How to Select the Right Trucking School near Portales New Mexico
Congrats on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a truck driving school near Portales NM. Maybe it has always been your goal to hit the open road while operating a monster tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have conducted some analysis and have discovered that a career as a truck driver provides excellent wages and flexible job opportunities. Whatever your reason is, it’s imperative to obtain the proper training by choosing the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are various factors that you’ll need to consider before making your final choice. Location will undoubtedly be important, particularly if you need to commute from your Portales residence. The cost will also be of importance, but choosing a school based only on price is not the ideal way to ensure you’ll get the proper training. Just remember, your objective is to learn 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 decide on a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to discuss in the remainder of this article. But first, we are going to review a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will ultimately need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Should You Get?
In order to operate commercial vehicles legally within the United States and Portales NM, an operator must obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 classes of licenses that a driver can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the topic of this article is how to select a truck driving 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 together with the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Below are short explanations of the two 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. 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 greater 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 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 CDLs might also require endorsements to drive certain types of vehicles, such as school or passenger buses. And a Class A license holder, with the proper needed endorsements, can operate any vehicle that a Class B licensee is qualified to operate.
How to Research a CDL School
Once you have decided which Commercial Drivers License you wish to obtain, you can begin the undertaking of evaluating the Portales NM truck driving schools that you are looking at. As already discussed, location and cost will undoubtedly be your primary considerations. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they must not be your only considerations. Other variables, including the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are equally if not more important. So below are a few more things that you need to research while performing your due diligence prior to selecting, and especially paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Very few trucking schools in the Portales NM area are accredited because of the stringent process and expense to the schools. However, certification is more prevalent and is offered by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not required to become certified, but there are certain advantages. Potential students recognize that the training will be of the highest standard, and that they will get lots of driving time. As an example, PTDI calls for 44 hours of actual 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 training and curriculum will measure up to the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One clue to help assess the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in operation. A negatively rated or a fly by night school usually will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. On the other hand, even the best of Portales NM schools had to start from their first day of training, so use it as one of multiple qualifiers. You can also find out what the school’s track record is pertaining to successful licensing and job placement of its graduating students. If a school won’t provide those numbers, search elsewhere. The schools should additionally have relationships with local and national trucking companies. Having numerous contacts not only confirms a quality reputation within the industry, but also bolsters their job placement program for students. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to contact the New Mexico licensing department to make sure that the CDL trucker schools you are reviewing are in good standing.
How Effective is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools should be licensed in New Mexico and hire instructors that are experienced and trained. We will cover more about the instructors in the following segment. Also, the student to instructor ratio should be no higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be obtaining the individual attention they will need. This is especially true concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And watch out for any school that insists it can teach you to be a truck driver in a relatively short time frame. Training to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully takes time. Most Portales NM schools provide training programs that range from 3 weeks to as long as two months, depending on the license class or kind of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Teachers? As earlier mentioned, it’s essential that the teachers are trained to teach driving techniques and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Even though a number of 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 vital that the instructors stay up to date with industry developments or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Evaluating instructors might be a bit more subjective than other criteria, and perhaps the best method is to check out the school and speak with the teachers face to face. You can also talk to a few of the students going through the training and ask if they are happy with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Plenty of Driving Time? Above all else, a great trucking 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 driving a truck. Even though the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are essential training methods, they are no replacement for actual driving. The more training that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will become. And even though driving time fluctuates among schools, a good standard is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish no less than 44 hours of driving time. Contact the Portales NM schools you are considering and find out how much driving time they provide.
Are they Captive or Independent ? It’s possible to obtain discounted or even free training from some trucking schools if you make a commitment to be a driver for a specified carrier for a defined amount of time. This is what’s known as contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So rather than maintaining relationships with many different trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only work with one company. The benefit is receiving less expensive or even free training by surrendering the flexibility to initially work wherever you have an opportunity. Obviously contract training has the potential to limit your income prospects when starting out. But for some it may be the best way to receive affordable training. Just be sure to inquire if the Portales NM schools you are considering are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Is there Onsite CDL Testing? There are several states that will allow 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is allowed in New Mexico, ask if the schools you are considering are DMV certified to offer it. One advantage is that it is more convenient than competing with graduates from other schools for test times at New Mexico testing centers. It is moreover an indicator that the DMV views the approved schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Classes Convenient? As formerly noted, CDL training is just 1 to 2 months long. With such a brief term, it’s important that the Portales NM school you choose provides flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. As an example, if you’re having difficulty learning a certain driving maneuver, then the teacher should be prepared to spend more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still employed while going to training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other obligations.
Is Job Assistance Provided? Once you have obtained your CDL license after graduating from trucking school, you will be eager to begin your new career. Make sure that the schools you are looking at have job assistance programs. Ask what their job placement percentage is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, find out which national and local trucking companies their graduates are placed with for hiring. If a school has a poor job placement rate or few Portales NM employers hiring their grads, it might be a clue to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Truck driving schools are comparable to colleges and other Portales NM area trade or technical schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being available. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have a financial aid department, or at a minimum someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that must be completed.
Thinking of a Truck Drivier School near Portales NM?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Portales New Mexico area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Portales, New Mexico
Portales is a city in and the county seat of Roosevelt County, New Mexico, United States. The population was 12,280 at the 2010 census. Portales is located near the larger city of Clovis, as well as Cannon Air Force Base, a major contributor to the economy of the region.
Eastern New Mexico University opened in Portales in 1934, and has grown to become the third-largest university in the state. The area is one of the largest producers of Valencia peanuts in the United States and is the nation's top producer of certified organic peanut butter. Portales is home to over about 40 dairies and a major US dairy solids plant, together producing and exporting hundreds of millions of dollars of local milk products each year. It is the principal city of the Portales Micropolitan Statistical Area, which is part of the larger Clovis-Portales Combined Statistical Area, including Clovis, 19 miles (31 km) away and Cannon Air Force Base, 13 miles (21 km) away.
The city's downtown area is centered around a traditional-style town square, based upon Spanish urban design. The center of the town square includes the 1930s WPA-style Roosevelt County Courthouse, including original architectural details from the era, as well as the adjacent 1930s post office. The Courthouse Square is ringed with retail shops. The Yam Theater, a historic theater located in the downtown area, has recently been renovated. Eastern New Mexico University (ENMU) forms a sizable district with its campus and surrounding residential stock catering largely to students. Arts and cultural offerings emanate from ENMU, the third-largest state university in New Mexico. Portales ranks in the top 20% of US cities for racial diversity, percentage of college-educated adults, and percentage of people who walk or bike to work. The city rates in the top 10% of US cities for a short commute, rent affordability, and low taxes.
Cost Of Truck Driving School Portales NM
Picking the right truck driver school is an important first step to starting your new profession as a long distance or local truck driver. The skills that you will learn at school will be those that forge a new career behind the wheel. There are many options offered and understanding them is crucial to a new driver’s success. You originally came to our website because of your interest in Cost Of Truck Driving School. But first and foremost, you must receive the proper training in order to operate a big commercial vehicle in a safe and professional manner. If you are lacking money or financing, you might want to look into a captive school. You will pay a reduced or in some cases no tuition by agreeing to drive for their contracted carrier. Or you can enroll in an independent truck driver school and have the option of driving for the trucking firm of your choosing, or one of many affiliated with the school. It’s your decision. But no matter how you receive your training, you will soon be entering an industry that helps our country move as a professional truck driver in Portales NM.
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