How to Choose a Truck Driving School near Venice Louisiana
Congrats on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a truck driving school near Venice LA. Maybe it has always been your dream to hit the open highway while operating a monster tractor trailer. Or possibly you have done some research and have found that a career as a truck driver provides good income and flexible work prospects. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s important to obtain the proper training by selecting the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are a number of factors that you’ll need to examine before making your final selection. Location will undoubtedly be important, especially if you have to commute from your Venice home. The expense will also be of importance, but selecting a school based only on price is not the best way to make sure you’ll get the appropriate training. Don’t forget, your goal is to learn the knowledge and skills that will allow you to pass the CDL exams and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that purpose in mind, just how do you choose a truck driving school? That is what we are going to cover in the balance of this article. But first, we are going to discuss a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will eventually need.
Which CDL Will You Need?
To drive commercial vehicles lawfully within the USA and Venice LA, an operator must get 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. Since the subject of this article is how to select 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 summaries for the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License 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 CDL 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. 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 need endorsements to drive certain kinds of vehicles, for example passenger or school buses. And a Class A licensee, with the proper needed endorsements, may drive any vehicle that a Class B license holder is authorized to drive.
How to Research a CDL School
When you have decided which CDL you would like to obtain, you can begin the undertaking of researching the Venice LA trucking schools that you are considering. As already discussed, location and cost will undoubtedly be your primary considerations. But it can’t be stressed enough that they should not be your sole considerations. Other variables, including the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are equally if not more important. So below are a few additional points that you need to research while carrying out your due diligence prior to enrolling in, and particularly paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Very few trucking schools in the Venice LA area are accredited due to the demanding process and cost to the schools. However, 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. Potential students know that the training will be of the highest caliber, and that they will be given lots of driving time. For example, PTDI mandates 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 curriculum and training will satisfy the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One clue to help assess the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in operation. A poorly ranked or a fly by night school normally will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. On the other hand, even the best of Venice LA schools had to start from their first day of training, so use it as one of several qualifiers. You can also learn what the school’s history is pertaining to successful licensing and employment of its graduates. If a school won’t provide those numbers, look elsewhere. The schools should additionally maintain associations with regional and national trucking companies. Having a large number of contacts not only points to an excellent reputation within the trade, but also boosts their job assistance program for graduates. It also wouldn’t hurt to check with the Louisiana licensing department to verify that the CDL trucker schools you are reviewing are in good standing.
How Good is the Training? At a minimum, the schools should be licensed in Louisiana and hire teachers that are experienced and trained. We will talk more about the instructors in the next segment. Also, the student to instructor proportion should be no higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be receiving the personalized attention 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 period of time. Training to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully takes time. Most Venice LA schools provide training courses that range from 3 weeks to as long as 2 months, based on the class of license or type of vehicle.
How Good are the Teachers? As previously stated, it’s imperative that the teachers are qualified to teach driving techniques and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Although several states have minimum driving time requirements to qualify as a teacher, the more professional driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also vital that the instructors keep current with industry advancements or any new laws or changes in regulations. Assessing instructors may be a bit more intuitive than other standards, and possibly the best approach is to visit the school and speak with the teachers in person. You can also talk to some of the students going through the training and ask if they are happy with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
How Much Driving Time? Above all else, a great trucking school will furnish 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 driving a truck. Even though the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are necessary training tools, they are no alternative for real driving. The more instruction that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will be. Although driving time fluctuates among schools, a good standard is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide at least 44 hours of driving time. Check with the Venice LA schools you are considering and ask how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Captive or Independent ? You can get discounted or even free training from certain truck driving schools if you enter into an agreement to drive for a particular carrier for a defined period of time. This is called contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So instead of maintaining associations with numerous trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only work with one company. The tradeoff is receiving less expensive or even free training by giving up the flexibility to initially be a driver wherever you have an opportunity. Naturally contract training has the potential to limit your income prospects when beginning your new career. But for many it may be the best way to obtain affordable training. Just make sure to ask if the Venice LA schools you are considering are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Is there Onsite CDL Testing? There are several states that will allow third party CDL testing onsite of truck driver schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is allowed in Louisiana, find out if the schools you are looking at are DMV certified to provide it. One benefit is that it is more accommodating than contending with graduates from competing schools for test times at Louisiana testing centers. It is moreover an indication that the DMV believes the approved schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Classes Flexible? As formerly noted, truck driving training is only about 1 to 2 months long. With such a short duration, it’s essential that the Venice LA school you select offers flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. For example, if you’re having difficulty learning a certain driving maneuver, then the teacher should be prepared to spend more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still holding a job while going to training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other responsibilities.
Is Job Assistance Provided? The moment you have acquired your CDL license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be keen to start your new career. Verify that the schools you are considering have job assistance programs. Ask what their job placement rate 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 not many Venice LA employers recruiting their grads, it may be a sign to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Truck driver schools are similar to colleges and other Venice LA area trade or technical schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being available. Ask if the schools you are evaluating have a financial assistance department, or at a minimum someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that need to be completed.
Enrolling in a Truck Driving School near Venice LA?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Venice Louisiana area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Venice is an unincorporated community and census-designated place in Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana, United States. As of the 2010 census, its population was 202. It is 77 miles south of New Orleans on the west bank of the Mississippi River at 29°16′37″N 89°21′17″W / 29.27694°N 89.35472°W / 29.27694; -89.35472. It is the last community down the Mississippi accessible by automobile, and it is the southern terminus of the Great River Road. This has earned the town the nickname "The end of the world." The ZIP code for Venice is 70091.
In 2001, the combined population for Venice and the neighboring communities of Orchard (often considered a part of Venice) and Boothville, Louisiana, was about 2740 people, with about 975 families. About 460 of those people lived in Venice.
In 1969, Venice was almost completely destroyed by Hurricane Camille. The pressure fell below 950 hPa, with winds over 100 miles per hour. The city would be devastated again 36 years later by Hurricane Katrina.
Choose the Best Trucking School Venice LA
Selecting the appropriate truck driving school is a critical first step to beginning your new profession as a local or long distance truck driver. The skills taught at school will be those that shape a new career behind the wheel. There are several options offered and understanding them is crucial if you are going to succeed as an operator. But first and foremost, you must get the necessary training in order to operate a large commercial vehicle in a professional and safe fashion. If you are lacking money or financing, you might need to look into a captive school. You will pay a lower or in some cases no tuition by agreeing to drive for their contracted carrier. Or you can select an independent trucker school and have the option of driving for the trucking firm of your choice, or one of many affiliated with the school. It’s your decision. But regardless of how you obtain your training, you will in the near future be entering a profession that helps America move as a professional truck driver in Venice LA.
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