Category Archives: South Dakota

I Want To Be A Truck Driver Summit SD

How to Choose the Best CDL Driving School near Summit South Dakota

tractor truck in Summit SD Congratulations on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a truck driving school near Summit SD. Maybe it has always been your goal to hit the open road while driving a huge tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have conducted some research and have found that an occupation as a truck driver offers excellent pay and flexible work prospects. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s imperative to receive the proper training by enrolling in the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are various variables that you’ll need to think about prior to making your final choice. Location will no doubt be important, especially if you need to commute from your Summit residence. The cost will also be of importance, but choosing a school based solely on price is not the ideal way to ensure you’ll receive the right education. Just remember, your goal is to master the knowledge and skills that will allow you to pass the CDL exams and become a professional 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 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 ultimately need.

Which Commercial Drivers License Should You Get?

Summit SD long haul tractor trailerIn order to operate commercial vehicles lawfully within the USA and Summit SD, a driver must get a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three license classes that one can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the topic of this article is how to select a truck driving school, we will highlight Class A and 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 descriptions of the 2 classes.

Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License is needed 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 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 required to operate single vehicles having a GVWR of more than 26,000 lbs., or a GCWR of more 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 CDLs might also need endorsements to drive specific kinds of vehicles, including passenger or school buses. And a Class A licensee, with the proper needed endorsements, may drive any vehicle that a Class B license holder is qualified to drive.

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How to Research a CDL School

Summit SD truck driving schoolOnce you have determined which Commercial Drivers License you want to obtain, you can start the process of researching the Summit SD truck driving schools that you are looking at. As earlier discussed, location and cost will certainly be your initial concerns. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they must not be your only considerations. Other factors, such as the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are equally or even more important. So following are several more factors that you should research while carrying out your due diligence prior to enrolling in, and especially paying for, your truck driver training.

Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Not many truck driving schools in the Summit SD area are accredited because of the rigorous process and expense to the schools. However, certification is more prevalent and is offered by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not obligated to become certified, but there are certain advantages. Prospective students recognize that the training will be of the highest standard, and that they will receive plenty of driving time. For 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 training and curriculum will measure up to the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.

How Long in Business? One indicator to help measure the quality of a truck driver school is how long it has been in operation. A negatively ranked or a fly by night school normally will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the best of Summit SD schools had to begin from their opening day of training, so use 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 graduating students. If a school won’t provide those stats, search elsewhere. The schools should also have relationships with local and national trucking firms. Having a large number of contacts not only affirms a quality reputation within the trade, but also bolsters their job placement program for students. It also wouldn’t hurt to check with the South Dakota licensing authority to confirm 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 South Dakota and hire teachers that are experienced and trained. We will talk more about the instructors in the next section. Also, the student to instructor proportion should be no higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be obtaining the individual instruction 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 insists it can teach you to drive trucks in a comparatively short period of time. Training to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer professionally takes time. Most Summit SD schools provide training programs that run from three weeks to as long as two months, depending on the class of license or kind of vehicle.

How Good are the Teachers? As already mentioned, it’s important that the teachers are qualified to teach driving techniques and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Although a number of states have minimum driving time requirements to be certified as a teacher, the more professional driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also important that the teachers keep up to date with industry advancements or any new laws or changes in regulations. Assessing instructors might be a little more intuitive than other standards, and possibly the ideal method is to visit the school and speak with the teachers face to face. You can also speak with some of the students completing the training and find out if they are happy with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.

Plenty of Driving Time? Above all else, an excellent truck driving school will provide plenty of driving time to its students. Besides, isn’t that what it’s all about? Driving time is the real time spent behind the wheel driving a truck. Although the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are important training tools, they are no replacement for actual driving. The more training that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will be. And even though driving time differs 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. Get in touch with the Summit SD schools you are looking at and ask how much driving time they furnish.

Are they Captive or Independent ? It’s possible to get discounted or even free training from some truck driver schools if you enter into an agreement to be a driver for a particular carrier for a defined time period. This is called contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So instead of having associations with a wide range of 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 freedom to initially be a driver wherever you have an opportunity. Obviously contract training has the potential to restrict your income prospects when beginning your new career. But for some it may be the ideal way to get affordable training. Just make sure to ask if the Summit SD schools you are considering are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.

Offer Onsite CDL Testing? There are some states that will permit 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driver schools for its grads. If onsite testing is permitted in South Dakota, find out if the schools you are considering are DMV certified to offer it. One benefit is that it is more convenient than competing with graduates from competing schools for test times at South Dakota testing facilities. It is moreover an indication that the DMV considers the authorized schools to be of a superior quality.

Are the Classes Convenient? As previously mentioned, CDL training is just one to two months long. With such a brief term, it’s important that the Summit SD school you select provides flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. As an example, if you’re having difficulty learning a certain driving maneuver, then the instructor should be willing to commit more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still holding a job while going to training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other responsibilities.

Is Job Placement Offered? As soon as you have received your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be eager to start your new career. Confirm that the schools you are reviewing have job placement programs. Ask what their job placement rate is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, find out which local and national trucking firms their graduates are placed with for employment. If a school has a lower job placement rate or few Summit SD employers recruiting their graduates, it may be a sign to look elsewhere.

Is Financial Aid Offered? Truck driver schools are much like colleges and other Summit SD area vocational or trade 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 navigate the options and forms that need to be completed.

I Want To Be A Truck Driver Summit South Dakota

Summit SD long haul truckPicking the right truck driver 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 shape a new career behind the wheel. There are several 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 I Want To Be A Truck Driver and wanting information on the topic How To Choose A CDL Driving School.  But first and foremost, you must obtain the appropriate training in order to operate a large commercial vehicle in a safe and professional fashion. If you are lacking money or financing, you might need 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 trucking school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking firm of your choice, or one of many associated with the school. It’s your decision. But no matter how you obtain your training, you will in the near future be joining an industry that helps America move as a professional truck driver in Summit SD.

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    Summit, South Dakota

    As of the census[3] of 2010, there were 288 people, 112 households, and 69 families residing in the town. The population density was 514.3 inhabitants per square mile (198.6/km2). There were 129 housing units at an average density of 230.4 per square mile (89.0/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 63.5% White, 0.3% African American, 29.2% Native American, 0.3% Asian, and 6.6% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.0% of the population.

    There were 112 households of which 42.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 40.2% were married couples living together, 10.7% had a female householder with no husband present, 10.7% had a male householder with no wife present, and 38.4% were non-families. 33.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.57 and the average family size was 3.32.

    The median age in the town was 32.5 years. 35.4% of residents were under the age of 18; 6.6% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 25% were from 25 to 44; 23.3% were from 45 to 64; and 9.7% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the town was 53.1% male and 46.9% female.

     

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