How to Pick the Right CDL Driving School near Waterproof Louisiana
Congrats on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a trucking school near Waterproof LA. Maybe it has always been your dream to hit the open highway while driving a big ole tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have conducted some research and have discovered that a career as a truck driver offers excellent income and flexible work prospects. Whatever your reason is, it’s imperative to receive the appropriate training by selecting the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are several variables that you’ll need to think about prior to making your final choice. Location will certainly be important, especially if you need to commute from your Waterproof home. The expense will also be important, but picking a school based entirely on price is not the best means to make sure you’ll receive the proper education. Just remember, your objective is to master the skills and knowledge that will enable you to pass the CDL exams and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that objective in mind, just how do you select a truck driving school? That is what we are going to discuss 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 Commercial Drivers License Will You Need?
To drive commercial vehicles legally within the USA and Waterproof LA, an operator needs to obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three license classes that a driver can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the topic of this article is how to pick a truck driving school, we will discuss Class A and Class B licenses. What distinguishes 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 summaries of the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is required 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 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 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. 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 Commercial Drivers Licenses may also need endorsements to operate specific kinds of vehicles, for instance passenger or school buses. And a Class A license holder, with the appropriate needed endorsements, may operate any vehicle that a Class B licensee is authorized to drive.
How to Research a Truck Driver School
As soon as you have decided which CDL you wish to pursue, you can start the process of researching the Waterproof LA truck driving schools that you are looking at. As earlier mentioned, location and cost will undoubtedly be your initial considerations. But it can’t be stressed enough that they should not be your only considerations. Other issues, such as the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are equally or even more important. So following are a few additional factors that you should research while performing your due diligence before enrolling in, and especially paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Very few truck driver schools in the Waterproof LA area are accredited due to the rigorous process and cost to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more typical and is provided by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not required to become certified, but there are a number of advantages. Interested students recognize that the training will be of the highest caliber, 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 fulfill the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One indicator to help measure the quality of a trucking school is how long it has been in operation. A poorly reviewed or a fly by night school typically will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. On the other hand, even the best of Waterproof LA schools had to begin from their opening day of training, so consider it as one of several qualifiers. You can also ask what the school’s history is relating to successful licensing and job placement of its graduates. If a school won’t supply those stats, search elsewhere. The schools should also have relationships with regional and national trucking companies. Having numerous contacts not only points to an excellent reputation within the profession, but also bolsters their job placement program for graduates. It also wouldn’t hurt to check with the Louisiana licensing authority to verify that the CDL trucker schools you are researching are in good standing.
How Effective is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools should be licensed in Louisiana and hire teachers that are trained and experienced. We will talk more about the instructors in the next section. In addition, the student to instructor ratio should be no greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be getting 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 insists it can teach you to drive trucks in a comparatively short time period. Learning to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer professionally requires time. The majority of Waterproof LA schools offer training programs that run from three weeks to as long as 2 months, depending on the class of license or kind of vehicle.
How Good are the Trainers? As already mentioned, it’s important that the instructors are qualified to teach driving methods and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Although a number of states have minimum driving time prerequisites to qualify as an instructor, the more successful driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also important that the instructors stay current with industry advancements 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 talk to some of the students going through the training and find out if they are happy with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Sufficient Driving Time? Most importantly, an excellent trucking school will provide lots of driving time to its students. After all, isn’t that what it’s all about? Driving time is the real time spent behind the wheel operating a truck. While the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are important training tools, they are no substitute for real driving. The more instruction that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will become. Although driving time fluctuates between schools, a reasonable benchmark is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Check with the Waterproof LA schools you are considering and ask how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Captive or Independent ? It’s possible to get discounted or even free training from a number of trucking schools if you enter into an agreement to drive for a particular carrier for a defined period of time. This is called contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So rather than having affiliations with many different trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only refer to one company. The benefit is receiving free or less expensive training by surrendering the freedom to initially work wherever you choose. Clearly contract training has the potential to reduce your income prospects when starting out. But for many it may be the best way to get affordable training. Just be sure to inquire if the Waterproof LA schools you are looking at are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Is there Onsite CDL Testing? There are a number of states that will permit third party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its students. If onsite testing is allowed in Louisiana, find out if the schools you are reviewing are DMV certified to provide it. One advantage is that it is more convenient than contending with graduates of other schools for test times at Louisiana testing locations. It is also an indication that the DMV believes the approved schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Classes Accessible? As formerly noted, truck driving training is just 1 to 2 months long. With such a brief term, it’s important that the Waterproof LA school you select offers flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. For 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 accommodate working hours or other commitments.
Is Job Assistance Provided? As soon as you have acquired your CDL license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be anxious to begin your new profession. Confirm that the schools you are considering have job assistance programs. Ask 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 referred to for employment. If a school has a low job placement rate or not many Waterproof LA employers recruiting their grads, it might be a clue to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Given? Trucking schools are comparable to colleges and other Waterproof LA 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 a minimum someone who can help you get through the options and forms that need to be completed.
Thinking of a Truck Drivier School near Waterproof LA?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Waterproof Louisiana area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Waterproof is a village in Tensas Parish in northeastern Louisiana, United States with a population of 834 as of the 2000 census. However, the population declined in the 2010 census by 17.5 percent to 688. The village in 2010 was 91.7 percent African American. Some 24 percent of Waterproof residents in 2010 were aged sixty or above.
Waterproof is approximately 17 mi (27 km) north of Ferriday, one of the two principal communities of Concordia Parish. The village is named for its relative safety from flooding prior to construction of the Mississippi River levee system.
With a population dependent on agriculture, the rural village struggles with poverty. Mechanization has decreased the need for farm labor. Industrial-scale cotton is the major commodity crop, but corn and soybeans are also important. In 2008, drought destroyed much of the corn crop.
Truck Driving Classes Waterproof LA
Selecting the ideal truck driver school is an important first step to beginning your new profession as a local or long distance truck driver. The skill sets taught at school will be those that mold a new career behind the wheel. There are a number of options offered 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 Truck Driving Classes. However, you must receive the necessary training in order to drive a large commercial vehicle in a safe and professional fashion. If you are short on funds or financing, you may want to think about a captive school. You will pay a lower or even no tuition in exchange for driving 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 choosing, or one of several associated with the school. It’s your decision. But regardless of how you get your training, you will soon be joining an industry that helps our country move as a professional truck driver in Waterproof LA.
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