How to Find the Right Truck Driver School near Ashland California
Congratulations on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a trucking school near Ashland CA. Perhaps it has always been your goal to hit the open road while operating a monster tractor trailer. Or possibly you have conducted some research and have found that an occupation as a truck driver provides excellent income and flexible job opportunities. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s imperative to obtain the appropriate training by choosing the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are a number of variables that you’ll want to examine before making your ultimate choice. Location will no doubt be important, especially if you have to commute from your Ashland home. The expense will also be of importance, but selecting a school based only on price is not the optimal method to guarantee you’ll obtain the proper training. Just remember, your goal is to learn the knowledge and skills that will allow you to pass the CDL exams and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that goal in mind, just how do you choose a truck driving school? That is what we are going to cover in the balance of this article. But first, we are going to talk a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will ultimately need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Should You Get?
In order to drive commercial vehicles legally within the USA and Ashland CA, a driver must attain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 classes of licenses that one can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the topic of this article is how to choose a truck driver school, we will address Class A and Class B licenses. What differentiates each class of CDL is the type of vehicle that the driver can operate together with the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Below are short explanations for the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License is needed to drive any vehicle that has a GCWR of more than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of more than 10,000 lbs. Some 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 needed to drive single vehicles having a GVWR of more than 26,000 lbs., or a GCWR of greater 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 Commercial Drivers Licenses may also require endorsements to operate specific types of vehicles, including school or passenger buses. And a Class A license holder, with the proper needed endorsements, may drive any vehicle that a Class B licensee is authorized to operate.
How to Evaluate a Truck Driver School
When you have determined which CDL you want to obtain, you can start the undertaking of evaluating the Ashland CA truck driver schools that you are looking at. As already mentioned, cost and location will undoubtedly be your initial considerations. But it can’t be stressed enough that they must not be your only considerations. Other variables, such as the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are equally if not more important. So following are several more things that you need to research while performing your due diligence prior to selecting, and particularly paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Not many trucking schools in the Ashland CA area are accredited because of the demanding 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 obligated to become certified, but there are certain advantages. Potential students recognize that the training will be of the highest standard, and that they will receive an ample amount of driving time. As an example, PTDI requires 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 training and curriculum will comply with the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One indicator to help assess 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. Having said that, even the best of Ashland CA schools had to start from their first day of training, so consider it as one of multiple qualifiers. You can also ask what the school’s track record is regarding successful licensing and job placement of its graduates. If a school won’t share those stats, search elsewhere. The schools should additionally maintain relationships with local and national trucking firms. Having numerous contacts not only confirms an excellent reputation within the industry, but also boosts their job placement program for students. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to check with the California licensing department to verify that the CDL trucking schools you are reviewing are in good standing.
How Good is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools should be licensed in California and employ teachers that are experienced and trained. We will cover more about the instructors in the next segment. Also, 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 personal instruction they will need. This is especially true regarding the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And look out for any school that insists it can teach you to be a truck driver in a relatively short time frame. Learning to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer professionally requires time. Most Ashland CA schools offer training programs that run from 3 weeks to as long as two months, depending on the class of license or type of vehicle.
How Good are the Trainers? As previously stated, it’s imperative that the instructors are qualified to teach driving methods and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Even though a number of states have minimum driving time criteria to be certified as an instructor, the more successful driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also important that the teachers keep up to date with industry advancements or any new laws or changes in regulations. Assessing instructors might be a bit more subjective than other criteria, and perhaps the best approach is to visit the school and talk to the teachers in person. You can also speak with some of the students going through the training and find out if they are satisfied with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
Adequate Driving Time? Most importantly, a good truck driving school will provide plenty of driving time to its students. Besides, isn’t that what it’s all about? Driving time is the actual time spent behind the wheel operating a truck. While the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are essential training methods, they are no replacement for actual driving. The more training that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will become. And even though driving time can vary between schools, a good benchmark is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish no less than 44 hours of driving time. Check with the Ashland CA schools you are researching and find out how much driving time they provide.
Are they Independent or Captive ? It’s possible to get free or discounted training from some trucking schools if you make a commitment to be a driver for a particular carrier for a defined amount of time. This is called contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So rather than having affiliations with numerous trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only work with one company. The benefit is receiving less expensive or even free training by surrendering the flexibility to initially work wherever you choose. Clearly contract training has the potential to reduce your income prospects when starting out. But for some it may be the best way to obtain affordable training. Just remember to find out if the Ashland CA schools you are looking at are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Provide CDL Testing Onsite? There are a number of states that will permit 3rd party CDL testing onsite of truck driver schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is available in California, ask if the schools you are looking at are DMV certified to offer it. One advantage is that it is more accommodating than competing with graduates of other schools for test times at California testing locations. It is also an indication that the DMV deems the approved schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Class Times Flexible? As previously mentioned, truck driver training is only about one to two months in length. With such a short term, it’s imperative that the Ashland CA school you choose provides flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. As an example, if you’re having a hard time learning a particular driving maneuver, then the instructor should be willing to spend more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still employed while attending training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other obligations.
Is Job Placement Offered? Once you have acquired your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be keen to start your new career. Confirm that the schools you are looking at 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 referred to for hiring. If a school has a poor job placement rate or few Ashland CA employers recruiting their grads, it might be a sign to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Truck driver schools are similar to colleges and other Ashland CA area technical or vocational schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being offered. Ask if the schools you are assessing have a financial aid department, or at least someone who can help you understand the options and forms that need to be submitted.
CDL Driving School Near Me Ashland California
Picking the appropriate truck driving school is an essential first step to launching your new occupation as a local or long distance truck driver. The skills taught at school will be those that mold a new career behind the wheel. There are many options available and understanding them is vital if you are going to succeed as an operator. You originally came to our website because of your interest in CDL Driving School Near Me and wanting information on the topic CDL Truck School. However, you must receive the proper training in order to drive a big commercial vehicle in a professional and safe manner. If you are short on money or financing, you may 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 select an independent CDL school and have the option of driving for the trucking company of your choosing, or one of several affiliated with the school. It’s your decision. But no matter how you obtain your training, you will soon be entering an industry that helps our country move as a professional trucker in Ashland CA.
Truck On in These Other California Locations
The 2010 United States Census reported that Ashland had a population of 21,925. The population density was 11,926.7 people per square mile (4,604.9/km²). The racial makeup of Ashland was 6,705 (30.6%) White, 4,269 (19.5%) African American, 232 (1.1%) Native American, 4,031 (18.4%) Asian, 260 (1.2%) Pacific Islander, 5,124 (23.4%) from other races, and 1,304 (5.9%) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 9,394 persons (42.8%).
There were 7,270 households, out of which 3,209 (44.1%) had children under the age of 18 living in them, 2,786 (38.3%) were opposite-sex married couples living together, 1,589 (21.9%) had a female householder with no husband present, 635 (8.7%) had a male householder with no wife present. There were 639 (8.8%) unmarried opposite-sex partnerships, and 54 (0.7%) same-sex married couples or partnerships. 1,713 households (23.6%) were made up of individuals and 417 (5.7%) had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.99. There were 5,010 families (68.9% of all households); the average family size was 3.52.
The population was spread out with 6,097 people (27.8%) under the age of 18, 2,317 people (10.6%) aged 18 to 24, 6,938 people (31.6%) aged 25 to 44, 4,905 people (22.4%) aged 45 to 64, and 1,668 people (7.6%) who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 31.4 years. For every 100 females, there were 95.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 91.3 males.
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