How to Select the Right Truck Driving School near Weston Colorado
Congratulations on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a trucking school near Weston CO. Perhaps it has always been your ambition to hit the open road while operating a big ole tractor trailer. Or possibly you have done some analysis and have discovered that an occupation as a truck driver provides good pay and flexible job opportunities. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s essential to get the proper training by choosing the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are certain factors that you’ll need to examine prior to making your final selection. Location will no doubt be important, especially if you have to commute from your Weston home. The cost will also be of importance, but selecting a school based exclusively on price is not the best way to make certain you’ll receive the proper education. Just remember, your goal is to master 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 pick a truck driving school? That is what we are going to discuss in the remainder of this article. But first, we are going to review a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will eventually need.
Which CDL Will You Need?
To operate commercial vehicles legally within the USA and Weston CO, a driver needs to get a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three classes of licenses that a driver can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the topic of this article is how to choose a truck driver school, we will discuss Class A and Class B licenses. What differentiates each class of CDL is the kind of vehicle that the driver can operate in addition to the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Below are brief descriptions of the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is needed to drive any vehicle that has a GCWR of greater 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 CDL is needed to drive 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. 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 CDLs may also require endorsements to drive specific kinds of vehicles, for example passenger or school buses. And a Class A license holder, with the appropriate needed endorsements, can drive any vehicle that a Class B licensee is authorized to drive.
How to Evaluate a Truck Driver School
As soon as you have decided which Commercial Drivers License you wish to obtain, you can begin the undertaking of assessing the Weston CO truck driver schools that you are considering. As earlier discussed, cost and location will undoubtedly be your primary concerns. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they should not be your only considerations. Other factors, for instance the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are equally or even more important. So below are some more things that you should research while carrying out your due diligence before selecting, and particularly paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Not many truck driver schools in the Weston CO area are accredited because of the rigorous process and expense to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more commonplace and is offered by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not obligated to become certified, but there are a number of advantages. Interested students know that the training will be of the highest standard, and that they will receive plenty of driving time. As an example, PTDI mandates 44 hours of real 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 curriculum and training will satisfy the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One indicator to help determine the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in business. A poorly reviewed or a fly by night school typically will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. On the other hand, even the best of Weston CO schools had to begin from their opening day of training, so consider it as one of multiple qualifiers. You can also find out what the school’s track record is relating to successful licensing and job placement of its graduates. If a school won’t provide those numbers, look elsewhere. The schools should additionally have relationships with local and national trucking firms. Having numerous contacts not only points to a quality reputation within the trade, but also boosts their job placement program for graduates. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to get in touch with the Colorado licensing authority to make sure that the CDL trucker schools you are considering are in good standing.
How Good is the Training? At a minimum, the schools should be licensed in Colorado and employ instructors that are trained and experienced. We will discuss more about the instructors in the next section. Also, the student to instructor ratio should be no greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be getting 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 teach you to be a truck driver in a relatively short time period. Learning to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer professionally requires time. Most Weston CO schools provide training programs that range from three weeks to as long as two months, based on the license class or kind of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Instructors? As already stated, it’s imperative that the instructors are trained to teach driving methods and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Although a number of states have minimum driving time criteria to qualify as a teacher, the more successful driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also crucial that the instructors stay up to date with industry developments or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Evaluating instructors may be a bit more subjective than other criteria, and possibly the ideal method is to pay a visit to 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 find out if they are happy with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
Adequate Driving Time? Most importantly, a great truck driver school will furnish plenty of 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. Even though the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are essential training tools, they are no replacement for actual driving. The more instruction that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will be. And even though driving time differs between schools, a reasonable benchmark is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish at least 44 hours of driving time. Get in touch with the Weston CO schools you are researching and find out how much driving time they provide.
Are they Captive or Independent ? It’s possible to get free or discounted training from some truck driving schools if you enter into an agreement to be a driver for a particular carrier for a defined amount of time. This is called contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So instead of having affiliations with a wide range of trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only refer to one company. The tradeoff is receiving free or less expensive training by giving up the flexibility to initially work wherever you have an opportunity. Naturally contract training has the potential to limit your income prospects when starting out. But for some it may be the best way to obtain affordable training. Just be sure to inquire if the Weston CO schools you are contemplating are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Offer CDL Testing Onsite? There are several states that will allow 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driver schools for its grads. If onsite testing is available in Colorado, ask if the schools you are considering are DMV certified to offer it. One benefit 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 considers the authorized schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Classes Flexible? As formerly mentioned, CDL training is just one to two months in length. With such a short term, it’s essential that the Weston CO school you enroll in provides flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. For example, if you’re having a hard time learning a certain driving maneuver, then the instructor should be willing to devote 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 fit in working hours or other responsibilities.
Is Job Placement Offered? Once you have obtained your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be eager to begin your new profession. Confirm that the schools you are reviewing have job assistance programs. Find out what their job placement rate is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, find out which local and national trucking companies their graduates are referred to for employment. If a school has a low job placement rate or not many Weston CO employers hiring their grads, it may be a sign to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Truck driver schools are comparable to colleges and other Weston CO area trade or technical schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being offered. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have a financial assistance department, or at a minimum someone who can help you get through the options and forms that must be submitted.
Schools For Truck Driving Weston Colorado
Picking the right truck driving school is an essential first step to starting your new profession as a long distance or local truck driver. The skill sets taught at school will be those that forge a new career behind the wheel. There are several options offered 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 Schools For Truck Driving and wanting information on the topic How Can I Get My CDL License. But first and foremost, you must receive the proper training in order to operate a large commercial vehicle in a professional and safe fashion. If you are short on money or financing, you might need to think about a captive school. You will pay a reduced or in some cases no tuition by agreeing to drive for their contracted carrier. Or you can enroll in an independent truck driver school and have the option of driving for the trucking firm of your choice, or one of several associated with the school. It’s your choice. But regardless of how you obtain your training, you will in the near future be entering an industry that helps America move as a professional truck driver in Weston CO.
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Weston, a Cleveland, Ohio native, usually played comic roles in films such as Cactus Flower (1969) and Please Don't Eat the Daisies (1960). He occasionally took on heavier parts, such as the scheming crook and stalker who, along with Alan Arkin and Richard Crenna, attempts to terrorize and rob a blind Audrey Hepburn in the 1967 film Wait Until Dark.
Weston had countless character roles in major films such as The Cincinnati Kid and The Thomas Crown Affair. On television he made numerous appearances such as murderer Fred Calvert in the 1958 Perry Mason episode, "The Case of the Daring Decoy." In 1961, he was a guest star in the TV drama Route 66, playing the manager of a traveling group of young women nightclub dancers, who mistreats his employees. In 1963, he was a guest star in the TV drama The Fugitive.
In 1976, he was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy for his performance in the film The Ritz. In 1981, Weston appeared on Broadway in Woody Allen's comedy The Floating Light Bulb, for which he was nominated for a Tony Award as Best Actor. Other stage appearances included Bells are Ringing in 1956 (with Judy Holliday),The Ritz in 1975,Neil Simon's California Suite (1976) and One Night Stand in 1980.