How to Decide on a CDL Training School near Woodward Iowa
Congratulations on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a trucking school near Woodward IA. Perhaps it has always been your goal to hit the open road while operating a huge tractor trailer. Or maybe you have conducted some research and have found that an occupation as a truck driver provides good pay and flexible work prospects. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s essential to receive the proper training by enrolling in the right CDL school in your area. When evaluating your options, there are several variables that you’ll want to consider prior to making your ultimate selection. Location will certainly be important, particularly if you need to commute from your Woodward residence. The cost will also be of importance, but picking a school based exclusively on price is not the best means to make sure you’ll obtain the right education. Don’t forget, your objective is to master the knowledge and skills that will enable you to pass the CDL examinations and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that purpose in mind, just how do you decide on a truck driving school? That 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 CDL license you will eventually need.
Which CDL Will You Require?
In order to operate commercial vehicles lawfully in Iowa and within the USA, a driver must get 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 driving school near Woodward IA, we will address 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 explanations for the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is required to drive any vehicle that has a GCWR of more 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 CDL is needed 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. 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 may also require endorsements to drive specific types of vehicles, including school or passenger buses. And a Class A licensee, with the appropriate required endorsements, can drive any vehicle that a Class B license holder is qualified to operate.
How to Evaluate a CDL School
When you have determined which CDL you would like to obtain, you can begin the process of evaluating the Woodward IA trucking schools that you are considering. As previously mentioned, location and cost will certainly be your primary considerations. But it can’t be stressed enough that they must not be your sole considerations. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are equally or even more important. So below are several additional factors 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 Accredited or Certified ? Not many Woodward IA truck driving schools are accredited due to the stringent process and cost to the schools. However, certification is more prevalent and is provided by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not required to become certified, but there are several advantages. Potential students recognize that the training will be of the highest caliber, and that they will get lots of driving time. For example, PTDI mandates 44 hours of real 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 meet the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One indicator to help evaluate the quality of a truck driver school is how long it has been in business. A negatively 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 best of Woodward IA schools had to begin from their opening day of training, so use it as one of multiple qualifications. You can also find out what the school’s history is relating to successful licensing and employment of its graduating students. If a school won’t share those stats, search elsewhere. The schools should additionally maintain relationships with regional and national trucking firms. Having numerous contacts not only affirms an excellent reputation within the profession, but also boosts their job assistance program for students. It also wouldn’t hurt to contact the Iowa licensing authority to verify that the CDL trucker schools you are considering are in good standing.
How Good is the Training? At a minimum, the schools must be licensed in Iowa and hire teachers that are experienced and trained. We will discuss more about the teachers in the next segment. Also, the student to instructor proportion should not be higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be obtaining the individual attention 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 claims it can teach you to be a truck driver in a relatively short time period. Training to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully requires time. The majority of Woodward IA schools provide training courses that run from three weeks to as long as 2 months, based on the license class or kind of vehicle.
How Good are the Teachers? As already mentioned, it’s imperative that the instructors are trained to teach driving methods and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Even though a number of states have minimum driving time prerequisites to be certified as an instructor, the more successful driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also vital that the teachers keep current with industry developments or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Evaluating teachers might be a bit more subjective than other criteria, and perhaps the ideal approach is to visit the Woodward IA school and talk to the teachers in person. You can also speak with some of the students completing the training and ask if they are happy with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Sufficient Driving Time? Above all else, a good trucking school will provide ample driving time to its students. Besides, isn’t that what it’s all about? Driving time is the real time spent behind the wheel operating a truck. Although the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are necessary training methods, they are no alternative for actual driving. The more training that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will become. Although driving time differs among 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. Check with the Woodward IA schools you are researching and find out how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Captive or Independent ? You can receive discounted or even free training from certain Woodward IA truck driving schools if you make a commitment to drive for a specified carrier for a defined period of time. This is what’s known as contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So instead of maintaining associations with many different trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only refer to one company. The tradeoff 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 beginning your new career. But for some it may be the ideal way to receive affordable training. Just be sure to find out if the schools you are considering are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Offer CDL Testing Onsite? There are some states that will allow third party CDL testing onsite of truck driver schools for its students. If onsite testing is permitted in Iowa, find out if the Woodward IA schools you are looking at are DMV certified to provide it. One advantage is that it is more convenient than battling with graduates from other schools for test times at Iowa testing centers. It is moreover an indication that the DMV views the authorized schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Classes Flexible? As earlier mentioned, truck driving training is only about 1 to 2 months long. With such a brief duration, it’s essential that the Woodward IA school you enroll in provides flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. For example, if you’re having a hard time learning a particular driving maneuver, then the instructor should be prepared to spend more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still holding a job while attending training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other commitments.
Is Job Placement Offered? As soon as you have obtained your CDL license after graduating from trucking school, you will be impatient to start your new career in Woodward IA. Make sure that the schools you are looking at have job assistance programs. Ask what their job placement percentage is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, ask which national and local trucking firms their graduates are placed with for hiring. If a school has a poor job placement rate or few employers hiring their graduates, it might be a clue to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Given? Truck driving schools are comparable to colleges and other vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being available. Ask if the schools you are examining have a financial assistance department, or at a minimum someone who can help you get through the options and forms that must be submitted in Woodward IA.
Why Did You Decide to Become a Trucker?When prepping to interview for a Trucking job, it's helpful to review questions you might be asked. One of the questions that hiring managers frequently ask truck driving applicants is "What drove you to select trucking as a profession?". What the interviewer is attempting to discover is not only the private reasons you may have for becoming a trucker, but additionally what characteristics and abilities you have that make you exceptional at what you do. You will probably be asked questions relating specifically to trucking, in addition to a significant number of standard interview questions, so you need to ready a number of ideas about how you want to respond to them. Given that there are so many variables that go into selecting a career, you can respond to this primary question in a multitude of ways. When formulating an answer, try to include the reasons the work appeals to you along with the abilities you possess that make you an excellent truck driver and the ideal choice for the job. Don't attempt to memorize an answer, but write down some concepts and talking points that relate to your personal strengths and experiences. Going over sample responses can assist you to develop your own concepts, and inspire ideas of what to discuss to wow the recruiter.
Choose the Ideal CDL School Woodward IA
Picking the appropriate truck driver school is an essential first step to beginning your new vocation as a local or long distance truck driver. The skills taught at school will be those that forge a new career behind the wheel. There are many options available and understanding them is vital to a new driver’s success. But first and foremost, you must get the necessary training in order to operate a large commercial vehicle in a safe and professional fashion. If you are short on money or financing, you might need to look into a captive school. You will pay a reduced or even no tuition in exchange for driving for their contracted carrier. Or you can choose an independent school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking company of your choice, or one of many affiliated with the school. It’s your decision. But regardless of how you get your training, you will soon be part of an industry that helps our country move as a professional trucker in Woodward IA.
A Bit About Woodward Iowa
Woodward is a city in Dallas County, Iowa, United States. The population was 1,024 at the 2010 census. It is part of the Des Moines–West Des Moines Metropolitan Statistical Area. Woodward is also home to the Woodward-Granger Community School District's middle school and high school, the elementary school being located in Granger.
"The town of Woodward was born when the Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul Railway Co rconstructed its lines through the community the depot was constructed. The original name for the town was decided upon as Colton, another town had already adopted the name so the name was changed to Woodward. The City was incorporated in August 1883. The first Council meeting was on December 18, 1883 called to order by Mayor W.S. Craft."
An F-2 tornado struck Woodward, the city of Ames, and several other small Iowan communities on November 12, 2005, devastating many homes in the southeast and east parts of town. There were no casualties in Woodward, although there was one in Stratford. Discovery Channel's series Destroyed In Seconds showed the natural disaster in one of its episodes. During the first season of Dirty Jobs they visited a pig farmer from Woodward in the episode.
Woodward is located at 41°51′19″N 93°55′23″W / 41.85528°N 93.92306°W / 41.85528; -93.92306 (41.855230, -93.923068).
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