As a native of Louisiana, you have some excellent options for truck driving schools. But with many schools to choose from, how do you decide which one is right for you?
This guide will walk you through how to find a high-quality truck driving program, looking at factors like tuition cost, curriculum, and job placement. As well, we’ll go over the CDL requirements and whether or not you’re qualified to become a CDL driver.
Louisiana CDL Driver Requirements
Before you can obtain your CDL in Louisiana, you must first get your Commercial Learner’s Permit (CLP).
- Be 18 years old and older, 21 years old to drive interstate
- Possess a valid driver’s license: A, B, C, D, or E
- Have a current Medical Examiner’s Certificate
- Complete a CDL Supplemental Form (DPSMV2211), initially and anytime the type of commerce changes.
- Pass all applicable tests
- Show proof of Louisiana residency
- Have a CLP
- Meet DOT requirements:
- Pass DOT physical
- Pass drug screen test
- Successfully complete Entry-Level Driver Training (ELDT) if you want to:
- Get a Class A or Class B CDL for the first time
- Upgrade an existing Class B to a Class A CDL
- Get a school bus (S), passenger (P), or hazardous materials (H) endorsement for the first time.
- Pass skills test
Which Class of Commercial Driver’s License is Right for You?
How to Select Truck Driving Schools in Louisiana
CDL Training Curriculum
Look for trucking schools that offer comprehensive classroom and behind-the-wheel program that will prepare you for a career as a professional truck driver. Training should cover:
- Theory that covers:
- DOT rules and regulations
- Basic and advanced operation
- Safe operating procedures
- Vehicle systems and reporting malfunctions
- Behind-the-wheel (BTW) training such as:
- Vehicle inspection pre-trip/enroute/post-trip
- Straight line backing
- Alley dock backing (45/90 Degree)
- Off-set backing
- Parallel parking blind side
- Parallel parking sight side
- Coupling and uncoupling
CDL School Tuition Cost
When choosing a truck driving school, the cost is a major factor. You’ll want quality training, but you also need to stay within your budget. Some things to consider:
- Does the school offer financing or payment plans? Many schools understand that students can’t always pay the full tuition upfront. See if they work with lenders that offer trucking school loans or if they provide their own financing options.
- Are there any scholarships or grants available? Some schools provide internal funding opportunities for qualified students. It’s also worth checking with organizations and state agencies that may offer grants and scholarships.
- Compare tuition rates. Schooling for a Class A CDL averages at about $6,000. While cost isn’t the only factor, you want to find a school that fits your needs at an affordable price.
Some schools also provide additional resources like refresher courses and lifetime career services. If those types of extras are important to you, make sure any additional fees for those programs fit into your budget.
Time Spent Behind-the-Wheel
One of the most important parts of any truck driving school is the time you’ll spend actually driving a truck. Look for schools in Louisiana that provide plenty of hours practicing behind the wheel with an experienced instructor. This hands-on experience is invaluable for helping you gain confidence and competence as a new truck driver.
The reputation of a truck driving school is another important factor to consider. Schools with a proven track record of training safe, professional drivers will give you a leg up in your new career.
Check sites like Indeed, Glassdoor, and Facebook for reviews from former students. Look for schools with mostly positive reviews. Also, choose a school that is accredited. Accreditation proves the school meets high standards for curriculum, equipment, and instructors.
The reputation and quality of education offered by a truck driving school will follow you into your career. Choosing a school with a proven track record of training safe, skilled drivers is the best way to start your life on the open road.
It’s best that the instructors are former truck drivers themselves, with many years of experience driving professionally. That way, they’ll be able to give you tips and advice that you can’t learn from a book.
When you visit the schools you’re interested in, introduce yourself to the instructors and ask them about their background and experience. Get a feel for their teaching style and see if you mesh well. The instructors will be spending many hours with you, so you want to find someone who is not only highly qualified but also engaging and committed to helping you become a safe, responsible truck driver.
With experienced, dedicated instructors at a reputable trucking school, you’ll get the knowledge and skills you need to start your new career on the right road. Choose a school where the instructor goes the extra mile. Their guidance and support can make all the difference in your success.
Job Placement Assistance
Many reputable schools offer job placement assistance and resources to help new graduates find entry-level work. They often have relationships with trucking companies and can match students to suitable job openings. Some even offer job placement guarantees for students who complete the program. Select a school that will help with job placement when the time comes.
So now you have the key things to consider when choosing a truck driving school in Louisiana. Take your time evaluating each option, visit the schools that interest you, and talk to current students. Make sure the program covers all the bases to prepare you for your CDL test and life on the road. Once you find the right fit, you’ll be well on your way to an exciting new adventure.
List of Trucking Schools in Louisiana
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