How to Pick the Best Trucking Classes near Banning California
Congratulations on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a trucking school near Banning CA. Perhaps it has always been your ambition to hit the open road while operating a big ole tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have done some analysis and have found that an occupation as a truck driver provides good income and flexible work prospects. Whatever your reason is, it’s important to get the appropriate training by choosing the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are a number of factors that you’ll need to think about before making your final selection. Location will certainly be important, particularly if you have to commute from your Banning home. The expense will also be of importance, but picking a school based only on price is not the optimal means to guarantee you’ll obtain the proper training. Just remember, your goal is to learn the skills and knowledge that will enable you to pass the CDL exams and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that purpose in mind, just how do you pick a truck driving school? That is what we are going to address in the rest of this article. But first, we are going to discuss a little bit about which CDL license you will ultimately need.
Which CDL Will You Need?
In order to operate commercial vehicles lawfully within the United States and Banning CA, an operator must get a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 classes of licenses that a person can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the topic of this article is how to choose a truck driving school, we will focus on Class A and B licenses. What differentiates each class of CDL is the kind of vehicle that the driver can operate together with the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Following are short summaries 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 greater 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 CDL is required to drive single vehicles having a GVWR of greater than 26,000 lbs., or a GCWR of more than 26,000 lbs. including a towed vehicle weighing up to 10,000 lbs. A few of the vehicles that operators may be qualified to drive with Class B licenses are:
- Tractor Trailers
- Dump Trucks
- Cement Mixers
- Large Buses
- Class C Vehicles
Both Class A and Class B CDLs might also need endorsements to operate certain types of vehicles, such as school or passenger buses. And a Class A license holder, with the proper required endorsements, can drive any vehicle that a Class B license holder is authorized to operate.
How to Evaluate a Truck Driver School
As soon as you have determined which CDL you wish to pursue, you can begin the process of assessing the Banning CA truck driver schools that you are looking at. As already mentioned, cost and location will undoubtedly be your primary considerations. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they should not be your only concerns. Other variables, such as the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are equally or even more important. So following are several more points that you need to research while conducting your due diligence before selecting, and especially paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Very few trucking schools in the Banning CA area are accredited because of the stringent process and expense to the schools. However, certification is more prevalent and is provided by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not obligated to become certified, but there are several advantages. Potential students recognize that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will receive plenty of driving time. As an example, PTDI calls for 44 hours of actual driving time, not simulations or ride-alongs. So if a school’s course is certified (the course, not the school is certified), students know that the training and curriculum will comply with the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One clue to help evaluate the quality of a trucking school is how long it has been in business. A negatively 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 Banning CA schools had to start from their first day of training, so use it as one of multiple qualifiers. You can also ask what the school’s history is pertaining to successful licensing and job placement of its graduating students. If a school won’t provide those stats, look elsewhere. The schools should also have relationships with regional and national trucking companies. Having numerous contacts not only confirms a superior reputation within the trade, but also bolsters their job placement program for students. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to check with the California licensing authority to make sure that the CDL trucking schools you are considering are in compliance.
How Good is the Training? At a minimum, the schools should be licensed in California and hire teachers that are trained and experienced. We will cover more about the teachers in the next section. Also, the student to instructor proportion should be no greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be obtaining the personal 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. Most Banning CA schools offer training courses that run from 3 weeks to as long as two months, depending on the class of license or kind of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Teachers? As already mentioned, it’s important that the instructors are qualified to teach driving methods and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Although several states have minimum driving time requirements to qualify as a teacher, the more professional 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. Evaluating teachers might be a bit more subjective than other criteria, and possibly the ideal approach is to visit the school and speak with the instructors face to face. You can also talk to a few of the students completing the training and ask if they are satisfied with the level of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
How Much Driving Time? Most importantly, a great truck driver 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 operating a truck. Even though the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are essential training tools, they are no substitute for actual driving. The more instruction that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will become. And even though driving time varies between schools, a reasonable standard is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide a minimum of 44 hours of driving time. Get in touch with the Banning CA schools you are researching and find out how much driving time they provide.
Are they Independent or Captive ? It’s possible to receive discounted or even free training from certain truck driving schools if you make a commitment to drive for a specific carrier for a defined period of time. This is called contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So rather than maintaining associations with a wide range of trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only refer to one company. The benefit is receiving free or less expensive training by giving up the flexibility to initially be a driver wherever you choose. Obviously contract training has the potential to restrict your income prospects when starting out. But for many it may be the only way to receive affordable training. Just be sure to ask if the Banning CA schools you are contemplating are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Is there Onsite CDL Testing? There are a number of states that will permit third party CDL testing onsite of truck driving schools for its students. If onsite testing is available in California, find out if the schools you are reviewing are DMV certified to provide it. One advantage is that it is more accommodating than competing with graduates of competing schools for test times at California testing facilities. It is moreover an indicator that the DMV deems the authorized schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Classes Convenient? As formerly noted, truck driver training is just 1 to 2 months in length. With such a short term, it’s essential that the Banning CA school you select provides flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. For example, if you’re having a hard time learning a particular driving maneuver, then the teacher should be prepared to dedicate more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still employed while attending training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other responsibilities.
Is Job Placement Offered? As soon as you have obtained your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be keen to begin your new profession. Verify that the schools you are considering have job assistance programs. Ask what their job placement ratio is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, ask which national and local trucking companies their graduates are referred to for hiring. If a school has a poor job placement rate or not many Banning CA employers hiring their grads, it might be a clue to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Truck driver schools are much like colleges and other Banning CA area trade or technical schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being available. Ask if the schools you are evaluating have a financial assistance department, or at least someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that must be submitted.
Truck Driver Classes Banning California
Selecting the appropriate truck driver school is an important first step to launching your new profession as a long distance or local truck driver. The skill sets taught at school will be those that shape a new career behind the wheel. There are many options available and understanding them is critical to a new driver’s success. You originally came to our website because of your interest in Truck Driver Classes and wanting information on the topic CDL Truck Driver Training. However, you must receive the necessary training in order to operate a large commercial vehicle in a professional and safe fashion. If you are lacking money or financing, you might need to consider a captive school. You will pay a reduced or even no tuition in exchange for driving for their contracted carrier. Or you can choose an independent truck driving school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking firm of your choosing, or one of many associated with the school. It’s your decision. But regardless of how you receive your training, you will in the near future be entering a profession that helps our country move as a professional trucker in Banning CA.
Truck On in These Other California Locations
Banning is a city in Riverside County, California, United States. The population was 29,603 at the 2010 census. It is situated in the San Gorgonio Pass, also known as Banning Pass. It is named for Phineas Banning, stagecoach line owner and the "Father of the Port of Los Angeles."
Banning has a western neighbor, the city of Beaumont, which shares geographic and regional features. Banning and Beaumont have been rapidly growing in size and population since the 1990s. Both cities are about 80 miles east of downtown Los Angeles and 30 miles west of Palm Springs, each connected by freeway and railroad.
The area, up to the mid-19th century, was inhabited by the Cahuilla people, though the region around Banning was originally Maringayam (Serrano), and the Cahuilla expanded into the pass only in historic times. In 1824 it became part of the Mission San Gabriel Arcángel, and then the Rancho San Gorgonio. The first Anglo to settle in the area was Dr. Isaac Smith in 1853. In 1863 a smallpox epidemic further diminished the Cahuilla. The government created Indian reservations for the Cahuilla in 1877.
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