How to Decide on a Trucking School near Water Valley Kentucky
Congrats on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a trucking school near Water Valley KY. Perhaps it has always been your fantasy to hit the open road while operating a big ole tractor trailer. Or maybe you have done some analysis and have discovered that an occupation as a truck driver provides good wages and flexible job opportunities. No matter what your reason is, it’s important to get the appropriate training by picking the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are certain variables that you’ll want to examine prior to making your final choice. Location will no doubt be an issue, especially if you need to commute from your Water Valley home. The cost will also be important, but picking a school based solely on price is not the ideal way to make sure you’ll receive the appropriate training. Just remember, your goal 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? The answer to that question is what we are going to discuss 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 Should You Get?
In order to drive commercial vehicles legally within the USA and Water Valley 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. Given that the topic of this article is how to choose a truck driver school, we will focus on Class A and B licenses. What differentiates each class of CDL is the type of vehicle that the driver can operate as well as the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Following are short explanations for 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. Several 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 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. 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 might also need endorsements to drive specific kinds of vehicles, for example school or passenger buses. And a Class A licensee, with the proper required endorsements, can operate any vehicle that a Class B license holder is authorized to operate.
How to Research a Trucking School
When you have determined which CDL you wish to pursue, you can begin the undertaking of researching the Water Valley KY trucking schools that you are considering. As previously mentioned, location and cost will no doubt be your initial concerns. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they must not be your sole concerns. Other issues, for example the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are similarly or even more important. So below are a few additional things that you should research while carrying out your due diligence prior to enrolling in, and especially paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Very few truck driver schools in the Water Valley KY area are accredited due to the rigorous process and cost to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more commonplace and is offered by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not required to become certified, but there are a number of advantages. Prospective students recognize that the training will be of the highest standard, and that they will receive plenty of driving time. For example, PTDI calls for 44 hours of actual 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 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 operation. A negatively reviewed or a fly by night school usually will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the best of Water Valley KY schools had to begin from their first day of training, so use it as one of several qualifications. You can also learn what the school’s history is concerning successful licensing and job placement of its graduating students. If a school won’t supply those numbers, search elsewhere. The schools should additionally maintain associations with local and national trucking firms. Having a large number of contacts not only affirms a quality reputation within the trade, but also bolsters their job placement program for students. It also wouldn’t hurt to check with the Kentucky licensing authority to confirm that the CDL trucking schools you are considering are in compliance.
How Effective is the Training? At a minimum, the schools should be licensed in Kentucky and employ teachers that are trained and experienced. We will talk more about the teachers in the following section. In addition, the student to instructor proportion should be no higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be getting the personal 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 teach you to be a truck driver in a comparatively short time period. Learning to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer professionally requires time. Most Water Valley KY schools provide training courses that run from 3 weeks to as long as 2 months, depending on the license class or kind of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Trainers? As earlier mentioned, it’s essential that the instructors are qualified to teach driving techniques and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Although a number of states have minimum driving time prerequisites to qualify as an instructor, 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. Evaluating teachers may be a little more intuitive than other criteria, and possibly the ideal approach is to visit the school and talk to 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 happy with the level of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Plenty of Driving Time? Above all else, a good trucking school will furnish plenty of 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. Although the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are important training methods, they are no alternative for real driving. The more training that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will become. Although driving time varies between schools, a good standard is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Check with the Water Valley KY schools you are looking at and ask how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Captive or Independent ? You can get discounted or even free training from certain truck driver schools if you make a commitment to be a driver for a particular carrier for a defined amount of time. This is called contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So rather than maintaining associations with a wide range of trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only work with one company. The benefit is receiving free or less expensive training by giving up the freedom to initially work wherever you have an opportunity. Clearly contract training has the potential to restrict your income prospects when beginning your new career. But for some it may be the best way to get affordable training. Just make sure to inquire if the Water Valley KY schools you are contemplating are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Offer Onsite CDL Testing? There are several states that will allow 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driver schools for its students. If onsite testing is permitted in Kentucky, 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 from other schools for test times at Kentucky testing facilities. It is moreover an indicator that the DMV regards the approved schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Class Times Accessible? As previously mentioned, truck driver training is only about 1 to 2 months long. With such a brief duration, it’s important that the Water Valley KY school you choose provides flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. As an example, if you’re having a hard time learning a particular driving maneuver, then the teacher should be prepared to dedicate more time with you until you are proficient. 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 responsibilities.
Is Job Placement Provided? The moment you have acquired your CDL license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be impatient to begin your new career. Verify that the schools you are looking at have job assistance programs. Find out what their job placement ratio is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, find out which local and national trucking firms their graduates are placed with for employment. If a school has a lower job placement rate or few Water Valley KY employers recruiting their grads, it might be a clue to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Truck driving schools are much like colleges and other Water Valley KY area trade or technical schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being available. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have a financial assistance department, or at least someone who can help you get through the options and forms that must be submitted.
Enrolling in a Truck Driving School near Water Valley KY?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Water Valley Kentucky area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Water Valley, Kentucky
As of the census of 2000, there were 316 people, 141 households, and 90 families residing in the city. The population density was 508.0 people per square mile (196.8/km²). There were 166 housing units at an average density of 266.8 per square mile (103.4/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 94.94% White, 4.75% African American, 0.32% from other races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.32% of the population.
There were 141 households out of which 29.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 50.4% were married couples living together, 9.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 35.5% were non-families. 34.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 18.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.24 and the average family size was 2.84.
In the city, the population was spread out with 24.1% under the age of 18, 7.6% from 18 to 24, 26.3% from 25 to 44, 23.7% from 45 to 64, and 18.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females, there were 89.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 83.2 males.
Pick the Ideal Truck Driving School Water Valley KY
Selecting the ideal truck driver school is an important first step to launching your new occupation 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 many options available and understanding them is critical if you are going to succeed as an operator. Most importantly, you must get the appropriate training in order to operate a large commercial vehicle in a safe and professional manner. If you are lacking funds or financing, you may need to think about a captive school. You will pay a reduced or even no tuition by agreeing to drive for their contracted carrier. Or you can choose an independent truck driving school and have the option of driving for the trucking company of your choosing, or one of several affiliated with the school. It’s your choice. But regardless of how you obtain your training, you will soon be entering an industry that helps our country move as a professional trucker in Water Valley KY.
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