How to Decide on the Right Truck Driver School near Gateway Colorado
Congratulations on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a truck driving school near Gateway CO. Perhaps it has always been your goal to hit the open highway while driving a huge tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have done some research and have discovered that an occupation as a truck driver offers excellent pay and flexible work opportunities. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s essential to receive the appropriate training by picking the right CDL school in your area. When evaluating your options, there are various factors that you’ll need to examine before making your ultimate choice. Location will certainly be an issue, particularly if you need to commute from your Gateway home. The expense will also be of importance, but selecting a school based only on price is not the optimal means to make certain you’ll obtain the right training. Don’t forget, your goal is to learn the knowledge and skills that will allow you to pass the CDL exams and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that target in mind, just how do you decide on a truck driving school? That is what we are going to discuss in the remainder of this article. But first, we are going to discuss a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will ultimately need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Will You Need?
To drive commercial vehicles lawfully within the USA and Gateway CO, an operator needs to obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 license classes that one 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 address Class A and Class B licenses. What distinguishes each class of CDL is the type 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 descriptions for the 2 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 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 needed 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. 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 operate certain types of vehicles, for instance school or passenger buses. And a Class A licensee, with the proper needed endorsements, may operate any vehicle that a Class B licensee is authorized to drive.
How to Research a Truck Driving School
As soon as you have decided which CDL you would like to pursue, you can start the process of evaluating the Gateway CO truck driving schools that you are looking at. As previously mentioned, cost and location will no doubt be your primary considerations. But it can’t be stressed enough that they should not be your sole concerns. Other variables, for instance the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are similarly if not more important. So following are some more points that you need to research while conducting 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 Gateway CO area are accredited because of the stringent process and cost to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more prevalent 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 know that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will get 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 program is certified (the program, not the school is certified), students know that the training and curriculum will fulfill the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One clue to help measure the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in business. A poorly rated or a fly by night school typically will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the best of Gateway CO schools had to start from their opening day of training, so consider it as one of multiple qualifications. You can also learn what the school’s history is concerning successful licensing and employment of its graduating students. If a school won’t supply those stats, look 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 students. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to check with the Colorado licensing authority to make sure that the CDL trucker schools you are reviewing are in compliance.
How Effective is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools must be licensed in Colorado and employ teachers that are trained and experienced. We will cover more about the instructors in the following 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 obtaining the individual attention they will need. This is particularly true concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And be critical of any school that insists it can train you to be a truck driver in a relatively short time frame. Learning to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer professionally requires time. The majority of Gateway CO schools offer training courses that range from 3 weeks to as long as 2 months, based on the class of license or type of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Teachers? As already mentioned, it’s imperative that the teachers are qualified to teach driving methods 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 professional driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also crucial that the instructors stay current with industry advancements or any new laws or changes in regulations. Evaluating teachers may be a little more intuitive 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 some of the students completing the training and ask if they are satisfied with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
Sufficient Driving Time? Most importantly, a great truck driving school will furnish sufficient driving time to its students. Besides, isn’t that what it’s all about? Driving time is the real time spent behind the wheel driving a truck. Even though the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are important training tools, they are no substitute for actual driving. The more instruction that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will be. Although driving time fluctuates between schools, a reasonable standard is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Get in touch with the Gateway CO schools you are researching and ask how much driving time they provide.
Are they Captive or Independent ? You can get free or discounted training from certain truck driving schools if you enter into an agreement to drive for a particular carrier for a defined time period. This is called contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So rather than having affiliations with many different trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only refer to one company. The tradeoff is receiving free or less expensive training by giving up the flexibility to initially be a driver wherever you have an opportunity. Obviously contract training has the potential to reduce your income opportunities when starting out. But for many it may be the ideal way to get affordable training. Just make sure to ask if the Gateway CO schools you are looking at are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Offer Onsite CDL Testing? There are several states that will permit 3rd party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is permitted 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 of competing schools for test times at Colorado testing locations. It is moreover an indication that the DMV regards the authorized schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Class Times Convenient? As earlier mentioned, truck driver training is just 1 to 2 months in length. With such a short term, it’s essential that the Gateway CO school you enroll in provides flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. For example, if you’re having difficulty learning a certain driving maneuver, then the teacher should be prepared to commit more time with you until you have it mastered. 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 obligations.
Is Job Placement Provided? The moment you have acquired your CDL license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be anxious to begin your new profession. Confirm that the schools you are reviewing have job placement programs. Find out what their job placement rate is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, ask which local and national trucking firms their graduates are referred to for hiring. If a school has a lower job placement rate or few Gateway CO employers recruiting their grads, it may be a sign to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Truck driver schools are comparable to colleges and other Gateway CO area vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being available. Find out if the schools you are assessing have a financial aid department, or at least someone who can help you get through the options and forms that must be submitted.
Becoming A Truck Driver Gateway Colorado
Choosing the appropriate trucking school is a critical first step to beginning your new occupation as a local or long distance truck driver. The skill sets taught at school will be those that forge a new career behind the wheel. There are many options offered 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 Becoming A Truck Driver and wanting information on the topic How To Get CDL Class A. But first and foremost, you must obtain the necessary training in order to operate a big commercial vehicle in a safe and professional fashion. If you are short on money or financing, you may want to consider a captive school. You will pay a reduced or even no tuition by agreeing to drive for their contracted carrier. Or you can select an independent trucker school and have the option of driving for the trucking firm of your choice, or one of many affiliated with the school. It’s your decision. But no matter how you get your training, you will soon be entering an industry that helps our country move as a professional truck driver in Gateway CO.
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Gateway Inc., previously Gateway 2000, was an American computer hardware company based in South Dakota and later California, that developed, manufactured, supported, and marketed a wide range of personal computers, computer monitors, servers, and computer accessories.
Gateway was founded on September 5, 1985, on a farm outside Sioux City, Iowa, by Ted Waitt and Mike Hammond. Originally called Gateway 2000, it was one of the first widely successful direct-sales PC companies, utilizing a sales model copied from Dell, and playing up its Iowa roots with low-tech advertisements proclaiming "Computers from Iowa?"
Gateway built brand recognition in part by shipping computers in spotted boxes patterned after Holstein cow markings. In 1989, Gateway moved its corporate offices and production facilities to North Sioux City, South Dakota. In line with the Holstein cow mascot, Gateway opened a chain of farm-styled retail stores called Gateway Country Stores, mostly in suburban areas across the United States. It dropped the "2000" from its name on October 31, 1998.