How to Select a CDL Driving School near Valley Falls Kansas
Best wishes on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a CDL school near Valley Falls KS. Perhaps it has always been your ambition to hit the open road while operating a big ole tractor trailer. Or possibly you have done some analysis and have found that a career as a truck driver offers good wages and flexible job opportunities. Whatever your reason is, it’s imperative to get the appropriate training by selecting the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are certain factors that you’ll want to examine before making your final choice. Location will undoubtedly be an issue, particularly if you need to commute from your Valley Falls residence. The expense will also be important, but selecting a school based entirely on price is not the best method to make certain you’ll obtain the right training. Just remember, your goal is to master the skills and knowledge that will allow you to pass the CDL exams and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that target in mind, just how do you select 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 commercial driver’s license you will eventually need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Will You Require?
To drive commercial vehicles lawfully in Kansas and within the USA, a driver needs to get a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 license classes that a driver can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the topic of this article is how to pick a truck driving school near Valley Falls KS, we will focus on Class A and B licenses. What distinguishes each class of CDL is the kind of vehicle that the driver can operate in addition to the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Following are brief summaries of the 2 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 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 needed to operate single vehicles having a GVWR of more 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 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 certain kinds of vehicles, for instance school or passenger buses. And a Class A licensee, with the proper required endorsements, can operate any vehicle that a Class B licensee is qualified to drive.
How to Research a Truck Driving School
Once you have decided which Commercial Drivers License you wish to pursue, you can start the process of evaluating the Valley Falls KS trucking schools that you are looking at. As previously discussed, location and cost will no doubt be your initial concerns. But it can’t be stressed enough that they should not be your only concerns. Other issues, including the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are similarly if not more important. So following are some additional things that you need to research while carrying out your due diligence prior to choosing, and especially paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Very few Valley Falls KS truck driving schools are accredited due to the demanding process and expense to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more common and is offered 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 standard, and that they will get 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 training and curriculum will meet the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One clue to help determine the quality of a trucking school is how long it has been in business. A negatively ranked or a fly by night school typically will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. On the other hand, even the best of Valley Falls KS schools had to begin from their opening day of training, so use it as one of several qualifications. You can also learn what the school’s track record is pertaining to successful licensing and job placement of its graduating students. If a school won’t provide those stats, search elsewhere. The schools should also maintain relationships with regional and national trucking firms. Having a large number of contacts not only points to a quality reputation within the trade, but also bolsters their job assistance program for students. It also wouldn’t hurt to contact the Kansas licensing department 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 Kansas and hire instructors that are experienced and trained. We will cover more about the teachers in the next 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 getting the personalized attention they will need. This is especially true regarding 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 comparatively short period of time. Training to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully takes time. The majority of Valley Falls KS schools provide training programs that run from 3 weeks to as long as two months, based on the class of license or kind of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Trainers? As earlier mentioned, it’s imperative that the instructors are qualified to teach driving techniques and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Even though several states have minimum driving time criteria to be certified as a teacher, the more successful driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also important that the teachers keep up to date with industry developments or any new laws or changes in regulations. Assessing instructors may be a little more intuitive than other standards, and possibly the best approach is to pay a visit to the Valley Falls KS school and speak with the teachers in person. You can also talk to a few of the students going through the training and find out if they are happy with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
How Much Driving Time? Most importantly, a good truck driver school will furnish sufficient 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 driving a truck. Although the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are important training tools, they are no substitute for real driving. The more training that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will be. And even though driving time fluctuates among schools, a good benchmark is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Check with the Valley Falls KS schools you are looking at and ask how much driving time they provide.
Are they Captive or Independent ? It’s possible to obtain discounted or even free training from a number of Valley Falls KS truck driving schools if you make a commitment to be a driver 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 relationships with a wide range of trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only refer to one company. The tradeoff is receiving less expensive or even free training by giving up the freedom to initially work wherever you choose. Clearly contract training has the potential to limit your income prospects when starting out. But for some it may be the only way to receive affordable training. Just make sure to inquire if the schools you are contemplating are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Is there Onsite CDL Testing? There are some states that will permit third party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its grads. If onsite testing is available in Kansas, find out if the Valley Falls KS schools you are reviewing are DMV certified to provide it. One advantage is that it is more convenient than contending with graduates of competing schools for test times at Kansas testing centers. It is moreover an indicator that the DMV considers the authorized schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Class Times Accessible? As formerly noted, truck driver training is just 1 to 2 months in length. With such a short term, it’s imperative that the Valley Falls KS school you select provides flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. For example, if you’re having a hard time learning a certain driving maneuver, then the teacher should be willing to dedicate more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still holding a job 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? The moment you have acquired your CDL license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be impatient to begin your new profession in Valley Falls KS. Confirm that the schools you are contemplating have job assistance programs. Ask what their job placement rate is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, find out which national and local trucking firms their graduates are placed with for employment. If a school has a lower job placement rate or not many employers recruiting their grads, it might be a sign to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Given? Truck driver schools are similar to colleges and other technical or vocational schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being available. Ask if the schools you are evaluating have a financial aid department, or at a minimum someone who can help you understand the options and forms that need to be completed in Valley Falls KS.
Why Did You Want to Be a Tractor Trailer Operator?When getting ready to interview for a Trucking position, it's a good idea to consider questions you could be asked. One of the questions that hiring managers typically ask truck driving candidates is "What compelled you to choose trucking as a profession?". What the interviewer is attempting to discover is not just the private reasons you might have for becoming a trucker, but additionally what qualities and talents you have that make you exceptional at what you do. You will probably be asked questions relating exclusively to trucking, as well as a certain number of typical interview questions, so you need to organize some ideas about how you would like to answer them. Given that there are so many variables that go into selecting a career, you can answer this fundamental question in a multitude of ways. When readying an answer, attempt to include the reasons the work appeals to you as well as the abilities you have that make you an exceptional truck driver and the ideal candidate for the position. Don't attempt to memorize an answer, but jot down several ideas and talking points that relate to your personal experiences and strengths. Reviewing sample answers can assist you to prepare your own thoughts, and inspire ideas of what to include to enthuse the interviewer.
Select the Best Trucking School Valley Falls KS
Picking the ideal truck driving school is an essential first step to launching your new profession 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 available and understanding them is critical to a new driver’s success. Most importantly, you must get the proper training in order to operate a big commercial vehicle in a professional and safe manner. If you are lacking money or financing, you may want to think about a captive school. You will pay a lower or in some cases 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 firm of your choice, or one of several associated with the school. It’s your choice. But no matter how you obtain your training, you will in the near future be entering a profession that helps America move as a professional truck driver in Valley Falls KS.
A Bit About Valley Falls Kansas
Valley Falls, Kansas
Valley Falls is a city in Jefferson County, Kansas, United States. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 1,192.
Valley Falls was originally called Grasshopper Falls, from the falls in the Grasshopper River (now known as the Delaware River). The first settlement was made there in 1854, and the town was platted in 1855. Many of the town's streets were named after women pioneer settlers.
Valley Falls is located at 39°20′35″N 95°27′38″W / 39.34306°N 95.46056°W / 39.34306; -95.46056 (39.342936, -95.460584). According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 0.78 square miles (2.02 km2), of which, 0.77 square miles (1.99 km2) is land and 0.01 square miles (0.03 km2) is water.
The climate in this area is characterized by hot, humid summers and generally mild to cool winters. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Valley Falls has a humid subtropical climate, abbreviated "Cfa" on climate maps.
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