How to Pick a Trucking School near Winchester Kansas
Congrats on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a trucking school near Winchester KS. Perhaps it has always been your dream to hit the open highway while operating a big ole tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have conducted some research and have found that an occupation as a truck driver offers excellent 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 assessing your options, there are a number of variables that you’ll need to consider prior to making your ultimate selection. Location will undoubtedly be an issue, particularly if you have to commute from your Winchester home. The cost will also be important, but picking a school based only on price is not the ideal method to guarantee you’ll receive the proper education. Just remember, your objective is to learn the knowledge and skills that will enable you to pass the CDL exams and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that goal in mind, just how do you select a truck driving school? That is what we are going to address in the remainder of this article. But first, we are going to review a little bit about which CDL license you will ultimately need.
Which CDL Will You Need?
To operate commercial vehicles lawfully in Kansas and within the USA, an operator 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. Since the topic of this article is how to choose a truck driving school near Winchester KS, we will highlight Class A and Class B licenses. What differentiates 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 drive any vehicle that has a GCWR of greater than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of greater than 10,000 lbs. A few of the vehicles that operators may be able to drive 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 greater than 26,000 lbs., or a GCWR of more than 26,000 lbs. including a towed vehicle weighing up to 10,000 lbs. A few 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 need endorsements to drive certain kinds of vehicles, including school or passenger buses. And a Class A license holder, with the appropriate required endorsements, can operate any vehicle that a Class B licensee is qualified to drive.
How to Assess a Trucking School
When you have determined which CDL you want to obtain, you can start the undertaking of evaluating the Winchester KS trucking schools that you are considering. As earlier discussed, location and cost will no doubt be your primary considerations. But it can’t be stressed enough that they must not be your sole considerations. Other variables, such as the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are equally or even more important. So following are several more factors that you need to research while conducting your due diligence before choosing, and especially paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Not many Winchester KS trucking schools are accredited due to 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 required to become certified, but there are several advantages. Potential students know that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will receive plenty 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 curriculum and training will comply with the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One indicator to help evaluate the quality of a trucking school is how long it has been in operation. A negatively rated or a fly by night school normally will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the top Winchester KS schools had to begin 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 regarding successful licensing and employment of its graduates. If a school won’t supply those stats, look elsewhere. The schools should additionally maintain associations with regional and national trucking companies. Having numerous contacts not only affirms an excellent reputation within the trade, but also bolsters their job placement program for graduates. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to get in touch with the Kansas licensing department to make sure that the CDL trucker schools you are researching are in good standing.
How Effective is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools should be licensed in Kansas and hire instructors that are experienced and trained. We will talk more about the instructors in the following section. Also, the student to instructor proportion should not be greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be obtaining the individual instruction they will need. This is particularly true regarding the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And watch out for any school that claims it can train you to be a truck driver in a relatively short time period. Training to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully takes time. Most Winchester KS schools offer training programs that run from 3 weeks to as long as 2 months, based on the class of license or type of vehicle.
How Good are the Trainers? As earlier mentioned, it’s important that the teachers are qualified to teach driving techniques and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Even though several states have minimum driving time requirements to be certified as a teacher, the more professional driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also vital that the instructors stay current with industry developments or any new laws or changes in regulations. Assessing instructors may be a little more subjective than other standards, and possibly the best method is to visit the Winchester KS school and speak with the instructors face to face. You can also talk to some of the students going through the training and find out if they are happy with the level of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
Plenty of Driving Time? Most importantly, an excellent truck driving school will provide ample 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. Although 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 become. And even though driving time fluctuates between schools, a reasonable benchmark is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish at least 44 hours of driving time. Check with the Winchester KS schools you are considering and ask how much driving time they provide.
Are they Independent or Captive ? It’s possible to get free or discounted training from certain Winchester KS truck driver schools if you enter into an agreement to drive for a specific carrier for a defined amount of time. This is referred to as contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So rather than having associations with a wide range of trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only work with one company. The tradeoff is receiving free or less expensive training by giving up the flexibility to initially be a driver wherever you choose. Naturally contract training has the potential to reduce your income prospects when starting out. But for many it may be the ideal way to obtain affordable training. Just be sure to find out if the 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 permit 3rd party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is allowed in Kansas, find out if the Winchester KS schools you are considering are DMV certified to offer it. One advantage is that it is more accommodating than battling with graduates of other schools for test times at Kansas testing locations. It is moreover an indicator that the DMV believes the authorized schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Classes Convenient? As earlier noted, truck driving training is only about one to two months in length. With such a short term, it’s important that the Winchester KS school you enroll in offers flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. As an example, if you’re having difficulty learning a particular driving maneuver, then the teacher should be prepared to spend more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still employed while attending training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other commitments.
Is Job Placement Offered? Once you have received your CDL license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be anxious to begin your new career in Winchester KS. Verify 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 national and local trucking companies their graduates are placed with for employment. If a school has a poor job placement rate or few employers recruiting their grads, it may be a sign to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Given? Trucking schools are similar to colleges and other trade or technical schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being available. Find out if the schools you are examining have a financial assistance department, or at least someone who can help you understand the options and forms that need to be submitted in Winchester KS.
Why Did You Desire to Be a Tractor Trailer Operator?When getting ready to interview for a Trucking job, it's important to consider questions you could be asked. Among the questions that hiring managers often ask truck driving candidates is "What made you choose trucking as a profession?". What the interviewer is attempting to learn is not just the private reasons you might have for becoming a truck driver, but also what qualities and skills you possess that make you good at what you do. You will likely be asked questions relating primarily to trucking, in addition to a certain number of routine interview questions, so you need to prepare some ideas about how you would like to address them. Because there are numerous variables that go into selecting a career, you can address this fundamental question in a multitude of ways. When formulating an answer, aim to include the reasons the work interests you as well as the talents you have that make you an exceptional truck driver and the leading candidate for the position. Don't try to memorize a response, but jot down several concepts and talking points that pertain to your own strengths and experiences. Reading through sample answers can help you to formulate your own thoughts, and provide ideas of what to discuss to enthuse the interviewer.
Pick the Ideal Truck Driving School Winchester KS
Selecting the appropriate trucking school is an essential first step to starting your new occupation as a long distance or local truck driver. The skill sets that you will learn 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 to a new driver’s success. Most importantly, you must obtain the proper training in order to drive a big commercial vehicle in a safe and professional fashion. If you are lacking money or financing, you might want to think about a captive school. You will pay a lower or in some cases no tuition by agreeing to drive for their contracted carrier. Or you can enroll in an independent school and have the option of driving for the trucking company of your choosing, or one of many affiliated with the school. It’s your choice. But regardless of how you get your training, you will soon be joining a profession that helps our country move as a professional trucker in Winchester KS.
A Bit About Winchester Kansas
Winchester is located at 39°19′18″N 95°16′5″W / 39.32167°N 95.26806°W / 39.32167; -95.26806 (39.321658, -95.268142). According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 0.36 square miles (0.93 km2), of which, 0.35 square miles (0.91 km2) is land and 0.01 square miles (0.03 km2) is water.
As of the census of 2010, there were 551 people, 229 households, and 140 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,574.3 inhabitants per square mile (607.8/km2). There were 261 housing units at an average density of 745.7 per square mile (287.9/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 98.4% White, 1.3% Native American, and 0.4% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.9% of the population.
There were 229 households of which 27.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 40.6% were married couples living together, 12.2% had a female householder with no husband present, 8.3% had a male householder with no wife present, and 38.9% were non-families. 34.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 20.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.28 and the average family size was 2.91.
The median age in the city was 42.8 years. 22.3% of residents were under the age of 18; 7.8% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 21.7% were from 25 to 44; 22.4% were from 45 to 64; and 25.6% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 48.5% male and 51.5% female.
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