How to Decide on the Right Truck Driving School near Shelby Nebraska
Congrats on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a trucking school near Shelby NE. Perhaps it has always been your dream to hit the open road while operating a huge tractor trailer. Or possibly you have done some research and have discovered that a career as a truck driver provides good pay and flexible work opportunities. No matter what your reason is, it’s imperative to obtain the proper training by selecting the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are several factors that you’ll need to examine prior to making your ultimate selection. Location will certainly be an issue, particularly if you need to commute from your Shelby residence. The cost will also be important, but choosing a school based exclusively on price is not the optimal way to ensure you’ll get the proper training. Just remember, your goal is to master the knowledge and skills that will enable you to pass the CDL examinations and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that objective in mind, just how do you pick a truck driving school? That is what we are going to address in the remainder of this article. But first, we are going to review a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will eventually need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Will You Need?
To drive commercial vehicles lawfully within the United States and Shelby NE, an operator must get a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three classes of licenses that a person 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 address Class A and 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). Following 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 greater than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of greater than 10,000 lbs. Some 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 required to operate single vehicles having a GVWR of more 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 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 Commercial Drivers Licenses might also need endorsements to operate certain kinds of vehicles, such as passenger or school buses. And a Class A licensee, with the appropriate required endorsements, can operate any vehicle that a Class B license holder is authorized to operate.
How to Assess a Truck Driver School
As soon as you have decided which CDL you would like to pursue, you can begin the process of evaluating the Shelby NE trucking schools that you are looking at. As already discussed, location and cost will undoubtedly be your initial considerations. But it can’t be stressed enough that they should not be your sole considerations. Other issues, including the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are equally or even more important. So below are several more factors that you should research while conducting your due diligence prior to enrolling in, and especially paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Very few trucking schools in the Shelby NE area are accredited due to the rigorous process and expense to the schools. However, 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 several advantages. Potential students know that the training will be of the highest standard, and that they will get an ample amount of driving time. As an example, PTDI requires 44 hours of actual 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 fulfill the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One clue to help assess the quality of a truck driver school is how long it has been in operation. A negatively ranked or a fly by night school normally will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. On the other hand, even the best of Shelby NE schools had to start from their first day of training, so use it as one of several qualifications. You can also find out what the school’s history is regarding successful licensing and employment of its graduating students. If a school won’t supply those stats, look elsewhere. The schools should also have relationships with local and national trucking firms. Having a large number of contacts not only confirms a superior reputation within the profession, but also boosts their job placement program for graduates. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to check with the Nebraska licensing department to make sure that the CDL trucking schools you are researching are in compliance.
How Good is the Training? At a minimum, the schools should be licensed in Nebraska and hire teachers that are experienced and trained. We will discuss more about the teachers in the following segment. In addition, the student to instructor proportion should not be higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be obtaining the personal instruction they will need. This is especially true concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And be critical of any school that insists it can teach you to drive trucks in a relatively short period of time. Training to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer professionally takes time. Most Shelby NE schools provide training courses that range from three weeks to as long as two months, depending on the class of license or type of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Trainers? As already mentioned, it’s essential that the instructors are qualified to teach driving methods and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Although several states have minimum driving time requirements to be certified as an instructor, the more successful driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also crucial that the teachers stay up to date with industry developments or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Assessing instructors may be a bit more intuitive than other standards, and perhaps the ideal approach is to pay a visit to the school and speak with the teachers face to face. You can also talk to a few 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, a great truck driving school will provide sufficient 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 driving a truck. Even though the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are important training methods, they are no replacement for actual driving. The more training that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will become. And even though driving time fluctuates between schools, a reasonable benchmark is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish no less than 44 hours of driving time. Check with the Shelby NE schools you are considering and ask how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Independent or Captive ? You can receive discounted or even free training from certain truck driving schools if you enter into an agreement to drive for a specific carrier for a defined time period. This is what’s known as contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So instead of having affiliations with many different trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only work with one company. The tradeoff is receiving free or less expensive training by giving up the flexibility to initially work wherever you choose. Naturally contract training has the potential to limit your income prospects when starting out. But for some it may be the ideal way to receive affordable training. Just remember to find out if the Shelby NE schools you are contemplating are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Provide CDL Testing Onsite? There are several states that will allow third party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is allowed in Nebraska, ask if the schools you are looking at are DMV certified to provide it. One advantage is that it is more convenient than battling with graduates from competing schools for test times at Nebraska testing centers. It is also an indicator that the DMV believes the authorized schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Classes Convenient? As earlier mentioned, CDL training is just one to two months long. With such a short duration, it’s imperative that the Shelby NE 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 instructor should be willing to devote more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still holding a job while attending training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other obligations.
Is Job Assistance Provided? Once you have acquired your commercial driver’s license after graduating from trucking school, you will be eager to begin your new career. Verify that the schools you are looking at have job assistance programs. Ask what their job placement rate is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, ask which local and national trucking companies their graduates are placed with for employment. If a school has a lower job placement rate or few Shelby NE employers recruiting their graduates, it might be a clue to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Trucking schools are similar to colleges and other Shelby NE area technical or vocational schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being available. Find out if the schools you are assessing have a financial aid department, or at a minimum someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that need to be completed.
Thinking of a Truck Drivier School near Shelby NE?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Shelby Nebraska area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Shelby is a village in Polk County, Nebraska, United States. The population was 714 at the 2010 census. Shelby lies along the north side of U.S. Highway 81 near the eastern edge of Polk County. It is six miles (10 km) east of Osceola, and just 17 miles (27 km) south and three miles (5 km) west of Columbus. Nebraska's center of population is near Shelby.
In 1873, Civil War veteran Horace A. Cowles set up the Cyclone post office in his home one mile east and one mile south of present-day Shelby. In 1879, with the coming of the railroad, a second post office named Arcade was established one mile east of the present site of Shelby. In the winter of 1880, the post office was moved again a mile west to where Shelby is today. Postal authorities objected to the name "Arcade" due to confusion with the town of Arcadia in Loup County. In search of a new name for the settlement, the people chose "Shelby", after the name of an official with the Omaha and Republican Valley Railway (a branch of the Union Pacific). The land which Arcade was established on was owned by Gilbert Van Vorce and Peter Matter. Seeing a need for a trade center in the area, these men gave the railroad company half interest in their property and the town was established. After the railroad retained its 200 feet (61 m) on each side and closest to the tracks, eight blocks were located on each side parallel to the tracks. The original streets are still present and retain the names of Walnut, Elm, Chestnut, Pine, Cherry, and Oak.
In 1880 the town of Shelby boasted a population of 93 with businesses to include a drug store, hardware store, hotel, boot and shoe shop, livery stable, and physician. J.T. Dunning built the first elevator, located on the south side of the tracks along with the railway depot. The first store, owned by H.C. and Frank Dunning, sold general merchandise. Conrad Thelen and Charles Krumbach opened the first hardware store, which would run for 40 years.
Become Truck Driver Shelby NE
Picking the appropriate truck driving school is an essential first step to launching your new occupation as a long distance or local truck driver. The skill sets that you will learn at school will be those that shape a new career behind the wheel. There are many options offered and understanding them is vital to a new driver’s success. You originally came to our website because of your interest in Become Truck Driver. But first and foremost, you must obtain the proper training in order to drive a large commercial vehicle in a professional and safe manner. If you are lacking cash or financing, you may need to think about a captive school. You will pay a reduced or even no tuition in exchange for driving for their contracted carrier. Or you can choose an independent trucking school and have the option of driving for the trucking company of your choosing, or one of several associated with the school. It’s your choice. But no matter how you get your training, you will in the near future be part of a profession that helps our country move as a professional truck driver in Shelby NE.
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