How to Choose the Best Truck Driving Schools in Wisconsin
There are a few things you will need to take into careful consideration when choosing a truck driving school in Wisconsin. The decision you make could lead you on the path to a great learning experience or a dead end disaster. Although they teach the same thing, not all truck driving schools are the same.
Did you know there is a high demand for professional CDL truck drivers? Choosing the right Commercial Driving License (CDL) school can help you prepare for an exciting career on the road.
How much does Truck Driving School Cost
On average, CDL training in Wisconsin should cost somewhere between $2,500 and $4,500. There is usually a $500 difference in pricing between competing truck driving schools in the same general location. Fox Valley Technical College, which is certified by the Professional Truck Drivers Institute (PTDI) currently cost about $1,696.35* based on current tuition and fees. Additional materials and supplies will cost about $341.00*.
If the difference in price between schools in the same location is more or less than $500, you may want to do some research and find out why one school charges much more than the others. Here are some questions you may want to find the answers to when doing your research:
- Will you learn how to drive a commercial vehicle safely with students in simulators or in tractor trailers, or both?
- How much behind-the-wheel time do they give their CDL students?
- Is their equipment more modern than the other schools and provide you with training on how to inspect the vehicle to ensure safety of operation?
- Does their program cover how to demonstrate knowledge of the laws and regulations pertaining to the operation of a commercial vehicle in the United States?
- Does their program cover how to complete appropriate paperwork correctly?
- Will you learn how to demonstrate ability to plan trips and routes including managing loads and weight distribution?
- Will you learn how to communicate effectively with peers, customers and supervisors?
- Do they have larger class sizes?
- Do they have trucks for the students to train on than the other schools?
- Do they go above and beyond the state minimum required hours of training?
- Are they accredited by the Professional Truck Driver Institute?
- Are they accredited by the Better Business Bureau?
- Do they award student scholarships or participate in state and federal grant programs?
- Do they have a more successful job placement program than the other schools?
If the answer to these questions meet your standards, then you are on your way to a new and exciting truck driving careers.
Almost all truck driving schools in Wisconsin offer financial aid for those who qualify. Student financial aid can help lower the cost of attending school. Many truck driving schools in Wisconsin actively participate in state and federal grant programs and even give out scholarships for academic excellence. Student loans are also available for those who qualify. Fill out the Federal Application for Student Financial Aid (FAFSA) and check with the financial aid office of the school to see if there are any available student grants, scholarships, or loans you may qualify for if you decide to attend.
When choosing a truck driving school, be wary of any school that promises to get you trained and on the road in two weeks or less. Not only is this unrealistic, it is also unsafe. Commercial driver training should take anywhere from three weeks to three months to complete. There are two main factors that will determine the length of a school’s CDL training program. They are:
- Full-time vs. Part-time training.
- State mandated regulations.
Where is the CDL school located?
Ideally, the best truck driving school would be the school that is closest to where you live. It is important to understand that you may have to travel some distance to get the best CDL training in Wisconsin. Think of it as job preparation. If you handle the daily commute to truck driving school then, you’re on the right track to success. If the best truck driving school is hours away or in another state, then obviously you’ll have to take living expenses into account. Some truck driving schools provide room and board for an added expense and may put you up in a hotel until your training is complete. One more thing to consider. If you do decide to attend a truck driving school outside the state of Wisconsin, be sure to read up on the rules and regulations for transferring your out of state CDL to the state of Wisconsin. Also, make sure that the amount of hours you will receive during your out-of-state CDL training will meet the minimum required hours for obtaining your CDL in the state of Wisconsin.
Behind the Wheel Time
Probably one of the single most important factors to consider when choosing a truck driving school is how much behind-the-wheel drive time the school provides to their students. Not simulator time or passenger seat observation time but, shifting, steering, braking, backing up, and parking time. Keep in mind, most truck driving school students have never even been inside a semi-truck. Driving a tractor trailer professionally and safely takes hours of ongoing practice. The amount of drive time a school gives their students directly impacts the price of tuition because of the expenses involved. It will also impact how well you can drive a tractor trailer when you graduate.
You want your truck driving school experience to be educational, beneficial, and fun. Choose the right school and it will be. Choose the wrong one, and your truck driving career could stall before it even starts. Service One invites experienced and new drivers to apply for open positions. For career changers seeking a driving school in Wisconsin, Service One Transportation recommends the truck driving diploma program at Fox Valley Technical College, which is certified by the Professional Truck Drivers Institute (PTDI). Recent and soon-to-be graduates from accredited driving schools may qualify for tuition reimbursement from Service One.
Service One currently has openings for both Class A CDL company drivers and owner-operators. The Wisconsin trucking company welcomes applicants from its home state and surrounding areas in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan and Minnesota. To learn more about Service One Transportation and its available trucking jobs in Wisconsin, visit https://www.serviceonetransportation.com.
* Tuition and fees are subject to change. Costs may not include all books or all materials and supplies. Some textbook costs may be included in the estimated program cost.