How to Select a Truck Driving School near Kealakekua Hawaii
Best wishes on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a trucking school near Kealakekua HI. Maybe it has always been your dream to hit the open road while operating a huge tractor trailer. Or maybe you have done some research and have discovered that a career as a truck driver provides excellent income and flexible work opportunities. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s imperative to get the proper training by choosing the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are various factors that you’ll need to consider before making your ultimate choice. Location will certainly be an issue, especially if you have to commute from your Kealakekua home. The expense will also be important, but choosing a school based exclusively on price is not the optimal method to make certain you’ll receive the appropriate education. Don’t forget, your goal is to learn the knowledge and skills that will allow you to pass the CDL exams and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that objective in mind, just how do you pick a truck driving school? That is what we are going to address in the remainder 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 drive commercial vehicles legally in Hawaii and within the USA, an operator needs to obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 classes of licenses that one 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 near Kealakekua HI, we will discuss Class A and B licenses. What differentiates 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). Below are brief descriptions for the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is required 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 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 CDL is required to drive 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. 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 might also require endorsements to operate specific types of vehicles, such as passenger or school buses. And a Class A licensee, with the proper required endorsements, may operate any vehicle that a Class B license holder is authorized to drive.
How to Evaluate a CDL School
As soon as you have decided which CDL you wish to obtain, you can begin the process of assessing the Kealakekua HI trucking schools that you are considering. As already discussed, cost and location will certainly be your initial considerations. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they should not be your sole considerations. Other factors, such as the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are equally or even more important. So below are a few more things that you need to research while conducting your due diligence prior to selecting, and especially paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Very few Kealakekua HI truck driver schools are accredited because of the stringent process and cost to the schools. However, certification is more common and is offered by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not required to become certified, but there are several advantages. Interested students know that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will get an ample amount of driving time. For example, PTDI calls for 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 standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One clue to help measure the quality of a truck driver school is how long it has been in business. A poorly rated or a fly by night school typically will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the best of Kealakekua HI schools had to begin from their opening day of training, so consider it as one of multiple qualifiers. You can also learn what the school’s track record is relating to successful licensing and employment of its graduating students. If a school won’t share those numbers, search elsewhere. The schools should additionally have relationships with regional and national trucking firms. Having a large number of contacts not only points to an excellent reputation within the trade, but also bolsters their job assistance program for students. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to contact the Hawaii licensing department to verify 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 Hawaii and employ teachers that are experienced and trained. We will cover more about the teachers in the next segment. Also, the student to instructor proportion should be no greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be obtaining the personal instruction they will need. This is especially true concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And look out for any school that claims it can train you to drive trucks in a relatively short time frame. Training to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer professionally requires time. The majority of Kealakekua HI schools offer training programs that range from 3 weeks to as long as 2 months, based on the license class or kind of vehicle.
How Good are the Instructors? As already mentioned, it’s imperative that the teachers are trained to teach driving techniques and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Even though several 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 crucial that the instructors stay current with industry advancements or any new laws or changes in regulations. Assessing teachers might be a bit more subjective than other criteria, and perhaps the best method is to visit the Kealakekua HI school and talk to the teachers face to face. You can also speak with some of the students completing the training and ask if they are satisfied with the level of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Enough Driving Time? Most importantly, an excellent truck driving school will furnish 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 operating a truck. While the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are important training tools, they are no alternative for real driving. The more training that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will become. Although driving time varies 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. Contact the Kealakekua HI 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 a number of Kealakekua HI trucking schools if you enter into an agreement to be a driver for a specific carrier for a defined amount of time. This is what’s known as contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So instead of maintaining relationships 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 surrendering the freedom to initially be a driver wherever you have an opportunity. Clearly contract training has the potential to restrict your income opportunities when beginning your new career. But for some it may be the ideal way to get affordable training. Just make sure to find out if the schools you are contemplating are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Offer Onsite CDL Testing? There are a number of states that will permit third party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its students. If onsite testing is permitted in Hawaii, find out if the Kealakekua HI schools you are considering are DMV certified to provide it. One benefit is that it is more convenient than contending with graduates of competing schools for test times at Hawaii testing locations. It is moreover an indication that the DMV regards the authorized schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Classes Flexible? As earlier mentioned, truck driver training is only about one to two months long. With such a brief term, it’s important that the Kealakekua HI school you choose offers 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 teacher should be prepared to spend more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still employed while attending training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other commitments.
Is Job Placement Offered? Once you have acquired your commercial driver’s license after graduating from trucking school, you will be anxious to start your new profession in Kealakekua HI. Confirm that the schools you are contemplating have job assistance programs. Find out what their job placement rate is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, ask which national and local trucking firms their graduates are referred to for employment. If a school has a lower job placement rate or not many employers hiring their grads, it might be a sign to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Truck driver schools are much like colleges and other trade or technical schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being available. Find out if the schools you are evaluating have a financial aid department, or at least someone who can help you get through the options and forms that need to be completed in Kealakekua HI.
Why Did You Decide to Be a Tractor Trailer Operator?When getting ready to interview for a Trucking job, it's important to consider questions you could be asked. Among the questions that interviewers often ask truck driving applicants is "What compelled you to decide on trucking as a profession?". What the interviewer is attempting to discover is not only the personal reasons you might have for becoming a trucker, but additionally what characteristics and skills you possess that make you good at what you do. You will likely be asked questions relating specifically to trucking, as well as a certain number of typical interview questions, so you should ready a number of approaches about how you would like to answer them. Because there are several factors that go into selecting a career, you can answer this fundamental question in a variety of ways. When formulating an answer, aim to include the reasons the work appeals to you as well as the talents you have that make you an outstanding truck driver and the ideal candidate for the position. Don't make an effort to memorize a response, but write down some ideas and talking points that pertain to your personal experiences and strengths. Reading through sample responses can assist you to formulate your own concepts, and give you ideas of what to include to enthuse the interviewer.
Choose the Best Trucking School Kealakekua HI
Selecting the ideal truck driving school is an essential 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 shape a new career behind the wheel. There are a number of options available and understanding them is vital to a new driver’s success. But first and foremost, you must get the appropriate training in order to operate a large commercial vehicle in a safe and professional fashion. If you are short on funds or financing, you may want to look into a captive school. You will pay a lower or even no tuition by agreeing to drive for their contracted carrier. Or you can choose an independent school and have the option of driving for the trucking firm of your choosing, or one of several associated with the school. It’s your decision. But regardless of how you obtain your training, you will in the near future be part of an industry that helps America move as a professional trucker in Kealakekua HI.
A Bit About Kealakekua Hawaii
Kealakekua is located on the west side of the island of Hawaii at 19°31′35″N 155°55′22″W / 19.52639°N 155.92278°W / 19.52639; -155.92278 (19.526436, -155.922891). It is bordered to the north by Honalo and to the south by Captain Cook. Hawaii Route 11 is the main road through the community, leading north 10 miles (16 km) to Kailua-Kona and south 49 miles (79 km) to Naalehu.
As of the census of 2000, there were 1,645 people, 639 households, and 423 families residing in the CDP. The population density was 218.1 people per square mile (84.2/km²). There were 692 housing units at an average density of 91.7 per square mile (35.4/km²). The racial makeup of the CDP was 24.74% White, 0.73% African American, 0.67% Native American, 36.84% Asian, 7.23% Pacific Islander, 2.07% from other races, and 27.72% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 9.18% of the population.
There were 639 households out of which 25.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 49.0% were married couples living together, 12.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 33.8% were non-families. 26.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.2% 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 3.10.
In the CDP the population was spread out with 22.1% under the age of 18, 7.7% from 18 to 24, 25.3% from 25 to 44, 27.5% from 45 to 64, and 17.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 42 years. For every 100 females there were 91.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 89.2 males.
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