How to Choose the Best Truck Driving School near Idaho Springs Colorado
Congrats on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a CDL school near Idaho Springs CO. Maybe it has always been your fantasy to hit the open road while operating a big ole tractor trailer. Or possibly you have conducted some research and have found that a career as a truck driver offers good pay and flexible work opportunities. No matter what your reason is, it’s important to receive the appropriate training by selecting the right CDL school in your area. When evaluating your options, there are certain variables that you’ll want to think about prior to making your ultimate selection. Location will no doubt be an issue, especially if you have to commute from your Idaho Springs residence. The cost will also be important, but choosing a school based exclusively on price is not the best way to make sure you’ll get the appropriate education. Just remember, your objective is to master the skills and knowledge 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 choose 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?
To drive commercial vehicles legally within the USA and Idaho Springs CO, a driver must attain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three license classes that a driver can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the subject of this article is how to choose a truck driving 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 brief summaries of the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is required to operate any vehicle that has a GCWR of more than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of more 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 Commercial Drivers License 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. Some 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 may also need endorsements to operate certain types of vehicles, such as passenger or school buses. And a Class A license holder, with the proper required endorsements, can drive any vehicle that a Class B license holder is qualified to operate.
How to Assess a Trucking School
Once you have decided which Commercial Drivers License you wish to pursue, you can start the process of evaluating the Idaho Springs CO truck driver schools that you are considering. As already discussed, cost and location will undoubtedly be your primary concerns. But it can’t be stressed enough that they must not be your sole concerns. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are similarly if not more important. So below are some more things that you need to research while conducting your due diligence before selecting, and particularly paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Not many truck driving schools in the Idaho Springs CO area are accredited due to the stringent process and expense to the schools. However, certification is more common and is offered by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not obligated to become certified, but there are several advantages. Prospective students recognize that the training will be of the highest caliber, and that they will get plenty of driving time. As an example, PTDI requires 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 fulfill the very high benchmarks 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 negatively rated or a fly by night school usually will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. Having said that, even the best of Idaho Springs CO schools had to begin from their first day of training, so use it as one of multiple qualifiers. You can also find out what the school’s track record is pertaining to successful licensing and employment of its graduates. If a school won’t provide those numbers, search elsewhere. The schools should additionally have associations with local and national trucking firms. Having numerous contacts not only affirms an excellent reputation within the trade, but also boosts their job assistance program for students. It also wouldn’t hurt to get in touch with the Colorado licensing authority to verify that the CDL trucker schools you are reviewing are in good standing.
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 cover more about the teachers in the next section. Also, the student to instructor proportion should not be greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be obtaining the personalized instruction 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 professes it can train you to be a truck driver in a comparatively short time frame. Training to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully takes time. Most Idaho Springs CO schools provide 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 Instructors? As already mentioned, it’s imperative that the instructors are qualified to teach driving methods and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Even though several states have minimum driving time prerequisites to qualify as an instructor, the more successful driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also crucial that the teachers keep up to date with industry developments or any new laws or changes in regulations. Evaluating teachers might be a bit 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 speak with a few of the students going through the training and ask if they are satisfied with the level of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
Enough Driving Time? Most importantly, a good truck driving school will furnish ample 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 simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are important training tools, they are no substitute for real driving. The more instruction that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will become. And even though driving time fluctuates between 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. Get in touch with the Idaho Springs CO schools you are researching and find out how much driving time they provide.
Are they Captive or Independent ? You can get discounted or even free training from some truck driver schools if you make a commitment to be a driver for a particular carrier for a defined amount of time. This is called contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So instead of having relationships with numerous trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only work with one company. The tradeoff is receiving less expensive or even free training by surrendering the flexibility to initially be a driver wherever you choose. Naturally contract training has the potential to reduce your income prospects when starting out. But for some it may be the best way to receive affordable training. Just be sure to ask if the Idaho Springs CO schools you are looking at are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Is there Onsite CDL Testing? There are some states that will permit third party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is permitted in Colorado, find out if the schools you are looking at are DMV certified to provide it. One benefit is that it is more convenient than contending with graduates of competing schools for test times at Colorado testing locations. It is also an indicator that the DMV regards the approved schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Classes Accessible? As formerly mentioned, CDL training is only about 1 to 2 months in length. With such a short duration, it’s important that the Idaho Springs CO school you enroll in offers 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 spend more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still working while attending training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other responsibilities.
Is Job Placement Provided? As soon as you have obtained your commercial driver’s license after graduating from trucking school, you will be eager to start your new profession. Make sure that the schools you are looking at have job placement programs. Find out what their job placement percentage 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 not many Idaho Springs CO employers recruiting their graduates, it may be a clue to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Truck driving schools are comparable to colleges and other Idaho Springs CO area technical or vocational schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being available. Ask if the schools you are evaluating have a financial aid department, or at least someone who can help you get through the options and forms that must be completed.
How To Get A Class B License Idaho Springs Colorado
Choosing the appropriate truck driving school is an important first step to starting your new occupation as a local or long distance truck driver. The skills that you will learn at school will be those that forge a new career behind the wheel. There are a number of options offered and understanding them is vital to a new driver’s success. You originally came to our website because of your interest in How To Get A Class B License and wanting information on the topic How To Get A Class A Drivers License. But first and foremost, you must obtain the proper training in order to drive a large commercial vehicle in a professional and safe fashion. If you are lacking money or financing, you might 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 trucking 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 regardless of how you obtain your training, you will soon be entering an industry that helps our country move as a professional trucker in Idaho Springs CO.
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Idaho Springs, Colorado
The City of Idaho Springs is a Statutory City in the western United States, the most populous municipality in Clear Creek County, Colorado. As of the 2010 census it had a population of 1,717. Idaho Springs is located in Clear Creek Canyon, in the mountains upstream from Golden, some 30 miles (50 km) west of Denver. Local legend is that the name of the city derived from annual visits to the radium hot springs made by a Native American chief and his tribe who journeyed there each year from Idaho to bathe in the magic healing waters.
Founded 160 years ago in 1859 by prospectors during the early days of the Pike's Peak Gold Rush, the town was at the center of the region's mining district throughout the late nineteenth century. The Argo Tunnel drained and provided access to many lodes of ore between Idaho Springs and Central City. During the late twentieth century, the town evolved into a tourist center along U.S. Highway 6 and U.S. Highway 40, which ascend Clear Creek Canyon through the historic mining district.
The town today is squeezed along the north side of Interstate 70, with a historical downtown in the central portion, a strip of tourist-related businesses on its eastern end, and mostly residences on its western end. It also serves as a bedroom community for workers at the Loveland Ski Area farther up the canyon. The town today is the largest community in Clear Creek County, but, for historical reasons, the county seat has remained at Georgetown.
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