How to Decide on the Right Trucker School near Montezuma New Mexico
Congratulations on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a trucking school near Montezuma NM. Maybe it has always been your dream to hit the open road while operating a huge tractor trailer. Or possibly you have done some analysis and have discovered that a career as a truck driver provides excellent pay and flexible job opportunities. Whatever your reason is, it’s important to get the appropriate training by picking the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are several factors that you’ll need to consider before making your ultimate selection. Location will no doubt be an issue, particularly if you need to commute from your Montezuma home. The cost will also be of importance, but selecting a school based solely on price is not the best means to guarantee you’ll obtain the proper training. Just remember, your goal is to master the knowledge and skills that will allow you to pass the CDL examinations and become a professional 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 address in the remainder of this article. But first, we are going to discuss a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will ultimately need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Will You Require?
To drive commercial vehicles legally within the USA and Montezuma NM, a driver must attain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three classes of licenses that one can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the topic of this article is how to select a truck driver school, we will focus on 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). Following are brief descriptions for the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL 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 CDL is needed to drive single vehicles having a GVWR of greater than 26,000 lbs., or a GCWR of more than 26,000 lbs. including a towed vehicle weighing up to 10,000 lbs. A few 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 may also require endorsements to drive specific types of vehicles, for instance passenger or school buses. And a Class A licensee, with the appropriate needed endorsements, may drive any vehicle that a Class B license holder is qualified to drive.
How to Evaluate a CDL School
When you have decided which Commercial Drivers License you would like to obtain, you can start the undertaking of evaluating the Montezuma NM trucking schools that you are considering. As already 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, such as the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are similarly or even more important. So following are several more points that you need to research while carrying out your due diligence before enrolling in, and especially paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Not many trucking schools in the Montezuma NM area are accredited because of the stringent process and cost to the schools. On the other hand, 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 certain advantages. Interested students recognize that the training will be of the highest caliber, and that they will get plenty of driving time. For example, PTDI requires 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 satisfy the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One clue to help determine the quality of a truck driver school is how long it has been in operation. A negatively reviewed or a fly by night school normally will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the best of Montezuma NM schools had to start from their first day of training, so consider it as one of several qualifiers. You can also find out what the school’s track record is concerning successful licensing and employment of its graduating students. If a school won’t share those stats, search elsewhere. The schools should additionally maintain associations with local and national trucking firms. Having a large number of contacts not only points to a superior reputation within the profession, but also bolsters their job assistance program for graduates. It also wouldn’t hurt to check with the New Mexico licensing department to make sure that the CDL trucker schools you are considering are in good standing.
How Good is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools should be licensed in New Mexico and employ teachers that are experienced and trained. We will cover more about the instructors in the following section. In addition, the student to instructor ratio should not be greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be receiving the personal instruction 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 claims it can train you to be a truck driver in a comparatively short period of time. Training to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer professionally requires time. Most Montezuma NM schools provide training programs that run from three weeks to as long as two months, based on the class of license or kind of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Teachers? As earlier stated, it’s important that the instructors are trained to teach driving techniques and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Even though several states have minimum driving time prerequisites to qualify as a teacher, the more professional driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also important that the teachers stay up to date with industry advancements or any new laws or changes in regulations. Evaluating instructors may be a bit more intuitive than other criteria, and possibly the ideal approach is to pay a visit to 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 level of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
Enough Driving Time? Most importantly, a great truck driver school will provide ample driving time to its students. After all, isn’t that what it’s all about? Driving time is the actual time spent behind the wheel driving a truck. Although the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are necessary training tools, they are no alternative for actual driving. The more training that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will be. And even though driving time fluctuates between schools, a good benchmark is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish no less than 44 hours of driving time. Get in touch with the Montezuma NM schools you are considering and ask how much driving time they provide.
Are they Captive or Independent ? You can obtain free or discounted training from some trucking schools if you enter into an agreement to drive for a specific carrier for a defined amount of time. This is called contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So rather than maintaining affiliations with a wide range of trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only work with one company. The benefit 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 prospects when starting out. But for some it may be the ideal way to receive affordable training. Just make sure to inquire if the Montezuma NM schools you are contemplating are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Is there CDL Testing Onsite? There are several states that will permit 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is available in New Mexico, find out if the schools you are looking at are DMV certified to offer it. One benefit is that it is more accommodating than competing with graduates of other schools for test times at New Mexico testing locations. It is also an indication that the DMV regards the approved schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Class Times Accessible? As earlier mentioned, CDL training is just one to two months long. With such a brief duration, it’s imperative that the Montezuma NM school you choose provides flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. As an example, if you’re having a hard time 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 needs to be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other responsibilities.
Is Job Placement Offered? As soon as you have received your CDL license after graduating from trucking school, you will be eager to start your new career. Make sure that the schools you are contemplating have job assistance programs. Find out what their job placement ratio is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, ask which national and local trucking companies their graduates are referred to for employment. If a school has a low job placement rate or few Montezuma NM employers hiring their graduates, it might be a clue to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Given? Trucking schools are much like colleges and other Montezuma NM area trade or technical schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being available. Ask if the schools you are examining have a financial assistance department, or at least someone who can help you get through the options and forms that need to be completed.
Thinking of a Truck Drivier School near Montezuma NM?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Montezuma New Mexico area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Montezuma, New Mexico
Prehistorically, Native Americans valued the hot springs and regarded them therapeutically. According to The Montezuma (New Mexico) Story, the site was initially commercialized in 1840, when a man named McDonald petitioned the Mexican government for the land, and was granted it on the condition he became a Mexican citizen. He then set up a house by the hot springs and charged for admission to the springs. In 1846, after the territory of New Mexico was conquered by the U.S. Army and taken from Mexico, a military hospital was established near the hot springs. This was converted into a hotel in 1862, and replaced by a stone building in 1879. This was originally called the "Hot Springs Hotel" and is now called "the old stone hotel". Jesse James is among the visitors who stayed there. This building remains extant and is used as an administration building by the United World College- USA.
In 1881 and 1882, the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway built the first of three large hotels on the site, running a new small-gage railroad to the site and renaming the city "Montezuma". Their hotel burned down, as did a much grander stone replacement. The final replacement, constructed in 1886, remains, and has been designated a "national treasure."
The railway company published books about the community in 1898 and 1900; the 1900 text notes that "The Montezuma Hotel is a handsome four-story structure in the chateau style, built of grayish red sandstone and slate. It stands on the north side of the Gallinas where the cañon widens to a small amphitheater, about one hundred feet above the river bed, and commanding attractive views of the pine-clad slopes of the surrounding hills, and a splendid vista through the cañon mouth across the plains and mesas to the dark forest ridge, thirty miles away on the southwestern horizon. The floor of the amphitheater is occupied by a pretty lawn of several acres, with firm turf, primeval pines, seats, flower-beds, and tennis and croquet grounds, while the steep slope up to the hotel is tastily parked with winding drives and walks" Rates at the time were $2.50 to $4.00 by the day, and $52 – $80 by the month, with discounts available under various circumstances. The book particularly recommended the hotel for those suffering from tuberculosis. The 1898 book was even more forceful in its recommendations, calling it "the most desirable resort in the world for those who are afflicted with any form of lung or throat disease." The text goes on to suggest that Northern New Mexico would be palliative for all sick people except for those with "advanced stage" heart disease, who would suffer from the altitude. "Even imaginary ailments give way before forces so potent for good."
CDL Training Programs Montezuma NM
Choosing the ideal trucking school is an essential first step to beginning your new occupation as a local or long distance truck driver. The skills taught at school will be those that shape a new career behind the wheel. There are many options available and understanding them is vital to a new driver’s success. You originally came to our website because of your interest in CDL Training Programs. But first and foremost, you must get the necessary training in order to drive a large commercial vehicle in a safe and professional manner. If you are short on funds or financing, you may 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 company of your choosing, or one of many associated with the school. It’s your decision. But regardless of how you obtain your training, you will soon be entering a profession that helps America move as a professional truck driver in Montezuma NM.
Keep On Trucking in These Other New Mexico Locations