How to Select the Right Truck Driving School near Scottsbluff Nebraska
Congrats on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a truck driving school near Scottsbluff NE. Perhaps it has always been your fantasy to hit the open highway while operating a monster tractor trailer. Or possibly you have done some analysis and have discovered that an occupation as a truck driver provides excellent wages and flexible work opportunities. No matter what your reason is, it’s important to receive the appropriate training by selecting the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are various variables that you’ll need to think about before making your final selection. Location will no doubt be an issue, particularly if you need to commute from your Scottsbluff home. The expense will also be important, but choosing a school based solely on price is not the ideal way to make sure you’ll get the proper education. Don’t forget, your objective is to learn the skills and knowledge that will allow you to pass the CDL exams and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that objective in mind, just how do you decide on a truck driving school? That 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 CDL license you will eventually need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Will You Require?
In order to drive commercial vehicles lawfully within the United States and Scottsbluff NE, a driver needs to get a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 license classes that a driver can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the topic of this article is how to pick a truck driver school, we will focus on Class A and B licenses. What distinguishes each class of CDL is the kind 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 descriptions of the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is required to operate any vehicle that has a GCWR of more 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 CDL is needed to operate 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 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 may also need endorsements to operate certain kinds of vehicles, for example passenger or school buses. And a Class A license holder, with the appropriate needed endorsements, may operate any vehicle that a Class B license holder is qualified to operate.
How to Evaluate a Trucking School
When you have decided which Commercial Drivers License you wish to obtain, you can start the undertaking of assessing the Scottsbluff NE trucking schools that you are looking at. As previously mentioned, cost and location will no doubt be your initial considerations. But it can’t be stressed enough that they should not be your sole concerns. Other issues, for example the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are equally if not more important. So following are several more factors that you need to research while carrying out your due diligence prior to choosing, and particularly paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Not many truck driving schools in the Scottsbluff NE area are accredited because of the demanding process and cost to the schools. However, 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 a number of advantages. Prospective students recognize that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will receive plenty of driving time. For 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 curriculum and training will satisfy the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One clue to help evaluate the quality of a trucking school is how long it has been in business. A poorly reviewed or a fly by night school normally will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. Having said that, even the top Scottsbluff NE schools had to begin from their opening day of training, so use it as one of several qualifications. You can also ask what the school’s track record is relating to successful licensing and employment of its graduates. If a school won’t supply those numbers, look elsewhere. The schools should also have associations with local and national trucking companies. Having numerous contacts not only affirms an excellent reputation within the industry, but also bolsters their job assistance program for students. It also wouldn’t hurt to contact the Nebraska licensing department to make sure that the CDL trucker schools you are reviewing are in good standing.
How Effective is the Training? At a minimum, the schools should be licensed in Nebraska and hire instructors that are trained and experienced. We will talk more about the teachers in the following segment. Also, the student to instructor ratio should not be higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be obtaining the personalized instruction they will need. This is especially true regarding the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And be critical of any school that professes it can train you to be a truck driver in a comparatively short time period. Training to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer professionally takes time. The majority of Scottsbluff NE schools provide training courses that range from three weeks to as long as two months, depending on the license class or type of vehicle.
How Good are the Instructors? As previously stated, it’s imperative 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 a teacher, the more successful driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also crucial that the teachers keep current with industry developments or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Evaluating instructors may be a bit more intuitive than other standards, and perhaps the ideal approach is to check out the school and talk to the instructors face to face. You can also speak with a few of the students completing the training and ask if they are satisfied with the level of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
Sufficient Driving Time? Most importantly, an excellent truck driver school will provide 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. While the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are important training methods, they are no substitute for actual driving. The more training that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will become. Although driving time differs between schools, a good standard is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Contact the Scottsbluff NE schools you are considering and ask how much driving time they provide.
Are they Independent or Captive ? It’s possible to receive free or discounted training from certain trucking schools if you make a commitment to be a driver for a specified carrier for a defined period of time. This is referred to as contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So instead of maintaining affiliations with many different trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only refer to one company. The benefit is receiving less expensive or even free training by giving up the freedom to initially work wherever you have an opportunity. Naturally contract training has the potential to restrict your income opportunities when starting out. But for some it may be the ideal way to receive affordable training. Just make sure to ask if the Scottsbluff NE schools you are looking at are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Provide Onsite CDL Testing? There are several states that will permit 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its grads. If onsite testing is permitted in Nebraska, ask if the schools you are reviewing are DMV certified to provide it. One advantage is that it is more accommodating than contending with graduates of other schools for test times at Nebraska testing locations. It is also an indication that the DMV believes the approved schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Class Times Flexible? As earlier noted, CDL training is only about one to two months in length. With such a brief term, it’s imperative that the Scottsbluff NE school you select provides flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. As an example, if you’re having difficulty learning a particular driving maneuver, then the instructor should be willing to dedicate more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still working while attending training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other responsibilities.
Is Job Placement Provided? As soon as you have received your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be eager to begin your new profession. Make sure that the schools you are contemplating have job placement programs. Find out what their job placement rate is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, ask which local and national trucking companies their graduates are placed with for hiring. If a school has a lower job placement rate or few Scottsbluff NE employers hiring their grads, it might be a clue to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Given? Truck driving schools are similar to colleges and other Scottsbluff NE area trade or technical schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being offered. Find out if the schools you are assessing have a financial aid department, or at a minimum someone who can help you understand the options and forms that must be completed.
Thinking of a Truck Drivier School near Scottsbluff NE?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Scottsbluff Nebraska area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Scottsbluff is a city in Scotts Bluff County, in the western part of the state of Nebraska, in the Great Plains region of the United States. The population was 15,039 at the 2010 census. Scottsbluff is the largest city in the Nebraska Panhandle, and the 13th largest city in Nebraska.
Scottsbluff was founded in 1899 across the North Platte River from its namesake, a bluff that is now a U.S. National Park called Scotts Bluff National Monument. The monument was named after Hiram Scott (1805–1828), a fur trader with the Rocky Mountain Fur Company who was found dead in the vicinity on the return trip from a fur expedition. The smaller town of Gering had been founded south of the river in 1887. The two cities have since grown together to form the 7th largest urban area (Scottsbluff Micropolitan Statistical Area) in Nebraska.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 6.27 square miles (16.24 km2), of which, 6.22 square miles (16.11 km2) is land and 0.05 square miles (0.13 km2) is water.
Top Trucking Schools Scottsbluff NE
Selecting the ideal truck driver school is an essential first step to beginning your new vocation as a local or long distance truck driver. The skills that you will learn at school will be those that mold a new career behind the wheel. There are a number of options available and understanding them is crucial to a new driver’s success. You originally came to our website because of your interest in Top Trucking Schools. But first and foremost, you must obtain the necessary training in order to operate a large commercial vehicle in a safe and professional fashion. If you are lacking funds or financing, you might want 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 enroll in an independent truck driving school and have the option of driving for the trucking company of your choosing, or one of many associated with the school. It’s your decision. But regardless of how you receive your training, you will soon be joining an industry that helps America move as a professional trucker in Scottsbluff NE.
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