How to Pick a Truck Driving School near Vernon Center Minnesota
Congratulations on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a truck driving school near Vernon Center MN. Perhaps it has always been your ambition to hit the open road while operating a monster tractor trailer. Or maybe you have done some analysis and have discovered that an occupation as a truck driver provides good pay and flexible job prospects. Whatever your reason is, it’s imperative to receive the proper training by picking the right CDL school in your area. When evaluating your options, there are various variables that you’ll want to think about before making your ultimate selection. Location will undoubtedly be an issue, especially if you need to commute from your Vernon Center residence. The expense will also be of importance, but selecting a school based exclusively on price is not the optimal way to make sure you’ll get the proper training. Just remember, your objective is to master the skills and knowledge that will allow you to pass the CDL exams and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that target 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 CDL license you will ultimately need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Will You Require?
To drive commercial vehicles legally within the United States and Vernon Center MN, an operator must get a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 license classes that a person can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the subject of this article is how to choose a truck driver school, we will discuss Class A and Class B licenses. What differentiates each class of CDL is the type of vehicle that the driver can operate in addition to the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Following are short descriptions for the 2 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. 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 Commercial Drivers License is required to drive 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 Commercial Drivers Licenses might also need endorsements to operate certain types of vehicles, for instance school or passenger buses. And a Class A licensee, with the proper needed endorsements, may drive any vehicle that a Class B licensee is qualified to drive.
How to Evaluate a Trucking School
When you have determined which CDL you would like to pursue, you can start the process of evaluating the Vernon Center MN truck driving schools that you are looking at. As earlier discussed, location and cost will certainly be your initial concerns. But it can’t be stressed enough that they must not be your sole considerations. Other factors, including the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are similarly if not more important. So following are several additional factors that you should research while carrying out your due diligence before selecting, and particularly paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Very few truck driver schools in the Vernon Center MN area are accredited due to the demanding process and expense to the schools. However, certification is more commonplace and is provided by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not obligated to become certified, but there are certain advantages. Interested students recognize that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will get 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 program is certified (the program, not the school is certified), students know that the training and curriculum will comply with the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One clue to help determine the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in operation. A poorly rated or a fly by night school usually will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. On the other hand, even the top Vernon Center MN schools had to begin from their opening day of training, so consider it as one of several qualifiers. You can also find out what the school’s track record is regarding successful licensing and employment of its graduates. If a school won’t share those numbers, search elsewhere. The schools should additionally have relationships with local and national trucking firms. Having numerous contacts not only points to a superior reputation within the profession, but also bolsters their job placement program for graduates. It also wouldn’t hurt to check with the Minnesota licensing authority to verify that the CDL trucker schools you are researching are in good standing.
How Good is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools should be licensed in Minnesota and employ teachers that are trained and experienced. We will cover more about the teachers in the next segment. Also, the student to instructor ratio should not be higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be getting the individual instruction they will need. This is particularly true concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And watch out for any school that insists it can train you to be a truck driver in a relatively short time period. Training to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer professionally takes time. The majority of Vernon Center MN schools provide training programs that run from 3 weeks to as long as 2 months, depending on the license class or type of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Instructors? As previously stated, it’s imperative 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 qualify as an instructor, the more professional driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also important that the instructors keep up to date with industry advancements or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Assessing instructors may be a little more intuitive than other criteria, and perhaps the best approach is to check out the school and talk to the instructors face to face. You can also speak with a few of the students completing the training and find out if they are satisfied with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Plenty of Driving Time? Above all else, an excellent trucking school will furnish ample driving time to its students. Besides, isn’t that what it’s all about? Driving time is the actual time spent behind the wheel operating a truck. Even though the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are important training methods, they are no replacement for real driving. The more instruction that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will become. Although driving time can vary between 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. Check with the Vernon Center MN schools you are researching and ask how much driving time they provide.
Are they Independent or Captive ? It’s possible to get discounted or even free training from certain trucking schools if you make a commitment to be a driver for a specific carrier for a defined time period. This is what’s known as contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So rather than having associations with a wide range of 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 surrendering the flexibility 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 some it may be the ideal way to receive affordable training. Just be sure to ask if the Vernon Center MN schools you are considering are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Is there CDL Testing Onsite? There are some states that will allow third party CDL testing onsite of truck driver schools for its students. If onsite testing is available in Minnesota, find out if the schools you are considering are DMV certified to provide it. One advantage is that it is more accommodating than competing with graduates of competing schools for test times at Minnesota testing facilities. It is moreover an indicator that the DMV deems the approved schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Classes Convenient? As previously mentioned, truck driver training is only about 1 to 2 months in length. With such a brief term, it’s essential that the Vernon Center MN school you enroll in 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 devote more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still holding a job while attending training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other commitments.
Is Job Placement Offered? Once you have received your CDL license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be eager to start your new profession. Make sure that the schools you are looking at have job assistance programs. Ask what their job placement percentage is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, ask which national and local trucking firms their graduates are placed with for employment. If a school has a lower job placement rate or few Vernon Center MN employers recruiting their grads, it may be a sign to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Trucking schools are comparable to colleges and other Vernon Center MN area vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being offered. Ask if the schools you are evaluating have a financial aid department, or at a minimum someone who can help you get through the options and forms that need to be completed.
Enrolling in a Truck Driving School near Vernon Center MN?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Vernon Center Minnesota area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Vernon Center, Minnesota
Vernon Center is a city in Blue Earth County, Minnesota, along the Blue Earth River. The population was 332 at the 2010 census. It is part of the Mankato–North Mankato Metropolitan Statistical Area.
At the 2010 census, the city had 332 people, 132 households and 90 families. The population density was 677.6 inhabitants per square mile (261.6/km2). Housing units numbered 142 at an average density of 289.8 per square mile (111.9/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 98.8% White, 0.9% African American, and 0.3% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.8% of the population.
36.4% of 132 households had children under the age of 18 living in them, 59.1% were married couples living together, 7.6% had a female householder with no husband present, 1.5% had a male householder with no wife present, and 31.8% were non-families. 25.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.52 and the average family size was 3.11.
Select the Right Truck Driver School Vernon Center MN
Picking the right truck driver school is an important first step to launching your new profession as a local or long distance truck driver. The skill sets that you will learn at school will be those that mold a new career behind the wheel. There are several options available and understanding them is vital if you are going to succeed as an operator. Most importantly, you must obtain the necessary training in order to operate a large commercial vehicle in a safe and professional manner. If you are short on cash or financing, you might need to consider a captive school. You will pay a reduced or even no tuition by agreeing to drive for their contracted carrier. Or you can select an independent truck driving school and have the option of driving for the trucking company of your choice, or one of several affiliated with the school. It’s your decision. But no matter how you obtain your training, you will in the near future be part of an industry that helps our country move as a professional trucker in Vernon Center MN.
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