CDL training in New Mexico is an integral part in ensuring you pass all of your CDL exams. CDL prep is a specialized form of training that utilizes in-classroom and behind-the-wheel instruction to teach you how to safely operate a commercial truck. You will learn the rules of the road, requirements that you must fulfill as a driver and what to expect as a professional truck driver. Additionally, you will become proficient in advanced driving techniques, including making tight turns, backing up and parking in an oversized vehicle.

A difficult job for the average driver, CDL school prepares you to operate trucks weighing up to 26,000 pounds. While it is possible to self-prep for these exams, the benefits provided by truck driving school programs are unparalleled. Not only will you receive hands-on experience in an interactive environment, but you can also receive job placement assistance and begin working immediately after obtaining your license. To learn more about the types of CDL classes and what they offer, read the following sections below.

What is CDL training in New Mexico?

New Mexico CDL prep courses are meant to prepare you for all CDL exams administered by the Motor Vehicle Department (MVD) and any third-party testing sites when applying for a CDL. Whether you plan on operating a school bus or dump truck, there are various CDL training classes available for different class licenses.

Additionally, there are training courses available if you would like to add an endorsement to your license. To find out which type of training you need, take a look at the following vehicle groups:

  • Class A: As the most common and useful license, the Class A license allows you to operate any combination of vehicles that weigh 26,000 pounds or more and towing weighs of 10,000 pounds or more. It is highly recommended that you complete Class A CDL training to gain the knowledge and skills needed to operate these vehicles.
  • Class B: This class license allows you to operate vehicles weighing 26,001 pounds or more along with a towed vehicle that does not exceed 10,000 pounds. Prepare for this license by completing Class B CDL training if you would like to drive a straight truck or a large passenger bus.
  • Class C: To drive a vehicle that transports hazardous materials or 16 or more passengers, you will need to obtain this license. With a Class C license, you can drive a vehicle less than 26,000 pounds that pulls a trailer than 10,000 pounds.

Note: While you may complete Class C CDL training for a Class C license, you can also operate a Class C vehicle with a Class A or B license and the proper endorsements.

Is CDL school required in New Mexico?

Although CDL school is not required in New Mexico, most CDL holders pass their exams with the help of formal training. In fact, the commercial driving manual provided by the MVD highly recommends CDL training and recognizes it as the most reliable way to learn the necessary skills to safely operate a commercial vehicle and become a professional truck driver.

Curriculum of New Mexico CDL Classes

CDL school courses typically consist of in-class and behind-the-wheel instruction covering a variety of topics related to commercial driving. These topics may include road signs, map reading, trip planning and completing various maneuvers, such as backing, turning and parking in tight spaces.

In-Class Instruction for the CDL Written Test

While you may find some CDL training online about the CDL general knowledge test, instructor-guided information can help you learn how to inspect your vehicle and look for warning signs that can lead to a breakdown or crash. This includes knowing how to appropriately check your tires, brakes and trailer coupling devices.Additionally, you will learn the basic controls of your vehicle, including how to accelerate, steer and back up safely. Other CDL permit test questions topics include the following:

  • Communicating with other drivers
  • Distracted driving laws in NM
  • Controlling speed
  • Driving in various weather conditions
  • Space Management
  • Accident Procedures

Behind-the-Wheel Instruction for the CDL Driving Test

Once you obtain your commercial learner’s permit (CLP), the next portion of CDL training includes putting all that you have learned to the test. This means getting behind the wheel of a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) and exercising various traffic maneuvers. The next CDL test consists of a vehicle inspection test, basic vehicle control test and on-road test.

Your licensed instructor will most likely mimic the formatting of the CDL driving test so that you are adequately prepared for the road test. He or she may ask you to point and name an item that requires inspecting to prepare for your vehicle inspection test. When accompanied on the road, you may be asked to make a left or right turn at an intersection or change lanes on the highway. All of these maneuvers are included on the CDL driving test, which is much more difficult than the standard driving test needed during the process of obtaining a Class D driver’s license.

How long is CDL training in New Mexico?

The length of a program can vary depending on the CDL school and type of training you are receiving. For example, Class A CDL training programs tend to be much longer than Class C. You can typically complete a Class A program in 160 hours or seven weeks.

Another factor to consider that can affect the length of a program is whether you are enrolled full-time or part-time. However, if you fail one of your exams at one of the MVD office locations, then the licensing process can take an extended period, as you can only take the test twice a week.

Best CDL Schools Near Me in New Mexico

Looking for a “truck driving school near me”? The secret to finding the best CDL schools in New Mexico is finding a top-notch program that fits your schedule and budget. There are a variety of schools that offer classes for various licenses and endorsements. Most of these programs are administered through colleges and universities, including the following:

  • Central New Mexico Community College – CNM offers various CDL programs through full-time and part-time coursework. Whether you want to learn how to operate a tractor-trailer or Class B truck, there are various CDL classes that count for college credit. While full-time day classes take up to 12 weeks to complete, part-time classes take about 15 weeks to complete.
  • New Mexico Commercial Driver Training at UNM – The University of New Mexico offers Class A CDL training while working with state, federal and private entities to cover tuition costs. The program consists of road driving, range skills and classroom instruction. UNM also works with trucking companies to obtain employment for graduating students.
  • San Juan College: You can learn how to operate Class A, B and C trucks at San Juan College. CDL prep courses are designed to teach you how to maneuver large trucks, inspect commercial vehicles and load trucks to comply with regulations. You will receive classroom training as well as driver training in a three-screen plasma simulator that mimics various on-road scenarios. If you need help paying for the program, then funding is available through the Workforce Innovation and Opportunities Act program.

Benefits of Completing New Mexico Truck Driving School

In addition to preparing for your CDL exams, CDL school has many other valuable benefits. While it is not state required, most CDL jobs prefer to hire applicants who have completed formal training and have experience behind the wheel. Additionally, taking the time off of work to complete training can be stressful.

Fortunately, most schools have CDL job placement to ensure that you enter the high demanding industry as quickly as possible. You can land a job with a national or local truck driving company before you even finish CDL classes.

CDL Training Costs in New Mexico

CDL training cost in New Mexico can fluctuate depending on the school and type of training you receive. Typically, the most expensive courses are Class A CDL training classes because they cover any combination of vehicles under Class A, B and C licenses. While a Class A three-week course may cost as little as $454 for NM residents at San Juan College, it can cost up to $1,300 for a Class A five-week course at Central New Mexico Community College. This is considerably less expensive than most CDL driving programs.

Additionally, most CDL training programs offer financing options, financial aid and scholarships. Schools with job placement assistance can even link you to trucking companies that pay for CDL training. However, training costs and licensing costs differ as well as the expense to complete the mandatory DOT physical exam for CDL credentials required of all applicants regardless of formal training.

How to Self-Prep for New Mexico CDL Exams

Whether you enroll in CDL school or not, there are several online resources that can help you self-prep for your CDL exams. In fact, the CDL handbook has answers to most of the questions found on the knowledge tests.

You can also take a free CDL practice test through a third-party website or create your own study guide using information from the manual. Taking a practice exam allows you to track your progress and identify areas that you need to spend more time studying.

To prepare for the road skills exam, you will need to get behind the wheel with a CDL license holder. If you do not know anyone with a CDL, then you may want to reconsider enrolling in a field training course.

Last updated on Wednesday, May 1 2019.

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