How to Choose a Truck Driving School near Silverton Idaho
Congratulations on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a CDL school near Silverton ID. Perhaps it has always been your ambition to hit the open highway while operating a monster tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have conducted some research and have discovered that a career as a truck driver offers excellent wages and flexible job prospects. No matter what your reason is, it’s imperative to obtain the proper training by selecting the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are several factors that you’ll need to examine prior to making your final selection. Location will no doubt be an issue, especially if you have to commute from your Silverton home. The cost will also be of importance, but selecting a school based solely on price is not the ideal way to make sure you’ll receive the right education. Don’t forget, your objective is to learn the knowledge and skills that will allow you to pass the CDL exams and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that objective in mind, just how do you choose a truck driving school? The answer to that question 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 Need?
To operate commercial vehicles lawfully within the USA and Silverton ID, a driver must attain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three classes of licenses that a person can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the topic of this article is how to select a truck driving school, we will focus on Class A and B licenses. What differentiates 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). Below 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 greater than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of greater 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 Commercial Drivers License is needed to operate single vehicles having a GVWR of more than 26,000 lbs., or a GCWR of greater 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 might also need endorsements to operate specific kinds of vehicles, including passenger or school buses. And a Class A licensee, with the appropriate needed endorsements, may drive any vehicle that a Class B licensee is qualified to drive.
How to Evaluate a CDL School
After you have decided which Commercial Drivers License you want to obtain, you can start the undertaking of evaluating the Silverton ID truck driving schools that you are looking at. As earlier mentioned, cost and location will certainly be your initial considerations. But it can’t be stressed enough that they should not be your sole concerns. Other variables, such as the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are equally if not more important. So below are some more factors that you need to research while performing your due diligence prior to enrolling in, and particularly paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Very few truck driving schools in the Silverton ID area are accredited due to the stringent 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 required to become certified, but there are certain advantages. Potential students know that the training will be of the highest standard, and that they will get an ample amount of driving time. For example, PTDI calls for 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 training and curriculum will comply with the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One indicator to help determine the quality of a truck driver school is how long it has been in business. A poorly reviewed or a fly by night school normally will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. Having said that, even the best of Silverton ID schools had to start from their first day of training, so consider it as one of multiple qualifiers. You can also learn 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 relationships with local and national trucking companies. Having a large number of contacts not only confirms a quality reputation within the trade, but also bolsters their job assistance program for students. It also wouldn’t hurt to check with the Idaho licensing department to make sure that the CDL trucking schools you are reviewing are in compliance.
How Effective is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools must be licensed in Idaho and employ teachers that are experienced and trained. We will discuss more about the instructors in the next section. Also, the student to instructor ratio should not be greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be obtaining the personalized 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 claims it can teach you to drive trucks in a comparatively short time frame. Training to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully requires time. Most Silverton ID schools provide training programs that run from 3 weeks to as long as two months, based on the license class or kind of vehicle.
How Good are the Instructors? As already mentioned, it’s imperative that the instructors are qualified to teach driving techniques and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Even though a number of states have minimum driving time criteria to be certified as an instructor, the more successful driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also important that the instructors keep up to date with industry advancements or any new laws or changes in regulations. Assessing instructors may be a bit more subjective than other standards, and possibly the best approach is to visit the school and talk to the teachers in person. You can also speak with a few of the students completing the training and find out if they are happy with the level of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
How Much Driving Time? Above all else, a great truck driver school will provide ample 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 operating a truck. While the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are essential training tools, they are no alternative for actual driving. The more training that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will be. 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 furnish at least 44 hours of driving time. Check with the Silverton ID schools you are researching and find out how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Independent or Captive ? It’s possible to obtain discounted or even free training from certain truck driving schools if you make a commitment to be a driver for a specific 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 having relationships with a wide range of 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 giving up the freedom to initially be a driver wherever you have an opportunity. Naturally contract training has the potential to reduce your income opportunities when beginning your new career. But for some it may be the only way to obtain affordable training. Just make sure to find out if the Silverton ID schools you are contemplating are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Provide CDL Testing Onsite? There are some states that will permit 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is available in Idaho, find out if the schools you are considering are DMV certified to offer it. One benefit is that it is more convenient than contending with graduates of other schools for test times at Idaho testing facilities. It is also an indication that the DMV views the authorized schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Classes Convenient? As earlier mentioned, truck driving training is just one to two months long. With such a brief duration, it’s essential that the Silverton ID school you select offers flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. As an example, if you’re having a hard time learning a certain driving maneuver, then the teacher should be willing to commit more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still holding a job while attending training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other responsibilities.
Is Job Placement Offered? Once you have attained your CDL license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be eager to begin your new profession. Verify that the schools you are looking at have job placement programs. Find out what their job placement percentage is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, find out which local and national trucking firms their graduates are referred to for hiring. If a school has a poor job placement rate or few Silverton ID employers recruiting their graduates, it may be a clue to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Truck driving schools are comparable to colleges and other Silverton ID area technical or vocational schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being offered. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have a financial aid department, or at least someone who can help you understand the options and forms that need to be submitted.
Enrolling in a Truck Driving School near Silverton ID?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Silverton Idaho area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
The town of Silverton is a Statutory Town that is the county seat of, and the only incorporated municipality in San Juan County, Colorado, United States. Silverton is a former silver mining camp, most or all of which is now included in a federally designated National Historic Landmark District, the Silverton Historic District. The town population reached its peak of 531 in the U.S. Census 2000. It has grown since then.
Silverton is linked to Durango by the Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, a National Historic Landmark. Silverton no longer has active mining, but subsists by tourism, maintenance of US 550 (which links Montrose with Durango via Silverton), mine pollution remediation, and retirees. In 2002 an extreme ski mountain, Silverton Mountain, opened near the town.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 0.8 square miles (2.1 km2), all of it land. Silverton is one of the highest towns in the United States, at 9,318 feet (2,836 m) above sea level.
Select the Right Truck Driving School Silverton ID
Choosing the ideal truck driver school is an important first step to launching your new vocation as a long distance or local truck driver. The skill sets taught at school will be those that mold a new career behind the wheel. There are a number of options offered and understanding them is crucial to a new driver’s success. But first and foremost, you must obtain the appropriate training in order to operate a big 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 reduced or in some cases no tuition in exchange for driving for their contracted carrier. Or you can select an independent CDL school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking company of your choosing, or one of several associated with the school. It’s your decision. But regardless of how you get your training, you will soon be part of an industry that helps America move as a professional trucker in Silverton ID.
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