting, and especially paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Very few truck driver schools in the Walker LA area are accredited due to the rigorous 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 required to become certified, but there are several advantages. Potential 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 calls for 44 hours of actual driving time, not ride-alongs or simulations. So if a school’s program is certified (the program, 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 Operation? One clue to help determine the quality of a truck driver school is how long it has been in business. A negatively ranked or a fly by night school usually will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. Having said that, even the top Walker LA schools had to start from their first day of training, so consider it as one of multiple qualifiers. You can also learn what the school’s history is pertaining to successful licensing and employment of its graduating students. If a school won’t share those stats, search elsewhere. The schools should additionally have associations with local and national trucking companies. Having numerous contacts not only points to an excellent reputation within the profession, but also boosts their job placement program for graduates. It also wouldn’t hurt to get in touch with the Louisiana licensing department to verify that the CDL trucking schools you are reviewing are in good standing.
How Good is the Training? At a minimum, the schools should be licensed in Louisiana and hire teachers that are trained and experienced. We will talk more about the teachers in the next section. Also, the student to instructor proportion should be no greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be obtaining the personal instruction they will need. This is particularly true regarding the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And be critical of any school that claims it can train you to drive trucks in a relatively short time frame. Learning to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer professionally takes time. Most Walker LA schools provide training programs that run from 3 weeks to as long as 2 months, based on the class of license or kind of vehicle.
How Good are the Instructors? As already mentioned, it’s essential that the instructors are qualified to teach driving methods and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Although a number of states have minimum driving time criteria to be certified as an instructor, the more successful driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also important that the teachers stay current with industry advancements or any new laws or changes in regulations. Evaluating teachers might be a little more intuitive than other criteria, and perhaps the best approach is to visit the school and speak with the instructors face to face. You can also speak with a few of the students going through the training and find out if they are happy with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
Enough Driving Time? Above all else, a good truck driving school will furnish ample 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. While the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are necessary training tools, they are no substitute for actual driving. The more instruction that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will become. And even though driving time can vary among schools, a reasonable benchmark is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide at least 44 hours of driving time. Check with the Walker LA schools you are looking at and ask how much driving time they provide.
Are they Captive or Independent ? You can receive free or discounted training from some truck driving schools if you enter into an agreement to drive for a particular carrier for a defined period of time. This is what’s known as contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So instead of maintaining relationships with a wide range of trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only refer to one company. The tradeoff is receiving less expensive or even free training by giving up the flexibility to initially work wherever you have an opportunity. Clearly contract training has the potential to limit your income prospects when beginning your new career. But for some it may be the best way to get affordable training. Just make sure to inquire if the Walker LA schools you are considering are captive or independent 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 students. If onsite testing is available in Louisiana, ask if the schools you are looking at are DMV certified to provide it. One benefit is that it is more convenient than contending with graduates of competing schools for test times at Louisiana testing locations. It is moreover an indicator that the DMV believes the approved schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Class Times Flexible? As previously noted, truck driver training is just one to two months in length. With such a brief duration, it’s imperative that the Walker LA school you enroll in offers flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. For example, if you’re having difficulty learning a particular driving maneuver, then the instructor should be willing 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 needs to be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other obligations.
Is Job Placement Provided? Once you have received your CDL license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be eager to begin your new profession. Confirm that the schools you are looking at have job placement programs. Find out what their job placement percentage 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 Walker LA employers hiring their graduates, it may be a clue to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Trucking schools are comparable to colleges and other Walker LA area technical or vocational schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being offered. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have a financial assistance department, or at a minimum someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that must be completed.
Thinking of a Truck Drivier School near Walker LA?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Walker Louisiana area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
The area now known as Walker was founded by Michael Joseph Milton, Jr. (1795-1863) and “several slaves” in 1825. Michael Milton married in 1832 in Livingston Parish. He and his wife, Martha Clark Milton (1803-1878) developed 343 acres from a Land Grant for his service in the War of 1812. The Milton family was a pioneering family from North Carolina who settled an area in Alabama, before establishing the new community in the piney woods east of the Amite River and Denham Springs In this sense, Walker, Louisiana, by virtue of its founding, traces its roots to the founding of the nation in Jamestown. The Federal government recognized the growth of the settlement and opened a post office as Milton Old Field in 1856. Michael Milton was appointed as postmaster in 1858. In 1890 the post office was renamed after Dr. William Elliott Walker, M.D., a legislator from nearby Springfield, who had, also, served as a Lt. Col. in the Confederate States of America.
Walker is located at 30°29′22″N 90°51′46″W / 30.48944°N 90.86278°W / 30.48944; -90.86278 (30.489423, -90.862872). According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 5.8 square miles (14.9 km²), all land.
The 2010 Census noted the population of Walker is 6,138 - up 28% over the past decade. Walker officially became a city. As of the census of 2000, there were 4,801 people, 1,758 households, and 1,320 families residing in the town. The population density was 834.8 people per square mile (322.4/km²). There were 1,905 housing units at an average density of 331.2 per square mile (127.9/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 86.34% White, 12.37% African American, 0.23% Native American, 0.04% Asian, 0.23% from other races, and 0.79% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.19% of the population.
CDL Training Programs Walker LA
Selecting the ideal truck driver school is an important first step to launching your new occupation as a long distance or local truck driver. The skill sets taught at school will be those that mold a new career behind the wheel. There are several options offered and understanding them is critical to a new driver’s success. You originally came to our website because of your interest in CDL Training Programs. But first and foremost, you must obtain the proper training in order to operate a big commercial vehicle in a safe and professional fashion. If you are lacking cash or financing, you might want to look into 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 trucker school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking firm of your choice, or one of several affiliated with the school. It’s your choice. But regardless of how you get your training, you will in the near future be entering an industry that helps America move as a professional trucker in Walker LA.
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