How to Find the Right CDL Driving School near Westville Oklahoma
Congrats on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a trucking school near Westville OK. Perhaps it has always been your dream to hit the open highway while operating a big ole tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have done some research and have found that a career as a truck driver provides excellent pay and flexible job opportunities. No matter what your reason is, it’s imperative to obtain the proper training by enrolling in the right CDL school in your area. When evaluating your options, there are certain factors that you’ll want to consider before making your final choice. Location will certainly be important, particularly if you need to commute from your Westville home. The expense will also be of importance, but picking a school based solely on price is not the optimal means to make sure you’ll get the proper education. Just remember, your objective is to master the knowledge and skills that will enable you to pass the CDL examinations and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that objective 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 rest of this article. But first, we are going to review a little bit about which CDL license you will ultimately need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Should You Get?
In order to drive commercial vehicles legally within the United States and Westville OK, a driver must get a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three classes of licenses that a person can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the topic of this article is how to pick a truck driving school, we will focus on Class A and 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 summaries for the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License is required to operate 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 CDL is required 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 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 CDLs might also require endorsements to operate certain kinds of vehicles, including passenger or school buses. And a Class A license holder, with the proper needed endorsements, can drive any vehicle that a Class B license holder is authorized to drive.
How to Assess a Truck Driver School
After you have determined which Commercial Drivers License you wish to pursue, you can start the undertaking of assessing the Westville OK trucking schools that you are looking at. As previously mentioned, cost and location will no doubt be your primary considerations. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they should not be your only considerations. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are similarly or even more important. So following are some more things that you need to research while conducting your due diligence prior to selecting, and particularly paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Not many truck driver schools in the Westville OK area are accredited due to the stringent process and cost to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more commonplace 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. Potential students recognize that the training will be of the highest standard, and that they will receive lots of driving time. For example, PTDI mandates 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 fulfill the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One indicator to help assess the quality of a trucking school is how long it has been in operation. A poorly rated or a fly by night school normally will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. On the other hand, even the top Westville OK schools had to begin from their opening day of training, so use it as one of multiple qualifiers. You can also ask what the school’s track record is regarding successful licensing and employment of its graduates. If a school won’t share those numbers, look elsewhere. The schools should also maintain relationships with local and national trucking companies. Having numerous contacts not only confirms an excellent reputation within the trade, but also boosts their job placement program for students. It also wouldn’t hurt to contact the Oklahoma licensing department to make sure that the CDL trucker schools you are considering are in good standing.
How Good is the Training? At a minimum, the schools should be licensed in Oklahoma and employ teachers that are experienced and trained. We will cover more about the teachers in the following segment. Also, the student to instructor ratio should be no greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be receiving the personalized attention they will need. This is particularly true concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And be critical of any school that claims it can teach you to be a truck driver in a comparatively short period of time. Training to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully takes time. Most Westville OK schools provide training courses that range from 3 weeks to as long as 2 months, depending on the class of license or kind of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Teachers? As previously mentioned, it’s important that the instructors are qualified to teach driving methods and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Even though several states have minimum driving time requirements to qualify as a teacher, the more successful driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also important that the teachers stay up to date with industry advancements or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Assessing teachers might be a bit more intuitive than other standards, and perhaps the best approach is to check out the school and talk to the instructors in person. You can also speak with some of the students going through the training and ask if they are happy with the level of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
Plenty of Driving Time? Above all else, an excellent trucking school will provide lots of 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 operating a truck. While the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are important training tools, they are no replacement 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 varies between schools, a reasonable standard is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish no less than 44 hours of driving time. Contact the Westville OK schools you are considering and ask how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Independent or Captive ? You can obtain discounted or even free training from a number of truck driving schools if you make a commitment to drive for a particular carrier for a defined period of time. This is called contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So instead of maintaining associations 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 giving up the freedom to initially work wherever you choose. Clearly contract training has the potential to restrict your income opportunities when starting out. But for many it may be the ideal way to get affordable training. Just make sure to inquire if the Westville OK schools you are looking at are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Offer Onsite CDL Testing? There are several states that will allow 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its students. If onsite testing is available in Oklahoma, find out if the schools you are considering are DMV certified to provide it. One benefit is that it is more convenient than contending with graduates from other schools for test times at Oklahoma testing locations. It is also an indication that the DMV deems the approved schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Classes Accessible? As previously mentioned, CDL training is only about one to two months in length. With such a short duration, it’s imperative that the Westville OK school you select provides flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. For example, if you’re having difficulty learning a certain driving maneuver, then the instructor should be prepared to dedicate 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 fit in working hours or other commitments.
Is Job Assistance Offered? As soon as you have attained your commercial driver’s license after graduating from trucking school, you will be anxious to start your new career. Confirm that the schools you are looking at 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 firms their graduates are referred to for employment. If a school has a poor job placement rate or not many Westville OK employers hiring their graduates, it may be a sign to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Truck driving schools are comparable to colleges and other Westville 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 reviewing have a financial assistance department, or at a minimum someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that must be completed.
Thinking of a Truck Drivier School near Westville OK?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Westville Oklahoma area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Before statehood, Westville was a community in the Goingsnake District of the Cherokee Nation. The town was founded in 1895, when the Kansas City, Pittsburg and Gulf Railroad (later acquired by the Kansas City Southern Railroad) was constructing a rail line from Kansas City to the Gulf Coast. The Westville post office was established on November 18, 1895. The town name honored Jim West, who lived one mile south of nearby Cincinnati, Arkansas, and whose son, Jim West, Jr., was an attorney for the Kansas City Southern Railway.
When Adair County was formed in 1907, Westville was identified as the county seat, due partly to its location at the intersection of two major railroads: the Kansas City Southern Railway and the St. Louis – San Francisco Railway. The county seat was moved to Stilwell in 1910.
Westville is located at 35°59′29″N 94°34′16″W / 35.99139°N 94.57111°W / 35.99139; -94.57111 (35.991414, -94.571088). It is 13 miles (21 km) north of Stilwell and 15 miles (24 km) south of Siloam Springs, Arkansas.
Professional Truck Driving School Westville OK
Choosing the right truck driving school is a critical first step to starting your new profession as a local or long distance truck driver. The skill sets taught at school will be those that shape a new career behind the wheel. There are a number of options available and understanding them is crucial to a new driver’s success. You originally came to our website because of your interest in Professional Truck Driving School. However, you must get the proper training in order to drive a big commercial vehicle in a professional and safe fashion. If you are lacking funds or financing, you may need to look into a captive school. You will pay a lower or even no tuition by agreeing to drive for their contracted carrier. Or you can choose an independent truck driver 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 regardless of how you obtain your training, you will in the near future be joining a profession that helps our country move as a professional truck driver in Westville OK.
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