How to Choose a CDL Driving School near Pierce Idaho
Congratulations on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a trucking school near Pierce ID. Maybe it has always been your dream to hit the open road while operating a huge tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have done some analysis and have discovered that a career as a truck driver offers good income and flexible work prospects. Whatever your reason is, it’s essential to get the appropriate training by enrolling in the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are a number of factors that you’ll need to consider prior to making your ultimate choice. Location will undoubtedly be important, particularly if you have to commute from your Pierce home. The expense will also be important, but selecting a school based solely on price is not the optimal way to ensure you’ll get the right training. Just remember, your goal is to learn the knowledge and skills 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 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 talk a little bit about which CDL license you will eventually need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Should You Get?
To drive commercial vehicles legally in Idaho and within the United States, an operator must attain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 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 near Pierce ID, we will highlight Class A and Class B licenses. What distinguishes 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 brief explanations of the 2 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 more 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 Commercial Drivers License is required to operate single vehicles having a GVWR of greater than 26,000 lbs., or a GCWR of greater 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 Commercial Drivers Licenses might also need endorsements to drive specific kinds of vehicles, including school or passenger buses. And a Class A license holder, with the appropriate needed endorsements, can drive any vehicle that a Class B licensee is qualified to operate.
How to Assess a Truck Driver School
As soon as you have determined which CDL you wish to obtain, you can start the process of researching the Pierce ID trucking schools that you are considering. As earlier mentioned, cost and location will certainly be your initial considerations. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they must not be your sole considerations. Other factors, for example the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are similarly or even more important. So following are several additional factors that you need to research while carrying out your due diligence prior to choosing, and particularly paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Not many Pierce ID truck driver schools are accredited because of the stringent process and expense to the schools. However, certification is more commonplace 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 recognize that the training will be of the highest standard, and that they will be given lots 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 training and curriculum will fulfill the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One clue to help measure the quality of a trucking school is how long it has been in business. A poorly rated or a fly by night school usually will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the best of Pierce ID schools had to start from their first day of training, so consider it as one of several qualifiers. You can also learn what the school’s track record is concerning successful licensing and employment of its graduating students. If a school won’t share those numbers, search elsewhere. The schools should additionally have associations with regional and national trucking companies. Having numerous contacts not only confirms an excellent reputation within the profession, but also bolsters their job assistance program for students. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to check with the Idaho licensing authority to make sure that the CDL trucker schools you are reviewing are in compliance.
How Good is the Training? At a minimum, the schools should be licensed in Idaho and employ teachers that are experienced and trained. We will talk more about the teachers in the following section. In addition, the student to instructor ratio should be no higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be receiving the personalized instruction they will need. This is particularly true regarding the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And look out for any school that professes it can train you to drive trucks in a relatively short period of time. Learning to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer professionally requires time. The majority of Pierce ID schools provide training programs that run from three weeks to as long as 2 months, based on the class of license or kind of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Trainers? As already mentioned, it’s imperative that the instructors are trained to teach driving methods and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Although a number of states have minimum driving time criteria to be certified as a teacher, the more successful driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also important that the instructors stay up to date with industry developments or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Evaluating teachers may be a little more subjective than other criteria, and possibly the ideal method is to pay a visit to the Pierce ID school and speak with the teachers in person. You can also talk to a few of the students going through the training and find out if they are happy with the level of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
Sufficient Driving Time? Above all else, an excellent trucking school will provide lots of driving time to its students. After all, isn’t that what it’s all about? Driving time is the actual 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 real driving. The more training that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will become. Although driving time fluctuates between schools, a reasonable benchmark is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide at least 44 hours of driving time. Get in touch with the Pierce ID schools you are researching and find out how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Independent or Captive ? It’s possible to get free or discounted training from some Pierce ID trucking 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 rather than having affiliations with numerous trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only refer to one company. The benefit is receiving less expensive or even free training by giving up the flexibility to initially be a driver wherever you have an opportunity. Clearly contract training has the potential to limit your income opportunities when starting out. But for many it may be the best way to obtain affordable training. Just remember to find out if the schools you are looking at are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Is there CDL Testing Onsite? There are several states that will allow 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is allowed in Idaho, ask if the Pierce ID schools you are reviewing are DMV certified to offer it. One advantage is that it is more convenient than battling with graduates of competing schools for test times at Idaho testing centers. It is also an indication that the DMV regards the authorized schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Classes Accessible? As previously mentioned, truck driver training is just 1 to 2 months in length. With such a short term, it’s important that the Pierce ID school you enroll in provides flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. As an example, if you’re having a hard time learning a certain driving maneuver, then the instructor should be willing to devote more time with you until you have it mastered. 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 Provided? The moment you have acquired your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be impatient to begin your new career in Pierce ID. Verify that the schools you are contemplating have job placement programs. Find out what their job placement ratio is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, ask which local and national trucking companies their graduates are placed with for hiring. If a school has a lower job placement rate or not many employers hiring their graduates, it might be a clue to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Given? Trucking schools are much like colleges and other trade or technical schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being offered. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have a financial aid department, or at least someone who can help you understand the options and forms that must be submitted in Pierce ID.
Why Did You Choose to Become a Truck Driver?When prepping to interview for a Trucking job, it's important to review questions you could be asked. Among the things that recruiters often ask truck driving prospects is "What made you decide on trucking as a career?". What the interviewer is trying to discover is not just the personal reasons you may have for becoming a trucking operator, but also what characteristics and skills you have that make you outstanding at your profession. You will undoubtedly be asked questions relating exclusively to trucking, in addition to a certain number of routine interview questions, so you need to prepare a number of approaches about how you want to address them. Because there are several variables that go into selecting a career, you can address this fundamental question in a number of ways. When formulating an answer, aim to include the reasons the profession interests you in addition to the talents you have that make you an exceptional truck driver and the perfiect choice for the position. Don't make an effort to memorize a response, but jot down several ideas and talking points that pertain to your personal strengths and experiences. Reviewing sample responses can help you to develop your own concepts, and inspire ideas of what to discuss to wow the interviewer.
Pick the Best Truck Driver School Pierce ID
Selecting the right trucking school is a critical first step to launching your new vocation 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 a number of options available and understanding them is critical if you are going to succeed as an operator. Most importantly, you must receive the proper training in order to drive a big commercial vehicle in a safe and professional fashion. If you are short on money or financing, you might want to look into a captive school. You will pay a lower or even 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 company of your choice, or one of several associated with the school. It’s your decision. But no matter how you receive your training, you will in the near future be part of an industry that helps America move as a professional truck driver in Pierce ID.
A Bit About Pierce Idaho
Pierce is a city in Clearwater County, Idaho. The population was 508 at the 2010 census, down from 617 in 2000.
The first discovery of gold in Idaho (then Washington Territory) was made by Elias D. Pierce and Wilbur F. Bassett on Orofino Creek (Canal Gulch) in October 1860, a mile (1.6 km) north of Pierce.
Pierce was the first county seat for Shoshone County, which was established in January 1861 in Washington Territory and for a most of its first year included most of present-day Idaho and Wyoming. The Pierce Courthouse, constructed in 1862, is Idaho's oldest public building.Idaho Territory was established in 1863, and the county seat moved north to the Silver Valley in Murray in 1884 (and to Wallace in 1898). Present-day Clearwater County, formed in 1911, was part of Shoshone County until 1904, when it was annexed by Nez Perce County.
The Bald Mountain Ski Area is located 11 miles (18 km) northwest of Pierce.
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