How to Enroll in the Right Trucker School near Richmond Kentucky
Congratulations on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a trucking school near Richmond KY. Maybe it has always been your fantasy to hit the open road while operating a big ole tractor trailer. Or possibly you have conducted some research and have discovered that an occupation as a truck driver offers good pay and flexible work prospects. No matter what your reason is, it’s important to obtain the appropriate training by enrolling in the right CDL school in your area. When evaluating your options, there are various factors that you’ll need to consider prior to making your ultimate selection. Location will certainly be an issue, especially if you have to commute from your Richmond residence. The cost will also be of importance, but picking a school based only on price is not the optimal method to guarantee you’ll get the proper training. Just remember, your goal is to learn the skills and knowledge that will enable you to pass the CDL examinations and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that purpose in mind, just how do you decide on a truck driving school? That is what we are going to discuss in the remainder of this article. But first, we are going to discuss a little bit about which CDL license you will ultimately need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Will You Need?
In order to drive commercial vehicles legally within the United States and Richmond KY, a driver must attain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three classes of licenses that a driver can qualify 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 focus on Class A and B licenses. What differentiates each class of CDL is the type of vehicle that the driver can operate together with the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Following are short explanations for the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License is needed 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 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 operate single vehicles having a GVWR of more than 26,000 lbs., or a GCWR of more 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 may also require endorsements to drive certain kinds of vehicles, for example passenger or school buses. And a Class A licensee, with the appropriate needed endorsements, may drive any vehicle that a Class B licensee is authorized to drive.
How to Assess a CDL School
After you have decided which Commercial Drivers License you would like to pursue, you can start the process of researching the Richmond KY truck driving schools that you are looking at. As earlier mentioned, location and cost will certainly be your initial concerns. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they must not be your sole considerations. Other issues, for example the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are similarly if not more important. So following are some more factors that you should research while conducting your due diligence before enrolling in, and particularly paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Very few trucking schools in the Richmond KY area are accredited because of the stringent process and cost to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more prevalent 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. Interested students recognize that the training will be of the highest caliber, and that they will receive lots of driving time. For example, PTDI calls for 44 hours of actual driving time, not ride-alongs or simulations. 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 standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One indicator to help evaluate the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in business. A negatively rated or a fly by night school normally will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the best of Richmond KY 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 employment of its graduating students. If a school won’t share those numbers, look elsewhere. The schools should additionally maintain associations with local and national trucking firms. Having a large number of contacts not only confirms a quality reputation within the industry, but also bolsters their job assistance program for graduates. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to contact the Kentucky licensing department to make sure that the CDL trucking schools you are reviewing are in good standing.
How Effective is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools should be licensed in Kentucky and employ instructors that are trained and experienced. We will talk more about the instructors in the next section. Also, the student to instructor proportion should not be greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be obtaining the personal attention they will need. This is particularly true regarding the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And look out for any school that insists it can train you to be a truck driver in a relatively short time frame. Training to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer professionally takes time. The majority of Richmond KY schools offer training programs that range from three weeks to as long as 2 months, depending on the license class or type of vehicle.
How Good are the Trainers? As previously stated, it’s essential that the teachers are qualified to teach driving techniques and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Although a number of states have minimum driving time criteria to be certified as a teacher, the more professional driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also crucial that the teachers stay current with industry developments or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Assessing teachers might be a bit more subjective than other criteria, and possibly the ideal approach is to visit the school and speak with the instructors face to face. You can also speak with a few of the students completing the training and ask if they are happy with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
How Much Driving Time? Above all else, an excellent trucking school will furnish plenty of 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 operating a truck. While the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are important training tools, they are no replacement 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 varies among schools, a reasonable standard is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Get in touch with the Richmond KY schools you are looking at and find out how much driving time they provide.
Are they Independent or Captive ? You can obtain discounted or even free training from a number of truck driver schools if you enter into an agreement to be a driver for a particular carrier for a defined period of time. This is what’s known as contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So instead of 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 giving up the flexibility to initially work wherever you have an opportunity. Naturally contract training has the potential to limit your income opportunities when beginning your new career. But for some it may be the best way to receive affordable training. Just be sure to find out if the Richmond KY schools you are considering are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Offer Onsite CDL Testing? There are a number of states that will allow 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driver schools for its students. If onsite testing is allowed in Kentucky, ask if the schools you are looking at are DMV certified to offer it. One benefit is that it is more convenient than competing with graduates of other schools for test times at Kentucky testing locations. It is also an indicator that the DMV deems the authorized schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Class Times Convenient? As previously mentioned, CDL training is just one to two months in length. With such a short term, it’s imperative that the Richmond KY school you enroll in offers 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 commit more time with you until you are proficient. 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 Placement Provided? Once you have obtained your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be keen to start your new profession. Verify that the schools you are considering have job assistance programs. Find out what their job placement percentage 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 Richmond KY employers hiring their grads, it may be a sign to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Truck driver schools are comparable to colleges and other Richmond KY area vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being available. Ask if the schools you are assessing have a financial aid department, or at least someone who can help you get through the options and forms that must be completed.
Thinking of a Truck Drivier School near Richmond KY?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Richmond Kentucky area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Richmond is a home rule-class city in and the county seat of Madison County, Kentucky, United States. It is named after Richmond, Virginia, and is the home of Eastern Kentucky University. The population was 33,533 in 2015. Richmond is the third-largest city in the Bluegrass region (after Louisville and Lexington) and the state's sixth-largest city. Richmond serves as the center for work and shopping for south-central Kentucky. Richmond is the principal city of the Richmond–Berea Micropolitan Statistical Area, which includes all of Madison and Rockcastle counties.
The City of Richmond was founded in 1798 by Colonel John Miller from Virginia, a British American who had served with the rebels in the Revolutionary War. According to tradition, Miller was attracted to the area by the good spring water and friendly Native Americans. That year, the Kentucky legislature approved moving the county seat from Milford to land owned by Colonel Miller. The residents of Milford adamantly opposed the move, which led to a fist fight between Dave Kennedy (representing Milford) and William Kearly (representing Richmond). The county approved the move in March 1798. On July 4, 1798, the new town was named Richmond in honor of Miller's Virginia birthplace. Richmond was incorporated in 1809.
Kentucky was a border state during the Civil War and stayed in the Union. On August 30, 1862, during the Civil War, the Union and Confederate Armies clashed in the Battle of Richmond. Troops under Confederate General Edmund Kirby Smith routed the soldiers of Union General William Nelson. Out of Nelson's 6,500 men, only 1,200 escaped; the rest were all captured. One historian called this battle "the nearest thing to a Cannae ever scored by any general, North or South, in the course of the whole war." [page needed]
Tractor Trailer School Richmond KY
Choosing the appropriate trucking school is an essential first step to beginning your new profession as a local or long distance truck driver. The skill sets taught at school will be those that forge a new career behind the wheel. There are many options offered and understanding them is vital if you are going to succeed as an operator. You originally came to our website because of your interest in Tractor Trailer School. But first and foremost, you must get the appropriate training in order to drive a big commercial vehicle in a professional and safe fashion. If you are short on funds or financing, you may 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 choose an independent truck driving school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking firm of your choosing, or one of many associated with the school. It’s your choice. But no matter how you obtain your training, you will in the near future be joining a profession that helps America move as a professional trucker in Richmond KY.
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