How to Choose the Best Trucker Classes near Sheridan Lake Colorado
Congrats on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a CDL school near Sheridan Lake CO. Perhaps it has always been your dream to hit the open road while operating a monster tractor trailer. Or possibly you have done some analysis and have discovered that a career as a truck driver offers good pay and flexible work opportunities. No matter what your reason is, it’s imperative to receive the proper training by choosing the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are various variables that you’ll need to consider before making your ultimate choice. Location will no doubt be important, especially if you have to commute from your Sheridan Lake residence. The expense will also be of importance, but picking a school based exclusively on price is not the optimal means to guarantee you’ll get the appropriate education. Just remember, your objective is to learn the skills and knowledge that will enable you to pass the CDL examinations and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that purpose in mind, just how do you select a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to cover in the remainder of this article. But first, we are going to talk a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will ultimately need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Should You Get?
In order to drive commercial vehicles lawfully within the USA and Sheridan Lake CO, an operator must obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three license classes that a person can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the subject 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 descriptions of the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License is required to drive any vehicle that has a GCWR of more than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of greater than 10,000 lbs. Several 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 more 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 CDLs may also need endorsements to operate certain kinds of vehicles, such as school or passenger buses. And a Class A licensee, with the appropriate required endorsements, may drive any vehicle that a Class B licensee is authorized to operate.
How to Research a CDL School
After you have decided which CDL you would like to pursue, you can begin the process of assessing the Sheridan Lake CO truck driver schools that you are looking at. As previously discussed, cost and location will undoubtedly be your primary considerations. But it can’t be stressed enough that they should not be your sole concerns. Other variables, such as the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are equally if not more important. So below are several more factors that you should research while conducting your due diligence prior to selecting, and especially paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Not many truck driver schools in the Sheridan Lake CO area are accredited due to the demanding process and cost to the schools. However, certification is more typical and is provided by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not required to become certified, but there are a number of advantages. Potential students recognize that the training will be of the highest standard, and that they will receive lots of driving time. For 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 curriculum and training will satisfy the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One indicator to help assess the quality of a truck driver school is how long it has been in operation. A poorly rated or a fly by night school typically will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. On the other hand, even the top Sheridan Lake CO schools had to start from their opening day of training, so use it as one of multiple qualifications. You can also learn what the school’s track record is concerning successful licensing and job placement of its graduating students. If a school won’t provide those stats, look elsewhere. The schools should also have associations with local and national trucking companies. Having a large number of contacts not only confirms an excellent reputation within the industry, but also bolsters their job placement program for graduates. It also wouldn’t hurt to contact the Colorado licensing authority to verify that the CDL trucker schools you are researching are in compliance.
How Effective is the Training? At a minimum, the schools must be licensed in Colorado and employ teachers that are trained and experienced. We will discuss 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 higher, then students will not be getting the individual attention 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 insists it can train you to be a truck driver in a comparatively short time frame. Learning to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer skillfully takes time. The majority of Sheridan Lake CO schools provide training courses that run from three weeks to as long as 2 months, depending on the class of license or kind of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Teachers? As already mentioned, it’s essential that the instructors are qualified to teach driving methods and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Even though several states have minimum driving time criteria to qualify as a teacher, the more professional 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. Assessing instructors might be a bit more intuitive than other criteria, and possibly the ideal approach is to pay a visit to the school and talk to the teachers in person. You can also talk to some 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? Above all else, an excellent truck driver school will furnish ample driving time to its students. After all, isn’t that what it’s all about? Driving time is the actual time spent behind the wheel operating a truck. Even though the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are important training methods, 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. And even though driving time fluctuates between schools, a reasonable benchmark is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide no less than 44 hours of driving time. Check with the Sheridan Lake CO schools you are researching and find out how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Independent or Captive ? You can get free or discounted training from a number of truck driver schools if you make a commitment to be a driver for a specific carrier for a defined period of time. This is what’s known as contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So instead of maintaining affiliations with many different trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, 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 have an opportunity. Naturally contract training has the potential to restrict your income opportunities when starting out. But for many it may be the best way to receive affordable training. Just remember to inquire if the Sheridan Lake CO schools you are looking at are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Offer CDL Testing Onsite? There are several states that will permit third party CDL testing onsite of truck driver schools for its students. If onsite testing is permitted in Colorado, find out if the schools you are considering are DMV certified to provide it. One advantage is that it is more accommodating than battling with graduates of competing schools for test times at Colorado testing facilities. It is moreover an indication that the DMV considers the authorized schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Classes Flexible? As formerly mentioned, truck driver training is only about 1 to 2 months in length. With such a brief duration, it’s imperative that the Sheridan Lake CO school you select offers flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. For example, if you’re having a hard time learning a certain driving maneuver, then the instructor should be prepared to spend more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still working while going to training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other responsibilities.
Is Job Placement Offered? Once you have obtained your CDL license after graduating from trucking 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 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 Sheridan Lake CO employers recruiting their graduates, it might be a clue to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Truck driver schools are much like colleges and other Sheridan Lake 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 evaluating have a financial assistance department, or at least someone who can help you get through the options and forms that need to be completed.
Truck Driving Schools Sheridan Lake Colorado
Choosing the appropriate truck driving school is an essential first step to beginning your new occupation as a local or long distance truck driver. The skill sets 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 crucial to a new driver’s success. You originally came to our website because of your interest in Truck Driving Schools and wanting information on the topic CDL Programs. However, you must get the appropriate training in order to operate a big commercial vehicle in a professional and safe fashion. If you are lacking funds or financing, you may 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 truck driving school and have the option of driving for the trucking firm of your choosing, or one of many associated with the school. It’s your decision. But regardless of how you obtain your training, you will soon be joining a profession that helps our country move as a professional trucker in Sheridan Lake CO.
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Sheridan Lake, Colorado
Sheridan Lake is located in eastern Kiowa County at 38°28′6″N 102°17′35″W / 38.46833°N 102.29306°W / 38.46833; -102.29306 (38.468274, -102.293155).U.S. Route 385 passes through the town, leading north 27 miles (43 km) to Cheyenne Wells and south 28 miles (45 km) to Granada. Colorado State Highway 96 is the town's Main Street and leads west 28 miles (45 km) to Eads, the Kiowa county seat, and east 13 miles (21 km) to the Kansas border.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 0.32 square miles (0.82 km2), all of it recorded as land. The town is situated just to the north of the site of the small lake for which it was named. Recent aerial photos appear to indicate that the lake is mostly dried-up, with only an alkali lake bed remaining.
As of the census of 2000, there were 66 people, 27 households, and 16 families residing in the town. The population density was 203.5 people per square mile (79.6/km²). There were 41 housing units at an average density of 126.4 per square mile (49.5/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 95.45% White, 1.52% African American, 1.52% from other races, and 1.52% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 4.55% of the population. Sheridan Lake is also known as "The littlest town that ever did live".