How to Select a Truck Driving School near West Louisville Kentucky
Congratulations on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a CDL school near West Louisville KY. Perhaps it has always been your fantasy to hit the open road while driving a monster tractor trailer. Or possibly you have done some analysis and have discovered that an occupation as a truck driver provides excellent wages and flexible job prospects. Whatever your reason is, it’s essential to get the proper training by enrolling in the right CDL school in your area. When evaluating your options, there are various factors that you’ll want to examine before making your ultimate selection. Location will no doubt be an issue, especially if you need to commute from your West Louisville residence. The cost will also be important, but choosing a school based exclusively on price is not the best method to make sure you’ll obtain the right education. Just remember, your objective is to master the knowledge and skills that will enable you to pass the CDL examinations and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that purpose in mind, just how do you select a truck driving school? That is what we are going to address in the remainder of this article. But first, we are going to review a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will ultimately need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Will You Need?
In order to operate commercial vehicles legally within the United States and West Louisville KY, a driver needs to attain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three classes of licenses 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 driving school, we will highlight 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). Following are brief descriptions for 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. A few 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 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. A few 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 Commercial Drivers Licenses might also require endorsements to drive specific types of vehicles, for instance school or passenger buses. And a Class A license holder, with the appropriate required endorsements, can operate any vehicle that a Class B license holder is authorized to drive.
How to Assess a CDL School
When you have determined which Commercial Drivers License you would like to obtain, you can start the undertaking of researching the West Louisville KY truck driver schools that you are considering. As previously discussed, cost and location will no doubt be your initial concerns. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they should not be your only considerations. Other variables, for instance the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are similarly or even more important. So following are several more factors that you need to research while carrying out your due diligence before enrolling in, and especially paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Not many truck driving schools in the West Louisville KY area are accredited due to the stringent process and expense to the schools. On the other hand, 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. Prospective students recognize that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will receive plenty of driving time. For example, PTDI calls for 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 training and curriculum will satisfy the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One clue to help determine the quality of a trucking school is how long it has been in business. A poorly rated or a fly by night school typically will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the best of West Louisville KY schools had to start from their first day of training, so use it as one of several qualifications. You can also find out what the school’s history is relating to successful licensing and employment of its graduating students. If a school won’t supply those stats, look elsewhere. The schools should also maintain associations with local and national trucking firms. Having a large number of contacts not only confirms an excellent reputation within the trade, but also boosts their job assistance program for graduates. It also wouldn’t hurt to check with the Kentucky licensing authority to confirm that the CDL trucker schools you are considering are in good standing.
How Good is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools should be licensed in Kentucky and employ instructors that are trained and experienced. We will talk more about the teachers in the following section. Also, the student to instructor proportion should be no greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be receiving the individual attention they will need. This is particularly true concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And be critical of any school that professes it can train you to drive trucks in a comparatively short time frame. Training to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer professionally takes time. Most West Louisville KY schools offer training programs that range from three weeks to as long as two months, based on the class of license or type of vehicle.
How Good are the Trainers? As already mentioned, it’s imperative that the teachers 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 qualify as a teacher, the more successful driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also vital that the teachers stay up to date with industry developments or any new laws or changes in regulations. Assessing teachers might be a bit more intuitive than other standards, and possibly the ideal method is to visit the school and talk to the teachers face to face. You can also talk to a few of the students going through the training and ask if they are satisfied with the level of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Plenty of Driving Time? Most importantly, a great trucking school will furnish ample 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 important training tools, they are no replacement for actual driving. The more instruction that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will become. Although driving time can vary among schools, a good standard 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 West Louisville KY schools you are looking at and ask how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Captive or Independent ? It’s possible to get discounted or even free training from a number of trucking schools if you enter into an agreement to be a driver for a particular carrier for a defined amount of time. This is what’s known as contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So instead of having affiliations with numerous trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only refer to 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 limit your income opportunities when starting out. But for many it may be the only way to get affordable training. Just make sure to inquire if the West Louisville KY schools you are looking at are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Offer CDL Testing Onsite? There are a number of states that will allow 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its students. If onsite testing is permitted in Kentucky, ask if the schools you are reviewing are DMV certified to provide it. One advantage is that it is more convenient than competing with graduates from competing schools for test times at Kentucky testing centers. It is also an indicator that the DMV regards the authorized schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Classes Accessible? As previously noted, truck driver training is only about one to two months long. With such a brief term, it’s important that the West Louisville KY school you select provides flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. As an example, if you’re having difficulty learning a particular driving maneuver, then the instructor should be prepared to commit more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still working while going to training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other obligations.
Is Job Assistance Provided? Once you have received 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 assistance programs. Ask 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 West Louisville KY employers recruiting their grads, it may be a clue to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Truck driving schools are similar to colleges and other West Louisville KY area vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being offered. Find out if the schools you are evaluating have a financial aid department, or at a minimum someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that must be submitted.
Enrolling in a Truck Driving School near West Louisville KY?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the West Louisville Kentucky area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Louisville (/ˈluːəvəl/ ( listen) LOO-ə-vəl, /ˈluːivɪl/ ( listen) LOO-ee-vil, /ˈlʊvəl/ ( listen) LUUV-əl) is the largest city in the Commonwealth of Kentucky and the 29th most-populous city in the United States.[d] It is one of two cities in Kentucky designated as first-class, the other being Lexington, the state's second-largest city.[e] Louisville is the historical seat and, since 2003, the nominal seat of Jefferson County.
Louisville was founded in 1778 by George Rogers Clark, making it one of the oldest cities west of the Appalachian Mountains. It is named after King Louis XVI of France. Sited beside the Falls of the Ohio, the only major obstruction to river traffic between the upper Ohio River and the Gulf of Mexico, the settlement first grew as a portage site. It was the founding city of the Louisville and Nashville Railroad, which grew into a 6,000-mile (9,700 km) system across 13 states. Today, the city is known as the home of the Kentucky Derby, Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC), the University of Louisville and its Louisville Cardinals athletic teams, Louisville Slugger baseball bats, and three of Kentucky's six Fortune 500 companies. Its main airport is also the site of United Parcel Service's worldwide air hub.
Since 2003, Louisville's borders have been the same as those of Jefferson County, after a city-county merger. The official name of this consolidated city-county government is the Louisville/Jefferson County Metro Government, abbreviated to Louisville Metro. Despite the merger and renaming, the term "Jefferson County" continues to be used in some contexts in reference to Louisville Metro, particularly including the incorporated cities outside the "balance" which make up Louisville proper. The city's total consolidated population as of the 2017 census estimate was 771,158. However, the balance total of 621,349 excludes other incorporated places and semiautonomous towns within the county and is the population listed in most sources and national rankings.
Choose the Ideal Truck Driver School West Louisville KY
Choosing the appropriate truck driver school is an important first step to starting your new vocation as a local or long distance truck driver. The skills that you will learn at school will be those that forge a new career behind the wheel. There are many options available and understanding them is crucial if you are going to succeed as an operator. But first and foremost, you must get the proper training in order to operate a large commercial vehicle in a professional and safe manner. If you are lacking cash or financing, you may want to look into a captive school. You will pay a reduced or in some cases no tuition by agreeing to drive for their contracted carrier. Or you can choose 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 choice. But no matter how you receive your training, you will in the near future be joining an industry that helps our country move as a professional truck driver in West Louisville KY.
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