How to Pick the Right Trucking School near Warrensburg Missouri
Congrats on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a CDL school near Warrensburg MO. Maybe it has always been your ambition to hit the open road while operating a monster tractor trailer. Or maybe you have conducted some analysis and have found that a career as a truck driver provides good pay and flexible job prospects. Whatever your reason is, it’s essential to get the appropriate training by selecting the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are certain variables that you’ll want to think about before making your final choice. Location will undoubtedly be an issue, especially if you need to commute from your Warrensburg home. The expense will also be of importance, but picking a school based only on price is not the best way to make sure you’ll get the appropriate education. Don’t forget, your objective is to learn the knowledge and skills that will allow you to pass the CDL examinations and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that goal in mind, just how do you select 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 discuss a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will ultimately need.
Which CDL Will You Need?
In order to drive commercial vehicles legally within the USA and Warrensburg MO, a driver needs to get a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 license classes that one 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 address 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 of the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License is required to drive any vehicle that has a GCWR of more than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of greater 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 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 Commercial Drivers Licenses may also require endorsements to operate specific types of vehicles, for instance passenger or school buses. And a Class A licensee, with the appropriate needed endorsements, can operate any vehicle that a Class B license holder is qualified to operate.
How to Assess a Truck Driver School
Once you have determined which CDL you would like to obtain, you can start the undertaking of assessing the Warrensburg MO truck driver schools that you are considering. As earlier mentioned, cost and location will no doubt be your initial considerations. But it can’t be stressed enough that they must not be your only concerns. Other variables, such as the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are equally if not more important. So following are some more points that you need to research while carrying out your due diligence prior to selecting, and particularly paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Very few truck driver schools in the Warrensburg MO area are accredited because of the demanding process and expense 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 obligated to become certified, but there are certain advantages. Interested students recognize that the training will be of the highest caliber, and that they will receive lots of driving time. As an example, PTDI mandates 44 hours of real 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 satisfy the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One clue to help determine the quality of a trucking school is how long it has been in operation. A poorly ranked or a fly by night school usually will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. On the other hand, even the top Warrensburg MO schools had to start from their opening day of training, so consider it as one of multiple qualifications. You can also ask what the school’s history is concerning successful licensing and employment of its graduates. If a school won’t supply those numbers, search elsewhere. The schools should also maintain associations with local and national trucking firms. Having numerous contacts not only confirms an excellent reputation within the profession, but also bolsters their job assistance program for graduates. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to get in touch with the Missouri licensing department to verify that the CDL trucker schools you are researching are in good standing.
How Good is the Training? At a minimum, the schools should be licensed in Missouri and employ teachers that are trained and experienced. We will discuss more about the teachers in the next section. In addition, the student to instructor ratio should be no higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be obtaining the personal attention 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 teach you to drive trucks in a relatively short time frame. Learning to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer professionally takes time. The majority of Warrensburg MO schools offer training courses that run from 3 weeks to as long as two months, depending on the class of license or kind of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Instructors? As earlier stated, it’s essential that the instructors are qualified to teach driving techniques and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Even though several states have minimum driving time prerequisites to be certified as a teacher, the more professional driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also vital that the instructors keep current with industry advancements or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Assessing teachers may be a little more subjective than other criteria, and possibly the ideal method is to check out the school and speak with the instructors face to face. You can also talk to some 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.
Sufficient Driving Time? Most importantly, an excellent trucking 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. While the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are essential training methods, they are no replacement for actual driving. The more instruction that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will be. And even though driving time varies between 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. Check with the Warrensburg MO schools you are considering and ask how much driving time they provide.
Are they Independent or Captive ? You can obtain free or discounted training from a number of truck driving schools if you enter into an agreement to drive for a particular carrier for a defined amount of time. This is called contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So rather than having associations with many different trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only work with 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 restrict your income prospects when beginning your new career. But for many it may be the ideal way to receive affordable training. Just be sure to inquire if the Warrensburg MO schools you are contemplating are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Is there Onsite CDL Testing? There are a number of states that will allow 3rd party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its grads. If onsite testing is allowed in Missouri, find out if the schools you are reviewing are DMV certified to provide it. One advantage is that it is more accommodating than competing with graduates from competing schools for test times at Missouri testing locations. It is also an indicator that the DMV considers the approved schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Classes Accessible? As previously mentioned, truck driving training is just 1 to 2 months in length. With such a brief term, it’s important that the Warrensburg MO school you enroll in 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 teacher should be willing to commit more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still employed while attending training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other obligations.
Is Job Assistance Offered? The moment you have attained your CDL license after graduating from trucking school, you will be anxious to start your new profession. Verify that the schools you are looking at have job placement programs. Find out what their job placement percentage is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, find out which local and national trucking firms their graduates are referred to for hiring. If a school has a lower job placement rate or not many Warrensburg MO employers hiring their graduates, it might be a sign to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Truck driver schools are much like colleges and other Warrensburg MO 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 assistance department, or at least someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that must be submitted.
Thinking of a Truck Drivier School near Warrensburg MO?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Warrensburg Missouri area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Warrensburg is a city in Johnson County, Missouri, United States. The population was 18,838 at the 2010 census. It is the county seat of Johnson County. The Warrensburg Micropolitan Statistical Area consists of Johnson County. It is home to the University of Central Missouri.
Warrensburg is located at 38°45′47″N 93°44′06″W / 38.763101°N 93.734956°W / 38.763101; -93.734956. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 8.92 square miles (23.10 km2), of which, 8.85 square miles (22.92 km2) is land and 0.07 square miles (0.18 km2) is water.
As of the census of 2010, there were 18,838 people, 6,803 households, and 3,400 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,128.6 inhabitants per square mile (821.9/km2). There were 7,450 housing units at an average density of 841.8 per square mile (325.0/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 85.3% White, 7.5% African American, 0.5% Native American, 2.8% Asian, 0.2% Pacific Islander, 0.7% from other races, and 3.1% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.1% of the population.
Get CDL Warrensburg MO
Selecting the appropriate truck driver school is an important first step to beginning your new occupation as a long distance or local truck driver. The skill sets taught at school will be those that forge a new career behind the wheel. There are a number of options available and understanding them is critical if you are going to succeed as an operator. You originally came to our website because of your interest in Get CDL. However, you must obtain the necessary training in order to operate a big commercial vehicle in a professional and safe fashion. If you are lacking funds or financing, you might need to look into a captive school. You will pay a reduced or even no tuition by agreeing to drive for their contracted carrier. Or you can enroll in an independent truck driving school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking company of your choosing, or one of many affiliated with the school. It’s your decision. But no matter how you get your training, you will soon be part of an industry that helps America move as a professional trucker in Warrensburg MO.
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