How to Select a Truck Driver School near Evanston Wyoming
Congrats on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a trucking school near Evanston WY. Maybe it has always been your goal to hit the open highway while operating a big ole tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have done some analysis and have found that an occupation as a truck driver offers excellent pay and flexible job opportunities. Whatever your reason is, it’s important to get the proper training by enrolling in the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are various factors that you’ll want to think about before making your ultimate selection. Location will certainly be important, particularly if you need to commute from your Evanston home. The expense will also be of importance, but selecting a school based solely on price is not the ideal method to guarantee you’ll receive the right education. Just remember, your goal 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 decide on 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 CDL license you will eventually need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Will You Need?
To drive commercial vehicles lawfully in Wyoming and within the United States, an operator needs to get a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three license classes that a person can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the topic of this article is how to select a truck driver school near Evanston WY, we will discuss Class A and Class 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 for the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is needed to drive any vehicle that has a GCWR of more than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of greater 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 more than 26,000 lbs. including a towed vehicle weighing up to 10,000 lbs. Some 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 require endorsements to drive certain kinds of vehicles, including school or passenger buses. And a Class A licensee, with the proper required endorsements, may drive any vehicle that a Class B licensee is authorized to drive.
How to Evaluate a Trucking School
As soon as you have decided which CDL you would like to pursue, you can begin the undertaking of assessing the Evanston WY truck driver schools that you are looking at. As previously discussed, location and cost will certainly be your initial concerns. But it can’t be stressed enough that they must not be your sole considerations. Other issues, for example the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are equally or even more important. So following are a few more points 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 ? Very few Evanston WY truck driver schools are accredited due to the demanding process and cost to the schools. However, certification is more typical and is offered by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not required to become certified, but there are several advantages. Prospective students know that the training will be of the highest standard, and that they will be given an ample amount of driving time. As an example, PTDI requires 44 hours of actual 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 satisfy the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One indicator to help assess the quality of a trucking school is how long it has been in business. A negatively rated or a fly by night school usually will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. On the other hand, even the best of Evanston WY schools had to start from their opening day of training, so consider it as one of several qualifications. You can also find out what the school’s track record is relating to successful licensing and employment of its graduating students. If a school won’t provide those numbers, look elsewhere. The schools should also maintain associations with regional and national trucking companies. Having numerous contacts not only points to an excellent reputation within the profession, but also boosts their job placement program for students. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to get in touch with the Wyoming licensing authority to confirm that the CDL trucking schools you are reviewing are in good standing.
How Effective is the Training? At a minimum, the schools must be licensed in Wyoming and hire teachers that are experienced and trained. We will cover more about the teachers in the following section. In addition, the student to instructor proportion should be no greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be obtaining the personalized 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 claims it can teach you to be a truck driver in a comparatively short time period. Training to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer professionally takes time. The majority of Evanston WY schools offer training programs that run from 3 weeks to as long as 2 months, depending on the class of license or kind of vehicle.
How Good are the Trainers? As previously mentioned, it’s important that the teachers are qualified to teach driving methods and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Even though a number of states have minimum driving time requirements to qualify as an instructor, the more professional driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also crucial that the teachers stay current with industry advancements or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Evaluating teachers may be a bit more intuitive than other standards, and perhaps the best approach is to pay a visit to the Evanston WY school and talk to the instructors face to face. You can also speak with some of the students completing the training and ask if they are happy with the level of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
How Much Driving Time? Most importantly, a great truck driving school will furnish 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 operating a truck. Although the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are necessary training methods, they are no alternative for real driving. The more instruction that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will become. And even though driving time fluctuates among schools, a good benchmark is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide at least 44 hours of driving time. Check with the Evanston WY schools you are looking at and ask how much driving time they provide.
Are they Independent or Captive ? It’s possible to get free or discounted training from some Evanston WY truck driving schools if you make a commitment to drive for a specific carrier for a defined period of time. This is called contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So instead of having relationships with numerous trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only refer to one company. The benefit is receiving less expensive or even free training by giving up the freedom to initially be a driver wherever you choose. Obviously contract training has the potential to reduce your income prospects when starting out. But for many it may be the only way to obtain affordable training. Just make sure to inquire 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 trucking schools for its students. If onsite testing is available in Wyoming, ask if the Evanston WY schools you are looking at are DMV certified to provide it. One advantage is that it is more accommodating than contending with graduates of other schools for test times at Wyoming testing locations. It is moreover an indication that the DMV believes the authorized schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Classes Convenient? As earlier mentioned, truck driver training is just 1 to 2 months long. With such a brief term, it’s essential that the Evanston WY school you enroll in provides flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. For example, if you’re having difficulty learning a particular driving maneuver, then the teacher should be willing to commit more time with you until you have it mastered. 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 Provided? As soon as you have attained your CDL license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be impatient to begin your new career in Evanston WY. Verify that the schools you are looking at have job placement programs. Find out what their job placement rate is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, find out which national and local trucking firms their graduates are referred to for hiring. If a school has a lower job placement rate or not many employers hiring their grads, it may be a clue to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Available? Trucking schools are comparable to colleges and other vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being available. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have a financial assistance department, or at a minimum someone who can help you understand the options and forms that must be submitted in Evanston WY.
Why Did You Choose to Become a Truck Driver?When preparing to interview for a Trucking position, it's a good idea to reflect on questions you might be asked. Among the questions that recruiters frequently ask truck driving candidates is "What made you pick trucking as a career?". What the interviewer is attempting to uncover is not just the private reasons you might have for being a trucking operator, but also what characteristics and skills you possess that make you outstanding at what you do. You will likely be asked questions relating exclusively to trucking, in addition to a certain number of routine interview questions, so you need to prepare some strategies about how you want to respond to them. Because there are so many variables that go into choosing a career, you can answer this fundamental question in a multitude of ways. When readying an answer, try to include the reasons the profession appeals to you as well as the talents you possess that make you an outstanding truck driver and the best candidate for the position. Don't try to memorize an answer, but write down several ideas and topics that relate to your personal experiences and strengths. Going over sample responses can assist you to prepare your own thoughts, and inspire ideas of what to discuss to impress the interviewer.
Pick the Right Truck Driving School Evanston WY
Selecting the ideal truck driver school is an essential first step to launching your new vocation as a long distance or local truck driver. The skill sets that you will learn at school will be those that forge a new career behind the wheel. There are several options offered and understanding them is vital if you are going to succeed as an operator. But first and foremost, you must receive the necessary training in order to operate a large commercial vehicle in a safe and professional manner. If you are short on cash or financing, you might need to consider a captive school. You will pay a lower or even 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 choice, or one of several associated with the school. It’s your decision. But no matter how you obtain your training, you will soon be part of an industry that helps America move as a professional trucker in Evanston WY.
A Bit About Evanston Wyoming
Evanston is a city in and the county seat of Uinta County, Wyoming, United States. The population was 12,359 at the 2010 census. It is located on the border with Utah.
Evanston was named after James E. Evans, surveyor for the Union Pacific Railroad. Another source maintains it is named for John Evans, second Governor of the Territory of Colorado. The town was founded during the construction of the First Transcontinental Railroad. The railroad arrived in the area in November 1868, and Harvey Booth opened a saloon/restaurant in a tent near what is now Front Street. By December the rails had reached Evanston and the first train arrived December 16. However, Orders were later handed down by the railroad managers to move the end of the line 12 miles west, to Wasatch. Within three days most all of Evanston had moved to Wasatch, it appeared that Evanston would become another "end of the tracks" town. Luckily, in June 1869 headquarters returned to Evanston and it continued to grow. Later in 1871, a machine shop and roundhouse were constructed, giving Evanston a longevity not shared with many other railroad towns.
Abundant timber and water along the Bear River made Evanston a refueling station for cross-country locomotives. Coal was mined a few miles north of Evanston in Almy. Similar to other railroad towns in Wyoming, early Evanston had a large population of Chinese railroad workers – in Evanston they lived on the north side of the railroad tracks in a small "China town." Over time, the Chinese population dwindled, disappearing completely in the 1930s.
Evanston was a major stop on the Lincoln Highway. The highway ran east to west from East Service Rd to Bear River Dr, on Front St to Harrison Dr, to Wasatch Rd southwest to Echo Canyon in Utah. It can still be seen along Interstate 80, which follows the railroad tracks in this area.
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