Train To Be A Truck Driver Fort Garland CO

How to Pick the Right Truck Driving School near Fort Garland Colorado

tractor truck in Fort Garland CO Congrats on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a trucking school near Fort Garland CO. Maybe it has always been your goal to hit the open highway while operating a monster tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have conducted some analysis and have discovered that an occupation as a truck driver offers good wages and flexible job opportunities. Whatever your reason is, it’s important to obtain the appropriate training by picking the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are several variables that you’ll want to examine before making your final choice. Location will certainly be important, particularly if you have to commute from your Fort Garland residence. The expense will also be of importance, but picking a school based only on price is not the optimal way to make certain you’ll obtain the right training. Don’t forget, your goal is to learn the skills and knowledge that will allow you to pass the CDL exams and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that goal in mind, just how do you pick a truck driving school? That is what we are going to address in the remainder of this article. But first, we are going to review a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will ultimately need.

Which CDL Will You Require?

Fort Garland CO long haul tractor trailerTo drive commercial vehicles legally within the United States and Fort Garland CO, an operator needs to get a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 classes of licenses that a driver can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the topic of this article is how to choose a truck driver school, we will address Class A and Class B licenses. What distinguishes 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 short summaries of the 2 classes.

Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License is needed 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 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. A few 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 require endorsements to drive certain kinds of vehicles, for example passenger or school buses. And a Class A license holder, with the proper required endorsements, may drive any vehicle that a Class B licensee is qualified to drive.

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How to Assess a Truck Driving School

Fort Garland CO truck driving schoolOnce you have determined which Commercial Drivers License you want to obtain, you can start the undertaking of researching the Fort Garland CO truck driver schools that you are looking at. As earlier discussed, location and cost will no doubt be your primary considerations. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they must not be your only concerns. Other factors, such as the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are similarly if not more important. So following are a few additional things that you need to research while conducting your due diligence prior to enrolling in, and especially paying for, your truck driving training.

Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Very few trucking schools in the Fort Garland CO area are accredited due to the rigorous process and expense to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more commonplace and is offered by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not required to become certified, but there are certain advantages. Prospective students know that the training will be of the highest caliber, and that they will be given an ample amount of driving time. For 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 curriculum and training will measure up to the very high standards set by PTDI.

How Long in Business? One indicator to help assess 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 be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the best of Fort Garland CO schools had to begin from their opening day of training, so consider it as one of several qualifiers. You can also ask what the school’s track record is relating to successful licensing and employment of its graduating students. If a school won’t share those stats, look elsewhere. The schools should additionally have relationships with local and national trucking companies. Having numerous contacts not only points to an excellent reputation within the trade, but also bolsters their job assistance program for students. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to get in touch with the Colorado licensing department to make sure that the CDL trucker schools you are researching are in compliance.

How Good is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools should be licensed in Colorado and employ instructors that are experienced and trained. We will discuss more about the teachers in the next segment. Also, the student to instructor proportion 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 drive trucks in a relatively short time period. Learning to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully takes time. Most Fort Garland CO schools offer training programs that run from three weeks to as long as two months, based on the license class or type of vehicle.

How Experienced are the Instructors? As already stated, it’s important that the instructors are trained to teach driving techniques and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Although several states have minimum driving time criteria to be certified as an instructor, the more successful driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also vital that the instructors stay current with industry developments or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Assessing teachers might be a little more subjective than other standards, and possibly the best approach is to visit the school and talk to the teachers face to face. You can also talk to some of the students completing the training and ask if they are satisfied with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.

How Much Driving Time? Above all else, a great truck driving school will provide plenty 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 necessary training tools, they are no alternative for actual driving. The more training that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will be. Although driving time differs among schools, a good standard is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish no less than 44 hours of driving time. Contact the Fort Garland CO schools you are looking at and find out how much driving time they furnish.

Are they Independent or Captive ? You can get discounted or even free training from certain truck driver schools if you enter into an agreement to be a driver for a particular carrier for a defined period of time. This is referred to as contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So rather than maintaining affiliations with a wide range of trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only work with one company. The benefit is receiving less expensive or even free training by surrendering the freedom to initially work wherever you choose. Clearly contract training has the potential to limit your income opportunities when starting out. But for many it may be the best way to get affordable training. Just remember to inquire if the Fort Garland CO schools you are considering are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.

Provide CDL Testing Onsite? There are several states that will allow 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its grads. If onsite testing is allowed in Colorado, ask if the schools you are considering are DMV certified to provide it. One advantage is that it is more accommodating than battling with graduates from competing schools for test times at Colorado testing facilities. It is also an indication that the DMV believes the approved schools to be of a higher quality.

Are the Classes Flexible? As formerly mentioned, truck driver training is only about one to two months long. With such a short duration, it’s essential that the Fort Garland CO school you choose offers flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. For example, if you’re having a hard time learning a particular driving maneuver, then the teacher should be willing to dedicate more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still working while attending training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other obligations.

Is Job Assistance Offered? Once you have acquired your CDL license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be keen to begin your new career. Make sure that the schools you are considering have job assistance programs. Ask what their job placement rate is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, ask which local and national trucking companies their graduates are placed with for employment. If a school has a poor job placement rate or not many Fort Garland CO employers recruiting their grads, it may be a sign to look elsewhere.

Is Financial Assistance Available? Trucking schools are similar to colleges and other Fort Garland CO area trade or technical schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being offered. Find out if the schools you are evaluating have a financial assistance department, or at a minimum someone who can help you understand the options and forms that must be completed.

Train To Be A Truck Driver Fort Garland Colorado

Fort Garland CO long haul truckSelecting the appropriate trucking school is an important first step to launching your new vocation 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 if you are going to succeed as an operator.  You originally came to our website because of your interest in Train To Be A Truck Driver and wanting information on the topic Professional Truck Driving School.  But first and foremost, you must receive the necessary training in order to operate a large commercial vehicle in a safe and professional manner. If you are lacking funds or financing, you may want to think about a captive school. You will pay a reduced or even no tuition by agreeing to drive for their contracted carrier. Or you can enroll in an independent trucker school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking firm of your choosing, or one of many affiliated with the school. It’s your decision. But no matter how you obtain your training, you will soon be part of an industry that helps our country move as a professional truck driver in Fort Garland CO.

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    Fort Garland, Colorado

    Fort Garland is referred to as the "Gateway to the San Luis Valley", as it is the first town one encounters when traveling west having crossed over La Veta Pass in the Sangre de Cristo Range. Fort Garland is home to many artists, painters, crafters and internationally known musicians.

    Fort Garland has a business district with two motels, several restaurants, the Old Fort Market grocery store, the Fort Garland Museum, two gas stations, two recreational marijuana shops, a car wash, hair salon, campgrounds, hardware store, liquor store, and multiple shops featuring collectibles and antiquities as well as a Wild West show.

    The Annual Fort Garland Band Jam Music Festival features local and regional musicians, as well as nationally and internationally recognized musical talent. This summer event, usually held in mid-July, includes an open-air market, local food vendors offering up traditional and regional cuisine, a beer garden, and children's activities. The music offered covers numerous styles, from traditional Spanish guitar to R&B to rock and roll.

     

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