How to Choose the Right Trucker School near Valley City North Dakota
Congrats on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a truck driving school near Valley City ND. Perhaps it has always been your fantasy to hit the open road while operating a huge tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have done some research and have discovered that a career as a truck driver provides excellent income and flexible job opportunities. Whatever your reason is, it’s essential to obtain the proper training by picking the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are various variables that you’ll need to consider prior to making your ultimate choice. Location will undoubtedly be an issue, particularly if you need to commute from your Valley City home. The cost will also be of importance, but selecting a school based exclusively on price is not the ideal way to guarantee you’ll get the right education. Don’t forget, your goal is to learn the skills and knowledge that will enable you to pass the CDL exams 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 rest of this article. But first, we are going to review a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will eventually need.
Which CDL Will You Require?
In order to drive commercial vehicles legally within the USA and Valley City ND, an operator must obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 classes of licenses that a person can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the subject of this article is how to pick a truck driver school, we will highlight 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). Following are short descriptions of the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License 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 CDL is required 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. 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 require endorsements to operate certain types of vehicles, for example school or passenger buses. And a Class A licensee, with the appropriate required endorsements, can drive any vehicle that a Class B license holder is qualified to operate.
How to Assess a CDL School
Once you have decided which CDL you wish to obtain, you can start the undertaking of assessing the Valley City ND truck driver schools that you are looking at. As previously mentioned, cost and location will certainly be your primary considerations. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they should not be your only considerations. Other issues, for example the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are equally if not more important. So below are a few more factors that you should research while carrying out your due diligence prior to selecting, and especially paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Not many truck driving schools in the Valley City ND area are accredited due to the demanding process and expense to the schools. However, certification is more prevalent and is provided by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not obligated to become certified, but there are certain advantages. Interested students recognize that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will get an ample amount 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 indicator to help assess the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in operation. A negatively ranked or a fly by night school normally will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the best of Valley City ND schools had to begin from their first day of training, so consider it as one of several qualifiers. You can also ask what the school’s history is pertaining to successful licensing and job placement of its graduates. If a school won’t supply those numbers, look elsewhere. The schools should also maintain relationships with regional and national trucking firms. Having a large number of contacts not only confirms a superior reputation within the industry, but also bolsters their job assistance program for graduates. It also wouldn’t hurt to get in touch with the North Dakota licensing department to confirm that the CDL trucker schools you are researching are in compliance.
How Effective is the Training? At a minimum, the schools should be licensed in North Dakota and employ teachers that are trained and experienced. We will discuss more about the teachers in the following section. In addition, the student to instructor proportion should be no greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be receiving the individual attention 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 professes it can train you to drive trucks in a relatively short period of time. Training to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully requires time. Most Valley City ND schools offer training programs that range from three weeks to as long as 2 months, based on the class of license or kind of vehicle.
How Good are the Trainers? As previously stated, it’s essential that the instructors are trained to teach driving techniques and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Although a number of states have minimum driving time criteria to qualify as an instructor, the more professional driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also vital that the teachers keep up to date with industry developments or any new laws or changes in regulations. Assessing teachers might be a bit more intuitive than other criteria, and possibly the ideal approach is to check out the school and talk to the instructors in person. You can also talk to a few of the students completing the training and find out if they are satisfied with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
Adequate Driving Time? Above all else, a great truck driving 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 driving a truck. Although the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are important training tools, they are no alternative for actual driving. The more instruction that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will be. Although driving time can vary among schools, a good standard is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Check with the Valley City ND schools you are researching and ask how much driving time they provide.
Are they Independent or Captive ? You can receive free or discounted training from a number of truck driving schools if you make a commitment to be a driver for a specified 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 relationships with numerous 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 flexibility to initially work wherever you have an opportunity. Obviously contract training has the potential to limit your income opportunities when beginning your new career. But for many it may be the ideal way to receive affordable training. Just make sure to ask if the Valley City ND schools you are contemplating are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Offer Onsite CDL Testing? There are some states that will permit third party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its grads. If onsite testing is permitted in North Dakota, ask if the schools you are looking at are DMV certified to offer it. One benefit is that it is more convenient than battling with graduates from competing schools for test times at North Dakota testing facilities. It is moreover an indication that the DMV views the authorized schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Class Times Accessible? As formerly mentioned, truck driving training is just one to two months in length. With such a short duration, it’s important that the Valley City ND school you enroll in provides 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 instructor should be willing to dedicate more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still working while attending training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other responsibilities.
Is Job Assistance Provided? The moment you have attained your CDL license after graduating from trucking school, you will be keen to start your new profession. Verify that the schools you are looking at have job assistance programs. Find out what their job placement rate is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, find out which national and local trucking firms their graduates are referred to for employment. If a school has a low job placement rate or few Valley City ND employers recruiting their grads, it might be a clue to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Given? Trucking schools are much like colleges and other Valley City ND area trade or technical schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being available. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have a financial assistance department, or at a minimum someone who can help you understand the options and forms that need to be submitted.
Thinking of a Truck Drivier School near Valley City ND?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Valley City North Dakota area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Valley City, North Dakota
Valley City is a city in Barnes County, North Dakota, United States. It is the county seat of Barnes County. The population was 6,585 during the 2010 census, making it the thirteenth largest city in North Dakota. Valley City was founded in 1874.
The city is known for its many bridges over the Sheyenne River including the Hi-Line Railroad Bridge. These bridges have earned it the distinction of being called the "City of Bridges". The city is also the home of Valley City State University and the home for the North Dakota High School Activities Association (NDHSAA).
Valley City was originally called Worthington, and under the latter name was laid out in 1874 when the railroad was extended to that point. The present name is for the city's location in the valley of the Sheyenne River. A post office was established under the name Worthington in 1874, and has continued to operate under the name Valley City since 1878. A Carnegie Library opened in 1903, through the efforts of the "Tuesday Club," a local women's organization. The inception of the nation's first barber association occurred in Valley City during a state barber convention in February, 1909.
CDL Driving School Near Me Valley City ND
Picking the right truck driver school is an essential first step to beginning your new occupation as a long distance or local truck driver. The skills that you will learn at school will be those that mold a new career behind the wheel. There are many options offered and understanding them is critical if you are going to succeed as an operator. You originally came to our website because of your interest in CDL Driving School Near Me. However, you must receive the necessary training in order to operate a big commercial vehicle in a professional and safe manner. If you are short on cash or financing, you might 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 CDL school and have the option of driving for the trucking firm of your choice, or one of many associated with the school. It’s your decision. But no matter how you receive your training, you will soon be entering a profession that helps our country move as a professional truck driver in Valley City ND.
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