How to Select the Right Truck Driving School near South Sioux City Nebraska
Congratulations on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a CDL school near South Sioux City NE. Maybe it has always been your dream to hit the open highway while operating a huge tractor trailer. Or maybe you have done some analysis and have found that a career as a truck driver offers good income and flexible job opportunities. No matter what your reason is, it’s important to receive the proper training by enrolling in the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are certain variables that you’ll need to consider prior to making your ultimate choice. Location will certainly be important, especially if you need to commute from your South Sioux City home. The cost will also be of importance, but choosing a school based exclusively on price is not the best method to make sure you’ll receive the right education. Just remember, your objective 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 purpose 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 talk a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will eventually need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Should You Get?
To drive commercial vehicles lawfully within the USA and South Sioux City NE, an operator must get a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 license classes that a driver can qualify 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 B licenses. What distinguishes 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 short summaries of the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is needed to operate 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 required to drive 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. Several 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 drive specific types of vehicles, for instance passenger or school buses. And a Class A licensee, with the proper required endorsements, can drive any vehicle that a Class B license holder is authorized to operate.
How to Evaluate a CDL School
After you have decided which Commercial Drivers License you wish to pursue, you can begin the process of assessing the South Sioux City NE truck driving schools that you are looking at. As earlier mentioned, cost and location will no doubt be your primary concerns. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they should not be your sole concerns. Other issues, such as the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are equally if not more important. So below are a few additional things that you need to research while carrying out your due diligence prior to enrolling in, and particularly paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Very few trucking schools in the South Sioux City NE area are accredited because of the demanding 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 obligated to become certified, but there are certain advantages. Prospective 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 real 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 satisfy the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One indicator to help evaluate the quality of a trucking school is how long it has been in business. A negatively rated or a fly by night school typically will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. Having said that, even the top South Sioux City NE schools had to start from their opening day of training, so consider it as one of several 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 additionally have relationships with local and national trucking companies. Having a large number of contacts not only points to an excellent reputation within the industry, but also bolsters their job placement program for graduates. It also wouldn’t hurt to contact the Nebraska licensing authority to verify that the CDL trucker schools you are considering are in compliance.
How Good is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools must be licensed in Nebraska and employ instructors that are experienced and trained. We will talk more about the instructors in the next section. In addition, the student to instructor ratio should not be higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be getting the personalized instruction they will need. This is especially true regarding the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And look out for any school that professes it can teach you to drive trucks in a comparatively short time frame. Learning to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully takes time. Most South Sioux City NE schools provide training courses that run from three weeks to as long as 2 months, based on the class of license or type of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Teachers? As previously stated, it’s imperative that the instructors are qualified to teach driving techniques and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Even though a number of states have minimum driving time requirements to qualify as a teacher, the more successful driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also crucial that the instructors stay current with industry developments or any new laws or changes in regulations. Evaluating teachers may be a little more intuitive than other criteria, and possibly the ideal method is to visit the school and speak with the instructors in person. You can also talk to a few of the students completing the training and find out if they are happy with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Adequate Driving Time? Most importantly, a great truck driver school will furnish lots 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 operating a truck. Even though the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are essential training tools, they are no substitute for actual driving. The more instruction that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will become. And even though driving time can vary 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. Check with the South Sioux City NE schools you are looking at and ask how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Independent or Captive ? It’s possible to get discounted or even free training from some truck driving schools if you enter into an agreement to be a driver for a specific carrier for a defined time period. This is what’s known as 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 refer to one company. The tradeoff is receiving less expensive or even free training by surrendering the freedom to initially be a driver wherever you have an opportunity. Naturally 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 get affordable training. Just make sure to ask if the South Sioux City NE schools you are looking at are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Is there CDL Testing Onsite? There are a number of states that will permit third party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is available in Nebraska, find out if the schools you are reviewing are DMV certified to offer it. One advantage is that it is more convenient than battling with graduates of competing schools for test times at Nebraska testing centers. It is also an indication that the DMV deems the authorized schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Class Times Convenient? As formerly noted, truck driving training is just 1 to 2 months long. With such a brief duration, it’s essential that the South Sioux City NE school you select provides flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. For example, if you’re having a hard time learning a particular driving maneuver, then the teacher should be prepared to dedicate more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still holding a job while going to training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other commitments.
Is Job Placement Offered? As soon as you have received your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be keen to begin your new profession. Confirm that the schools you are reviewing have job assistance programs. Find out what their job placement ratio is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, find out which national and local trucking firms their graduates are placed with for hiring. If a school has a poor job placement rate or not many South Sioux City NE employers recruiting their grads, it may be a clue to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Available? Truck driver schools are similar to colleges and other South Sioux City NE area vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being offered. Find out if the schools you are examining have a financial assistance 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 South Sioux City NE?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the South Sioux City Nebraska area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
South Sioux City, Nebraska
South Sioux City is a city in Dakota County, Nebraska, United States. It is located immediately across the Missouri River from Sioux City, Iowa, and is part of the Sioux City, IA-NE-SD Metropolitan Statistical Area. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 13,353, making it the 14th largest city in Nebraska.
European settlement on the Nebraska side of the river began as early as 1854. Several town sites were platted and incorporated in the 1850s. Pacific City, incorporated in 1858, was a short-lived settlement. Covington and South Covington, both incorporated in 1857, merged in 1870. Another town, Stanton, was founded in 1856.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 5.96 square miles (15.44 km2), of which, 5.71 square miles (14.79 km2) is land and 0.25 square miles (0.65 km2) is water.
Driving Truck School South Sioux City NE
Selecting the appropriate truck driving school is an important first step to starting 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 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 Driving Truck School. But first and foremost, you must get the necessary training in order to drive a big commercial vehicle in a safe and professional manner. If you are short on cash or financing, you may want to look into a captive school. You will pay a lower or even no tuition by agreeing to drive for their contracted carrier. Or you can select an independent trucker 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 obtain your training, you will soon be joining a profession that helps our country move as a professional truck driver in South Sioux City NE.
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