How to Select a CDL Training School near Raton New Mexico
Congrats on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a trucking school near Raton NM. Maybe it has always been your goal to hit the open highway while driving a monster tractor trailer. Or possibly you have conducted some analysis and have discovered that an occupation as a truck driver offers excellent pay and flexible job opportunities. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s important to receive the proper training by choosing the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are a number of factors that you’ll need to consider prior to making your final selection. Location will certainly be important, especially if you need to commute from your Raton residence. The expense will also be important, but picking a school based solely on price is not the optimal way to make certain you’ll receive the appropriate education. Just remember, your goal is to master the skills and knowledge that will enable you to pass the CDL exams and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that objective in mind, just how do you pick a truck driving school? That is what we are going to address in the rest of this article. But first, we are going to talk a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will ultimately need.
Which CDL Will You Require?
In order to drive commercial vehicles lawfully in New Mexico and within the USA, an operator needs to get a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three classes of licenses that a driver can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the subject of this article is how to select a truck driving school near Raton NM, we will address Class A and Class B licenses. What distinguishes each class of CDL is the type 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 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. Several 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 greater 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 Commercial Drivers Licenses may also require endorsements to operate specific kinds of vehicles, for instance school or passenger buses. And a Class A licensee, with the appropriate needed endorsements, can operate any vehicle that a Class B licensee is authorized to operate.
How to Evaluate a Truck Driving School
When you have decided which Commercial Drivers License you wish to pursue, you can start the process of assessing the Raton NM truck driver schools that you are looking at. As already discussed, cost and location will certainly be your primary considerations. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they should not be your sole considerations. Other issues, for example the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are similarly or even more important. So following are some more factors that you should research while conducting your due diligence before enrolling in, and especially paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Not many Raton NM truck driver schools are accredited because of the stringent process and cost to the schools. However, certification is more typical and is provided by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not obligated to become certified, but there are several advantages. Prospective students recognize that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will be given lots of driving time. For example, PTDI mandates 44 hours of real driving time, not ride-alongs or simulations. So if a school’s program is certified (the program, not the school is certified), students know that the curriculum and training will measure up to the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One clue to help measure the quality of a trucking school is how long it has been in business. A poorly rated or a fly by night school usually will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the best of Raton NM schools had to begin from their first day of training, so consider it as one of several qualifiers. You can also learn what the school’s track record is concerning successful licensing and job placement of its graduates. If a school won’t provide those stats, look elsewhere. The schools should additionally maintain associations with local and national trucking companies. Having a large number of contacts not only affirms an excellent reputation within the industry, but also bolsters their job assistance program for students. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to contact the New Mexico licensing department to verify that the CDL trucker schools you are considering are in good standing.
How Effective is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools should be licensed in New Mexico and hire instructors that are experienced and trained. We will cover more about the instructors in the next segment. Also, the student to instructor proportion should not be 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 concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And watch out for any school that professes it can teach you to be a truck driver in a comparatively short time frame. Training to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer professionally requires time. The majority of Raton NM schools provide training programs that run from three weeks to as long as two months, depending on the license class or type of vehicle.
How Good are the Instructors? As earlier mentioned, it’s important that the instructors are trained to teach driving techniques and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Although several states have minimum driving time criteria to qualify as an instructor, the more professional driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also important that the teachers stay current with industry advancements or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Assessing teachers might be a bit more subjective than other standards, and possibly the ideal approach is to pay a visit to the Raton NM school and talk to the teachers face to face. You can also talk to a few of the students completing the training and find out if they are happy with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Sufficient Driving Time? Above all else, an excellent truck driving 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 driving a truck. While the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are essential training tools, they are no substitute for actual driving. The more instruction that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will become. And even though driving time varies between schools, a reasonable standard is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish no less than 44 hours of driving time. Contact the Raton NM schools you are considering and find out how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Captive or Independent ? You can receive discounted or even free training from certain Raton NM truck driver schools if you enter into an agreement to be a driver for a specified carrier for a defined time period. This is what’s known 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 surrendering the flexibility to initially be a driver wherever you have an opportunity. Naturally contract training has the potential to restrict your income opportunities when beginning your new career. But for many it may be the best way to receive affordable training. Just be sure to ask if the schools you are considering are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Offer Onsite CDL Testing? There are a number of states that will permit third party CDL testing onsite of truck driver schools for its grads. If onsite testing is allowed in New Mexico, ask if the Raton NM schools you are considering are DMV certified to offer it. One advantage is that it is more accommodating than contending with graduates of other schools for test times at New Mexico testing locations. It is also an indicator that the DMV deems the approved schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Classes Accessible? As earlier mentioned, truck driving training is just one to two months long. With such a short term, it’s essential that the Raton NM school you select provides 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 willing to dedicate more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still holding a job while going to training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other responsibilities.
Is Job Placement Provided? Once you have obtained your CDL license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be impatient to begin your new career in Raton NM. Confirm that the schools you are looking at have job placement programs. Find out what their job placement ratio is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, ask which national and local trucking firms their graduates are placed with for hiring. If a school has a low job placement rate or not many employers recruiting their graduates, it may be a sign to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Given? Truck driving schools are much like colleges and other vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid 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 completed in Raton NM.
Why Did You Desire to Be a Truck Driver?When getting ready to interview for a Trucking position, it's advantageous to review questions you could be asked. One of the things that interviewers frequently ask truck driving applicants is "What made you pick trucking as a profession?". What the interviewer is trying to learn is not just the private reasons you may have for being a trucker, but additionally what characteristics and skills you have that make you good at what you do. You will undoubtedly be asked questions pertaining specifically to trucking, in addition to a certain number of general interview questions, so you must ready some strategies about how you would like to address them. Given that there are so many variables that go into selecting a career, you can answer this primary question in a multitude of ways. When formulating an answer, try to include the reasons the work interests you as well as the strengths you have that make you an outstanding truck driver and the perfiect candidate for the job. Don't attempt to memorize a response, but write down some ideas and talking points that relate to your own strengths and experiences. Reading through sample answers can assist you to develop your own thoughts, and inspire ideas of what to discuss to enthuse the interviewer.
Pick the Ideal Trucking School Raton NM
Choosing the appropriate truck driving school is a critical first step to beginning 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 several options offered and understanding them is critical if you are going to succeed as an operator. Most importantly, you must obtain the necessary training in order to operate a large commercial vehicle in a professional and safe fashion. If you are short on 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 select an independent school and have the option of driving for the trucking company of your choice, or one of many affiliated with the school. It’s your decision. But no matter how you receive your training, you will in the near future be part of a profession that helps America move as a professional trucker in Raton NM.
A Bit About Raton New Mexico
Raton, New Mexico
Raton (ra-TONE) is a city and the county seat of Colfax County in northeastern New Mexico. The city is located just south of Raton Pass.
Ratón is the Spanish term for "mouse" (literally "small rat"). The Raton Range and Raton Peak are located immediately north of the town. The Raton Range is a 75-mile-long (121 km) ridge that extends east from the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. Raton Pass and the Raton Basin are also named for the Raton Range.
Raton Pass had been used by Spanish explorers and Indians for centuries to cut through the rugged Rocky Mountains, but the trail was too rough for wagons on the Santa Fe Trail.
The post office at this location was named Willow Springs from 1877 to 1879, Otero from 1879 to 1880, then renamed Raton in 1880.:286
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