How to Decide on the Right Truck Driving School near Wellington Missouri
Congrats on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a truck driving school near Wellington MO. Perhaps it has always been your ambition to hit the open highway while driving a big ole tractor trailer. Or maybe you have done some research and have discovered that a career as a truck driver provides excellent pay and flexible work prospects. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s essential to obtain the proper training by choosing the right CDL school in your area. When evaluating your options, there are various variables that you’ll want to think about before making your final choice. Location will certainly be important, particularly if you need to commute from your Wellington home. The expense will also be of importance, but choosing a school based solely on price is not the optimal way to ensure you’ll obtain the proper training. Don’t forget, 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 purpose in mind, just how do you select a truck driving school? That is what we are going to cover in the balance of this article. But first, we are going to talk a little bit about which CDL license you will ultimately need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Should You Get?
In order to drive commercial vehicles lawfully within the USA and Wellington MO, a driver needs to get 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 driver school, we will discuss Class A and Class B licenses. What differentiates 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 brief explanations for the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License is required to drive any vehicle that has a GCWR of more than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of more than 10,000 lbs. Several 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 needed to operate single vehicles having a GVWR of more 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 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 Commercial Drivers Licenses might also need endorsements to drive certain kinds of vehicles, for example passenger or school buses. And a Class A licensee, with the appropriate needed endorsements, may operate any vehicle that a Class B licensee is qualified to drive.
How to Evaluate a Trucking School
As soon as you have decided which Commercial Drivers License you wish to pursue, you can begin the undertaking of evaluating the Wellington MO truck driving schools that you are considering. As already mentioned, location and cost will undoubtedly be your primary concerns. But it can’t be stressed enough that they must not be your sole considerations. Other variables, including the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are equally or even more important. So following are a few more points that you should research while carrying out your due diligence before selecting, and especially paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Very few trucking schools in the Wellington MO area are accredited due to the stringent 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 obligated to become certified, but there are a number of advantages. Prospective students recognize that the training will be of the highest caliber, and that they will receive an ample amount of driving time. As an example, PTDI calls for 44 hours of real 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 curriculum and training will fulfill the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One clue to help assess the quality of a truck driver school is how long it has been in business. A poorly reviewed or a fly by night school usually will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. Having said that, even the best of Wellington MO schools had to begin from their first day of training, so consider it as one of multiple qualifications. You can also learn what the school’s track record is concerning successful licensing and job placement of its graduates. If a school won’t provide those stats, look elsewhere. The schools should additionally have relationships with local and national trucking companies. Having a large number of contacts not only points to a quality reputation within the industry, but also boosts their job placement program for graduates. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to check with the Missouri licensing department to confirm that the CDL trucking schools you are considering are in good standing.
How Effective is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools must be licensed in Missouri and hire instructors that are trained and experienced. We will discuss more about the instructors in the next section. Also, the student to instructor proportion should be no higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be receiving the personal attention they will need. This is especially true regarding the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And watch out for any school that professes it can teach you to drive trucks in a comparatively short period of time. Training to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer professionally takes time. The majority of Wellington MO schools provide training programs that run 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 essential that the instructors are trained to teach driving methods and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Although several states have minimum driving time prerequisites to qualify as an instructor, the more professional driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also crucial that the instructors keep current with industry advancements or any new laws or changes in regulations. Evaluating teachers may be a bit more intuitive than other criteria, and possibly the ideal method is to visit the school and talk to the instructors in person. You can also speak with some of the students completing the training and ask if they are satisfied with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
How Much Driving Time? Most importantly, a great truck driver school will provide ample driving time to its students. Besides, isn’t that what it’s all about? Driving time is the actual time spent behind the wheel operating a truck. While the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are necessary training methods, they are no alternative for actual driving. The more training that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will become. And even though driving time differs among schools, a good standard is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide no less than 44 hours of driving time. Contact the Wellington MO schools you are considering and find out how much driving time they provide.
Are they Captive or Independent ? You can get discounted or even free training from certain truck driver schools if you make a commitment to drive for a specified 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 rather than maintaining relationships with numerous trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only work with one company. The benefit is receiving free or less expensive training by surrendering the freedom to initially work wherever you choose. Clearly contract training has the potential to restrict your income prospects when starting out. But for many it may be the best way to get affordable training. Just be sure to find out if the Wellington MO schools you are contemplating are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Is there Onsite CDL Testing? There are some states that will allow third party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its grads. If onsite testing is available in Missouri, ask if the schools you are considering are DMV certified to provide it. One benefit is that it is more convenient than battling with graduates of other schools for test times at Missouri testing locations. It is moreover an indication that the DMV regards the authorized schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Classes Convenient? As earlier noted, CDL training is only about one to two months long. With such a short duration, it’s essential that the Wellington MO school you enroll in offers flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. For example, if you’re having difficulty learning a certain driving maneuver, then the instructor should be willing to spend more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still working while attending training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other commitments.
Is Job Placement Offered? As soon as you have received your commercial driver’s license after graduating from trucking school, you will be impatient to begin your new career. Make sure that the schools you are reviewing have job assistance programs. Ask what their job placement ratio is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, find out which local and national trucking companies their graduates are referred to for employment. If a school has a lower job placement rate or not many Wellington MO employers recruiting their grads, it may be a sign to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Trucking schools are much like colleges and other Wellington MO area vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being offered. Ask if the schools you are assessing have a financial assistance department, or at least someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that need to be submitted.
Thinking of a Truck Drivier School near Wellington MO?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Wellington Missouri area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
In November 2013, Leland Ray Kolkmeyer pled guilty, in federal court, of a fraud scheme in which he embezzled more than $1.5 million from Wellington-Napoleon Fire Protection District and Special Road District while being their former treasurer.
Wellington is located at 39°08′00″N 93°59′06″W / 39.133360°N 93.985049°W / 39.133360; -93.985049. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 1.13 square miles (2.93 km2), of which 1.09 square miles (2.82 km2) is land and 0.04 square miles (0.10 km2) is water.
Wellington lies just a few miles east of Napoleon, Missouri, the two towns having been named after the commanders at the Battle of Waterloo. Approximately halfway between the two towns lies a small, unincorporated crossroads called "Waterloo".
How To Get Your CDL License Wellington MO
Selecting the ideal trucking school is an important first step to beginning your new vocation as a local or long distance truck driver. The skills that you will learn at school will be those that forge a new career behind the wheel. There are a number of options offered and understanding them is vital to a new driver’s success. You originally came to our website because of your interest in How To Get Your CDL License. But first and foremost, you must obtain the appropriate training in order to drive a big commercial vehicle in a professional and safe manner. If you are lacking funds or financing, you might need to think about 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 driving school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking firm of your choosing, or one of several affiliated with the school. It’s your decision. But no matter how you get your training, you will in the near future be joining a profession that helps our country move as a professional truck driver in Wellington MO.
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