How to Choose the Right Truck Driving School near Weatherford Oklahoma
Congrats on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a trucking school near Weatherford OK. Perhaps it has always been your goal to hit the open road while operating a big ole tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have conducted some research and have discovered that a career as a truck driver offers excellent wages and flexible job opportunities. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s imperative to receive the proper training by choosing the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are certain factors that you’ll want to consider before making your ultimate choice. Location will certainly be an issue, especially if you need to commute from your Weatherford home. The expense will also be of importance, but picking a school based exclusively on price is not the ideal method to make sure you’ll get the proper training. Don’t forget, your goal is to master the knowledge and skills that will enable you to pass the CDL exams and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that target in mind, just how do you select 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 discuss a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will ultimately need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Will You Require?
In order to drive commercial vehicles lawfully within the United States and Weatherford OK, a driver needs to get a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 license classes that one can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the topic of this article is how to choose a truck driver school, we will focus on Class A and Class 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). Below are brief explanations for the two 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 more than 10,000 lbs. Some 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 needed to drive 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. 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 might also require endorsements to drive certain types of vehicles, including school or passenger buses. And a Class A license holder, with the appropriate required endorsements, may operate any vehicle that a Class B license holder is authorized to operate.
How to Assess a CDL School
Once you have determined which CDL you wish to pursue, you can start the undertaking of assessing the Weatherford OK trucking schools that you are looking at. As earlier mentioned, location and cost will undoubtedly be your primary concerns. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they should not be your sole concerns. Other factors, including the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are similarly if not more important. So following are a few more points that you should research while performing your due diligence before choosing, and particularly paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Not many truck driving schools in the Weatherford OK area are accredited because of the stringent process and expense to the schools. However, certification is more prevalent and is provided 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 be given an ample amount 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 training and curriculum will comply with the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One clue to help measure the quality of a truck driver school is how long it has been in business. A poorly rated or a fly by night school normally will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the best of Weatherford OK schools had to start from their first day of training, so use it as one of multiple qualifiers. You can also find out what the school’s track record is concerning successful licensing and employment of its graduates. If a school won’t provide those numbers, look elsewhere. The schools should also have associations with local and national trucking firms. Having a large number of contacts not only affirms an excellent reputation within the trade, but also boosts their job placement program for students. It also wouldn’t hurt to get in touch with the Oklahoma licensing authority to confirm that the CDL trucker schools you are reviewing are in compliance.
How Effective is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools should be licensed in Oklahoma and employ instructors that are trained and experienced. We will cover more about the teachers in the following section. Also, the student to instructor ratio should not be 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 claims it can teach you to drive trucks in a relatively short time frame. Learning to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer professionally takes time. The majority of Weatherford OK schools offer training courses that run from 3 weeks to as long as 2 months, based on the class of license or kind of vehicle.
How Good are the Trainers? As already mentioned, it’s important that the instructors are qualified to teach driving techniques and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Although several states have minimum driving time requirements to be certified as a teacher, the more successful driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also important that the teachers keep up to date with industry advancements or any new laws or changes in regulations. Evaluating teachers might be a bit more subjective than other criteria, and possibly the best method is to check out the school and speak with the instructors in person. 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.
How Much Driving Time? Most importantly, a great trucking school will furnish lots of driving time to its students. Besides, isn’t that what it’s all about? Driving time is the actual time spent behind the wheel driving 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 receives behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will be. Although driving time fluctuates among schools, a reasonable standard is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide at least 44 hours of driving time. Get in touch with the Weatherford OK schools you are considering and find out how much driving time they provide.
Are they Independent or Captive ? It’s possible to obtain discounted or even free training from some truck driving schools if you make a commitment to be a driver for a specified carrier for a defined amount of time. This is called contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So instead of maintaining affiliations with numerous trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only work with one company. The benefit is receiving less expensive or even free training by surrendering the flexibility to initially be a driver wherever you have an opportunity. Naturally contract training has the potential to restrict your income opportunities when starting out. But for some it may be the ideal way to get affordable training. Just be sure to ask if the Weatherford OK schools you are looking at are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Provide Onsite CDL Testing? There are some states that will permit 3rd party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is available in Oklahoma, find out if the schools you are looking at are DMV certified to provide it. One benefit is that it is more accommodating than battling with graduates from competing schools for test times at Oklahoma testing centers. It is moreover an indication that the DMV views the approved schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Class Times Accessible? As earlier noted, truck driver training is just one to two months long. With such a brief duration, it’s essential that the Weatherford OK school you select offers 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 willing to commit 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? The moment you have received your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be impatient to start your new profession. Verify that the schools you are looking at have job placement programs. Ask what their job placement rate is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, ask 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 Weatherford OK employers recruiting their graduates, it may be a sign to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Given? Trucking schools are much like colleges and other Weatherford OK area vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being available. Ask 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 completed.
Thinking of a Truck Drivier School near Weatherford OK?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Weatherford Oklahoma area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Weatherford is located at 35°32′18″N 98°41′14″W / 35.53833°N 98.68722°W / 35.53833; -98.68722 (35.5384097, -98.6872467). The elevation is 1,634 feet (498 m). According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 6.44 square miles (16.7 km2).
Situated on land made available to homesteaders as part of the Cheyenne-Arapaho Opening on April 19, 1892, Weatherford was incorporated on August 3, 1898, on a townsite location chosen by banking and civic leader Beeks Erick. By 1900, the town's population was 1,017. The town's original post office was located approximately two miles north of town, on William John and Lorinda Powell Weatherford's homestead. Lorinda Weatherford served as its postmaster and namesake. In its early years, farming and ranching provided the major economic base, with corn, cotton, and maize the major crops. Additionally, a brick plant, a cement plant, and a broom factory provided jobs as well as supplies for early residents.
As of the census of 2015, there were 12,126 people, 3,991 households, and 2,187 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,699.3 people per square mile (656.3/km²). There were 4,468 housing units at an average density of 770.1 per square mile (297.4/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 73.7% White, 4.9% African American, 2.3% Native American, 1.4% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 1.76% from other races, and 6.6% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 10.8% of the population.
Class B Driving School Weatherford OK
Picking the ideal truck driver school is an important first step to starting your new profession as a local or long distance truck driver. The skills that you will learn at school will be those that mold a new career behind the wheel. There are many options offered and understanding them is vital to a new driver’s success. You originally came to our website because of your interest in Class B Driving School. But first and foremost, you must obtain the necessary training in order to drive a large commercial vehicle in a safe and professional manner. If you are lacking cash or financing, you may need 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 enroll in an independent CDL school and have the option of driving for the trucking company of your choice, or one of several associated with the school. It’s your choice. But no matter how you obtain your training, you will in the near future be entering a profession that helps our country move as a professional trucker in Weatherford OK.
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