How to Pick the Right Trucker School near Big Bend California
Congrats on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a truck driving school near Big Bend CA. Maybe it has always been your ambition to hit the open road while driving a monster tractor trailer. Or maybe you have conducted some analysis and have discovered that an occupation as a truck driver provides good pay and flexible work prospects. No matter what your reason is, it’s imperative to get the proper training by picking the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are various variables that you’ll want to think about prior to making your ultimate choice. Location will certainly be important, especially if you need to commute from your Big Bend residence. The expense will also be of importance, but choosing a school based exclusively on price is not the best method to ensure you’ll obtain the appropriate training. Don’t forget, your objective is to master the knowledge and skills that will enable you to pass the CDL examinations and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that goal in mind, just how do you select a truck driving school? That is what we are going to cover in the remainder of this article. But first, we are going to discuss a little bit about which CDL license you will eventually need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Will You Require?
In order to drive commercial vehicles legally within the USA and Big Bend CA, a driver must obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 license classes that a driver can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Since the topic of this article is how to pick a truck driver school, we will highlight Class A and Class B licenses. What differentiates each class of CDL is the type of vehicle that the driver can operate in addition to the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Following 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 greater 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 greater than 26,000 lbs. including a towed vehicle weighing up to 10,000 lbs. Several 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 drive specific types of vehicles, such as passenger or school buses. And a Class A license holder, with the appropriate needed endorsements, may drive any vehicle that a Class B license holder is authorized to drive.
How to Evaluate a CDL School
When you have decided which Commercial Drivers License you wish to obtain, you can begin the process of evaluating the Big Bend CA truck driving schools that you are considering. As previously mentioned, cost and location will undoubtedly be your initial considerations. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they should not be your only concerns. Other factors, such as the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are similarly if not more important. So below are a few additional things that you need to research while performing your due diligence before choosing, and particularly paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Very few truck driver schools in the Big Bend CA area are accredited due to the rigorous process and cost to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more prevalent and is offered by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not obligated to become certified, but there are several advantages. Interested students recognize that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will be given plenty of driving time. As an example, PTDI calls for 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 Operation? One indicator to help measure the quality of a trucking school is how long it has been in operation. A poorly rated or a fly by night school typically will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the best of Big Bend CA schools had to start from their opening day of training, so consider it as one of several qualifiers. You can also learn what the school’s track record is pertaining to successful licensing and job placement of its graduating students. If a school won’t supply those stats, search elsewhere. The schools should also maintain relationships with local and national trucking firms. Having numerous contacts not only confirms a superior reputation within the trade, but also bolsters their job assistance program for graduates. It also wouldn’t hurt to get in touch with the California licensing department to verify that the CDL trucking schools you are researching are in compliance.
How Effective 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 following segment. In addition, the student to instructor proportion should be no higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be getting the personal instruction they will need. This is especially true regarding the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And be critical of any school that insists it can teach you to drive trucks in a relatively short period of time. Training to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer professionally requires time. The majority of Big Bend CA schools offer training courses that run from three weeks to as long as 2 months, based on the license class or kind of vehicle.
How Good are the Teachers? As earlier mentioned, it’s imperative that the instructors are qualified to teach driving methods and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Although several states have minimum driving time criteria to be certified as an instructor, the more professional driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also crucial that the instructors stay current with industry advancements or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Assessing instructors may be a little more intuitive than other standards, and perhaps the ideal method is to pay a visit to the school and talk to the teachers face to face. You can also speak with some of the students going through the training and ask if they are happy with the level of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Enough Driving Time? Above all else, a great trucking school will furnish plenty of driving time to its students. Besides, isn’t that what it’s all about? Driving time is the real time spent behind the wheel operating a truck. While the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are important training methods, they are no alternative for actual driving. The more training that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will be. And even though driving time can vary between schools, a reasonable benchmark is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish no less than 44 hours of driving time. Contact the Big Bend CA schools you are looking at and ask how much driving time they provide.
Are they Independent or Captive ? It’s possible to obtain discounted or even free training from a number of truck driver schools if you enter into an agreement to be a driver for a specified carrier for a defined amount of time. This is what’s known as contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So instead of having relationships with a wide range of trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, 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 have an opportunity. Naturally contract training has the potential to reduce your income prospects when beginning your new career. But for some it may be the only way to receive affordable training. Just remember to find out if the Big Bend CA schools you are contemplating are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Is there CDL Testing Onsite? There are several states that will permit 3rd party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its grads. If onsite testing is allowed in California, ask if the schools you are considering are DMV certified to offer it. One advantage is that it is more convenient than competing with graduates from other schools for test times at California testing locations. It is also an indicator that the DMV believes the approved schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Class Times Accessible? As earlier noted, CDL training is just one to two months long. With such a short duration, it’s imperative that the Big Bend CA school you select offers flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. For example, if you’re having difficulty learning a particular driving maneuver, then the instructor should be willing to dedicate more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still employed while going to training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other responsibilities.
Is Job Placement Offered? Once you have attained your CDL license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be keen to begin your new profession. Verify that the schools you are contemplating 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 firms their graduates are placed with for hiring. If a school has a lower job placement rate or not many Big Bend CA employers hiring their grads, it might be a clue to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Available? Truck driver schools are much like colleges and other Big Bend CA area trade or technical schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being offered. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have a financial assistance department, or at least someone who can help you get through the options and forms that need to be submitted.
How To Choose A CDL Driving School Big Bend California
Picking the appropriate truck driving school is an important first step to starting your new occupation as a local or long distance truck driver. The skills that you will learn at school will be those that shape a new career behind the wheel. There are many options offered 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 How To Choose A CDL Driving School and wanting information on the topic Semi Truck Driving School. However, you must receive the appropriate training in order to drive a big commercial vehicle in a safe and professional manner. If you are lacking cash or financing, you might need to look into a captive school. You will pay a reduced or in some cases no tuition in exchange for driving for their contracted carrier. Or you can choose an independent truck driver school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking company of your choice, or one of several affiliated with the school. It’s your choice. But regardless of how you receive your training, you will soon be entering an industry that helps America move as a professional truck driver in Big Bend CA.
Truck On in These Other California Locations
Big Bend, California
For several thousand years prior to the 19th century, Big Bend was the heart of the territory of the Madesi tribe (pronounced Mah-day-see) tribe (or "band") of Pit River Native Americans. The Madesi is one of nine bands (also called "tribelets") that spoke the Achomawi language. (Early anthropologists mistakenly called all nine bands in the language group "Achomawi," although only one of the bands was actually called Achomawi.)
The Madesi band's territorial region included Big Bend and the surrounding area of the Lower Pit River (Ah-choo'-mah in the Madesi dialect, which has few or no speakers still living), and several of its tributaries, such as Kosk Creek (An-noo-che'che) and Nelson Creek (Ah-lis'choo'-chah). The main village of the Madesi was on the north bank of the Pit River, east of Kosk Creek, and was called Mah-dess', or Mah-dess' Atjwam (Madesi Valley), and was directly across the river from the smaller villages that surrounded the hot springs on the river's south bank, which were called Oo-le'-moo-me, Lah'-lah-pis'-mah, and Al-loo-satch-ha.
The Big Bend area is so remote and isolated that the Madesi was one of the last indigenous peoples of California to be invaded and pushed out of their ancestral homeland. Until the 1850s, the valley where Big Bend sits (now commonly called the "Madesi Valley") was relatively unknown to Euro-Americans, and rarely visited by outsiders. By 1860, however, USA military forces of the Pitt River Expeditions and white settlers had killed or captured and relocated most Indians in the entire Pit River region.