How to Choose the Right Truck Driver Classes near Atwood Colorado
Congrats on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a truck driving school near Atwood CO. Perhaps it has always been your ambition to hit the open highway while operating a huge tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have done some analysis and have found that an occupation as a truck driver offers good pay and flexible job opportunities. Whatever your reason is, it’s important to receive the appropriate training by enrolling in the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are several factors that you’ll want to examine prior to making your ultimate selection. Location will no doubt be an issue, particularly if you have to commute from your Atwood home. The cost will also be important, but selecting a school based exclusively on price is not the optimal means to make certain you’ll receive the appropriate training. Don’t forget, your goal is to master the knowledge and skills that will allow you to pass the CDL examinations and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that goal in mind, just how do you pick a truck driving school? The answer to that question 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 operate commercial vehicles lawfully within the USA and Atwood CO, a driver must attain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 license classes that a driver 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 discuss Class A and B licenses. What differentiates each class of CDL is the type of vehicle that the driver can operate together with the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Following are brief summaries of the two 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 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 required 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 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 CDLs might also need endorsements to drive specific types of vehicles, including school or passenger buses. And a Class A licensee, with the proper needed endorsements, can operate any vehicle that a Class B license holder is authorized to operate.
How to Assess a Truck Driver School
Once you have decided which Commercial Drivers License you would like to pursue, you can start the undertaking of evaluating the Atwood CO trucking schools that you are considering. As already discussed, location and cost will no doubt be your initial concerns. But it can’t be stressed enough that they must not be your only concerns. Other factors, including the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are equally or even more important. So below are some additional factors that you need to research while conducting your due diligence before selecting, and especially paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Not many truck driver schools in the Atwood CO 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 several advantages. Interested students recognize that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will get an ample amount of driving time. As an example, PTDI mandates 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 meet the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One indicator to help evaluate the quality of a trucking school is how long it has been in business. A poorly rated or a fly by night school usually will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. Having said that, even the top Atwood CO schools had to begin from their opening day of training, so consider it as one of multiple qualifications. You can also learn what the school’s history is relating to successful licensing and employment of its graduating students. If a school won’t provide those stats, search elsewhere. The schools should also maintain associations with regional and national trucking companies. Having numerous contacts not only affirms a superior reputation within the trade, but also bolsters their job placement program for graduates. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to contact the Colorado licensing department to verify that the CDL trucking schools you are researching are in compliance.
How Effective is the Training? At a minimum, the schools should be licensed in Colorado and employ teachers that are experienced and trained. We will cover more about the teachers in the following 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 obtaining the personal attention they will need. This is especially true regarding the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And be critical of any school that insists it can train you to drive trucks in a relatively short time frame. Learning to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully takes time. Most Atwood CO schools provide training programs that run from 3 weeks to as long as 2 months, depending on the class of license or kind of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Trainers? As previously stated, it’s imperative that the teachers are qualified to teach driving techniques and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Although a number of states have minimum driving time prerequisites to be certified as an instructor, 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 regulations or changes in existing laws. Evaluating instructors may be a bit more intuitive than other criteria, and perhaps the best approach is to pay a visit to the school and talk to the instructors face to face. You can also speak with some of the students completing the training and ask if they are satisfied with the level of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Plenty of Driving Time? Above all else, an excellent truck driver school will provide lots of driving time to its students. Besides, 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 simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are essential training tools, they are no replacement for real driving. The more instruction that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will become. Although driving time fluctuates among 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. Check with the Atwood CO schools you are considering and find out how much driving time they provide.
Are they Independent or Captive ? You can get free or discounted training from some truck driver schools if you make a commitment to be a driver for a specific carrier for a defined period of time. This is called contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So instead of maintaining relationships 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 giving up the freedom to initially be a driver wherever you choose. Naturally contract training has the potential to reduce your income prospects when beginning your new career. But for many it may be the only way to get affordable training. Just be sure to ask if the Atwood CO schools you are considering are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Is there CDL Testing Onsite? There are a number of states that will permit 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its students. If onsite testing is available in Colorado, ask if the schools you are reviewing are DMV certified to provide it. One advantage is that it is more accommodating than battling with graduates of competing schools for test times at Colorado testing facilities. It is also an indication that the DMV regards the approved schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Class Times Accessible? As formerly mentioned, CDL training is only about 1 to 2 months in length. With such a brief term, it’s imperative that the Atwood CO school you enroll in offers flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. As an example, if you’re having difficulty learning a particular driving maneuver, then the instructor should be willing to dedicate 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 must be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other commitments.
Is Job Assistance Provided? The moment you have obtained your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be keen to begin your new career. Verify that the schools you are looking at have job assistance programs. Find out what their job placement ratio is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, find out which local and national trucking firms their graduates are referred to for hiring. If a school has a poor job placement rate or few Atwood CO employers hiring their grads, it may be a clue to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Available? Truck driving schools are similar to colleges and other Atwood CO area vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being offered. Ask if the schools you are assessing have a financial aid department, or at least someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that must be completed.
Local CDL Training Atwood Colorado
Choosing the right trucking school is an important first step to launching your new vocation as a local or long distance truck driver. The skill sets that you will learn at school will be those that shape a new career behind the wheel. There are a number of options available and understanding them is crucial to a new driver’s success. You originally came to our website because of your interest in Local CDL Training and wanting information on the topic Driving Truck School. However, you must get the appropriate training in order to drive a big commercial vehicle in a safe and professional fashion. If you are lacking money or financing, you may need 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 enroll in an independent truck driver school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking firm of your choosing, or one of many associated with the school. It’s your choice. But regardless of how you obtain your training, you will in the near future be part of an industry that helps America move as a professional trucker in Atwood CO.
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Margaret Eleanor Atwood CC OOnt CH FRSC FRSL (born November 18, 1939) is a Canadian poet, novelist, literary critic, essayist, inventor, teacher and environmental activist. She has published seventeen books of poetry, sixteen novels, ten books of non-fiction, eight collections of short fiction, eight children's books, and one graphic novel, as well as a number of small press editions in poetry and fiction. Atwood and her writing have won numerous awards and honors including the Man Booker Prize, Arthur C. Clarke Award, Governor General's Award, Franz Kafka Prize, and the National Book Critics and PEN Center USA Lifetime Achievement Awards. Atwood is also the inventor and developer of the LongPen and associated technologies that facilitate the remote robotic writing of documents.
As a novelist and poet, Atwood's works encompass a variety of themes including the power of language, gender and identity, religion and myth, climate change, and "power politics." Many of her poems are inspired by myths and fairy tales which interested her from a very early age. Among her contributions to Canadian literature, Atwood is a founder of the Griffin Poetry Prize and Writers' Trust of Canada.
Atwood was born in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, as the second of three children of Carl Edmund Atwood, an entomologist and Margaret Dorothy (née Killam), a former dietitian and nutritionist from Woodville, Nova Scotia. Because of her father's ongoing research in forest entomology, Atwood spent much of her childhood in the backwoods of northern Quebec and travelling back and forth between Ottawa, Sault Ste. Marie, and Toronto. She did not attend school full-time until she was twelve years old. She became a voracious reader of literature, Dell pocketbook mysteries, Grimms' Fairy Tales, Canadian animal stories and comic books. She attended Leaside High School in Leaside, Toronto, and graduated in 1957. Atwood began writing plays and poems at the age of six.