How to Decide on a Trucking School near Woody Creek Colorado
Congrats on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a CDL school near Woody Creek CO. Perhaps it has always been your fantasy to hit the open road while operating a huge tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have conducted some analysis and have found that a career as a truck driver offers good wages and flexible work opportunities. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s imperative to obtain the appropriate training by enrolling in the right CDL school in your area. When evaluating your options, there are several factors that you’ll need to think about prior to making your final selection. Location will certainly be important, especially if you need to commute from your Woody Creek home. The cost will also be important, but selecting a school based exclusively on price is not the ideal method to make certain you’ll obtain the proper training. Don’t forget, your objective is to learn the knowledge and skills that will allow you to pass the CDL examinations and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that target in mind, just how do you choose a truck driving school? That is what we are going to discuss in the rest of this article. But first, we are going to talk a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will eventually need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Will You Require?
To operate commercial vehicles legally in Colorado and within the United States, an operator must obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three classes of licenses that a person can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the topic of this article is how to pick a truck driver school near Woody Creek CO, we will highlight 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 short explanations 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 more 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 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. 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 need endorsements to drive specific kinds of vehicles, for example school or passenger buses. And a Class A license holder, with the proper required endorsements, can drive any vehicle that a Class B license holder is authorized to operate.
How to Assess a Truck Driver School
As soon as you have determined which CDL you would like to obtain, you can start the process of researching the Woody Creek CO trucking schools that you are looking at. As earlier discussed, cost and location will no doubt be your primary considerations. But it can’t be stressed enough that they must not be your sole considerations. Other issues, for instance the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are equally or even more important. So following are some additional factors that you should research while performing your due diligence prior to enrolling in, and especially paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Very few Woody Creek CO truck driver schools are accredited because of the demanding process and cost to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more commonplace 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. Interested students know that the training will be of the highest caliber, and that they will be given an ample amount of driving time. As an example, PTDI mandates 44 hours of actual 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 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. However, even the top Woody Creek CO schools had to begin from their first day of training, so consider it as one of multiple qualifiers. You can also learn what the school’s track record is concerning successful licensing and job placement of its graduates. If a school won’t supply those stats, look elsewhere. The schools should also have associations with local and national trucking firms. Having numerous contacts not only points to an excellent reputation within the profession, but also bolsters their job assistance program for students. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to contact the Colorado licensing department to verify that the CDL trucking schools you are researching are in good standing.
How Good is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools should be licensed in Colorado and employ instructors that are experienced and trained. We will cover more about the teachers in the following segment. In addition, the student to instructor ratio should be no greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be receiving the personalized attention they will need. This is particularly 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 time period. Learning to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer professionally requires time. The majority of Woody Creek CO schools provide training courses that range from 3 weeks to as long as two months, depending on the class of license or kind of vehicle.
How Good are the Teachers? As earlier mentioned, it’s important that the teachers are trained to teach driving methods and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Even though a number of states have minimum driving time prerequisites to be certified as an instructor, the more successful driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also vital that the teachers keep up to date with industry developments or any new laws or changes in regulations. Evaluating teachers may be a bit more subjective than other criteria, and possibly the ideal approach is to visit the Woody Creek CO school and speak with the teachers in person. You can also speak with a few of the students going through the training and ask if they are happy with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
Sufficient Driving Time? Most importantly, a good trucking school will furnish ample driving time to its students. Besides, isn’t that what it’s all about? Driving time is the real time spent behind the wheel operating a truck. Although the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are important training methods, they are no replacement for real driving. The more instruction that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will be. Although driving time differs among schools, a reasonable benchmark 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 Woody Creek CO schools you are considering and ask how much driving time they provide.
Are they Independent or Captive ? It’s possible to receive free or discounted training from a number of Woody Creek CO truck driving schools if you make a commitment to be a driver for a specific carrier for a defined period of time. This is called contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So instead of maintaining associations with numerous trucking lines that they can refer their students to, 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 choose. Naturally contract training has the potential to reduce your income prospects when starting out. But for many it may be the only way to obtain affordable training. Just be sure to inquire if the schools you are considering are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Is there CDL Testing Onsite? There are several states that will permit 3rd party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its students. If onsite testing is permitted in Colorado, find out if the Woody Creek CO schools you are looking at are DMV certified to offer it. One advantage is that it is more accommodating than contending with graduates of other schools for test times at Colorado testing facilities. It is moreover an indication that the DMV believes the approved schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Classes Convenient? As formerly mentioned, truck driver training is only about 1 to 2 months in length. With such a short term, it’s imperative that the Woody Creek CO school you select provides flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. As an example, if you’re having difficulty learning a certain driving maneuver, then the instructor should be prepared to commit more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still holding a job while attending training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other obligations.
Is Job Placement Provided? The moment you have attained your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be keen to begin your new career in Woody Creek CO. Verify that the schools you are looking at have job assistance programs. Find out what their job placement ratio 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 employers recruiting their grads, it may be a sign to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Truck driver schools are much like colleges and other technical or vocational schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being available. Find out if the schools you are examining have a financial assistance department, or at least someone who can help you get through the options and forms that need to be completed in Woody Creek CO.
Why Did You Want to Be a Tractor Trailer Operator?When preparing to interview for a Trucking position, it's advantageous to review questions you could be asked. Among the questions that interviewers typically ask truck driving candidates is "What compelled you to choose trucking as a career?". What the interviewer is hoping to discover is not only the private reasons you might have for becoming a trucker, but also what qualities and abilities you possess that make you exceptional at what you do. You will probably be asked questions relating exclusively to trucking, along with a significant number of standard interview questions, so you need to ready several strategies about how you want to address them. Considering there are several factors that go into choosing a career, you can address this fundamental question in a multitude of ways. When preparing an answer, attempt to include the reasons the work appeals to you in addition to the talents you possess that make you an exceptional truck driver and the ideal choice for the job. Don't attempt to memorize a response, but jot down a few ideas and talking points that pertain to your own experiences and strengths. Reviewing sample responses can assist you to develop your own concepts, and provide ideas of what to include to impress the interviewer.
Choose the Ideal CDL School Woody Creek CO
Picking the right truck driving school is an important first step to beginning your new vocation as a local or long distance truck driver. The skill sets taught at school will be those that mold 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. But first and foremost, you must get the appropriate training in order to operate a large commercial vehicle in a professional and safe manner. If you are lacking funds or financing, you may want to look into a captive school. You will pay a lower or in some cases no tuition in exchange for driving for their contracted carrier. Or you can enroll in an independent 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 choice. But no matter how you obtain your training, you will soon be part of a profession that helps America move as a professional trucker in Woody Creek CO.
A Bit About Woody Creek Colorado
Woody Creek, Colorado
Woody Creek is a census-designated place and a U.S. Post Office located in Pitkin County, Colorado, United States and is part of the Roaring Fork Valley. The population as of the 2010 Census was 263. The Woody Creek Post Office has the ZIP Code 81656.
Woody Creek is situated in the valley of the Roaring Fork River northwest of Aspen, along State Highway 82, where Woody Creek exits a canyon and joins the Roaring Fork. It is situated at the northwest (and least developed) end of a small valley that stretches southeast along the Roaring Fork to Aspen. Woody Creek is located at 39°16′15″N 106°53′10″W / 39.27083°N 106.88611°W / 39.27083; -106.88611 (39.270803,-106.886158).
The community is centered on a log cabin built in the 1940s by the Lee Jones family, which now houses the Woody Creek Tavern, a well-known landmark, as well as the Woody Creek Community Center. The cabin sits along a county road, somewhat concealed from State Highway 82. Adjacent is a trailer park and several homes, ranging from modest older ones to newer upscale structures. Patrons of the Woody Creek Tavern or the Woody Creek Community Center can request a postcard which comes with postage for USA delivery, which can be scrawled upon and dropped off at the nearby post office.
Woody Creek was the residence of noted author Hunter S. Thompson for much of his life and at the time of his death. It also has been the home of several other celebrities and musicians including the late broadcaster Ed Bradley, Don Henley of the Eagles, John Oates (Hall and Oates), Jimmy Ibbotson of The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and actor Don Johnson. Currently, Democratic Leader of the U.S. House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi has a winter home in Woody Creek.
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