How to Select the Right CDL Training Classes near Syracuse Kansas
Congrats on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a trucking school near Syracuse KS. Maybe it has always been your dream to hit the open highway while operating a huge tractor trailer. Or possibly you have conducted some research and have found that a career as a truck driver offers good income and flexible job prospects. Whatever your reason is, it’s essential to obtain 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 selection. Location will undoubtedly be important, especially if you have to commute from your Syracuse home. The expense will also be of importance, but picking a school based only on price is not the ideal method to guarantee you’ll get the proper education. Just remember, your objective 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 goal in mind, just how do you choose a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to address in the balance of this article. But first, we are going to discuss a little bit about which CDL license you will eventually need.
Which CDL Should You Get?
To drive commercial vehicles legally within the USA and Syracuse KS, a driver needs to obtain 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 driving school, we will highlight Class A and B licenses. What distinguishes each class of CDL is the type of vehicle that the driver can operate in addition to the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Following are brief summaries of the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License is needed to drive any vehicle that has a GCWR of more than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of greater 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 needed to operate 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. Several 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 need endorsements to operate specific types of vehicles, including passenger or school buses. And a Class A licensee, with the appropriate required endorsements, can operate any vehicle that a Class B licensee is qualified to drive.
How to Assess a Truck Driving School
After you have determined which CDL you wish to pursue, you can start the undertaking of assessing the Syracuse KS trucking schools that you are considering. As previously discussed, location and cost will no doubt be your primary considerations. But it can’t be stressed enough that they should not be your only concerns. Other variables, including the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are equally if not more important. So following are a few more points that you need to research while performing your due diligence prior to choosing, and especially paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Not many trucking schools in the Syracuse KS area are accredited because of the demanding process and cost to the schools. However, certification is more prevalent 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. Prospective students know that the training will be of the highest standard, and that they will be given an ample amount of driving time. As an example, PTDI calls for 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 training and curriculum will comply with the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One indicator to help determine the quality of a truck driver school is how long it has been in business. A negatively reviewed or a fly by night school typically will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. Having said that, even the best of Syracuse KS schools had to begin from their first day of training, so use it as one of multiple qualifications. You can also ask what the school’s history is regarding successful licensing and job placement of its graduating students. If a school won’t share those numbers, search elsewhere. The schools should additionally maintain associations with regional and national trucking firms. Having a large number of contacts not only points to a superior reputation within the profession, but also bolsters their job assistance program for graduates. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to check with the Kansas licensing authority to make sure that the CDL trucking schools you are considering are in good standing.
How Good is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools must be licensed in Kansas and employ instructors that are experienced and trained. We will discuss more about the teachers in the following section. Also, the student to instructor ratio should not be higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be getting the personalized attention they will need. This is especially true regarding the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And watch out for any school that claims it can teach you to be a truck driver in a relatively short time period. Training to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer professionally takes time. Most Syracuse KS schools offer training programs that range from three weeks to as long as 2 months, depending on the license class or kind of vehicle.
How Good are the Instructors? As previously mentioned, it’s important that the instructors 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 qualify as an instructor, the more professional driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also crucial that the teachers keep up to date with industry advancements or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Assessing instructors may be a bit more intuitive than other criteria, and perhaps the best method is to check out the school and speak with the instructors in person. 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 qualification to train them.
How Much Driving Time? Most importantly, a good trucking 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. While the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are important training tools, they are no replacement for real driving. The more training that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will become. And even though driving time can vary between schools, a reasonable standard is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Contact the Syracuse KS schools you are looking at and ask how much driving time they provide.
Are they Captive or Independent ? It’s possible to get discounted or even free training from some trucking schools if you enter into an agreement to be a driver for a particular carrier for a defined time period. This is what’s known as contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So rather than 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 giving up the flexibility to initially work wherever you have an opportunity. Obviously contract training has the potential to limit your income prospects when starting out. But for some it may be the ideal way to receive affordable training. Just make sure to find out if the Syracuse KS schools you are contemplating are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Is there CDL Testing Onsite? There are a number of states that will permit third party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is available in Kansas, ask if the schools you are reviewing are DMV certified to provide it. One benefit is that it is more convenient than contending with graduates of other schools for test times at Kansas testing locations. It is moreover an indication that the DMV deems the approved schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Class Times Accessible? As formerly noted, truck driver training is only about 1 to 2 months long. With such a brief term, it’s essential that the Syracuse KS 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 instructor should be willing to dedicate 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 commitments.
Is Job Placement Provided? As soon as you have attained your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be impatient to start your new career. Confirm that the schools you are considering have job placement programs. Ask what their job placement percentage is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, ask which national and local trucking companies their graduates are placed with for hiring. If a school has a lower job placement rate or few Syracuse KS employers hiring their grads, it may be a sign to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Truck driver schools are similar to colleges and other Syracuse KS area technical or vocational schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being available. 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 need to be completed.
How To Become Truck Driver Syracuse Kansas
Picking the right trucking school is an essential first step to beginning your new occupation as a long distance or local truck driver. The skills taught at school will be those that forge a new career behind the wheel. There are several options available and understanding them is critical to a new driver’s success. 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. However, you must get the necessary training in order to drive a large commercial vehicle in a professional and safe fashion. If you are short on money or financing, you may want to look into 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 choose an independent truck driving 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 receive your training, you will in the near future be part of a profession that helps America move as a professional truck driver in Syracuse KS.
Truck On in These Other Kansas Locations
Syracuse is located at 37°58′59″N 101°45′04″W / 37.982938°N 101.751224°W / 37.982938; -101.751224 (37.982938, -101.751224), along U.S. Route 50 and the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway, sixteen miles (twenty-six kilometers) from the Colorado border. The Arkansas River runs just south of the City of Syracuse. The countryside south of the Arkansas River is marked by sandhills. Located within these sandhills is the "Syracuse Sand Dunes," a city park covering 1,300 acres (5.3 km2), including a 40-acre (160,000 m2) fishing pond.
As of the census of 2010, there were 1,812 people, 715 households, and 460 families residing in the city. The population density was 442.0 inhabitants per square mile (170.7/km2). There were 832 housing units at an average density of 202.9 per square mile (78.3/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 76.7% White, 0.2% African American, 1.8% Native American, 0.2% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 19.4% from other races, and 1.6% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 32.7% of the population.
There were 715 households of which 37.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 51.6% were married couples living together, 9.0% had a female householder with no husband present, 3.8% had a male householder with no wife present, and 35.7% were non-families. 31.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 14.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.53 and the average family size was 3.23.