How to Decide on the Right CDL Training School near Sedalia Colorado
Congrats on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a CDL school near Sedalia CO. Perhaps it has always been your fantasy to hit the open road while driving a huge tractor trailer. Or possibly you have conducted some research and have found that an occupation as a truck driver provides good wages and flexible work prospects. No matter what your reason is, it’s important to get the proper training by picking the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are several factors that you’ll want to consider prior to making your final choice. Location will undoubtedly be important, particularly if you need to commute from your Sedalia home. The cost will also be of importance, but choosing a school based exclusively on price is not the ideal method to ensure you’ll get the right education. Don’t forget, your goal is to master the knowledge and skills that will allow you to pass the CDL examinations and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that objective in mind, just how do you decide on a truck driving school? That is what we are going to cover in the balance of this article. But first, we are going to review a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will ultimately need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Will You Require?
To operate commercial vehicles lawfully within the United States and Sedalia CO, an operator must get a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three classes of licenses that a person can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the subject of this article is how to select a truck driving school, we will address 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 brief explanations for the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License 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. 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 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 Commercial Drivers Licenses might also need endorsements to operate specific kinds of vehicles, for instance school or passenger buses. And a Class A license holder, with the appropriate required endorsements, may drive any vehicle that a Class B license holder is authorized to drive.
How to Evaluate a Trucking School
When you have determined which CDL you would like to pursue, you can start the process of researching the Sedalia CO trucking schools that you are considering. As already mentioned, location and cost will no doubt be your primary concerns. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they should not be your only considerations. Other variables, for example the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are similarly or even more important. So below are several additional things that you should research while carrying out your due diligence prior to enrolling in, and particularly paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Not many truck driver schools in the Sedalia CO area are accredited because of the demanding process and expense to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more typical and is provided by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not obligated to become certified, but there are several advantages. Potential students recognize 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 actual 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 comply with the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One clue to help measure the quality of a truck driver school is how long it has been in operation. A poorly rated or a fly by night school normally will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the top Sedalia CO schools had to start from their opening day of training, so use it as one of several qualifications. You can also ask what the school’s history is concerning successful licensing and job placement of its graduates. If a school won’t provide those stats, look elsewhere. The schools should additionally have relationships with regional and national trucking firms. Having a large number of contacts not only affirms an excellent reputation within the trade, but also bolsters their job assistance program for graduates. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to check with the Colorado licensing department to verify that the CDL trucking schools you are researching are in compliance.
How Effective is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools must be licensed in Colorado and hire instructors that are experienced and trained. We will cover more about the instructors in the next section. Also, the student to instructor ratio should be no higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be getting the personalized attention they will need. This is especially true concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And be critical of any school that professes it can teach you to be a truck driver in a comparatively short time period. Learning to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully takes time. The majority of Sedalia CO schools provide training programs that range from 3 weeks to as long as 2 months, depending on the license class or type of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Teachers? As already mentioned, it’s imperative that the instructors are trained 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 successful driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also crucial that the instructors stay current with industry advancements or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Assessing instructors may be a little more intuitive than other criteria, and perhaps the ideal method is to check out the school and speak with the instructors in person. You can also talk to a few of the students completing the training and ask if they are happy with the level of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
How Much 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 ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are important training tools, they are no alternative for actual driving. The more training that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will become. Although driving time can vary 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 Sedalia CO schools you are looking at and ask how much driving time they provide.
Are they Independent or Captive ? It’s possible to obtain free or discounted training from certain truck driving schools if you make a commitment to drive for a specific 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 many different trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only work with one company. The tradeoff is receiving free or less expensive training by surrendering the flexibility to initially work wherever you choose. Naturally contract training has the potential to restrict your income prospects when beginning your new career. But for some it may be the best way to receive affordable training. Just be sure to inquire if the Sedalia CO schools you are looking at are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Offer Onsite CDL Testing? There are several states that will allow 3rd party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is allowed in Colorado, ask if the schools you are reviewing are DMV certified to offer it. One advantage is that it is more accommodating than competing with graduates from competing schools for test times at Colorado testing locations. It is also an indication that the DMV regards the approved schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Classes Flexible? As previously mentioned, truck driver training is only about 1 to 2 months long. With such a short term, it’s imperative that the Sedalia CO school you select provides 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 prepared to spend more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still employed while going to training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other responsibilities.
Is Job Assistance Offered? As soon as you have acquired your CDL license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be anxious to begin your new career. Make sure that the schools you are contemplating have job assistance programs. Find out what their job placement ratio 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 poor job placement rate or few Sedalia CO employers recruiting their graduates, it may be a sign to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Available? Truck driving schools are comparable to colleges and other Sedalia CO area technical or vocational schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being offered. Ask if the schools you are assessing have a financial assistance department, or at least someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that must be completed.
The Best Truck Driving Schools Sedalia Colorado
Selecting the appropriate truck driving 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 several 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 The Best Truck Driving Schools and wanting information on the topic How To Get Your CDL License. But first and foremost, you must get the necessary training in order to drive a big commercial vehicle in a professional and safe fashion. If you are lacking funds or financing, you might need to consider a captive school. You will pay a lower or even no tuition by agreeing to drive for their contracted carrier. Or you can select an independent trucking 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 decision. But regardless of how you get your training, you will soon be joining an industry that helps America move as a professional trucker in Sedalia CO.
Truck On in These Other Colorado Locations
Sedalia is an unincorporated community and census-designated place (CDP) in Douglas County, Colorado, United States. The CDP population was 206 at the 2010 census. The Sedalia Post Office has the ZIP code 80135.
Sedalia is located in northwestern Douglas County at 39°26′16″N 104°57′51″W / 39.43778°N 104.96417°W / 39.43778; -104.96417 (39.437892, −104.964117), along U.S. Route 85, which leads 8 miles (13 km) southeast to Castle Rock, the county seat, and north 24 miles (39 km) to downtown Denver.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the Sedalia CDP has a total area of 1.4 square miles (3.5 km2), all of it land. Sedalia is in the valley of Plum Creek, a north-flowing tributary of the South Platte River.
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