How to Choose a Truck Driver School near Tullos Louisiana
Congratulations on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a trucking school near Tullos LA. Maybe it has always been your ambition to hit the open road while operating a monster tractor trailer. Or possibly you have conducted some analysis and have discovered that an occupation as a truck driver provides good pay and flexible work opportunities. Whatever your reason is, it’s important to obtain the appropriate training by selecting the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are several variables that you’ll want to consider before making your ultimate choice. Location will undoubtedly be important, especially if you need to commute from your Tullos home. The cost will also be important, but picking a school based only on price is not the optimal way to make certain you’ll get the proper training. Just remember, your goal is to learn 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 balance of this article. But first, we are going to talk a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will ultimately need.
Which CDL Should You Get?
In order to operate commercial vehicles lawfully within the United States and Tullos LA, a driver must obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 classes of licenses that one can apply 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 highlight Class A and B licenses. What differentiates each class of CDL is the kind of vehicle that the driver can operate together with the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Below are short descriptions of 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 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 drive 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. 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 kinds of vehicles, such as passenger or school buses. And a Class A licensee, with the proper needed endorsements, may operate any vehicle that a Class B license holder is authorized to drive.
How to Assess a Truck Driver School
Once you have decided which CDL you would like to pursue, you can start the process of researching the Tullos LA truck driving schools that you are considering. As earlier discussed, location and cost will undoubtedly be your primary considerations. But it can’t be stressed enough that they should not be your sole concerns. Other factors, including the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are similarly or even more important. So below are a few more factors that you need to research while performing your due diligence prior to choosing, and particularly paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Not many trucking schools in the Tullos LA area are accredited because of the demanding process and expense to the schools. However, certification is more prevalent and is offered by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not obligated to become certified, but there are several advantages. Interested students know that the training will be of the highest caliber, and that they will be given an ample amount of driving time. For example, PTDI requires 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 satisfy the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One indicator to help determine the quality of a truck driver school is how long it has been in operation. A negatively ranked or a fly by night school typically will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. On the other hand, even the best of Tullos LA schools had to begin from their opening day of training, so use it as one of multiple qualifications. You can also ask what the school’s history is regarding successful licensing and job placement of its graduating students. If a school won’t provide those stats, search elsewhere. The schools should also maintain relationships with local and national trucking companies. Having numerous 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 Louisiana licensing department to make sure that the CDL trucker schools you are reviewing are in good standing.
How Effective is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools must be licensed in Louisiana and hire teachers that are experienced and trained. We will talk more about the teachers in the next segment. In addition, the student to instructor proportion should not be greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be receiving the personal 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 teach you to drive trucks in a comparatively short time period. Learning to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully takes time. The majority of Tullos LA schools offer training programs that range from three weeks to as long as 2 months, depending on the class of license or kind of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Teachers? As earlier mentioned, it’s important that the instructors are trained to teach driving methods 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 a teacher has the better. It’s also important that the teachers stay up to date with industry advancements or any new laws or changes in regulations. Assessing instructors might be a bit more subjective than other standards, and perhaps the ideal approach is to pay a visit to the school and talk to the instructors in person. You can also speak with a few of the students completing the training and find out if they are satisfied with the level of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
Plenty of Driving Time? Most importantly, a good truck driver school will provide 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 ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are necessary training tools, they are no alternative for real driving. The more training that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will become. And even though driving time fluctuates between schools, a good benchmark 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 Tullos LA schools you are researching and find out how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Independent or Captive ? You can receive 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 time period. This is referred to as contract training, and the schools that provide 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 tradeoff is receiving free or less expensive training by surrendering the freedom to initially work wherever you choose. Clearly contract training has the potential to restrict your income opportunities when starting out. But for some it may be the only way to get affordable training. Just remember to find out if the Tullos LA schools you are contemplating are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Is there CDL Testing Onsite? There are several states that will permit 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driver schools for its students. If onsite testing is allowed in Louisiana, ask if the schools you are considering are DMV certified to offer it. One benefit is that it is more convenient than contending with graduates of competing schools for test times at Louisiana testing locations. It is also an indicator that the DMV deems the approved schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Class Times Accessible? As previously mentioned, truck driving training is just 1 to 2 months long. With such a short term, it’s essential that the Tullos LA school you select provides flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. For 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 have it mastered. And if you’re still working while attending training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other responsibilities.
Is Job Placement Offered? As soon as you have received your commercial driver’s license after graduating from trucking school, you will be keen to start your new career. Confirm that the schools you are contemplating have job assistance programs. Ask what their job placement percentage is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, find out which local and national trucking companies their graduates are referred to for employment. If a school has a lower job placement rate or few Tullos LA employers recruiting their grads, it might be a sign to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Given? Truck driving schools are similar to colleges and other Tullos LA area trade or technical schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being offered. Ask if the schools you are assessing have a financial assistance department, or at a minimum someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that need to be submitted.
Enrolling in a Truck Driving School near Tullos LA?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Tullos Louisiana area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 1.5 square miles (3.9 km²), of which 1.5 square miles (3.9 km²) is land and 0.04 square mile (0.1 km²) (1.32%) is water.
As of the census of 2000, there were 419 people, 168 households, and 113 families residing in the town. The population density was 278.5 people per square mile (107.9/km²). There were 203 housing units at an average density of 134.9 per square mile (52.3/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 95.70% White, 3.34% African American, and 0.95% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.48% of the population.
There were 168 households out of which 31.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 57.1% were married couples living together, 6.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 32.7% were non-families. 27.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 14.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.49 and the average family size was 3.06.
Pick the Best Truck Driving School Tullos LA
Picking the ideal trucking school is an essential first step to beginning your new profession 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 offered and understanding them is critical if you are going to succeed as an operator. But first and foremost, you must receive the appropriate training in order to operate a big commercial vehicle in a professional and safe manner. If you are lacking money 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 truck driver 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 decision. But regardless of how you obtain your training, you will in the near future be joining an industry that helps our country move as a professional truck driver in Tullos LA.
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