How to Choose the Right Trucking School near Kealakekua Hawaii
Congrats on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a trucking school near Kealakekua HI. Maybe it has always been your dream to hit the open road while operating a big ole tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have conducted some research and have discovered that an occupation as a truck driver offers excellent pay and flexible job prospects. Whatever your reason is, it’s essential to obtain the appropriate training by selecting the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are various factors that you’ll need to think about before making your ultimate selection. Location will undoubtedly be important, especially if you need to commute from your Kealakekua home. The expense will also be of importance, but picking a school based entirely on price is not the ideal method to guarantee you’ll receive the proper training. Just remember, your goal is to learn the knowledge and skills that will enable you to pass the CDL examinations and become a professional 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 cover 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 CDL Will You Require?
To drive commercial vehicles legally within the USA and Kealakekua HI, an operator must attain 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 choose a truck driving school, we will address Class A and Class B licenses. What distinguishes 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 summaries of the 2 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 more 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 needed 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. 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 CDLs might also need endorsements to operate certain types of vehicles, including passenger or school buses. And a Class A licensee, with the proper needed endorsements, can operate any vehicle that a Class B license holder is qualified to drive.
How to Evaluate a Trucking School
After you have determined which Commercial Drivers License you wish to pursue, you can begin the process of researching the Kealakekua HI truck driving schools that you are considering. As earlier discussed, cost and location will certainly be your initial concerns. But it can’t be stressed enough that they should not be your only considerations. Other issues, including the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are similarly if not more important. So below are a few more factors that you should research while performing your due diligence prior to choosing, and particularly paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Not many trucking schools in the Kealakekua HI area are accredited because of the rigorous process and expense to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more typical and is offered by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not obligated to become certified, but there are several advantages. Prospective students recognize that the training will be of the highest standard, and that they will receive plenty of driving time. As an example, PTDI requires 44 hours of real 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 curriculum and training will measure up to the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One clue to help assess the quality of a trucking school is how long it has been in operation. A negatively ranked or a fly by night school usually will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the best of Kealakekua HI schools had to begin from their first day of training, so consider it as one of several qualifications. You can also learn what the school’s history is pertaining to successful licensing and job placement of its graduating students. If a school won’t share those stats, look elsewhere. The schools should additionally have relationships with regional and national trucking companies. Having a large number of contacts not only confirms a quality reputation within the trade, but also boosts their job assistance program for graduates. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to get in touch with the Hawaii licensing authority to make sure that the CDL trucking schools you are reviewing are in compliance.
How Effective is the Training? At a minimum, the schools must be licensed in Hawaii and hire instructors that are experienced and trained. We will talk more about the teachers in the next segment. Also, the student to instructor ratio should be no greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be receiving the individual instruction they will need. This is particularly true regarding the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And watch out for any school that professes it can train you to drive trucks in a relatively short time period. Training to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully takes time. Most Kealakekua HI schools provide training courses that range from 3 weeks to as long as two months, depending on the class of license or type of vehicle.
How Good are the Trainers? As earlier mentioned, it’s imperative that the teachers are qualified to teach driving methods and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Although several states have minimum driving time prerequisites 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 laws or changes in regulations. Assessing instructors might be a little more subjective than other standards, and possibly the ideal approach is to visit the school and speak with the instructors face to face. You can also speak with some of the students completing the training and find out if they are satisfied with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Plenty of Driving Time? Most importantly, an excellent trucking 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. While the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are important training methods, they are no alternative for real driving. The more instruction that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will become. Although driving time fluctuates between schools, a good benchmark is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Get in touch with the Kealakekua HI schools you are considering and ask how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Independent or Captive ? It’s possible to get free or discounted training from a number of truck driving schools if you enter into an agreement to be a driver for a specific carrier for a defined time period. This is referred to as contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So rather than having affiliations with many different trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only work with one company. The tradeoff is receiving free or less expensive training by surrendering the freedom to initially work wherever you have an opportunity. Clearly contract training has the potential to reduce your income prospects when starting out. But for some it may be the only way to receive affordable training. Just be sure to ask if the Kealakekua HI schools you are contemplating are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Provide Onsite CDL Testing? There are some states that will allow third party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is permitted in Hawaii, find out if the schools you are looking at are DMV certified to offer it. One benefit is that it is more accommodating than battling with graduates of other schools for test times at Hawaii testing locations. It is also an indicator that the DMV believes the authorized schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Class Times Convenient? As formerly noted, truck driving training is only about 1 to 2 months in length. With such a brief term, it’s imperative that the Kealakekua HI school you enroll in provides flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. As an example, if you’re having a hard time learning a particular driving maneuver, then the teacher should be prepared to spend more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still working while going to training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other obligations.
Is Job Assistance Offered? The moment you have attained your commercial driver’s license after graduating from trucking school, you will be anxious to begin your new profession. Verify that the schools you are contemplating have job assistance programs. Ask what their job placement ratio is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, find out which local and national trucking companies their graduates are placed with for hiring. If a school has a lower job placement rate or not many Kealakekua HI employers hiring their grads, it may be a sign to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Available? Truck driver schools are similar to colleges and other Kealakekua HI 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 assessing have a financial assistance department, or at a minimum someone who can help you get through the options and forms that must be submitted.
Thinking of a Truck Drivier School near Kealakekua HI?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Kealakekua Hawaii area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Kealakekua is located on the west side of the island of Hawaii at 19°31′35″N 155°55′22″W / 19.52639°N 155.92278°W / 19.52639; -155.92278 (19.526436, -155.922891). It is bordered to the north by Honalo and to the south by Captain Cook. Hawaii Route 11 is the main road through the community, leading north 10 miles (16 km) to Kailua-Kona and south 49 miles (79 km) to Naalehu.
As of the census of 2000, there were 1,645 people, 639 households, and 423 families residing in the CDP. The population density was 218.1 people per square mile (84.2/km²). There were 692 housing units at an average density of 91.7 per square mile (35.4/km²). The racial makeup of the CDP was 24.74% White, 0.73% African American, 0.67% Native American, 36.84% Asian, 7.23% Pacific Islander, 2.07% from other races, and 27.72% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 9.18% of the population.
There were 639 households out of which 25.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 49.0% were married couples living together, 12.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 33.8% were non-families. 26.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.57 and the average family size was 3.10.
Trucking Driving Schools Kealakekua HI
Selecting the right truck driving school is an essential first step to beginning your new profession as a local or long distance 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 critical to a new driver’s success. You originally came to our website because of your interest in Trucking Driving Schools. But first and foremost, you must get the necessary training in order to operate a big commercial vehicle in a safe and professional manner. If you are lacking money or financing, you may need to consider 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 driver school and have the option of driving for the trucking company of your choosing, or one of many affiliated with the school. It’s your choice. But regardless of how you obtain your training, you will soon be entering an industry that helps America move as a professional truck driver in Kealakekua HI.
Keep On Trucking in These Other Hawaii Locations