How to Select the Right Trucker School near Berthoud Colorado
Congrats on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a CDL school near Berthoud CO. Maybe it has always been your ambition to hit the open highway while operating a huge tractor trailer. Or possibly you have conducted some research and have found that a career as a truck driver offers good pay and flexible job prospects. No matter what your reason is, it’s essential to obtain the appropriate training by picking the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are certain factors that you’ll want to consider before making your final selection. Location will certainly be an issue, particularly if you need to commute from your Berthoud residence. The cost will also be of importance, but selecting a school based exclusively on price is not the best way to make sure you’ll get the proper education. Don’t forget, your objective is to learn the skills and knowledge that will enable you to pass the CDL exams and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that goal in mind, just how do you decide on a truck driving school? That is what we are going to cover in the remainder of this article. But first, we are going to talk a little bit about which CDL license you will eventually need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Should You Get?
To drive commercial vehicles lawfully within the United States and Berthoud CO, an operator needs to obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three classes of licenses that one can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the subject of this article is how to pick a truck driving school, we will highlight Class A and Class B licenses. What differentiates each class of CDL is the kind of vehicle that the driver can operate as well as the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Following are short explanations for the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is required 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 required to operate 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. A few 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 operate specific types of vehicles, for example passenger or school buses. And a Class A licensee, with the appropriate needed endorsements, can operate any vehicle that a Class B license holder is qualified to operate.
How to Evaluate a CDL School
After you have determined which CDL you want to obtain, you can start the undertaking of assessing the Berthoud CO trucking schools that you are looking at. As earlier mentioned, location and cost will certainly be your initial concerns. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they should not be your sole concerns. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are equally or even more important. So below are some more things that you need to research while performing your due diligence before choosing, and particularly paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Not many trucking schools in the Berthoud CO area are accredited because of the stringent process and cost to the schools. However, certification is more typical and is offered by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not obligated to become certified, but there are certain advantages. Potential students recognize that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will get plenty of driving time. As an example, PTDI mandates 44 hours of actual driving time, not ride-alongs or simulations. 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 Business? One clue to help measure the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in business. A negatively rated or a fly by night school usually will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the top Berthoud 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 supply those numbers, search elsewhere. The schools should also have associations with local and national trucking companies. Having a large number of contacts not only points to a superior reputation within the industry, but also bolsters their job assistance program for graduates. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to contact the Colorado licensing department to make sure that the CDL trucking schools you are researching are in compliance.
How Effective is the Training? At a minimum, the schools must be licensed in Colorado and employ instructors that are trained and experienced. We will discuss more about the instructors in the following section. In addition, the student to instructor proportion should not be greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be getting the personal instruction they will need. This is especially true concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And watch out for any school that insists it can teach you to drive trucks in a comparatively short time frame. Training to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully requires time. The majority of Berthoud CO schools offer training programs that range from 3 weeks to as long as two months, based on the class of license or type of vehicle.
How Good are the Trainers? As previously mentioned, it’s imperative that the instructors are qualified to teach driving methods and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Even though a number of states have minimum driving time prerequisites to be certified as an instructor, the more professional driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also crucial that the instructors keep up to date with industry advancements or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Assessing instructors might be a little more subjective than other criteria, and possibly the best approach is to visit the school and talk to the teachers in person. You can also talk to a few of the students completing the training and find out if they are happy with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
Plenty of Driving Time? Most importantly, a good truck driver school will provide lots 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. While the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are important training tools, they are no substitute for real driving. The more training that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will become. And even though driving time fluctuates among 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 Berthoud CO schools you are researching and find out how much driving time they provide.
Are they Independent or Captive ? It’s possible to get discounted or even free training from some truck driver schools if you enter into an agreement to be a driver for a specific carrier for a defined period of time. This is referred to as contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So instead of maintaining affiliations with a wide range of 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 giving up the flexibility to initially work wherever you choose. Obviously contract training has the potential to restrict your income opportunities when beginning your new career. But for some it may be the best way to get affordable training. Just remember to find out if the Berthoud CO schools you are looking at 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 allow third party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its students. If onsite testing is available in Colorado, find out if the schools you are considering are DMV certified to offer it. One advantage is that it is more accommodating than battling with graduates from other schools for test times at Colorado testing centers. It is also an indicator that the DMV regards the approved schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Class Times Flexible? As earlier mentioned, CDL training is only about one to two months long. With such a short duration, it’s imperative that the Berthoud CO school you select provides flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. For example, if you’re having difficulty learning a particular driving maneuver, then the teacher should be willing to devote more time with you until you are proficient. 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 responsibilities.
Is Job Assistance Provided? As soon as you have attained your commercial driver’s license after graduating from trucking school, you will be eager to start your new career. Make sure that the schools you are reviewing have job placement programs. Find out what their job placement ratio 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 poor job placement rate or not many Berthoud CO employers hiring their graduates, it may be a sign to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Trucking schools are comparable to colleges and other Berthoud CO area technical or vocational schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being available. Find out if the schools you are examining have a financial assistance department, or at a minimum someone who can help you get through the options and forms that must be completed.
Getting A CDL License Berthoud Colorado
Picking the right truck driver school is an essential first step to beginning your new vocation as a long distance or local truck driver. The skills taught at school will be those that mold a new career behind the wheel. There are a number of options available and understanding them is crucial if you are going to succeed as an operator. You originally came to our website because of your interest in Getting A CDL License and wanting information on the topic Truck Driver Training. However, you must receive the appropriate training in order to drive a large commercial vehicle in a safe and professional fashion. If you are lacking funds or financing, you may need to consider 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 option of driving for the trucking company of your choice, or one of many associated with the school. It’s your decision. But regardless of how you get your training, you will soon be entering an industry that helps our country move as a professional trucker in Berthoud CO.
Truck On in These Other Colorado Locations
The Town of Berthoud is a Statutory Town in Larimer and Weld counties in the U.S. state of Colorado. The town population was 5,105 at the 2010 United States Census. Berthoud is situated north of the Little Thompson River, approximately halfway between the cities of Fort Collins, Colorado and Denver, Colorado along the Front Range Urban Corridor.
White settlers first came to the present-day Berthoud area in the early 1860s, following the Colorado Gold Rush. Many settlers filed homestead claims, but most bellied up and left the valley to hardier souls who ranched and farmed the arid prairie that straddled the river bottom.
In 1872, a miner-turned-rancher from Central City, Colorado, Lewis Cross, staked the first homestead claim where the Colorado Central Railroad planned to cross Little Thompson creek. When the tracks were laid through the valley in 1877 a depot, section house, and water tank were installed at this strategic site. The tiny settlement known as Little Thompson was renamed Berthoud in honor of Edward L. Berthoud, who had surveyed the rail route through the valley.
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