How to Decide on a Truck Driving School near Valdez New Mexico
Congratulations on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a truck driving school near Valdez NM. Perhaps it has always been your goal to hit the open highway while driving a monster tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have done some analysis and have discovered that an occupation as a truck driver provides excellent pay and flexible work opportunities. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s essential to receive the appropriate training by selecting the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are certain variables that you’ll need to think about prior to making your ultimate choice. Location will certainly be an issue, especially if you need to commute from your Valdez residence. The cost will also be important, but choosing a school based exclusively on price is not the optimal method to make sure you’ll get the right training. Don’t forget, your objective is to learn the skills and knowledge 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? The answer to that question is what we are going to cover in the remainder of this article. But first, we are going to review a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will eventually need.
Which CDL Will You Require?
In order to operate commercial vehicles legally within the USA and Valdez NM, an operator needs to obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three classes of licenses that a driver can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the topic of this article is how to select a truck driving school, we will address Class A and Class B licenses. What distinguishes 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 summaries of the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License is needed to operate any vehicle that has a GCWR of greater than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of more than 10,000 lbs. A few 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 needed 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 Commercial Drivers Licenses may also require endorsements to drive certain types of vehicles, including school or passenger buses. And a Class A license holder, with the proper needed endorsements, can drive any vehicle that a Class B license holder is authorized to operate.
How to Assess a Trucking School
When you have decided which CDL you would like to obtain, you can begin the process of researching the Valdez NM trucking schools that you are looking at. As previously discussed, cost and location 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 equally if not more important. So below are a few additional things that you should research while performing your due diligence before enrolling in, and particularly paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Very few trucking schools in the Valdez NM area are accredited due to the rigorous process and expense to the schools. However, certification is more typical 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 know that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will get plenty of driving time. For example, PTDI mandates 44 hours of actual driving time, not ride-alongs or simulations. So if a school’s program is certified (the program, not the school is certified), students know that the curriculum and training will comply with the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One indicator to help evaluate the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in business. A negatively rated or a fly by night school normally will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. On the other hand, even the top Valdez NM schools had to start from their opening day of training, so use it as one of multiple qualifications. You can also ask what the school’s track record is concerning successful licensing and job placement of its graduates. If a school won’t provide those numbers, search elsewhere. The schools should additionally maintain relationships with local and national trucking companies. Having numerous contacts not only confirms a quality reputation within the industry, but also bolsters their job assistance program for graduates. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to contact the New Mexico licensing authority 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 should be licensed in New Mexico and employ instructors that are experienced and trained. We will talk more about the instructors in the next segment. Also, the student to instructor ratio should be no greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be getting the individual attention they will need. This is especially true regarding the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And watch out for any school that professes it can teach you to drive trucks in a comparatively short time period. Training to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer professionally requires time. The majority of Valdez NM schools provide training courses that run from three weeks to as long as two months, depending on the license class or type of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Instructors? As previously stated, it’s imperative that the teachers are qualified to teach driving methods and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Even though several states have minimum driving time criteria to be certified as a teacher, the more successful driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also vital that the instructors keep up to date with industry developments 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 visit the school and talk to the teachers face to face. You can also speak with a few of the students going through the training and find out if they are satisfied with the level of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
Sufficient Driving Time? Most importantly, an excellent truck driver 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 driving a truck. While the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are important training methods, they are no replacement for real driving. The more training that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will become. Although driving time varies between schools, a reasonable standard is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish no less than 44 hours of driving time. Contact the Valdez NM schools you are researching and find out how much driving time they provide.
Are they Independent or Captive ? You can receive discounted or even free training from some truck driver schools if you enter into an agreement to be a driver for a particular 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 having relationships with numerous trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only work with one company. The benefit is receiving free or less expensive training by surrendering the freedom to initially be a driver wherever you have an opportunity. Obviously contract training has the potential to restrict your income opportunities when starting out. But for some it may be the best way to obtain affordable training. Just make sure to find out if the Valdez NM schools you are looking at are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Offer Onsite CDL Testing? There are some states that will permit 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its students. If onsite testing is permitted in New Mexico, ask if the schools you are considering are DMV certified to offer it. One advantage is that it is more convenient than competing with graduates from competing schools for test times at New Mexico testing facilities. It is also an indicator that the DMV regards the authorized schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Class Times Convenient? As earlier mentioned, CDL training is only about 1 to 2 months in length. With such a short duration, it’s important that the Valdez NM school you enroll in provides flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. As an example, if you’re having difficulty learning a particular driving maneuver, then the teacher should be prepared to spend more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still working while going to training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other responsibilities.
Is Job Assistance Provided? Once you have acquired your CDL license after graduating from trucking school, you will be impatient to begin your new profession. Confirm that the schools you are contemplating have job assistance programs. Find out what their job placement ratio is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, ask which national and local trucking firms their graduates are placed with for hiring. If a school has a poor job placement rate or few Valdez NM employers recruiting their grads, it may be a sign to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Truck driving schools are much like colleges and other Valdez NM area vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being offered. Find out if the schools you are examining have a financial assistance department, or at least someone who can help you understand the options and forms that need to be submitted.
Enrolling in a Truck Driving School near Valdez NM?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Valdez New Mexico area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Valdez has been credited[by whom?] with creating the category of Latino Programming in English, which is a segment of the Hispanic market that had not been addressed or targeted by the media before. Valdez has written, directed and produced TV shows and films targeting this segment within the Latino community during the last 20 years, with some of his shows having gone on to be syndicated in more than 35 countries. In 2003, Valdez founded a new nationwide English language cable channel targeting Latinos called Sí TV. The channel reached 90 million homes nationwide, and won many awards with the programming Valdez wrote, directed and produced for it. In 2007 Valdez extended his reach to the film industry and joined the board of Maya Entertainment whose focus was on Latino themed films mostly in English.
Jeff Valdez was born in Pueblo, Colorado, to a Mexican-American family with roots in New Mexico since the 1600s. His mother, Mary Garcia, and his father, Alfonso Valdez were blue collar workers, with Spanish, Mexican and Comanche blood. The youngest of 9 children, Valdez worked hard since he was 7, cleaning the local drive-in cinema every morning before going to school. Throughout his early teen years he played drums in his father's band, earning his first money and saving enough to move to Colorado Springs, Colorado to found his own band called "The Giving Tree." Valdez became a comedian, working on the road for more than 6 years, and owning his own comedy club "The Comedy Corner" in Colorado Springs. It was then when he became a producer, and created a comedy show which aired live every Saturday on a Colorado Springs' local channel, right after "Saturday Night Live."
In 1993, Valdez moved to Los Angeles, and created the show "Comedy Compadres", for KTLA, channel 5. He then wrote scripts, produced and directed shows and films for Disney (My Favorite Mayan), Showtime (Latino Laugh Festival), NBC (The Valdez's), Galavisión (Cafe Ole, Funny is Funny), and Nickelodeon (The Brothers García).
Pick the Best CDL School Valdez NM
Selecting the right trucking school is an important first step to beginning your new occupation as a local or long distance truck driver. The skills 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 critical to a new driver’s success. But first and foremost, you must obtain the necessary training in order to drive a large commercial vehicle in a professional and safe fashion. If you are short on cash or financing, you may want to look into a captive school. You will pay a lower or even no tuition in exchange for driving for their contracted carrier. Or you can choose an independent CDL school and have the the freedom to drive 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 soon be part of a profession that helps our country move as a professional trucker in Valdez NM.
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