How to Select the Best Truck Driver School near Tampa Kansas
Congrats on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a CDL school near Tampa KS. Perhaps it has always been your fantasy to hit the open highway while driving a monster tractor trailer. Or possibly you have done some analysis and have discovered that an occupation as a truck driver provides excellent income and flexible job prospects. Whatever your reason is, it’s imperative to get the proper training by selecting the right CDL school in your area. When evaluating your options, there are a number of variables that you’ll need to consider prior to making your ultimate selection. Location will undoubtedly be important, especially if you need to commute from your Tampa home. The cost will also be of importance, but choosing a school based exclusively on price is not the best method to make sure you’ll receive the appropriate education. Just remember, your objective 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 goal in mind, just how do you pick a truck driving school? That 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 commercial driver’s license you will eventually need.
Which CDL Will You Need?
In order to drive commercial vehicles lawfully within the United States and Tampa KS, a driver needs to get a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three license classes that a driver can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the subject of this article is how to select a truck driving school, we will discuss Class A and B licenses. What differentiates 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). Below are short 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. Some 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 operate 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. 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 may also require endorsements to operate certain types of vehicles, for example passenger or school buses. And a Class A license holder, with the appropriate needed endorsements, may drive any vehicle that a Class B license holder is authorized to drive.
How to Assess a Truck Driving School
After you have decided which CDL you wish to obtain, you can begin the undertaking of researching the Tampa KS truck driver schools that you are looking at. As previously mentioned, location and cost will no doubt be your initial considerations. But it can’t be stressed enough that they should not be your only considerations. Other factors, for example the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are similarly or even more important. So below are some additional factors that you need to research while carrying out your due diligence prior to choosing, and especially paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Very few truck driving schools in the Tampa KS area are accredited because of the stringent 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 obligated to become certified, but there are several advantages. Prospective students know that the training will be of the highest caliber, and that they will get plenty of driving time. As an example, PTDI mandates 44 hours of real driving time, not simulations or ride-alongs. So if a school’s program is certified (the program, not the school is certified), students know that the curriculum and training will meet the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One clue to help determine the quality of a truck driving 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 Tampa KS schools had to begin from their opening day of training, so use it as one of multiple qualifiers. You can also learn what the school’s history is concerning successful licensing and job placement of its graduates. If a school won’t provide those numbers, look elsewhere. The schools should also maintain relationships with regional and national trucking companies. Having numerous contacts not only confirms a superior reputation within the profession, but also bolsters their job placement program for graduates. It also wouldn’t hurt to check with the Kansas licensing department to make sure that the CDL trucking schools you are reviewing are in good standing.
How Effective is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools should be licensed in Kansas and hire instructors that are experienced and trained. We will talk more about the teachers in the next segment. In addition, the student to instructor proportion should not be greater 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 professes it can train you to be a truck driver in a relatively short time frame. Training to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer professionally requires time. The majority of Tampa KS schools offer training courses that range from 3 weeks to as long as two months, based on the license class or kind of vehicle.
How Good are the Teachers? As earlier mentioned, it’s important that the teachers are trained to teach driving techniques and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Although 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 stay up to date with industry developments or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Assessing teachers may be a little more subjective than other criteria, and perhaps the best method is to visit the school and speak with the teachers face to face. You can also talk to some of the students going through the training and find out if they are satisfied with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
Plenty of Driving Time? Above all else, an excellent trucking school will furnish ample 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 alternative for real driving. The more training that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will become. Although driving time differs among schools, a reasonable standard is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Contact the Tampa KS schools you are looking at and find out how much driving time they provide.
Are they Independent or Captive ? You can get discounted or even free training from a number of truck driver schools if you enter into an agreement to be a driver for a particular carrier for a defined amount of time. This is referred to as contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So instead of having associations with a wide range of trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only work with one company. The benefit is receiving less expensive or even free training by surrendering the flexibility to initially work wherever you have an opportunity. Clearly contract training has the potential to reduce your income prospects when beginning your new career. But for many it may be the ideal way to get affordable training. Just make sure to ask if the Tampa KS schools you are considering are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Provide Onsite CDL Testing? There are some states that will allow 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is permitted in Kansas, ask if the schools you are reviewing are DMV certified to provide it. One advantage is that it is more convenient than competing with graduates of other schools for test times at Kansas testing locations. It is moreover an indicator that the DMV believes the approved schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Classes Accessible? As previously mentioned, truck driver training is just one to two months in length. With such a short duration, it’s important that the Tampa KS school you choose offers flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. As an example, if you’re having a hard time learning a particular driving maneuver, then the teacher should be prepared to devote more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still employed 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 driver school, you will be impatient to begin your new profession. Verify that the schools you are contemplating have job placement programs. Ask what their job placement percentage is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, find out which national and local trucking firms their graduates are referred to for hiring. If a school has a low job placement rate or not many Tampa KS employers hiring their graduates, it may be a clue to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Available? Truck driver schools are similar to colleges and other Tampa KS area technical or vocational schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being offered. Find out if the schools you are examining have a financial assistance department, or at a minimum someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that must be completed.
Trucking Jobs Training Tampa Kansas
Choosing the ideal truck driver school is a critical first step to starting your new profession as a long distance or local truck driver. The skills that you will learn at school will be those that mold a new career behind the wheel. There are a number of options available and understanding them is crucial if you are going to succeed as an operator. You originally came to our website because of your interest in Trucking Jobs Training and wanting information on the topic Class B CDL Training. But first and foremost, you must obtain the proper training in order to operate a big commercial vehicle in a safe and professional manner. If you are lacking money or financing, you may need to look into a captive school. You will pay a reduced or in some cases no tuition in exchange for driving for their contracted carrier. Or you can select an independent trucking school and have the option of driving for the trucking firm of your choosing, or one of many affiliated with the school. It’s your decision. But no matter how you get your training, you will soon be entering an industry that helps our country move as a professional trucker in Tampa KS.
Truck On in These Other Kansas Locations
For many millennia, the Great Plains of North America was inhabited by nomadic Native Americans. From the 16th century to 18th century, the Kingdom of France claimed ownership of large parts of North America. In 1762, after the French and Indian War, France secretly ceded New France to Spain, per the Treaty of Fontainebleau.
In 1802, Spain returned most of the land to France. In 1803, most of the land for modern day Kansas was acquired by the United States from France as part of the 828,000 square mile Louisiana Purchase for 2.83 cents per acre.
From the 1820s to the 1870s, one of the most significant land routes in the United States was the Santa Fe Trail. It was located along the edge of what would become Tampa. Two Santa Fe Trail markers were located on the trail near Tampa. The trail was active across Marion County from 1821 to 1866.