How to Select a Trucking School near Santaquin Utah
Congratulations on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a trucking school near Santaquin UT. Maybe it has always been your goal to hit the open highway while operating a huge tractor trailer. Or maybe you have done some analysis and have discovered that an occupation as a truck driver offers excellent wages and flexible work prospects. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s important to obtain the proper training by picking the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are certain factors that you’ll want to think about before making your final choice. Location will undoubtedly be an issue, especially if you have to commute from your Santaquin home. The cost will also be of importance, but selecting a school based entirely on price is not the ideal way to make certain you’ll get the proper education. Just remember, your objective is to master the skills and knowledge that will allow you to pass the CDL exams and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that goal in mind, just how do you decide on a truck driving school? That is what we are going to address in the remainder of this article. But first, we are going to discuss a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will eventually need.
Which CDL Should You Get?
To drive commercial vehicles legally in Utah and within the USA, an operator must get a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three classes of licenses that one can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the topic of this article is how to choose a truck driving school near Santaquin UT, we will address Class A and B licenses. What distinguishes 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). Below are short summaries of the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is required to drive any vehicle that has a GCWR of greater than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of more than 10,000 lbs. Some 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 more 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 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 may also need endorsements to drive specific kinds of vehicles, for example school or passenger buses. And a Class A license holder, with the proper required endorsements, may drive any vehicle that a Class B license holder is authorized to drive.
How to Evaluate a Truck Driving School
After you have determined which CDL you want to pursue, you can begin the undertaking of evaluating the Santaquin UT trucking schools that you are considering. As earlier discussed, 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 factors, including the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are equally if not more important. So below are several more points that you need to research while performing your due diligence before choosing, and particularly paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Not many Santaquin UT trucking schools are accredited because of the demanding 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 obligated to become certified, but there are a number of advantages. Prospective students recognize that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will be given an ample amount of driving time. For example, PTDI requires 44 hours of real driving time, not simulations or ride-alongs. So if a school’s course is certified (the course, not the school is certified), students know that the curriculum and training will fulfill the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One indicator to help evaluate the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in business. A poorly ranked or a fly by night school typically will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. Having said that, even the best of Santaquin UT schools had to begin from their opening day of training, so consider it as one of several qualifiers. You can also ask what the school’s track record is pertaining to successful licensing and employment of its graduates. If a school won’t provide those stats, search elsewhere. The schools should additionally maintain relationships with local and national trucking firms. Having numerous contacts not only affirms a quality reputation within the profession, but also bolsters their job assistance program for graduates. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to check with the Utah licensing department to verify that the CDL trucker schools you are researching are in compliance.
How Good is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools must be licensed in Utah and hire teachers that are trained and experienced. We will talk more about the teachers in the following section. In addition, the student to instructor ratio should be no higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be receiving 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 insists it can train you to be a truck driver in a relatively short time period. Training to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer professionally requires time. Most Santaquin UT schools provide training programs that range from three weeks to as long as two months, depending on the class of license or type of vehicle.
How Good are the Instructors? As already stated, it’s important that the teachers are trained to teach driving techniques and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Although a number of states have minimum driving time prerequisites to qualify as an instructor, the more successful driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also crucial that the teachers stay up to date with industry developments or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Assessing teachers might be a little more intuitive than other criteria, and perhaps the ideal method is to check out the Santaquin UT school and speak with the instructors face to face. You can also talk to a few of the students going through the training and find out if they are satisfied with the level of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
Enough Driving Time? Most importantly, a good truck driver school will furnish plenty of driving time to its students. Besides, isn’t that what it’s all about? Driving time is the real 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 instruction that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will be. And even though driving time can vary between schools, a reasonable benchmark is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Contact the Santaquin UT schools you are looking at and find out how much driving time they provide.
Are they Independent or Captive ? It’s possible to obtain discounted or even free training from a number of Santaquin UT trucking schools if you enter into an agreement to be a driver for a particular carrier for a defined period of time. This is what’s known as contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So rather than maintaining affiliations with a wide range of trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only work with one company. The tradeoff is receiving free or less expensive training by surrendering the freedom to initially work wherever you have an opportunity. Clearly contract training has the potential to reduce your income prospects when starting out. But for many it may be the best way to get affordable training. Just remember to ask if the schools you are looking at are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Offer CDL Testing Onsite? There are several states that will permit third party CDL testing onsite of truck driver schools for its grads. If onsite testing is allowed in Utah, find out if the Santaquin UT 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 Utah testing centers. It is moreover an indication that the DMV considers the authorized schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Class Times Flexible? As previously noted, truck driving training is just 1 to 2 months long. With such a short duration, it’s essential that the Santaquin UT school you select offers 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 willing 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? As soon as you have acquired your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be impatient to begin your new career in Santaquin UT. Make sure that the schools you are contemplating have job assistance programs. Find out what their job placement rate is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, ask which national and local trucking companies their graduates are referred to for employment. If a school has a lower job placement rate or not many employers recruiting their grads, it may be a sign to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Truck driver schools are similar to colleges and other trade or technical schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being offered. Find out if the schools you are evaluating have a financial aid department, or at least someone who can help you get through the options and forms that must be completed in Santaquin UT.
Why Did You Decide to Become a Tractor Trailer Operator?When preparing to interview for a Trucking position, it's a good idea to review questions you could be asked. One of the questions that recruiters typically ask truck driving prospects is "What made you choose trucking as a profession?". What the interviewer is hoping to discover is not merely the private reasons you might have for being a trucker, but also what characteristics and skills you possess that make you outstanding at what you do. You will likely be asked questions relating specifically to trucking, in addition to a significant number of typical interview questions, so you should prepare a number of approaches about how you want to respond to them. Given that there are several factors that go into choosing a career, you can address this primary question in a variety of ways. When preparing an answer, aim to include the reasons the profession appeals to you in addition to the talents you have that make you an outstanding truck driver and the ideal candidate for the job. Don't make an effort to memorize an answer, but write down several concepts and anecdotes that relate to your own experiences and strengths. Reading through sample answers can help you to prepare your own thoughts, and inspire ideas of what to discuss to enthuse the interviewer.
Select the Best Truck Driving School Santaquin UT
Choosing the right truck driving school is an important first step to beginning your new profession as a long distance or local truck driver. The skills taught at school will be those that mold a new career behind the wheel. There are many options offered and understanding them is crucial to a new driver’s success. But first and foremost, you must obtain the necessary training in order to operate a large commercial vehicle in a professional and safe fashion. If you are lacking funds or financing, you might need to consider 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 option of driving for the trucking firm of your choice, or one of several associated with the school. It’s your choice. But no matter how you get your training, you will in the near future be joining an industry that helps our country move as a professional truck driver in Santaquin UT.
A Bit About Santaquin Utah
Santaquin is a city in Utah and Juab counties in the U.S. state of Utah. It is part of the Provo–Orem, Utah Metropolitan Statistical Area. The population was 9,128 at the 2010 census.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 2.6 square miles (6.8 km²), all land. It is located south-east of Utah Lake.
This climatic region is typified by large seasonal temperature differences, with warm to hot (and often humid) summers and cold (sometimes severely cold) winters. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Santaquin has a humid continental climate, abbreviated "Dfb" on climate maps.
Santaquin, one of the early settlements along the Salt Lake Road, was originally settled in late 1851. It was originally named Summit City because of its location at the summit of the divide between Utah Valley and Juab Valley. Summit City was settled by pioneers who were helping settle nearby Payson to the north. In 1856 it was renamed Santaquin for the son of Guffich, a local native chieftain friendly to the settlers.
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