How to Select a CDL Training School near Viola Kansas
Congratulations on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a trucking school near Viola KS. Maybe it has always been your fantasy to hit the open road while operating a huge tractor trailer. Or maybe you have conducted some research and have found that a career as a truck driver provides good income and flexible job prospects. No matter what your reason is, it’s essential to obtain the appropriate training by enrolling in the right CDL school in your area. When evaluating your options, there are a number of factors that you’ll need to consider before making your final choice. Location will certainly be an issue, particularly if you need to commute from your Viola residence. The cost will also be important, but choosing a school based solely on price is not the optimal way to make certain you’ll receive the proper training. Just remember, your goal is to master the knowledge and skills that will allow you to pass the CDL examinations and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that purpose in mind, just how do you decide on a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to address in the rest of this article. But first, we are going to discuss a little bit about which CDL license you will eventually need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Will You Need?
To operate commercial vehicles lawfully within the United States and Viola KS, an operator must get a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 license classes that a person can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the topic of this article is how to choose a truck driver school, we will focus on Class A and Class B licenses. What distinguishes each class of CDL is the type 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 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License is needed to operate any vehicle that has a GCWR of more than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of greater than 10,000 lbs. Some of the vehicles that drivers may be able to operate 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 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. 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 CDLs may also require endorsements to operate certain types of vehicles, for example passenger or school buses. And a Class A licensee, with the appropriate required endorsements, can operate any vehicle that a Class B license holder is authorized to operate.
How to Evaluate a Truck Driving School
As soon as you have decided which Commercial Drivers License you want to obtain, you can begin the process of assessing the Viola KS trucking schools that you are looking at. As already mentioned, location and cost will no doubt be your primary considerations. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they should not be your only considerations. Other variables, for example the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are similarly if not more important. So following are some additional things that you should research while conducting your due diligence before choosing, and particularly paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Not many truck driver schools in the Viola KS area are accredited because of the stringent 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 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 get plenty of driving time. As an example, PTDI calls for 44 hours of real driving time, not simulations or ride-alongs. So if a school’s program is certified (the program, not the school is certified), students know that the training and curriculum will meet the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One clue to help determine the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in business. A poorly ranked or a fly by night school usually will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the best of Viola KS schools had to start from their first day of training, so consider it as one of multiple qualifiers. You can also ask what the school’s track record is relating to successful licensing and job placement of its graduates. If a school won’t share those numbers, search elsewhere. The schools should additionally have relationships with regional and national trucking firms. Having a large number of contacts not only points to a quality reputation within the industry, but also bolsters their job assistance program for students. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to check with the Kansas licensing department to make sure that the CDL trucking schools you are researching are in good standing.
How Good is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools must be licensed in Kansas and employ instructors that are experienced and trained. We will discuss more about the teachers in the next segment. In addition, the student to instructor proportion should not be higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be obtaining the personalized attention they will need. This is especially true concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And look out for any school that professes it can train you to be a truck driver in a relatively short period of time. Learning to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer professionally takes time. Most Viola KS schools provide training programs that range from three weeks to as long as 2 months, depending on the license class or type of vehicle.
How Good are the Trainers? As earlier mentioned, it’s essential that the teachers are trained to teach driving techniques and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Even though several states have minimum driving time prerequisites to qualify as a teacher, the more professional driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also vital that the instructors stay up to date with industry developments or any new laws or changes in regulations. Assessing teachers may be a little more subjective than other criteria, and possibly the ideal method is to pay a visit to the school and speak with the teachers in person. You can also speak with some of the students going through the training and find out if they are happy with the level of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Adequate 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 actual time spent behind the wheel operating a truck. While the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are essential training methods, they are no replacement for real driving. The more training that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver he or she 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 provide no less than 44 hours of driving time. Get in touch with the Viola KS schools you are looking at and find out how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Captive or Independent ? It’s possible to obtain discounted or even free training from some 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 provide it are called captives. So rather than having relationships with many different 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 giving up the flexibility to initially be a driver wherever you have an opportunity. Obviously contract training has the potential to reduce your income prospects when beginning your new career. But for many it may be the ideal way to get affordable training. Just be sure to find out if the Viola KS schools you are considering are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Offer CDL Testing Onsite? There are a number of states that will permit 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is allowed in Kansas, ask if the schools you are reviewing are DMV certified to offer it. One advantage is that it is more accommodating than competing with graduates from competing schools for test times at Kansas testing facilities. It is moreover an indicator that the DMV considers the authorized schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Classes Flexible? As formerly mentioned, truck driver training is just 1 to 2 months in length. With such a brief term, it’s important that the Viola KS school you select offers flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. For example, if you’re having a hard time learning a certain driving maneuver, then the instructor should be prepared to devote more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still employed while going to training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other commitments.
Is Job Assistance Offered? As soon as you have attained your CDL license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be impatient to begin your new career. Make sure that the schools you are considering have job assistance programs. Find out what their job placement ratio is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, ask which local and national trucking companies their graduates are placed with for employment. If a school has a low job placement rate or not many Viola KS employers recruiting their graduates, it may be a sign to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Truck driver schools are comparable to colleges and other Viola KS area trade or technical 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 need to be completed.
Enrolling in a Truck Driving School near Viola KS?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Viola Kansas area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Viola is located at 37°29′1″N 97°38′42″W / 37.48361°N 97.64500°W / 37.48361; -97.64500 (37.483526, -97.644918). It is southwest of Wichita on Highway 42 at the intersection of Highway 49. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 0.16 square miles (0.41 km2), all of it land.
As of the census of 2010, there were 130 people, 51 households, and 37 families residing in the city. The population density was 812.5 inhabitants per square mile (313.7/km2). There were 64 housing units at an average density of 400.0 per square mile (154.4/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 91.5% White, 1.5% African American, 1.5% Native American, 1.5% from other races, and 3.8% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 8.5% of the population.
There were 51 households of which 37.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 66.7% were married couples living together, 5.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 27.5% were non-families. 19.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.55 and the average family size was 2.89.
Pick the Right CDL School Viola KS
Picking the right truck driver school is a critical first step to beginning your new vocation as a long distance or local truck driver. The skills that you will learn at school will be those that forge a new career behind the wheel. There are a number of options offered and understanding them is vital to a new driver’s success. Most importantly, you must receive the necessary training in order to drive a large commercial vehicle in a professional and safe fashion. If you are lacking cash or financing, you may need to look into a captive school. You will pay a reduced or even no tuition by agreeing to drive 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 no matter how you get your training, you will soon be entering a profession that helps our country move as a professional trucker in Viola KS.
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