How to Pick a Truck Driver School near West Lebanon Indiana
Congratulations on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a trucking school near West Lebanon IN. Maybe it has always been your ambition to hit the open highway while driving a monster tractor trailer. Or maybe you have conducted some analysis and have discovered that an occupation as a truck driver offers excellent income and flexible work opportunities. Whatever your reason is, it’s important to obtain the appropriate training by selecting the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are several factors that you’ll want to consider prior to making your final choice. Location will certainly be an issue, especially if you need to commute from your West Lebanon residence. The expense will also be of importance, but selecting a school based solely on price is not the best way to make certain you’ll obtain the proper education. Just remember, your goal is to learn the knowledge and skills that will allow you to pass the CDL examinations and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that objective in mind, just how do you select a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to discuss in the rest of this article. But first, we are going to review a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will eventually need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Will You Need?
In order to drive commercial vehicles lawfully in Indiana and within the USA, a driver must obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 license classes that a driver can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the subject of this article is how to select a truck driver school near West Lebanon IN, 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). Following are short summaries for the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is required to operate any vehicle that has a GCWR of greater than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of more than 10,000 lbs. A few 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 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 CDLs might also need endorsements to operate specific kinds of vehicles, such as 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 authorized to operate.
How to Evaluate a Trucking School
As soon as you have determined which CDL you wish to obtain, you can begin the process of researching the West Lebanon IN truck driver schools that you are considering. As previously discussed, cost and location will undoubtedly be your primary considerations. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they should not be your only concerns. Other issues, such as the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are similarly if not more important. So below are several additional things that you need to research while carrying out your due diligence before enrolling in, and particularly paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Very few West Lebanon IN trucking schools are accredited because of the rigorous process and cost to the schools. However, certification is more typical 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. Prospective students recognize that the training will be of the highest standard, and that they will be given lots of driving time. For 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 training and curriculum will comply with the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One indicator to help determine the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in operation. A negatively rated or a fly by night school typically will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the best of West Lebanon IN schools had to start from their opening day of training, so use it as one of several qualifiers. You can also ask what the school’s track record is relating to successful licensing and employment of its graduating students. If a school won’t share those stats, look elsewhere. The schools should also maintain relationships with regional and national trucking firms. Having a large number of contacts not only confirms an excellent reputation within the profession, but also bolsters their job assistance program for graduates. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to get in touch with the Indiana licensing department to confirm that the CDL trucking schools you are reviewing are in compliance.
How Good is the Training? At a minimum, the schools should be licensed in Indiana and hire teachers that are experienced and trained. We will talk more about the teachers in the following segment. In addition, the student to instructor proportion should be no greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be receiving the individual attention they will need. This is particularly true regarding the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And be critical of any school that insists it can teach you to be a truck driver in a comparatively short time period. Learning to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully takes time. Most West Lebanon IN schools offer training courses that range from 3 weeks to as long as two months, based on the class of license or type of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Instructors? As earlier stated, it’s essential that the teachers are trained to teach driving methods and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Although a number of states have minimum driving time criteria to qualify as a teacher, the more professional driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also important that the instructors stay up to date with industry developments or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Assessing teachers may be a bit more intuitive than other criteria, and possibly the ideal approach is to visit the West Lebanon IN school and speak with the teachers in person. You can also talk to 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? Above all else, an excellent truck driver school will provide plenty of 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 ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are important training tools, they are no substitute for actual driving. The more instruction that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will be. And even though driving time differs between schools, a good benchmark is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide at least 44 hours of driving time. Check with the West Lebanon IN schools you are considering and find out how much driving time they provide.
Are they Captive or Independent ? It’s possible to receive free or discounted training from some West Lebanon IN trucking schools if you make a commitment to be a driver for a specific carrier for a defined time period. This is called contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So rather than maintaining associations with many different trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only refer to 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 reduce your income prospects when starting out. But for many it may be the ideal way to get affordable training. Just remember to find out if the schools you are contemplating are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Provide CDL Testing Onsite? There are a number of states that will permit third party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is permitted in Indiana, find out if the West Lebanon IN schools you are considering 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 Indiana testing centers. It is also an indicator that the DMV regards the approved schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Classes Accessible? As earlier mentioned, truck driver training is only about one to two months long. With such a brief duration, it’s essential that the West Lebanon IN school you enroll in offers 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 are proficient. And if you’re still working while attending training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other obligations.
Is Job Assistance Provided? As soon as you have acquired your CDL license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be keen to begin your new profession in West Lebanon IN. Verify that the schools you are considering have job assistance programs. Find out what their job placement percentage is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, find out which local and national trucking firms their graduates are referred to for employment. If a school has a lower job placement rate or not many employers hiring their grads, it might be a clue to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Truck driver schools are similar to colleges and other vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being offered. Find out if the schools you are evaluating have a financial assistance department, or at least someone who can help you understand the options and forms that need to be completed in West Lebanon IN.
Why Did You Decide to Be a Truck Driver?When preparing to interview for a Trucking position, it's important to reflect on questions you might be asked. Among the questions that interviewers frequently ask truck driving candidates is "What compelled you to decide on trucking as a profession?". What the interviewer is trying to learn is not only the private reasons you may have for becoming a trucker, but also what qualities and talents you possess that make you outstanding at what you do. You will probably be asked questions pertaining primarily to trucking, in addition to a certain number of standard interview questions, so you need to prepare a number of ideas about how you want to respond to them. Given that there are numerous variables that go into choosing a career, you can respond to this primary question in a number of ways. When readying an answer, attempt to include the reasons the work interests you in addition to the talents you possess that make you an outstanding truck driver and the perfiect candidate for the job. Don't attempt to memorize a response, but jot down several ideas and talking points that relate to your personal strengths and experiences. Reading through sample answers can help you to formulate your own concepts, and inspire ideas of what to include to enthuse the interviewer.
Select the Best Truck Driver School West Lebanon IN
Picking the right trucking school is a critical first step to beginning your new vocation as a long distance or local truck driver. The skills taught at school will be those that shape a new career behind the wheel. There are a number of options offered and understanding them is critical if you are going to succeed as an operator. But first and foremost, you must obtain the necessary training in order to operate a large commercial vehicle in a safe and professional fashion. If you are lacking money or financing, you may 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 school and have the option of driving for the trucking firm of your choice, or one of several affiliated with the school. It’s your choice. But no matter how you receive your training, you will soon be part of a profession that helps our country move as a professional trucker in West Lebanon IN.
A Bit About West Lebanon Indiana
West Lebanon may refer to:
More Cities of Interest in Indiana