How to Pick a CDL Driving School near Violet Louisiana
Congratulations on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a truck driving school near Violet LA. Perhaps it has always been your fantasy to hit the open highway while driving a big ole tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have done some research and have discovered that an occupation as a truck driver offers excellent wages and flexible work opportunities. No matter what your reason is, it’s important to receive the appropriate training by selecting the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are various factors that you’ll want to examine before making your final choice. Location will no doubt be an issue, particularly if you have to commute from your Violet residence. The cost will also be of importance, but picking a school based only on price is not the ideal method to guarantee you’ll receive the proper training. Just remember, your objective is to learn the skills and knowledge 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 cover 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 Violet LA, a driver must obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three classes of licenses that one can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the topic of this article is how to choose a truck driving school, we will focus on Class A and Class 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 short descriptions for the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License is needed to drive any vehicle that has a GCWR of greater 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 needed to operate 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. Several 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 Commercial Drivers Licenses might also need endorsements to operate specific types of vehicles, including passenger or school buses. And a Class A license holder, with the proper required endorsements, can operate any vehicle that a Class B license holder is authorized to drive.
How to Evaluate a Truck Driving School
When you have decided which Commercial Drivers License you wish to pursue, you can begin the process of evaluating the Violet LA truck driver schools that you are considering. As already mentioned, cost and location will no doubt be your primary concerns. But it can’t be stressed enough that they must not be your sole concerns. Other issues, for instance the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are equally or even more important. So below are a few additional factors that you should research while carrying out your due diligence before selecting, and especially paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Not many truck driver schools in the Violet LA area are accredited because of the demanding process and expense to the schools. However, certification is more common 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 receive plenty of driving time. For example, PTDI mandates 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 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 business. A poorly ranked or a fly by night school usually will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. Having said that, even the top Violet LA 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 history is concerning successful licensing and employment of its graduates. If a school won’t provide those stats, search elsewhere. The schools should additionally have relationships with regional and national trucking firms. Having numerous contacts not only points to an excellent reputation within the trade, but also boosts their job placement program for graduates. It also wouldn’t hurt to check with the Louisiana licensing department to verify that the CDL trucking schools you are researching are in compliance.
How Effective is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools must be licensed in Louisiana and hire teachers that are trained and experienced. We will discuss more about the instructors in the next segment. In addition, the student to instructor proportion should be no higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be getting 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 insists it can train you to drive trucks in a comparatively short time period. Learning to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully takes time. The majority of Violet LA schools provide training programs that run from three weeks to as long as 2 months, based on the class of license or kind of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Teachers? As already mentioned, it’s essential that the instructors are qualified to teach driving techniques and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Even though several states have minimum driving time criteria to be certified as a teacher, the more professional driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also crucial that the teachers keep current with industry developments or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Assessing teachers might be a little more subjective than other standards, and possibly the ideal approach is to pay a visit to the school and speak with the instructors in person. You can also speak with some of the students completing the training and find out if they are satisfied with the level of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
How Much Driving Time? Above all else, an excellent trucking school will furnish lots of driving time to its students. Besides, isn’t that what it’s all about? Driving time is the actual time spent behind the wheel driving a truck. While the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are necessary training tools, they are no substitute for actual driving. The more instruction that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will be. Although driving time differs among schools, a reasonable standard is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish at least 44 hours of driving time. Contact the Violet LA schools you are looking at and ask how much driving time they provide.
Are they Captive or Independent ? You can get free or discounted training from certain truck driving schools if you make a commitment to be a driver for a specified carrier for a defined amount of time. This is referred to as contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So rather than maintaining relationships with a wide range of trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, 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. Clearly contract training has the potential to restrict your income opportunities when starting out. But for many it may be the best way to obtain affordable training. Just remember to inquire if the Violet LA schools you are considering are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Offer CDL Testing Onsite? There are several states that will permit third party CDL testing onsite of truck driver schools for its grads. If onsite testing is permitted in Louisiana, find out if the schools you are considering are DMV certified to offer it. One advantage is that it is more convenient than battling with graduates of other schools for test times at Louisiana testing locations. It is also an indicator that the DMV regards the approved schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Class Times Convenient? As previously mentioned, CDL training is only about 1 to 2 months in length. With such a brief term, it’s imperative that the Violet LA school you enroll in 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 teacher should be willing to devote more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still holding a job while attending training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other commitments.
Is Job Assistance Provided? The moment you have attained your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be eager to start your new profession. Verify that the schools you are reviewing have job placement programs. Ask what their job placement percentage is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, find out which national and local trucking firms their graduates are referred to for employment. If a school has a low job placement rate or few Violet LA employers hiring their grads, it might be a sign to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Truck driving schools are much like colleges and other Violet LA area technical or vocational schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being available. Ask if the schools you are examining have a financial aid department, or at a minimum someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that must be completed.
Enrolling in a Truck Driving School near Violet LA?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Violet Louisiana area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Violet La Plante
Violet La Plante, born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri, was the younger sister of future Hollywood star Laura La Plante, and started acting in the early 1920s, adapting her surname to "LaPlante", like her sister. Her first film was in 1924, starring opposite Buddy Roosevelt, in Battling Buddy. She starred in four films in 1924. The following year she made just one film, but was included in the "WAMPAS Baby Stars" (at the time, baby star was common slang for starlet). Her sister Laura was a 1923 "WAMPAS Baby Stars".
Despite the "WAMPAS Baby Star" title, she would never achieve the same level of success as her sister. In 1926 and 1927 she would star in only one film for each year, then in 1928 she would have only two films. Her career ended before the advent of "talking films", with her last role being in the 1928 film How to Handle Women.
Choose the Ideal CDL School Violet LA
Choosing the appropriate trucking school is an important first step to beginning your new vocation as a local or long distance truck driver. The skill sets taught at school will be those that forge a new career behind the wheel. There are several options available and understanding them is vital to a new driver’s success. But first and foremost, you must receive the proper training in order to drive a large commercial vehicle in a safe and professional manner. If you are short on money or financing, you might want to consider a captive school. You will pay a lower or even no tuition in exchange for driving for their contracted carrier. Or you can enroll in an independent trucker school and have the option of driving for the trucking firm of your choice, or one of several associated with the school. It’s your decision. But regardless of how you receive your training, you will in the near future be part of a profession that helps America move as a professional truck driver in Violet LA.
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