How to Choose the Right Truck Driving Classes near Naturita Colorado
Congrats on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a trucking school near Naturita CO. Perhaps it has always been your fantasy to hit the open road while driving a huge tractor trailer. Or maybe you have conducted some analysis and have found that a career as a truck driver offers excellent wages and flexible job opportunities. No matter what your reason is, it’s imperative to get the proper training by picking the right CDL school in your area. When evaluating your options, there are a number of factors that you’ll want to consider prior to making your final choice. Location will no doubt be an issue, especially if you have to commute from your Naturita residence. The cost will also be of importance, but picking a school based entirely on price is not the ideal method to make certain you’ll obtain the appropriate education. Just remember, your goal is to master the knowledge and skills that will allow you to pass the CDL exams and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that objective in mind, just how do you select a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to discuss in the rest of this article. But first, we are going to discuss a little bit about which CDL license you will ultimately need.
Which CDL Should You Get?
In order to drive commercial vehicles legally within the United States and Naturita CO, an operator needs to get a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three classes of licenses 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 focus on Class A and Class B licenses. What distinguishes 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 descriptions for the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is required to drive any vehicle that has a GCWR of more than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of more than 10,000 lbs. Several 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 needed to drive single vehicles having a GVWR of greater than 26,000 lbs., or a GCWR of more 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 need endorsements to operate specific kinds of vehicles, for instance school or passenger buses. And a Class A license holder, with the appropriate needed endorsements, may operate any vehicle that a Class B licensee is authorized to drive.
How to Research a Truck Driving School
After you have decided which Commercial Drivers License you want to obtain, you can begin the process of evaluating the Naturita CO trucking schools that you are considering. As previously mentioned, location and cost will certainly be your initial considerations. But it can’t be stressed enough that they must not be your only concerns. Other variables, for example the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are equally or even more important. So following are some more factors that you need to research while conducting your due diligence before choosing, and especially paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Not many truck driving schools in the Naturita CO area are accredited due to the stringent process and expense to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more common and is offered by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not required to become certified, but there are several advantages. Potential students know that the training will be of the highest caliber, and that they will receive an ample amount of driving time. As an example, PTDI calls for 44 hours of real 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 training and curriculum will fulfill the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One clue to help assess the quality of a trucking school is how long it has been in operation. 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 Naturita CO schools had to start from their first day of training, so consider it as one of several qualifiers. You can also find out what the school’s history is pertaining to successful licensing and employment of its graduating students. If a school won’t share those stats, search elsewhere. The schools should additionally have associations with regional and national trucking companies. Having a large number of contacts not only affirms a superior reputation within the industry, but also boosts their job assistance program for students. It also wouldn’t hurt to get in touch with the Colorado licensing authority to make sure that the CDL trucking schools you are considering are in good standing.
How Effective is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools must be licensed in Colorado and hire instructors that are trained and experienced. We will discuss more about the instructors in the next section. Also, the student to instructor ratio should not be 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 claims it can teach you to be a truck driver in a relatively short time frame. Training to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully requires time. Most Naturita CO schools provide training programs that range from three weeks to as long as two months, depending on the class of license or type of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Trainers? As earlier mentioned, it’s important that the teachers are trained to teach driving techniques and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Even though a number of states have minimum driving time criteria to be certified as a teacher, the more successful driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also crucial that the instructors keep current with industry advancements or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Assessing instructors may be a little more intuitive than other standards, and possibly the best approach is to check out the school and speak with the instructors face to face. You can also speak with a few of the students going through the training and ask if they are happy with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Plenty of Driving Time? Above all else, a good truck driver school will provide sufficient driving time to its students. Besides, isn’t that what it’s all about? Driving time is the actual time spent behind the wheel operating a truck. Although the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are important training methods, 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 between schools, a good benchmark is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish at least 44 hours of driving time. Contact the Naturita CO schools you are looking at and ask how much driving time they provide.
Are they Independent or Captive ? You can receive free or discounted training from certain truck driving schools if you make a commitment to drive for a specified carrier for a defined time period. This is referred to as contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So instead of having associations with numerous trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only work with one company. The benefit is receiving free or less expensive training by surrendering the freedom to initially be a driver wherever you have an opportunity. Obviously contract training has the potential to reduce your income prospects when starting out. But for many it may be the ideal way to obtain affordable training. Just make sure to inquire if the Naturita CO schools you are looking at are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Offer Onsite CDL Testing? There are some states that will allow 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its grads. If onsite testing is available in Colorado, find out if the schools you are reviewing are DMV certified to offer it. One benefit is that it is more convenient than competing with graduates from competing schools for test times at Colorado testing centers. It is moreover an indication that the DMV regards the authorized schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Classes Convenient? As earlier mentioned, truck driving training is just one to two months in length. With such a short duration, it’s essential that the Naturita CO school you enroll in offers 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 willing to devote 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 Provided? As soon as you have acquired your CDL license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be keen to begin your new profession. Verify that the schools you are looking at have job placement programs. Ask what their job placement percentage is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, find out which local and national trucking companies their graduates are placed with for employment. If a school has a low job placement rate or not many Naturita CO employers recruiting their grads, it might be a clue to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Available? Trucking schools are much like colleges and other Naturita CO area trade or technical schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being available. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have a financial aid department, or at least someone who can help you understand the options and forms that must be submitted.
How To Become Truck Driver Naturita Colorado
Selecting the appropriate trucking school is an important first step to beginning your new occupation as a long distance or local truck driver. The skills that you will learn at school will be those that forge a new career behind the wheel. There are many options available and understanding them is vital if you are going to succeed as an operator. You originally came to our website because of your interest in How To Become Truck Driver and wanting information on the topic Truck Driver Classes. But first and foremost, you must receive the appropriate training in order to drive a big commercial vehicle in a safe and professional manner. If you are lacking money or financing, you may want to consider a captive school. You will pay a lower or in some cases no tuition in exchange for driving for their contracted carrier. Or you can select an independent CDL school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking company of your choosing, or one of several affiliated with the school. It’s your choice. But regardless of how you get your training, you will soon be joining an industry that helps America move as a professional truck driver in Naturita CO.
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According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 0.7 square miles (1.8 km2), all of it land. Naturita is located in an area of desert land, surrounding the Uncompahgre National Forest in western Colorado.
As of the census of 2000, there were 635 people, 257 households, and 164 families residing in the town. The population density was 865.5 people per square mile (335.9/km²). There were 314 housing units at an average density of 428.0 per square mile (166.1/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 93.70% White, 2.36% Native American, 0.16% Asian, 1.73% from other races, and 2.05% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 5.04% of the population.
There were 257 households out of which 35.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 44.7% were married couples living together, 12.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 35.8% were non-families. 28.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.46 and the average family size was 3.06.