How to Decide on the Right Trucker School near Sidney Nebraska
Congrats on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a CDL school near Sidney NE. Maybe it has always been your ambition to hit the open highway while driving a monster tractor trailer. Or maybe you have conducted some analysis and have found that an occupation as a truck driver provides good pay and flexible work prospects. Whatever your reason is, it’s important to obtain the proper training by choosing the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are several variables that you’ll want to consider before making your ultimate selection. Location will no doubt be important, especially if you need to commute from your Sidney residence. The expense will also be important, but picking a school based solely on price is not the optimal way to make certain you’ll obtain the proper education. Just remember, your goal 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 target in mind, just how do you decide on a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to address in the balance of this article. But first, we are going to review a little bit about which CDL license you will eventually need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Will You Require?
In order to drive commercial vehicles lawfully within the USA and Sidney NE, a driver needs to attain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 classes of licenses that a driver can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the subject of this article is how to choose a truck driver school, we will discuss Class A and 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 descriptions for the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL 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. Some 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 drive certain types of vehicles, for example passenger or school buses. And a Class A licensee, with the appropriate needed endorsements, may drive any vehicle that a Class B licensee is qualified to operate.
How to Research a Truck Driving School
When you have decided which CDL you wish to obtain, you can start the undertaking of assessing the Sidney NE trucking schools that you are considering. As already mentioned, cost and location will certainly be your initial concerns. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they must not be your only concerns. Other issues, for example the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are similarly or even more important. So following are some more points that you need to research while conducting your due diligence prior to choosing, and particularly paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Not many truck driving schools in the Sidney NE area are accredited due to the rigorous process and cost to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more commonplace and is offered by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not obligated to become certified, but there are several advantages. Prospective students recognize that the training will be of the highest standard, and that they will be given lots of driving time. For example, PTDI mandates 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 satisfy the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One clue to help measure the quality of a trucking school is how long it has been in operation. A negatively reviewed or a fly by night school usually will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the best of Sidney NE schools had to start from their first day of training, so use it as one of multiple qualifications. You can also learn what the school’s track record is regarding successful licensing and job placement of its graduates. If a school won’t provide those numbers, look elsewhere. The schools should also have associations with regional and national trucking companies. Having numerous contacts not only points to 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 Nebraska licensing department 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 Nebraska and hire teachers that are trained and experienced. We will cover more about the teachers in the next section. Also, the student to instructor proportion should be no higher 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 concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And watch out for any school that professes it can teach you to drive trucks in a relatively short time period. Training to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully takes time. Most Sidney NE schools provide training programs that run from three weeks to as long as two months, depending on the class of license or type of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Teachers? As previously stated, it’s important that the instructors 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 a teacher, the more professional driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also crucial that the instructors keep up to date with industry advancements or any new laws or changes in regulations. Evaluating instructors might be a little more subjective than other criteria, and possibly the best method is to pay a visit to the school and speak with the teachers face to face. You can also speak with 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.
Sufficient Driving Time? Most importantly, a good truck driver school will furnish 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 driving a truck. Even though the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are necessary training methods, they are no replacement for actual driving. The more training that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will become. Although driving time fluctuates between 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 Sidney NE schools you are researching and ask how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Independent or Captive ? It’s possible to receive discounted or even free training from some truck driving schools if you make a commitment to be a driver for a particular carrier for a defined amount of time. This is what’s known as contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So rather than having relationships with many different trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only work with one company. The benefit is receiving free or less expensive training by giving up the flexibility to initially work wherever you choose. Clearly contract training has the potential to limit your income opportunities when starting out. But for many it may be the best way to get affordable training. Just make sure to find out if the Sidney NE schools you are considering are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Provide CDL Testing Onsite? There are a number of states that will allow third party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its grads. If onsite testing is allowed in Nebraska, ask if the schools you are considering are DMV certified to provide it. One advantage is that it is more accommodating than battling with graduates of competing schools for test times at Nebraska testing centers. It is moreover an indication that the DMV regards the approved schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Classes Accessible? As formerly noted, truck driving training is only about one to two months in length. With such a brief term, it’s imperative that the Sidney NE school you enroll in offers flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. For example, if you’re having a hard time learning a certain driving maneuver, then the teacher should be prepared to commit more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still working while going to training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other commitments.
Is Job Placement Offered? The moment you have acquired your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be anxious to begin your new career. Make sure that the schools you are reviewing have job placement programs. Ask what their job placement ratio is and what average salary their graduates 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 few Sidney NE employers recruiting their graduates, it might be a sign to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Trucking schools are similar to colleges and other Sidney NE area vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being offered. Find out if the schools you are examining have a financial assistance 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 Sidney NE?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Sidney Nebraska area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
The city was named for Sidney Dillon, president of the Union Pacific Railroad. It was founded in 1867 by the Union Pacific and grew up around the military base of Fort Sidney (also known as Sidney Barracks), where soldiers were stationed to guard the transcontinental railroad from potential Indian attacks.
The town became the southern terminus of the Sidney Black Hills Stage Road which used Clarke's Bridge (near Bridgeport, Nebraska) to allow military and civilian traffic to reach Fort Robinson, Red Cloud Agency, Spotted Tail Agency, Custer, South Dakota, and Deadwood, South Dakota in the late 1870s and 1880s.
Sidney is toward the western edge of the midwestern wheat-growing region. West of the city, the land is increasingly used for cattle ranching. Sidney is located along Lodgepole Creek, which is along present-day Interstate 80.
The Best Truck Driving Schools Sidney NE
Selecting the appropriate truck driver school is a critical first step to launching your new vocation as a long distance or local truck driver. The skill sets that you will learn at school will be those that forge a new career behind the wheel. There are many options available and understanding them is crucial if you are going to succeed as an operator. You originally came to our website because of your interest in The Best Truck Driving Schools. 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 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 choose an independent truck driving school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking firm of your choosing, or one of many associated with the school. It’s your choice. But no matter how you receive your training, you will soon be part of an industry that helps America move as a professional truck driver in Sidney NE.
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