How to Select a CDL Training School near Tupelo Oklahoma
Congratulations on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a trucking school near Tupelo OK. Maybe it has always been your goal to hit the open highway while driving a big ole tractor trailer. Or maybe you have done some research and have discovered that a career as a truck driver offers excellent income and flexible work prospects. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s imperative to receive the proper training by picking the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are various variables that you’ll need to consider before making your final choice. Location will no doubt be important, especially if you need to commute from your Tupelo residence. The expense will also be of importance, but picking a school based only on price is not the ideal means to make certain you’ll get the right training. Just remember, your goal is to master the knowledge and skills that will allow you to pass the CDL exams and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that objective in mind, just how do you pick a truck driving school? That is what we are going to cover in the rest of this article. But first, we are going to review a little bit about which CDL license you will eventually need.
Which CDL Will You Need?
In order to drive commercial vehicles lawfully within the USA and Tupelo OK, a driver needs to get a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 license classes that one can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the subject of this article is how to select a truck driver 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). 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 more than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of greater than 10,000 lbs. Some 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 required to drive single vehicles having a GVWR of greater 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 operators may be qualified to drive 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, for instance passenger or school buses. And a Class A license holder, with the appropriate required endorsements, can operate any vehicle that a Class B license holder is qualified to operate.
How to Evaluate a Trucking School
When you have determined which CDL you want to pursue, you can start the undertaking of researching the Tupelo OK truck driver schools that you are looking at. As previously discussed, location and cost will no doubt be your primary considerations. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they must not be your sole concerns. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are similarly or even more important. So below are a few more factors that you need to research while carrying out your due diligence before enrolling in, and particularly paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Very few truck driving schools in the Tupelo OK area are accredited due to the rigorous process and expense to the schools. However, certification is more common and is provided by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not obligated to become certified, but there are certain advantages. Prospective students know that the training will be of the highest standard, and that they will receive an ample amount of driving time. As an example, PTDI requires 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 training and curriculum will satisfy the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One indicator to help determine the quality of a truck driver school is how long it has been in operation. A negatively reviewed or a fly by night school typically will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. Having said that, even the top Tupelo OK schools had to start from their first day of training, so consider it as one of several qualifications. You can also find out what the school’s track record is concerning successful licensing and employment of its graduating students. If a school won’t provide those stats, search elsewhere. The schools should additionally maintain relationships with regional and national trucking companies. Having numerous contacts not only affirms a quality reputation within the trade, but also bolsters their job assistance program for graduates. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to contact the Oklahoma licensing department to make sure that the CDL trucking schools you are considering are in good standing.
How Good is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools must be licensed in Oklahoma and hire teachers that are experienced and trained. We will cover more about the instructors in the next section. In addition, the student to instructor ratio should not be higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be receiving the personalized 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 claims it can teach you to drive trucks in a comparatively short period of time. Learning to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully requires time. The majority of Tupelo OK schools offer training courses that range from three weeks to as long as 2 months, depending on the license class or type of vehicle.
How Good are the Trainers? As earlier stated, it’s important that the instructors are trained to teach driving methods and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Although several states have minimum driving time requirements to qualify as an instructor, the more professional driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also vital that the instructors keep up to date with industry developments or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Assessing teachers may be a little more subjective than other standards, and possibly the ideal approach is to check out the school and speak with the teachers in person. You can also speak with a few of the students completing the training and find out 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 good trucking school will provide plenty of driving time to its students. After all, isn’t that what it’s all about? Driving time is the actual time spent behind the wheel operating a truck. While the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are important training methods, they are no substitute for actual driving. The more instruction that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will become. Although driving time varies among schools, a reasonable standard is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Check with the Tupelo OK schools you are researching and find out how much driving time they provide.
Are they Captive or Independent ? You can obtain free or discounted training from some truck driving schools if you enter into an agreement to drive for a specific carrier for a defined period of time. This is what’s known as contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So instead of maintaining affiliations with many different trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only refer to one company. The tradeoff is receiving less expensive or even free training by surrendering the freedom to initially work wherever you choose. Naturally contract training has the potential to reduce your income opportunities when beginning your new career. But for some it may be the only way to obtain affordable training. Just be sure to ask if the Tupelo OK 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 permit third party CDL testing onsite of truck driver schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is available in Oklahoma, ask if the schools you are reviewing are DMV certified to offer it. One benefit is that it is more convenient than competing with graduates from competing schools for test times at Oklahoma testing facilities. It is also an indicator that the DMV believes the approved schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Classes Convenient? As formerly mentioned, CDL training is only about one to two months long. With such a short duration, it’s essential that the Tupelo OK school you select provides flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. As an 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 working while going to training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other commitments.
Is Job Assistance Offered? Once you have acquired your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be eager to begin your new career. Make sure that the schools you are contemplating have job placement programs. Ask what their job placement rate is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, find out which local and national trucking firms their graduates are placed with for employment. If a school has a poor job placement rate or not many Tupelo OK employers hiring their grads, it might be a clue to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Truck driving schools are comparable to colleges and other Tupelo OK area vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being available. Ask 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 must be completed.
Enrolling in a Truck Driving School near Tupelo OK?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Tupelo Oklahoma area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Tupelo is located in western Coal County at 34°36′11″N 96°25′14″W / 34.60306°N 96.42056°W / 34.60306; -96.42056 (34.603133, -96.420531).Oklahoma State Highway 3 bypasses the town to the north and leads 14 miles (23 km) southeast to Coalgate, the county seat, and 20 miles (32 km) northwest to Ada. State Highway 48 passes through Tupelo, leading south 16 miles (26 km) to Wapanucka and north 20 miles (32 km) to Allen.
As of the census of 2000, there were 377 people, 136 households, and 99 families residing in the city. The population density was 939.1 people per square mile (363.9/km²). There were 178 housing units at an average density of 443.4 per square mile (171.8/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 70.29% White, 0.53% African American, 24.40% Native American, 0.27% from other races, and 4.51% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.65% of the population.
There were 136 households out of which 41.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 55.9% were married couples living together, 12.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 27.2% were non-families. 22.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 14.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.77 and the average family size was 3.29.
Select the Best Truck Driving School Tupelo OK
Choosing the ideal truck driving school is a critical first step to launching your new vocation as a long distance or local truck driver. The skill sets taught at school will be those that shape a new career behind the wheel. There are several options offered and understanding them is vital to a new driver’s success. Most importantly, you must get the appropriate training in order to drive a big commercial vehicle in a professional and safe manner. If you are short on cash or financing, you might need to look into a captive school. You will pay a reduced or even no tuition in exchange for driving for their contracted carrier. Or you can choose an independent truck driving school and have the option of driving for the trucking firm of your choosing, or one of many associated 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 trucker in Tupelo OK.
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