How to Enroll in the Right CDL Training School near Woodward Iowa
Congratulations on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a truck driving school near Woodward IA. Perhaps it has always been your goal to hit the open highway while driving a big ole tractor trailer. Or possibly you have done some research and have discovered that an occupation as a truck driver provides excellent wages and flexible work prospects. Whatever your reason is, it’s important to receive the proper training by choosing the right CDL school in your area. When evaluating your options, there are several factors that you’ll need to examine before making your final selection. Location will certainly be an issue, especially if you need to commute from your Woodward home. The expense will also be important, but selecting a school based entirely on price is not the best way to make sure you’ll receive the appropriate education. Don’t forget, your goal is to learn the skills and knowledge that will allow you to pass the CDL examinations and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that target in mind, just how do you pick 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 talk a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will ultimately need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Should You Get?
To operate commercial vehicles lawfully within the United States and Woodward IA, an operator needs to obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three classes of licenses that one can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the subject of this article is how to select a truck driving school, we will discuss 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). Following are brief descriptions of the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License is required to operate any vehicle that has a GCWR of greater than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of greater than 10,000 lbs. A few 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 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. 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 Commercial Drivers Licenses may also require endorsements to operate specific kinds of vehicles, for instance passenger or school buses. And a Class A licensee, with the proper required endorsements, may drive any vehicle that a Class B licensee is authorized to operate.
How to Assess a Trucking School
Once you have decided which Commercial Drivers License you wish to obtain, you can begin the undertaking of assessing the Woodward IA truck driving schools that you are considering. As earlier discussed, location and cost will certainly be your initial concerns. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they should not be your sole concerns. Other issues, for example the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are equally if not more important. So below are several more factors that you should research while conducting your due diligence prior to selecting, and particularly paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Not many truck driver schools in the Woodward IA area are accredited because of the rigorous process and cost to the schools. However, certification is more common and is provided by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not required to become certified, but there are several advantages. Potential students know that the training will be of the highest standard, and that they will be given lots of driving time. As an example, PTDI mandates 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 curriculum and training will measure up to the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One clue to help determine the quality of a trucking school is how long it has been in operation. A poorly rated or a fly by night school typically will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the top Woodward IA schools had to start from their opening day of training, so use it as one of several qualifiers. You can also find out what the school’s history is concerning successful licensing and employment of its graduating students. If a school won’t supply those stats, search elsewhere. The schools should additionally have relationships with regional and national trucking companies. Having numerous contacts not only affirms an excellent reputation within the industry, but also boosts their job assistance program for students. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to get in touch with the Iowa licensing authority to make sure that the CDL trucker schools you are researching are in good standing.
How Effective is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools should be licensed in Iowa and hire teachers that are trained and experienced. We will discuss more about the instructors in the following 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 obtaining the personalized instruction 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 teach you to drive trucks in a comparatively short time frame. Training to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer professionally requires time. The majority of Woodward IA schools provide training courses that run from 3 weeks to as long as 2 months, based on the license class or type of vehicle.
How Good are the Trainers? As already mentioned, it’s essential that the teachers are trained to teach driving techniques and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Even though a number of states have minimum driving time criteria to qualify as an instructor, the more professional driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also important that the teachers keep current with industry advancements or any new laws or changes in regulations. Evaluating instructors might be a bit more subjective than other criteria, and possibly the best approach is to pay a visit to the school and speak with the teachers 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.
How Much Driving Time? Most importantly, a great trucking school will furnish ample 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. While the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are necessary training tools, they are no substitute for real driving. The more training that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will be. And even though driving time differs among schools, a reasonable standard is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Get in touch with the Woodward IA schools you are looking at and find out how much driving time they provide.
Are they Captive or Independent ? You can obtain discounted or even free training from certain truck driver schools if you make a commitment to be a driver for a specified carrier for a defined time period. This is called contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So instead of maintaining relationships with numerous trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only refer to one company. The tradeoff is receiving free or less expensive training by giving up the freedom to initially be a driver wherever you have an opportunity. Obviously contract training has the potential to limit your income prospects when starting out. But for many it may be the ideal way to obtain affordable training. Just be sure to ask if the Woodward IA schools you are contemplating are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Offer Onsite CDL Testing? There are several states that will allow third party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its students. If onsite testing is available in Iowa, ask if the schools you are looking at are DMV certified to provide it. One benefit is that it is more convenient than competing with graduates of other schools for test times at Iowa testing centers. It is also an indicator that the DMV considers the approved schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Class Times Accessible? As previously noted, CDL training is just one to two months long. With such a brief duration, it’s important that the Woodward IA school you choose offers 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 willing to commit 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 accommodate working hours or other responsibilities.
Is Job Assistance Provided? The moment you have acquired your CDL license after graduating from trucking school, you will be anxious to start your new profession. Verify that the schools you are contemplating have job placement programs. Ask what their job placement percentage is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, ask which local and national trucking firms their graduates are referred to for hiring. If a school has a poor job placement rate or few Woodward IA employers recruiting their grads, it may be a sign to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Truck driver schools are much like colleges and other Woodward IA area vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being offered. Find out if the schools you are evaluating have a financial assistance department, or at a minimum someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that need to be submitted.
Thinking of a Truck Drivier School near Woodward IA?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Woodward Iowa area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Woodward is a city in Dallas County, Iowa, United States. The population was 1,024 at the 2010 census. It is part of the Des Moines–West Des Moines Metropolitan Statistical Area. Woodward is also home to the Woodward-Granger Community School District's middle school and high school, the elementary school being located in Granger.
"The town of Woodward was born when the Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul Railway Co rconstructed its lines through the community the depot was constructed. The original name for the town was decided upon as Colton, another town had already adopted the name so the name was changed to Woodward. The City was incorporated in August 1883. The first Council meeting was on December 18, 1883 called to order by Mayor W.S. Craft."
An F-2 tornado struck Woodward, the city of Ames, and several other small Iowan communities on November 12, 2005, devastating many homes in the southeast and east parts of town. There were no casualties in Woodward, although there was one in Stratford. Discovery Channel's series Destroyed In Seconds showed the natural disaster in one of its episodes. During the first season of Dirty Jobs they visited a pig farmer from Woodward in the episode.
Training For CDL License Woodward IA
Selecting the right truck driver school is a critical 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 available and understanding them is crucial to a new driver’s success. You originally came to our website because of your interest in Training For CDL License. But first and foremost, you must get the necessary training in order to drive a big commercial vehicle in a professional and safe manner. If you are lacking cash or financing, you may want to look into a captive school. You will pay a lower or even no tuition in exchange for driving for their contracted carrier. Or you can choose an independent trucker school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking company of your choice, or one of several affiliated with the school. It’s your choice. But regardless of how you obtain your training, you will soon be joining a profession that helps America move as a professional truck driver in Woodward IA.
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