How to Select the Right CDL Driving School near Brandeis California
Congratulations on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a trucking school near Brandeis CA. Maybe it has always been your fantasy to hit the open highway while driving a monster tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have done some analysis and have discovered that an occupation as a truck driver offers good wages and flexible work prospects. Whatever your reason is, it’s essential to get the proper training by choosing the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are certain variables that you’ll need to examine prior to making your final choice. Location will certainly be an issue, particularly if you have to commute from your Brandeis residence. The cost will also be of importance, but picking a school based entirely on price is not the ideal means to ensure you’ll get the appropriate education. 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 goal in mind, just how do you choose a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to discuss in the remainder 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 Will You Need?
To operate commercial vehicles legally within the United States and Brandeis CA, a driver needs to get a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 license classes that one can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the topic of this article is how to choose a truck driver school, we will discuss Class A and Class B licenses. What differentiates each class of CDL is the type of vehicle that the driver can operate as well as the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Following are brief descriptions for the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License is required to operate 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 needed to operate single vehicles having a GVWR of more than 26,000 lbs., or a GCWR of more than 26,000 lbs. including a towed vehicle weighing up to 10,000 lbs. Some 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 Commercial Drivers Licenses might also need endorsements to operate specific types of vehicles, for example passenger or school buses. And a Class A licensee, with the appropriate needed endorsements, can operate any vehicle that a Class B license holder is qualified to operate.
How to Evaluate a Truck Driving School
As soon as you have determined which CDL you would like to obtain, you can begin the process of researching the Brandeis CA truck driver schools that you are looking at. As earlier discussed, cost and location will no doubt be your initial considerations. But it can’t be stressed enough that they should not be your sole concerns. Other issues, such as the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are equally if not more important. So following are several additional factors that you should research while conducting your due diligence before selecting, and particularly paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Not many trucking schools in the Brandeis CA area are accredited due to the stringent process and expense to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more typical 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 standard, and that they will be given lots 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 curriculum and training will measure up to the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One clue to help assess the quality of a truck driver school is how long it has been in operation. A poorly rated or a fly by night school normally will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. Having said that, even the top Brandeis CA schools had to begin from their first day of training, so consider it as one of several qualifications. You can also learn what the school’s history is pertaining to successful licensing and employment of its graduates. If a school won’t share those numbers, search elsewhere. The schools should additionally maintain relationships with local and national trucking firms. Having numerous contacts not only affirms a superior reputation within the trade, but also bolsters their job assistance program for students. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to contact the California licensing authority to verify that the CDL trucking schools you are reviewing are in compliance.
How Effective is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools must be licensed in California and hire instructors that are experienced and trained. We will cover more about the instructors in the next segment. In addition, the student to instructor ratio should be no greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be obtaining the personal instruction they will need. This is especially true concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And watch out for any school that claims it can teach you to drive trucks in a comparatively short time frame. Learning to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer professionally requires time. Most Brandeis CA schools offer training programs that range from 3 weeks to as long as two months, depending on the license class or kind of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Teachers? As already stated, it’s essential that the teachers are qualified to teach driving methods and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Even though a number of states have minimum driving time criteria to qualify as a teacher, the more successful driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also crucial that the instructors stay current with industry advancements or any new laws or changes in regulations. Assessing teachers might be a little more subjective than other criteria, and perhaps the ideal method is to visit the school and speak with the instructors face to face. You can also speak with a few 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.
Plenty of Driving Time? Most importantly, an excellent truck driving school will provide ample 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. Even though the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are essential training tools, they are no substitute for real driving. The more instruction that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will become. Although driving time varies among schools, a reasonable benchmark is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide at least 44 hours of driving time. Contact the Brandeis CA schools you are considering and find out how much driving time they provide.
Are they Captive or Independent ? You can receive discounted or even free training from some truck driver schools if you make a commitment to be a driver for a specific carrier for a defined period of time. This is what’s known as contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So instead of maintaining affiliations with many different trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only refer to one company. The benefit is receiving less expensive or even free training by giving up the flexibility to initially work wherever you have an opportunity. Obviously contract training has the potential to restrict your income opportunities when starting out. But for some it may be the best way to obtain affordable training. Just make sure to ask if the Brandeis CA schools you are looking at are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Provide Onsite CDL Testing? There are a number of states that will allow third party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its students. If onsite testing is allowed in California, ask if the schools you are reviewing are DMV certified to offer it. One benefit is that it is more accommodating than battling with graduates from competing schools for test times at California testing centers. It is also an indicator that the DMV views the approved schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Class Times Convenient? As previously noted, CDL training is just one to two months long. With such a short term, it’s important that the Brandeis CA school you enroll in offers flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. For example, if you’re having difficulty learning a certain driving maneuver, then the teacher should be willing to commit more time with you until you have it mastered. 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 Assistance Offered? As soon as you have received your CDL license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be anxious to start your new profession. Verify that the schools you are considering have job placement programs. Find out what their job placement rate is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, ask which local and national trucking firms their graduates are referred to for hiring. If a school has a poor job placement rate or not many Brandeis CA employers hiring their grads, it might be a clue to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Truck driving schools are comparable to colleges and other Brandeis CA area vocational or trade 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 a minimum someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that must be submitted.
CDL Driver Training Brandeis California
Choosing the ideal truck driving school is an important first step to beginning your new profession as a local or long distance truck driver. The skill sets that you will learn at school will be those that forge a new career behind the wheel. There are several options offered and understanding them is critical to a new driver’s success. You originally came to our website because of your interest in CDL Driver Training and wanting information on the topic Truck Driving School Tuition. But first and foremost, you must receive the proper training in order to drive a big commercial vehicle in a safe and professional manner. If you are short on funds or financing, you may want to consider a captive school. You will pay a lower or in some cases no tuition in exchange for driving for their contracted carrier. Or you can enroll in an independent truck driving school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking firm of your choice, or one of many affiliated with the school. It’s your choice. But no matter how you receive your training, you will in the near future be entering a profession that helps our country move as a professional truck driver in Brandeis CA.
Truck On in These Other California Locations
Simi Valley, California
The city of Simi Valley (from the Chumash word, Shimiyi), in the eponymous valley, is in the southeast corner of Ventura County, California, United States, 40 miles (64 km) from downtown Los Angeles, making it part of the Greater Los Angeles Area. The city sits next to Thousand Oaks, Moorpark, and Los Angeles. The city's 2014 population has been estimated at 126,871, up from 111,351 in 2000. The city of Simi Valley is surrounded by the Santa Susana Mountain range and the Simi Hills, west of the San Fernando Valley, and northeast of the Conejo Valley. It is largely a commuter bedroom community, feeding the cities in the Los Angeles area and the San Fernando Valley to the east, and cities in Ventura County to the west.
The Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, where the former president was buried in 2004, is in Simi Valley. Simi Valley has been ranked twice as the 18th most conservative city in the United States; once by The Bay Area Center for Voting Research and also by GovPro.com. The Reagan Library has hosted Republican primary debates, last in 2012, and the first primary debates in 2016. A study done by the University of Vermont ranked Simi Valley as the fifth-happiest city in the United States. According to crime statistics by the FBI in 2013, Simi Valley is the seventh-safest city in the U.S. with a population of 100,000 or more. The U.S. Census Bureau of 2012 reported a median household income of $87,894, which is higher than the California median of $70,231 and the national average of $62,527.
Simi Valley was once inhabited by the Chumash people, who also settled much of the region from the Salinas Valley to the Santa Monica Mountains, with their presence dating back 10,000–12,000 years. Around 5,000 years ago these tribes began processing acorns, and harvesting local marshland plants. Roughly 2,000 years later, as hunting and fishing techniques improved, the population increased significantly. Shortly after this sharp increase a precious stone money system arose, increasing the viability of the region by offsetting fluctuations in available resources relating to climate changes. The native people who inhabited Simi Valley spoke an interior dialect of the Chumash language, called Ventureño.
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