How to Choose the Right CDL Training School near Watonga Oklahoma
Congrats on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a CDL school near Watonga OK. Perhaps 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 good wages and flexible job prospects. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s important to get the appropriate training by enrolling in the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are several variables that you’ll want to examine prior to making your final selection. Location will certainly be an issue, particularly if you have to commute from your Watonga home. The expense will also be important, but choosing a school based solely on price is not the ideal method to ensure you’ll obtain the proper training. Don’t forget, your goal is to learn the knowledge and skills that will allow you to pass the CDL exams and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that objective in mind, just how do you pick a truck driving school? That is what we are going to discuss in the balance of this article. But first, we are going to review a little bit about which CDL license you will ultimately need.
Which CDL Should You Get?
In order to drive commercial vehicles lawfully within the USA and Watonga OK, an operator must attain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 license classes that one can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the topic of this article is how to pick a truck driver school, we will address Class A and Class B licenses. What distinguishes 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 short explanations for the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is needed to drive any vehicle that has a GCWR of greater than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of greater 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 required to operate 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. 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 need endorsements to operate specific kinds of vehicles, for instance passenger or school buses. And a Class A licensee, with the proper needed endorsements, can drive any vehicle that a Class B licensee is authorized to drive.
How to Evaluate a CDL School
When you have determined which CDL you would like to obtain, you can begin the undertaking of assessing the Watonga OK truck driver schools that you are looking at. As previously mentioned, cost and location will certainly be your primary concerns. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they should not be your only concerns. Other factors, for example the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are similarly or even more important. So following are some additional things that you need to research while performing your due diligence prior to enrolling in, and particularly paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Not many trucking schools in the Watonga OK area are accredited due to the rigorous process and expense 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 obligated to become certified, but there are certain advantages. Interested students recognize that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will be given an ample amount of driving time. For example, PTDI calls for 44 hours of real 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 meet the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One indicator to help measure the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in operation. A negatively reviewed or a fly by night school usually will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. On the other hand, even the best of Watonga OK schools had to start from their first day of training, so consider it as one of multiple qualifiers. You can also find out what the school’s track record is regarding successful licensing and job placement of its graduating students. If a school won’t provide those numbers, search elsewhere. The schools should additionally have associations with regional and national trucking firms. Having a large number of contacts not only confirms a superior reputation within the industry, but also bolsters their job placement program for students. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to contact the Oklahoma licensing department to confirm that the CDL trucker schools you are reviewing are in good standing.
How Effective is the Training? At a minimum, the schools should be licensed in Oklahoma and employ instructors that are trained and experienced. We will discuss more about the instructors in the following segment. In addition, the student to instructor proportion should be no higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be obtaining the personal instruction they will need. This is especially true concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And look out for any school that insists it can teach you to drive trucks in a relatively short time frame. Training to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully takes time. Most Watonga OK schools offer training programs that range from 3 weeks to as long as two months, based on the license class or type of vehicle.
How Good are the Teachers? As previously mentioned, it’s important that the instructors are qualified to teach driving techniques and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Although a number of states have minimum driving time prerequisites to qualify as an instructor, the more professional driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also vital that the teachers keep up to date with industry developments or any new laws or changes in regulations. Assessing teachers 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 find out if they are satisfied with the level of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Adequate Driving Time? Most importantly, a great truck driver school will provide sufficient 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. Even though the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are important training methods, they are no substitute for real driving. The more instruction that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will be. Although driving time varies 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. Check with the Watonga OK schools you are researching and find out how much driving time they provide.
Are they Captive or Independent ? 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 specified carrier for a defined amount of time. This is what’s known as contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So rather than having relationships with numerous 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 freedom to initially be a driver wherever you choose. Obviously contract training has the potential to limit your income prospects when starting out. But for some it may be the ideal way to obtain affordable training. Just be sure to inquire if the Watonga OK schools you are looking at are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Provide CDL Testing Onsite? There are some states that will permit 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driver schools for its students. If onsite testing is allowed in Oklahoma, find out if the schools you are considering are DMV certified to offer it. One benefit is that it is more convenient than battling with graduates from other schools for test times at Oklahoma testing centers. It is also an indication that the DMV regards the authorized schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Class Times Convenient? As formerly mentioned, truck driver training is just one to two months long. With such a brief duration, it’s imperative that the Watonga OK school you choose offers flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. For example, if you’re having difficulty learning a particular driving maneuver, then the teacher should be prepared to dedicate more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still holding a job while attending training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other responsibilities.
Is Job Placement Provided? As soon as you have received your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be impatient to begin your new career. Confirm 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, find out which national and local trucking firms their graduates are referred to for hiring. If a school has a poor job placement rate or few Watonga OK employers hiring their graduates, it might be a sign to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Trucking schools are much like colleges and other Watonga OK area trade or technical 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 navigate the options and forms that must be completed.
Thinking of a Truck Drivier School near Watonga OK?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Watonga Oklahoma area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Watonga is located on former Cheyenne and Arapaho Indian Reservation lands that were allotted to individual tribal members and the excess opened to white settlers in the Land Run of 1892. Watonga is named after Arapaho Chief Watonga whose name means "Black Coyote".
The town began as a tent city on April 19, 1892. A post office opened in Watonga during the same year. However, the first railroad line through Watonga was not built until 1901-02, when the Enid and Anadarko Railway (later the Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railway) constructed a line from Guthrie.
Watonga is located in central Blaine County at 35°50′57″N 98°24′42″W / 35.84917°N 98.41167°W / 35.84917; -98.41167 (35.849249, -98.411591). According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 4.1 square miles (10.6 km2), of which 0.012 square miles (0.03 km2), or 0.28%, is water.
Class B Training Watonga OK
Picking the ideal trucking school is an essential first step to starting your new occupation 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 a number of 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 Class B Training. However, 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 money or financing, you might need to think about a captive school. You will pay a lower or even no tuition by agreeing to drive for their contracted carrier. Or you can select an independent CDL 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 choice. But no matter how you receive your training, you will in the near future be part of a profession that helps our country move as a professional truck driver in Watonga OK.
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