How to Choose a Truck Driver School near Valley Nebraska
Congrats on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a trucking school near Valley NE. Maybe it has always been your goal to hit the open road while driving a monster tractor trailer. Or possibly you have conducted some analysis and have discovered that a career as a truck driver offers good income and flexible work opportunities. Whatever your reason is, it’s essential to receive the proper training by choosing the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are certain variables that you’ll need to think about prior to making your final choice. Location will undoubtedly be an issue, especially if you need to commute from your Valley residence. The expense will also be important, but picking a school based entirely on price is not the best means to make sure you’ll get the right education. Don’t forget, your goal is to master the skills and knowledge 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? That is what we are going to discuss in the rest of this article. But first, we are going to discuss a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will ultimately need.
Which CDL Will You Require?
In order to operate commercial vehicles lawfully in Nebraska and within the USA, a driver needs to obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 classes of licenses that a person can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the subject of this article is how to pick a truck driving school near Valley NE, we will focus on Class A and Class 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 descriptions for the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is needed to operate 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 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 drive 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 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 Commercial Drivers Licenses might also need endorsements to drive certain types of vehicles, including school or passenger buses. And a Class A licensee, with the proper needed endorsements, can drive any vehicle that a Class B license holder is authorized to operate.
How to Research a Truck Driving School
Once you have decided which CDL you want to obtain, you can begin the undertaking of evaluating the Valley NE trucking schools that you are considering. As earlier mentioned, location and cost will no doubt be your initial considerations. But it can’t be stressed enough that they must not be your only considerations. Other issues, such as the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are equally or even more important. So below are a few additional factors that you should research while carrying out your due diligence prior to enrolling in, and particularly paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Very few Valley NE truck driving schools are accredited due to the rigorous process and expense to the schools. However, certification is more common and is provided by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not obligated to become certified, but there are several advantages. Potential students recognize that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will receive lots of driving time. As an example, PTDI calls for 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 measure up to the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One indicator to help assess the quality of a truck driver school is how long it has been in operation. A negatively ranked or a fly by night school normally will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the top Valley NE schools had to start from their opening day of training, so consider it as one of multiple qualifications. You can also find out what the school’s history is regarding successful licensing and employment of its graduates. If a school won’t share those numbers, look elsewhere. The schools should additionally maintain associations with regional and national trucking firms. Having a large number of contacts not only confirms an excellent reputation within the industry, but also bolsters their job placement program for students. It also wouldn’t hurt to get in touch with the Nebraska licensing authority to verify that the CDL trucker schools you are reviewing are in compliance.
How Effective is the Training? At a minimum, the schools must be licensed in Nebraska and employ teachers that are experienced and trained. We will discuss 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 obtaining the individual attention they will need. This is particularly true regarding the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And look out for any school that professes it can train you to drive trucks in a comparatively short time frame. Training to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer professionally requires time. Most Valley NE schools offer training programs that range from 3 weeks to as long as two months, based on the class of license or type of vehicle.
How Good are the Teachers? As previously mentioned, it’s imperative that the instructors are trained to teach driving methods and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Although several states have minimum driving time prerequisites to qualify as an instructor, the more professional driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also vital that the instructors keep up to date with industry developments or any new laws or changes in regulations. Evaluating instructors might be a bit more subjective than other criteria, and possibly the best method is to visit the Valley NE school and speak with the teachers face to face. You can also speak with some of the students completing the training and find out if they are satisfied with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Adequate Driving Time? Above all else, a great truck driving 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 driving a truck. Even though the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are essential training tools, they are no replacement for real driving. The more training that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will become. Although driving time can vary between schools, a good standard is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide at least 44 hours of driving time. Check with the Valley NE schools you are looking at and find out how much driving time they provide.
Are they Independent or Captive ? It’s possible to receive discounted or even free training from a number of Valley NE trucking 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 instead of having relationships with numerous trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only work with one company. The benefit is receiving free or less expensive training by surrendering the freedom to initially be a driver wherever you choose. Naturally contract training has the potential to restrict your income prospects when starting out. But for some it may be the only way to receive affordable training. Just be sure to inquire if the schools you are considering are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Provide Onsite CDL Testing? There are several states that will permit 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is permitted in Nebraska, find out if the Valley NE schools you are looking at are DMV certified to offer it. One benefit is that it is more convenient than contending with graduates from competing schools for test times at Nebraska testing facilities. It is also an indication that the DMV deems the authorized schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Class Times Convenient? As formerly mentioned, CDL training is only about one to two months in length. With such a short duration, it’s important that the Valley NE school you enroll in offers flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. For example, if you’re having difficulty learning a particular driving maneuver, then the teacher should be willing to dedicate more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still holding a job while attending training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other obligations.
Is Job Assistance Offered? Once you have attained your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be keen to begin your new career in Valley NE. Make sure that the schools you are looking at have job assistance programs. Ask what their job placement ratio is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, ask which local and national trucking companies their graduates are placed with for hiring. If a school has a low job placement rate or few employers recruiting their graduates, it might be a sign to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Trucking schools are similar to colleges and other vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being offered. Ask if the schools you are assessing have a financial aid department, or at a minimum someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that must be completed in Valley NE.
Why Did You Decide to Be a Tractor Trailer Operator?When preparing to interview for a Trucking position, it's helpful to reflect on questions you may be asked. One of the things that interviewers typically ask truck driving candidates is "What compelled you to select trucking as a profession?". What the interviewer is trying to uncover is not just the personal reasons you might have for becoming a trucking operator, but also what attributes and abilities you possess that make you exceptional at your profession. You will likely be asked questions relating exclusively to trucking, in addition to a certain number of typical interview questions, so you must prepare some ideas about how you want to address them. Given that there are so many factors that go into selecting a career, you can answer this fundamental question in a number of ways. When readying an answer, aim to include the reasons the work appeals to you along with the abilities you possess that make you an excellent truck driver and the leading choice for the position. Don't make an effort to memorize a response, but take down several ideas and talking points that pertain to your own strengths and experiences. Going over sample responses can help you to formulate your own concepts, and give you ideas of what to discuss to enthuse the recruiter.
Choose the Ideal CDL School Valley NE
Selecting the ideal trucking school is a critical first step to starting your new profession as a local or long distance truck driver. The skills taught at school will be those that mold a new career behind the wheel. There are many options available and understanding them is crucial to a new driver’s success. Most importantly, you must obtain the appropriate training in order to drive a large commercial vehicle in a safe and professional fashion. If you are short on cash or financing, you might want to consider 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 select an independent school and have the option of driving for the trucking company of your choice, or one of many associated with the school. It’s your choice. But no matter how you obtain your training, you will in the near future be part of a profession that helps America move as a professional trucker in Valley NE.
A Bit About Valley Nebraska
Valley is a city in Douglas County, Nebraska, United States. The population was 1,875 at the 2010 census.
Valley is also home to the area's National Weather Service office, serving portions of eastern Nebraska and southwestern Iowa.
Valley was laid out as a town in 1864 when it was certain that the Union Pacific Transcontinental Railroad would be extended to that point. It was named for the Platte River valley.
Valley is located at 41°18′51″N 96°20′54″W / 41.31417°N 96.34833°W / 41.31417; -96.34833 (41.314199, -96.348250).
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